I’m not a fan of fan fiction. I think using characters that other authors have put their love and imagination into is cheating and disrespectful – especially (read: inevitably) when the writing isn’t as good as the author’s own. There can’t be much reward in it either – fan fiction isn’t part of the original story and is therefore in no way ‘real’ or ‘true’ to it. I don’t see the point in it other than as a writing exercise, and even then it’s a half-baked activity – the characterisation and interplay between different characters has been established for you. But maybe it’s time for me to consider the genre in a new light. Maybe it’s time for a fan fiction review.
Getting my teeth into The Black Library
Recently, however, I read one of Jack Yeovil’s The Vampire Geneviève stories; Geneviève Undead. Jack Yeovil is a non-de-plume of Kim Newman’s; he uses it when he writes for The Black Library, the publishing wing of tabletop wargames behemoth Games Workshop. The Black Library publish stories set in the fictional universes of their Warhammer and Warhammer 40,00 games.
Yeovil isn’t a slave to the Warhammer canon however; he uses the setting as a platform to put his own stamp on The Phantom of the Opera and the tropes of the gothic novel. The protagonist of his stories, the titular vampire Geneviève, is entirely his own creation and is equally at home in the Warhammer Old World as in Newman’s own Anno Dracula, itself an alternate history novel drawing from real and fictitious Victorian personalities. For Yeovil, an established world is an opportunity to enrich both his bibliography and to set his signature on a different canon of works.
Night Shade: a southern gothic Pokemon horror fan fiction
I wrote a tale last year that I think taps the same vein as Geneviève Undead; it’s a short story set in a world that isn’t mine but that is inhabited by personalities that are. It’s also a little scary, despite the original media being aimed at children – for isn’t there a wicked pleasure to be had in seeing something juvenile from a new, grown-up perspective? In any case, this is my first attempt at ‘fan fiction’, or something of its ilk. The characters, setting and story are all mine, but the mechanics of the world, not to mention the… Wildlife… Well. They belong to Nintendo…