Fandoms as diverse as Jane Austen, Blake's 7, and The Bill are explored in this guide to the cultural phenomenon of fan fiction. Examining how anonymous authors bring their own gloss and invention to their favorite novels, films, and TV series; develop characters; expand narratives; and, in the slash genre, explore homosexual relationships between otherwise heterosexual chFandoms as diverse as Jane Austen, Blake's 7, and The Bill are explored in this guide to the cultural phenomenon of fan fiction. Examining how anonymous authors bring their own gloss and invention to their favorite novels, films, and TV series; develop characters; expand narratives; and, in the slash genre, explore homosexual relationships between otherwise heterosexual characters, this analysis covers fanfic terminology, its mechanisms for participation and support, the differences between fan fiction and conventional publishing, and the genre's literary merits....
|Title||:||The Democratic Genre: Fan Fiction in a Literary Context|
|Number of Pages||:||288 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
The Democratic Genre: Fan Fiction in a Literary Context Reviews
My first impression was that the book was very dated, but taking into account that the author had apparently done her research from 2002-2004 and the book was published in 2005, it was feeling more dated than it had a right to. And that was just the beginning. The initial few chapters of this book do not only set out the research; it spends a very long time explaining fandom to the uninitiated, and by the time it was done with that, we landed in a chapter on slash that seriously altered my opinion of what was up to that point, readable if simplistic.The chapter on slash showed some clear biases and apparent discomfort on the part of the author, and as the book continued from there, eventual instances of what read like unintended but very obvious snatches of homophobia that made me highly uncomfortable.This issue aside, the book is snobbish. I am wont to descend into snobbery sometimes myself, but this was beyond an occasional opinion. Highlights include "readers must be encouraged to read outside of their comfort zone," used as an argument against informative headers for fanfic. When I finally got to the chapter on literary genres and how they applied to fanfic, something that had been bugging me for a while suddenly exploded to the forefront: this book offers nothing new. Thoughts are jotted down in a fairly random manner, but most theories, suggestions, remarks, etc., I have read before in other works, most older, and nothing new is concluded. Bold statements are made without any foundation offered, and while at times the book made me think, it was mostly because it was dated and I knew that practice had not in fact proven the suggestions in the text. This book was dated before it was published, and it sadly offered nothing else to make it readable in spite of the narrow subject pool. I had to slog through the last few chapters, hoping the actual conclusions would redeem it, but even that seemed beyond this book's potential.
Pugh's look at fanfiction is especially interesting because she approaches it not from a psychological or cultural point of view, but from a literary one. That is, she treats fanfiction seriously as a literary genre and analyzes what makes it unique and interesting as a form of writing. Her tone is respectful but engaged, and the sections on authorial voice and style were fascinating--I would have liked to see more, is really my only complaint with the book. The fact that I'm quoted a few times in it is entirely unrelated, but bonus. :)
I was aware of fanfic already; had read a bit from some of my favourite universes (from Harry Potter to Lord of the Rings) because I was curious why X said that to Y, what Y really thought of Z, and how the drama of X and Z finally getting it together would play out – but hadn’t thought about how or why fanfic writers went about doing what they did. I’d even written some, without really knowing my reasons for doing so. Pugh’s incredibly well-researched investigation into the genre answered those questions, and raised many more. I must admit that I had always dismissed fanfic (and all its sub-genres) as a silly little aside that ‘real’ writers did for fun; or something that people not good enough to be ‘real’ writers did because they loved the characters that they’d come to know so well from books, films and TV.Not having explored other fandoms online, I was amazed at how many there were, and the diversity of that range. The Bill, Men Behaving Badly, Hornblower, Blakes Seven… I can understand why people would want more from those universes, but for the life of me I cannot understand why anyone would want to read any more Jane Austen that they had to at school! Since reading The Democratic Genre, I’ve gone on to read and enjoy many excellent stories mentioned or quoted in Pugh’s investigation, even from The Bill which I have never really watched.My opinion of the genre has changed, and I can totally see the literary tradition that helped to shape modern fanfic. Shakespeare took well known stories, and wrote his own versions of them; correcting what he didn’t like and making the characters interact in the ways he wanted to see them doing (Macbeth killing Duncan in Macbeth’s own castle, for instance). Pugh’s own novel Kirstie’s Witnesses is basically fanfic, from the foreword:“The real Kirstie’s story is contained in several documents, notably the minutes of the Parochial Board, an application form, and evidence given at a trial and an inquiry. These items are all in the Shetland Archive.” She took these facts, and weaved a life out of them; isn’t that what fanfic writers do? The only difference I can see between this and typical fanfic is that the character was a real person, the methods used to write the novel remain true to fanfic's narrative forms. The same can be said for Tom Stoppard’s amazing play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead; it could have been written as a book or story, but Stoppard, in keeping with the source material (Shakespeare’s Hamlet) he made it a play. Fanfic writers use the source material to generate new stories for their characters, in the style of the original. Pugh gives an example of a Bill fic that is written as a screenplay, using “the narrative techniques of [the] source material.”I’ve read slash stories for various reasons: titillation; the oddness of seeing two people together who would never be like that in real life (the real life of the universe in which they live, that is); the enjoyment of queer writing; the exploration of sexuality. Pugh herself once said “anyone, up to and including a serial killer’s head, is legitimate territory for a writer to explore”. I embrace that sentiment, as have many other writers. For slash writers, changing the sexuality, or at least questioning or challenging it, is that same legitimately explorable territory. I still find it hard to understand why there are so few male slash writers. The answer to the question of why there are so many female writers and readers of slash was always obvious to me, and Pugh answers it so nicely “two good-looking men getting it on appeals to some women just as the reverse scenario does to some men.” She continues "some slash writers who were themselves gay may have wanted to explore this territory partly for ideological reasons, but many fanfic writers, both gay and straight, just followed their insatiable curiosity about alternative scenarios.” They are my reasons for reading and writing slash.Pugh's investigation has deepened my interest in the genre by showing how fanfic can be a literary genre (albeit a rather odd one), as surely as the writing of the beat generation, pulp fiction or steampunk are. Yet fanfic can also be so much more. Some of the writers Pugh has interviewed in the book have explored their chosen characters by plunging them into different universes: a Blakes Seven/Cabaret crossover; Green Eggs and Hamlet (a particular favourite of mine); the first person tale of a mutoid from the B7 universe slowly reverting to humanity. When reading a book, my partner will often stop and stare at the wall or sky for minutes on end; he recently told me that what he’s doing is continuing the stories and conversations, in his head – what if X took Y to one side before the start of chapter six and explained about Z’s behaviour? Pure fanfic. I’ve told him to start writing them down! Another thing I found refreshingly positive, is Pugh’s assertion that just because someone is not paid for their writing, it doesn’t mean that it’s not good writing. I’m paid for hardly any of my writing! My own experiments in fanfic (mostly slash, I’ll admit) have been shorter fics and drabbles (100 words), character studies, or little in-between scenes to get to know a quirk I’ve read or imagined – but now I want to write more, something as clever and furiously inventive as the stuff Pugh introduces in her book.
Entertaining and somewhat illuminating. She basically categorizes fanfic as either “more of” – that written to provide more of the same as the original – or “more from” – that written to take the characters in other directions or put them in new contexts (most slash falls here). She identifies one source of the urge to write slash as the wish to explore the vulnerabilities of male characters. She explores the continuum of fanfic to profic. I found interesting and plausible her discussion of the way the fanfic community supports a writer (especially a woman writer)—giving tons of feedback, encouragement, shared interest, etc.—much more than the profic community with its inherent competition between writers does.
Aunque el libro empieza muy bien hacia la mitad pierde fuerza. El concepto más interesante (fanfiction "more of" o "more from") es explicado en las primeras 100 páginas y el resto carece de mayor interés. Se nota que la autora se ha ceñido a los fandom que más le gustan y a sus escritoras y géneros predilectos y se tiende a minimizar la importancia de otros movimientos. Además, para haber sido publicado en 2006 parece demasiado desfasado. Por ejemplo, no hay mención de Livejournal ni de los cambios en el fandom que supuso por no decir que todos los fandom analizados tienen más de 15 años de vida y nacieron off-line. Una lectura curiosa pero poco más.
This review is also posted on my blog at http://inputs.wordpress.com/2008/12/1...This book offers an excellent and sympathetic overview of fan fiction as a literary form. The author uses material from both media and literary fandoms as illustrations, including The Bill, Discworld, Blakes 7, Hornblower and Jane Austen. The book is eminently readable and a great resource for anyone wishing to learn about the practices of fan fiction communities. The author is a poet, novelist, critic and translator and teaches creative writing at the University of Glamorgan in Wales.
A very enlightening book, coming from a different direction than other books on fan fiction: not the "Who are those weird chicks?"-angle but the "Let's see how they are doing things!"-angle.Refreshing, to say the least.Plus, this book made me curious about "Blakes 7" and, should the fanfic authors of that fandom really have said they had the best writers they appear to be right. Some of the most amazing fanfics I've ever read are B7. Which makes me a person to approach a series via its fanfics instead of first watching the originals and that again links me to medieval times when a story was actually thought less of when there was no source.
Really interesting book on the genre of fan fiction and how it functions as a literary genre.