While writing my last post, I was tempted to include some of my favorite fanfiction stories and authors. My first thought was, No, fanfiction doesn’t count as real reading, and that got me thinking: Why doesn’t fanfiction, especially very well-written fanfiction, count as “real” reading? I don’t dare deny that the large part of fan-based material on the internet is living proof of Sturgeon’s Law: Ninety percent of everything is crap. But what about the other ten percent? I can think of at least two “mere” fanfiction authors whose in-depth real-world research, character development, and world-building have left me in awe of what they do — Doubtless you have your own examples.

For Avatar: The Last Airbender fans, I cannot recommend Vathara’s Embers enough. For any Narnians out there, rthstewart’s stories (any of them) are a wonderful exploration of the Pevensies in both their Narnian and English lives. I could easily see Vathara being drafted to write official for Avatar or the Legend of Korra. The same for rthstewart, if the Lewis estate ever allowed it.

I have very strong, very positive beliefs about fanfiction. Still, my iPad was nearly received an impromptu tea-bath when I saw Amazon’s announcement that it was going to solicit and publish Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars and The Vampire Diaries fanfiction. 

Having read Chuck Wendig’s blog post and this article I have mixed feelings about Amazon’s move: The thought of fanfiction being published doesn’t thrill me to pieces. As Wired points out, prospective authors are getting the chance to publish their stories but Amazon gets far more out of the bargain. It blurs the lines between concrete canon, generally accepted fanon, and a fan’s personal head-canon further. The line between stories like Twilight and 50 Shades of Grey is also blurred. (If it ever existed in the first place for those particular examples.)

I, like most of the fanfiction community, will continue to watch Amazon to see how its latest experiment will turn out. In the meantime, I will return to reading my usual fanfiction — Currently I’m on a Doctor Who and Star Trek 2009 binge.

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