athelind: (Default)
I should note, incidentally, that some people assume that the term "fanfic" is perjorative. That is not my intent in this matter.

When the Second Law says "indistinguishable", it means indistinguishable -- functionally identical in all important respects.

Alan Moore's Watchmen is a superhero story of unparalleled excellence.

It is also pure, unadulterated fanfic, in all but a single respect -- and that respect is that Moore recieved a paycheck from the corporate entity (a legal fiction of no literary relevance) that the copyright (another legal fiction of no literary relevance) to the characters upon whom the graphic novel was based.

EDIT: Thinking about it, with the possible exception of V for Vendetta, all of Moore's major works are fanfic.
athelind: (Default)
The popularity of franchise fiction rests not only in the stories that are told, but in the stories that could be told in the franchise's setting. The more fertile the ground for exploration, extrapolation and personal interpretation, the more enthusiastic and enduring the fandom.
athelind: (Default)
I've realized that "Running the Asylum" is really Snark's Second Law of Fanfic. The first dates back thirty years:

"Star Trek novels exist because Paramount realized they weren't getting a cut of the fanzine market."

The previous entry has been adjusted accordingly.

On the other claw... is that just a specific example of the "Sufficiently Established Franchise" rule? It certainly set the stage for the incorporation of fan writers into the Official Canon.

On the gripping hand, it could be said that Star Trek fell prey to the Second Law in the second season of the original series, when they accepted a script from an unpublished college student who sent in a pile of unsolicited script submissions...
athelind: (Default)
From FurryMUCK, this morning:

[ profile] normanrafferty tries to remember the review he read of 'Torchwood'. "I think it said, 'Is it possible for something to be new material and fan-fiction at the same time?'"

Oh, you betcha. Let's codify this, in fact:

Snark's First Second Law of Fanfic (a.k.a. "Running the Asylum"):
A sufficiently established franchise is indistinguishable from fanfic.

When a fictional franchise has lasted long enough to induct its fandom into the ranks of its professional creators, the distinction between Canon and Fan Fic erodes. The new wave of creators start sneaking Fanon into official sources. Ret Cons abound. Writers will revisit old stories, instilling far more self-indulgent detail into the retellings than ever appeared in the original.

In short, the Inmates are Running The Asylum.

Sometimes, this can bring fresh, new life to the franchise. Other times, the same kind of in-fighting that erupts in fannish circles will play out between creative teams -- but now, the factions are all armed with Canon.

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