The Yuletide Fanfic Exchange
December 31, 2010 8:11 AM Subscribe
I’m crammed into a burrow so small that my knees are up around my ears and the boom mike keeps slamming into my head, inhaling the potent scent of toffee-apple brandy and trying to drink a talking mouse under the table. But is it really the boom mike that’s making my head pound? I know for sure that my camera man doesn’t usually have two heads. I have to face facts. The mouse is winning.No Reservations: Narnia.
On December 25th, the curtain went up on over 2000 pieces of fanfiction, each written for the annual Yuletide Obscure Fandoms Fiction Exchange. In a fan-driven take on secret santa, writers fill requests for fanfiction that are as obvious as Star Trek and as obscure as anthropomorphized representations of ivy league colleges. Tomorrow, on January 1st, the still-anonymous authors will be revealed.
The Yuletide exchange brings relatively motivated and experienced writers to small or obscure fandoms that don't have much fanfiction written for them, so the archives are worth browsing—hidden gems abound. In case you don't have time, here are a few highlights; some serious, some less so:
Settlers of Catan: Five Trades Worth Making. Five short pieces about women who live in Catan.
Avatar: The Spiral of Lives. A 20,000 word rewrite of James Cameron's film, without the blueface.
Sharktopus: In His Own Words. Turns out he got screwed by those Hollywood big-shots.
Of course, if you think fanfiction is stupid, you're not alone! Lots of people think fanfiction is stupid. Over at Topless Robot, Fanfiction Friday is a regular feature dedicated to pretending to be shocked and appalled that girls write stories about boys kissing.
Meanwhile, fanfic [previously, previously, previously] is all over the place, even in the beloved-of-geeks TVTropes. [Warning: TVTropes.] Some classic fanfic tropes include:
- Aliens Made Them Do It
- Everyone Is Gay
- Fix Fic
- Alternate Universe Fic (including the classic High School AU)
- And of course, the dreaded Mary Sue
Patrick Neilsen Hayden (a big-time SF editor) thinks fanfiction is important to the future of SF:
…There’s no ceiling on how great [fanfic] can be because it's unlicensed and can't get published. It's often written far better than the stuff it's based on. I wish [fanfic could go legit]. For most of human history, remixing narratives in circulation has been how culture worked. I believe in compensating artists, but yesterday [on a panel at WorldCon] the "moral rights" thing came up, and I think that's horseshit. I think artists should be treated well and so should waitresses and plumbers. Artists shouldn't have "treat them extra nice" rules. People experience art socially. People say "Watch this! Read this!" We experience art and we want to talk about it. I know that there are writers horrified by fanfic. Jo Walton hates fanfic. But in general I think with TV and the mass media world, somebody is going to figure out a way to encourage [fanfic] in a way that makes them a pile of money.There is even MetaFilter fanfiction.
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