‘Fic: Why Fanfiction Is Taking Over the World’ Book Review - Another Slam Dunk for Smart Pop

I’m a longtime fan of Smart Pop Books and their brilliant and highly enjoyable series of essay anthologies focusing on popular culture subjects like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Hunger Games, Dexter, and many, many more. With their latest release, Fic: Why Fanfiction Is Taking Over the World, by literature professor Anne Jamison, Smart Pop has another absolute winner and continues to be the go-to publisher for the introspective geek.

Fic is the kind of book readers will devour whether they are longtime fanfiction addicts or have never, ever known the joy of scouring all corners of the internet for new Optimus Prime/Darth Vader slash fic. All geeky (and dirty) jokes aside, Fic is an intelligent, thorough, and fascinating examination of fanfiction, those who read it, those who write it, the culture created by it, and how it is literally changing the pop culture landscape (and the world - that’s not just a catchy title!).

Like a glorious example of a geeky textbook that never existed, Fic lays out the roots and beginnings of fanfiction (and its attachments to the tales of Sherlock Holmes), fanfiction's pre-internet existence (pioneered mostly by Star Trek fanfics, going where no writer had gone before), the blossoming of the fanfic via the internet (courtesy of the influential Buffy and X-Files fandoms), the unprecedented levels of corporate acceptance and interaction pioneered by the Harry Potter fandom, as well as touching on the Twilight fandom and how one of its fanfics became a successful property of its own.  Fic also examines the many facets of the fanfic world, from how it has become an accepting community and training ground for many successful, best-selling writers, to the inner conflicts between fandoms, shippers, and writers, to where the path of fanfic may lead in the future, becoming even more prominent.

There’s also a ridiculous amount of talent contributing to Fic, and author Jamison made an apt decision by including recognizable names in both Geekdom (such as Amber Benson of Buffy and Brad Bell of Husbands) as well as celebrities of the fanfic world [including Jen Zern (a.k.a. NautiBitz), Heidi Tandy (a.k.a. Heidi8), and others]. There are also a number of Smart Pop MVPs in the line up, as well, including V. Arrow, the talented individual behind another absolutely amazing Smart Pop book, The Panem Companion: An Unofficial Guide to Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games. (Read my review of the gem here.)

Here are just a few more of my personal favorites tidbits from Fic: Why Fanfiction Is Taking Over the World:

- Wait? That’s Fanfic? Fic does a fantastic job of pointing out how fanfic has been with us for ages (Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, for example), and we just haven’t realized it (or at least I hadn’t). While flipping through these pages, it will slowly dawn on you to what extensive levels fanfic has influenced fan and literary culture.

- J.M. Barrie wrote Fanfic? Sherlock Holmes fanfic to be exact. And, he wrote himself and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle into the plot, as well!

- Real Person Fiction. I had never heard of this, and it blew my mind a little bit. Controversial even in the fanfic world, Real Person Fiction (or RPF) are stories featuring actual people, usually celebrities. Sometimes bizarrely meta and sometimes transcending time, place, and gender, it is an intriguing new trend in fanfic.

- Organization for Transformative Works (OTW). I had no idea that a non-profit organization existed simply to help maintain the existence of the wealth of fan-created media (or “fanworks”) out there. This is so very awesome and makes me so damn proud to be a geek. Check them out at transformativeworks.org.

Final Verdict: Not just a must read, but a must buy! Fic: Why Fanfiction Is Taking Over the World deserves a place on your shelf reserved for standard, must-have geek texts right between Understanding Comics and your Star Wars: The Essential Guide to Characters. I have a feeling that many of my fellow fanboys and fangirls will find themselves relating intensely to Fic in many powerful and unsuspected ways, even if they’ve never written a single sentence of fanfic themselves. Given Fic's coverage of multiple fandoms and time periods, it casts a wide net, and I cannot explain the joy I personally had being reminded of what it was like to be there at the beginning of internet fan culture during the glory years of The X-Files and Buffy. (Plus, it starts with a Joss Whedon quote. That’s gold in my book!) Trust me, if you enjoy the content on the FBC website, then this book was written for you. You just need to buy a copy, curl up in a warm corner, and read it.

You can learn more about Fic: Why Fanfiction Is Taking Over the World by visiting Smart Pop Books at their official website. Also, be sure to stop by the Smart Pop Books Facebook page and follow them on Twitter (@SmartPopBooks).

Last modified on Monday, 24 December 2018 18:20

Bryant Dillon, Fanbase Press President
Favorite Comic BookPreacher by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon
Favorite TV ShowBuffy the Vampire Slayer
Favorite BookThe Beach by Alex Garland
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