Bookshots: 'fic: Why Fanfiction Is Taking Over the World' by Anne Jamison

Bookshots: 'fic: Why Fanfiction Is Taking Over the World' by Anne Jamison

Bookshots: Pumping new life into the corpse of the book review


fic: Why Fanfiction Is Taking Over the World

Who wrote it?

With 'fic,' Jamison has written the absolute Bible for devotees of fan writing.

Anne Jamison, author and Phd in Comparative Literature. Her work has been quoted in such publications as the NY Review of Books.

Plot in a Box:

The rise and rise of fanfiction through the ages, from Sherlock Holmes to the 'net-enabled explosion of fan writing today.

Invent a new title for this book:

Fanfiction: The Ascendance of a Literary Underground

Read this is you liked:

Fan Fiction and Fan Communities in the Age of the Internet  by Karen Hellekson

The Democratic Genre: Fan Fiction in a Literary Context by Sheenagh Pugh

Meet the book’s lead(s):

Every cult character you can think of: Dr. Spock, Buffy, Mulder and Scully, My Little Pony?

Said lead(s) would be portrayed in a movie by:

I'm sure the fan writers would prefer the actors who made the characters famous, but they'd probably have to settle for cheaper, more desperate options. As for cartoon characters... yeah.

Setting: Would you want to live there?

Thinking of one of fanfiction's biggest success stories, E.L. James' Fifty Shades... and the sleek, sexy world of kinky billionaire Christian Grey, not sure if I'd want to live there, but I'd be up for a flying visit.

What was your favorite sentence?

Writers write in solitude. Fanfiction writers write with an entire cheer squad behind them.

The Verdict:

With fic, Jamison has written the absolute Bible for devotees of fan writing. (Is there such a thing as biblical fan writing? Adam and Eve and Zombies?) The 474 page book is chock-a-block full of interviews, excerpts, screenshots and photos. She charts the beginnings of fanfiction, including an in-depth look at Sherlock Holmes, all the way to the state of 'net based fanfiction today. All the worlds of fan writing are explored: slasher, kink, mash-up, real people, erotic, homo-erotic, feminist, as well as its burgeoning presence in Eastern cultures. She discusses what motivates these writers, what draws them together and what tears them apart (this is a world with a lot of community feeling, a lot of dynamism and a LOT of in-fighting). Recent publishing successes have drawn more attention to fan writing, while raising issues such as copyright infringement and intellectual property law. Authors such as Jonathan Lethem discuss new challenges the fic world faces.

Jamison is deeply enmeshed in the fanfiction world. She's taught classes on Buffy, Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey, and has, by her own admission, written more than 40,000 words of Sherlock Holmes fic. She's definitely well-placed to give an insider's view on the topic. What we don't get in fic, however, is the outsider's view. How does the rest of the world view fanfiction and its devotees? How much of a percentage of the writing in any of its sub-genres would the average reader find to be enjoyable and well-executed?

Whether or not you're interested in writing or reading fanfiction, fic is an important book. As one author states, "Fanfiction and its media have already changed the way people are writing, reading, finding and thinking about stories. It won't change back."

Naturi Thomas-Millard

Review by Naturi Thomas-Millard

Naturi is the author of How to Die in Paris: A Memoir (2011, Seal Press/Perseus Books) She's published fiction, non-fiction and poetry in magazines such as Barrow St. and Children, Churches and Daddies. At Sherri Rosen Publicity Int'l, she works as an editor and book doctor. Originally from NYC, she now lives in a village in England which appears to have more sheep than people. This will make starting a book club slightly challenging.

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Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated December 5, 2013 - 11:10pm

(Is there such a thing as biblical fan writing? Adam and Eve and Zombies?)

I guess you could say that Stant Linore's work is Bible/zombie fan fiction. He is also the best new author I've read in a very long time.

kensmosis's picture
kensmosis December 6, 2013 - 8:06am

I had wondered whether fan fiction was growing into a legitimate genre.  The question you raise is an important one -- whether it is gaining acceptance amongst general readers.  I would be curious to know the answer.   Aside from IP issues, I see no compelling reason that fan fiction shouldn't exhibit the same range of prose quality as ordinary fiction.  

Excellent review, Naturi!  This sounds like an interesting read.  


Cath Murphy's picture
Cath Murphy from UK is reading Find out on the Unpr!ntable podcast December 8, 2013 - 7:35am

I'd love to know what My Little Pony fan fic is like. But maybe not curious enough to read any of it.