Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Fan fiction (also spelled fanfiction and commonly abbreviated to fanfic) is fiction written by people who enjoy a film, novel, television show or other media work, using the characters and situations developed in it and developing new plots in which to use these characters. Characters and props from more than one media work may also be incorporated into a single fanfiction (known as crossovers). (As a matter of historical interest, it should be noted that in the pre-1965 era, the term "fan fiction" was used in science fiction fandom to designate science fiction written by members of fandom and published in fanzines, as distinguished from fiction professionally published; this usage is now obsolete.)
Fan fiction traces its modern roots back to Star Trek fandom which in turn inherited many of its practices from science fiction fandom. The first known published fanzine in modern fan fiction is Spockanalia, published in 1967. This community gave us many traditions that are still in place today, including the concept of Mary Sues, crossovers, zine culture and public feedback.
Other fandoms were active in the same period as Star Trek. One such fandom was Man from U.N.C.L.E. However, these fandoms did not have a heavy influence on the global fan fiction community until later when there was a more widespread distribution of such fan fiction; early on, most of it was distributed as individual stories to friends and family. These fandoms did not really expand into a more recognized fan fiction community until they published their first fanzines. In the case of Man from U.N.C.L.E., this did not happen until 1976 with the publication of a Man from U.N.C.L.E. story in Warped Space.
Fan fiction has come to the fore especially since the rise of the Internet, where it flourishes despite the possibility that it infringes the copyright of the film, book, TV show, or other media on which it is based.
Major genres of fanfic include those based on: Japanese anime/manga series; J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series; J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings; science fiction serials (both on television and in film); other serial television (dramatic and even comedic); and American cartoon series. Popular television series which have inspired fanfic include Star Trek, The X-Files, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Even video games, such as the Final Fantasy and Street Fighter series, have become sources.
Types of Fanfiction
Some fanfiction falls into the category of Mary Sue fantasies, in which a new character representing an idealized version of the fanfiction author enters the story and goes on to upstage the established characters. A Mary Sue can also be a character who, as well as being idealised, also becomes the character upon whom the central character in canon becomes dependent. While the Mary Sue style of writing has some fans, it's generally frowned upon. The male form is 'Gary Stu', or, more rarely, 'Larry Stu'.
Another fan fiction subgenre is the crossover story where characters of different media franchises interact. An example would be the human refugee fleet led by the Battlestar Galactica finding and entering the territory of Star Treks United Federation of Planets and learning that not only does Earth exist, but it is a charter member of this interstellar political entity and so is potentially a more formidable enemy of the Cylons than they ever hoped.
Yet another subgenre is commonly known as the song-fic. This is a story, often a one-shot (a fanfic with only one chapter), where the lyrics to a song, or sometimes a poem, are included in the body of the writing, and in someway are connected to the story. For example, characters may be performing the actions described in the song, or going through the emotions described in the song. The lyrics may be used to reveal a depth to the character, or explain complex emotions. Other times it is used merely to set the general mood for the fanfiction story.
Sexual and Slash Fiction
A large subsection of slash fanfiction revolves around romantic and/or sexual relationships ("ships") between characters, almost always outside the canon of the source material and often dealt with in explicit detail. Among relationship-centered fanfiction, a large portion deals with same sex relationships, with male/male pairings being the most common. This same-sex pairing in fanfiction is called slash fiction. Titles of or references to slash fiction stories are often denoted by writing both names with a slash or a (usually lowercase) X, or by fusing the two names together, e.g.: Bob/Pete fanfic by Sam D. or Sarah x Sofia by Dan S.
Explicit sex stories are known as lemons. Lime is a moderated version of the lemon, sexual but not necessarily explicit. In anime and manga fan fiction, there are specialized terminologies in common use, often brought into English from Japanese fandom. The terms shōnen-ai, yaoi, shōjo-ai, and yuri are also often used to classify fanfiction with same-sex relationships.
Since television is responsible for a large part of fanfiction, it's no surprise that people have also written virtual seasons on their favorite shows. In this instance, multiple fanfiction writers will usually come together to produce a compilation of original fanfiction stories. Often, these writers and enthusiasts will elect among themselves producers, head writers , editors, and other traditional roles to aid in the coordination of the virtual season's material, direction, and continuity.
If a fanfiction story at some point completely changes the original's canonical storyline or premise (such as killing-off the main character, changing characters' motives or alliances, changing the setting, and so forth), it is known as an alternative universe fan fiction, or 'AU' for short. Generally, to be considered an alternative universe story, the change must be extremely improbable to ever happen within the canon.
Continuation is when fanfiction is created after a series has finished, with the series being a television series (series finale), a cinematic trilogy, a series novel, and so forth (although the series' spin-off(s) and other franchises may continue). The continuation fanfiction then creates tangential storylines with the characters, or may elaborate on perceived incomplete storylines from the dincontinued canon of the series.
Real Person Fiction
Real person fiction is another type of fanfiction written about real people such as actors and musicians. This type of fiction has been banned from fanfiction.net, a popular online library of user-submitted fanfiction, because of its controversal nature.
It is worth noting that there is no such thing as an "original fanfic." The term is a misnomer that is sometimes applied to completely original works published online. It is inaccurate, however, because the work is not intentionally based on any previously existing story and is therefore not fanfiction. Not all amateur fiction is fan fiction, regardless of the fact that the popular site Fanfiction.net once had a section of original works (which has since been moved to Fictionpress.com). Among anime/manga fans, "original fanfic" is used to refer to an original work that borrows heavily from anime/manga themes and plot devices, and is often set in Japan, with the characters having Japanese names.
Fanfic as pastiche
Fan fiction also exists in film and video, in the form of independent, fan-produced pastiches and parodies of established works. One of the best known is Troops , a parody of the reality television show Cops starring Star Wars Imperial Stormtroopers on patrol. Another lesser known film is Batman: Dead End, by Sandy Collora. It's small, but creates an interesting scenario between Batman and the Joker, not to mention a crossover with two of the most unlikely series ever.
Occasionally you'll see stories in fanfic sites that don't fit the normal definition of fan fiction because they're not written by people who are fans of their subject matter; rather, they are written by somebody who dislikes the characters featured in the story, for the purpose of ridiculing them. There does not seem to be an established term for such stories. An example would be a Lizzie McGuire fanfic story that has as its description "Why Lizzie is a Dumb Blonde".
There are also fan-made webseries such as Red Vs Blue. Based on the Halo and Halo 2 video game series, it chronicles the encounters of two groups of soldiers, the Reds and the Blues. This series has won several awards and is wildly popular on the Internet.
Extending the canon
Some invented facts or situations are used so frequently in fan fiction, that despite not being part of the original product, they are seen by fans as part of the canon. This is sometimes described as fanon.
According to current copyright laws in most countries, copyright owners have the right to control or restrict the publishing of "derivative works" of the story on which it is based, though they do not receive ownership of those works. The owner of the original work (film, TV show, etc.) therefore has some legal power over fanfics.
However, it is sometimes a matter of argument whether a given piece of fan fiction is a derivative work, and it is also sometimes questionable the extent of which a plaintiff can actually recover damages even if it is. In this area, there are a number of considerations that extend beyond the already complex legal issues. For instance, the power of a cease and desist letter from an entity with deep pockets on a single person who can scarcely afford legal representation is great. Conversely, the bad publicity and ill will generated by attacking one's own fan base can give even a large corporation second thoughts about conducting a legal campaign against fan fiction.
It must also be noted that separate from copyright issues, many characters in American television and film productions are also registered trademarks of the producing company. However, this only requires that fan fiction producers make certain that their work cannot be confused as being endorsed by or produced by the trademark holder; it does not ban the mention of such a phrase any more than the registered trademark status of Coca-Cola prohibits its mention here. Most authors get around this by including short disclaimers at the beginnings of stories or chapters.
It is also usually the case that fanfic does not reduce the income which the original authors can extract for their work, and the authors of the fanfic receive little or no income from it. Although under the law copyright (and trademark) infringement still technically can occur even when the infringer does not profit from it, this fact is important legally because it limits or eliminates the damages that a court could find, and also makes possible some defenses to infringement under copyright fair use.
Thus far, the major studios have generally tolerated fan fiction. A noted exception is Lucasfilm which has threatened or sued many sites precisely because of their non-commercial nature. Strangely, though, the company encourages fan-produced films, and once made available a small library of sound effects. Some studios, besides turning a blind eye to fanfic, even surreptitiously encourage it because they believe it helps them by maintaining fans' (customers') interest. J. K. Rowling for instance says she loves fan fiction of all kinds (though the more obscene ones were a bit moot), as long as the writings were credited to the author and not her (i.e. lying to get more people to read them or for her not to get in trouble from explicit stories). Douglas Adams also reportedly appreciated fan fiction based on his works, to the extent that some would say that there are scenes in So Long, and Thanks For All the Fish that seem to be inspired by fanfiction.
In contrast, Anne Rice however is the other end of the scale, preventing any fan fiction of any of her characters (mostly those from her famous Interview with the Vampire book) or anything to do with any of her books. Other authors also do this in order to protect their intellectual copyright, and prevent any dilution, saturation and distortion of the universes and people portrayed in their works.
One curious case is that of Larry Niven's Known Space universe. In an author's note in The Ringworld Engineers, Niven stated that he was finished writing stories in this universe, and that "[i]f you want more Known Space stories, you'll have to write them yourself." Internet writer Elf Sternberg took him up on that offer, penning a parody in which members of Niven's hyper-masculine Kzin species engage in gay sex and BDSM.  Niven responded by denouncing Sternberg's story in the introduction to a later volume and issuing a cease-and-desist for copyright violation. To date, Sternberg holds that the story is constitutionally protected parody , while Niven maintains that it is a copyright violation (but has not legally pursued the matter further). 
In Russia, where copyright laws have been lax at best, it is not uncommon to see fanfiction based on the work of popular authors published in book form. Sergey Lukyanenko, a popular science fiction author, went as far as to incorporate some fanfiction based on his stories into official canon (with permission of the writers of the said fanfiction).
In the United States, officially sponsored books are sometimes considered to be fan fiction. Series like Star Trek have official books that can be regarded as nothing more than fan fiction, just with the profits of the company in mind as well, although this definition is a matter of debate, as being licenced and authorized publications the Star Trek novels are not fan fiction in the traditional sense of the world. However the refusal by Paramount Pictures (owners of the Trek franchise) to allow printed adventures to be considered part of the canon has led many fans to consider the books to be fanfic despite their legal and licensed status. The official Star Wars book series is part of the continuity of the Star Wars universe and cannot strictly be considered fanfiction, either.
The attitude of copyright holders toward incorporating fan fiction into the canon varies. It is generally the case that the writers hired for a television or movie are under strict orders not to read fan fiction out of fear that doing so will cause the copyright holder to be sued later for infringement. However, some copyright holders such as the case of the BBC and Doctor Who have mechanisms to allow for unsolicited submissions of stories into the official canon, and it is also the case that the writers of canon stories have sometimes been recruited from fan fiction writers.
Fanfiction for several fandoms
- FanFiction.Net The biggest fanfiction site on the web. (No NC-17 allowed)
- AdultFanfiction.NetThe biggest R and NC-17 fanfiction site on the web
- Godawful Fan Fiction - The worst fan fiction on the web or your money back.
- Fanworks Inc
- Fan-Fics 'R' Us
- Fanfiction Directory - A directory for fanfiction websites.
- Freedom of Speech fanfiction
- Fan Fiction WikiCity - fan fiction in a wiki environment
Fanfiction for specific fandoms
- ASMR (Moonromance.net) for Sailor Moon fanfiction.
- The Misfits Fanfiction - based on Dragon Ball Z
- The Penultimate Ranma Fanfic Index - Ranma 1/2 fanfiction
- Tenchi Muyo Fan Fiction Association
- Harry Potter Fan Fiction
- FictionAlley - Harry Potter fanfiction and discussion.
- The Sugar Quill - Harry Potter fanfiction and discussion.
- La Société des Femmes Dangereuses
- Parley! - Pirates of the Caribbean fanfiction.
- The Seventh Dimension Highlander Fan Fiction Archive for Highlander fanfiction.
- The League of Extraordinary Fanfiction for League of Extraordinary Gentlemen fanfiction.
- Bite Me... Please? for Willow - centric Buffy fanfiction.
- The BtVS Writers' Guild - for Buffy fanfiction.
- Twisting the Hellmouth for Buffy crossover fanfiction.
- The Daria - Jane Conspiracy - Daria fanfiction, fanart, downloads and discussion.
- Outpost Daria - Daria fanfiction, fanart, and downloads.
- Quadrant Delta - Joint interactive fanfic set in the Star Trek universe.
- The Gossamer Project - The X-Files An extensive fanfiction archive with regular updates.
- The FFNetMetalGear Forums - Action (Metal Gear etc) Fanfiction discussion
- The Domain of Netraptor - G-rated Sonic the hedgehog fanfiction
- IcyBrian's RPG Page - RPG (Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy, etc) fanfiction and discussion.
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