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Fic: Why Fanfiction is Taking Over the World
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Fic: Why Fanfiction is Taking Over the World

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  590 ratings  ·  140 reviews
What is fanfiction, and what is it not? Why does fanfiction matter? And what makes it so important to the future of literature?

Fic is a groundbreaking exploration of the history and culture of fan writing and what it means for the way we think about reading, writing, and authorship. It’s a story about literature, community, and technology—about what stories are being told,
Paperback, 418 pages
Published November 26th 2013 by Smart Pop
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Anne Jamison Xena isn't included, in part because it stayed more contained, as vibrant as it was, in that it didn't have as large an impact on future fandoms as th…moreXena isn't included, in part because it stayed more contained, as vibrant as it was, in that it didn't have as large an impact on future fandoms as the ones I was profiling in the book. It is by no means a complete history. There was another reason, too, that had to do with the then delicacy of the still existing Xena culture and my not wanting to disrupt it. But I have often regretted that Xena isn't there. (less)

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Start your review of Fic: Why Fanfiction is Taking Over the World
Pre-read: I'm reading this book for the sheer measure of wondering what these authors have to say on the subject matter. Call me very curious, intrigued, and scared.

Post-read: In Agent Dale Cooper's words to the Sheriff in "Twin Peaks":

"...I think we have a lot to talk about."

Full review:

This review's going to be divided up into three sections: the first is a personal expansion on fandom musings coming from yours truly, as a woman of color, and basically the perspectives and biases that I hold w
Lilia Ford
May 18, 2015 rated it really liked it

"Writing and reading fanfiction isn't just something you do; it's a way of thinking critically about the media you consume, of being aware of all the implicit assumptions that a canonical work carries with it, and of considering the possibility that those assumptions might not be the only way things have to be."

The above was from Lev Grossman's introduction but was only one of dozens of passages I highlighted in Fic: Why Fanfiction is Taking Over the World. I found just about everything in t
Jun 25, 2013 rated it did not like it
Privileged Perspective of Fan Fiction and Fandom.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review.

Trigger Warning: Transphobia, I use a quote from the book where the author (Anne Jamison) misgenders transmen.

Additional Disclosure: I am mentioned in this book in the acknowledgements. I believe this was done to give the false impression that I’m on friendly terms with the author. In actuality I have a lot of issues with the author’s conduct both in gathering data
Jul 11, 2013 rated it did not like it
It's so nice to be quoted without permission or have your shelves listed as an example of cattiness. /sarcasm ...more
Jan 06, 2014 rated it it was ok
Based on the long list of names above, I assumed that FIC: Why Fanfiction Is Taking Over the World was a collection of academic essays edited by Anne Jamison. But no, it is a long scholarly work by Anne Jamison with periodic short essays by other people with various perspectives on fandom has a whole.

FIC is divided into sections based on several megafandoms. The first four, on Sherlock, Star Trek, Buffy, and the X-Files, are fairly well done. Sherlock and Star Trek both cover a great deal of pre
Nov 22, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, kindle
When I was about 8 years old, my friends and I all loved The Borrowers book series. We loved them so much that we decided we would write and exchange our own Borrowers books, to give us more(moremore) to read. Of course, very little came of this endeavour (8-year-olds don’t make very committed novelists, I guess), but this memory always reminds me that although sometimes fanfiction may seem like an odd, modern invention (and one that’s inextricably linked to the internet), actually it’s as old a ...more
Oct 11, 2014 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Fanfiction fans and authors
Recommended to Carmen by: Library
I had to DNF this, on the simple basis that I just don't care enough.

There are perhaps two fanfiction stories I enjoy. In order to find those two, I had to read and discard about 2,000 or more.

Fanfiction is not something I hate or disrespect, but it's also not something I have an interest in and not something I care enough about to get through a whole book of dissertations on.

Fanfiction is not a part of my daily life - but I know it is for some people, and for those people (or authors) I would r
Dec 29, 2013 rated it it was ok
Potentially a great book, in the end a big disappointment. Seeing a genuine academic has decided to write this book, I was expecting a more balanced and better reasoned elaborate on fanfiction and fandom. Instead, the whole book flowed really slowly and by the end I was praying to finally finish it.

The first half was good. The origins of fandom and fan writing, first three major fandoms, however the strong emphasis on slash and its authors was just quite uncomfortable to read. Then came Harry Po
John Carter McKnight
Apr 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely superb academic anthology on fanfiction. It's well-structured, relevant, fascinating, and much more consistent in quality than academic anthologies tend to.

It's one of the best works on the prehistory of fic, from unpublished juvenalia to Conan Doyle's remarkable tolerance of Holmes fic, through the zine culture of early modern media fandom. However, its real strength is in an area I'd never thought I'd be interested in reading about, its long section on Twilight fandom. Twilight, ap
Dec 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Back in the late 90s, I was reading X-Files (my first major fandom) fanfic without knowing the word "fanfic". After learning how dirty the word fanfic was, I stopped reading it all together. Then, I became a writer and the idea of fanfic made me so mad. I would have hated the idea of someone else reappropriating characters that I created just to make them do gross things to each other - things that they would never do. I'm still kind of repulsed by this idea but that's mostly because I am obsess ...more
Thomas Edmund
Oct 21, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: books-on-writing
This book intrigued me from the moment I saw it. I must admit first of all that I have a very hesitant opinion of fanfiction. While I understand that people want to expand, explore or twist fictional (or celebrity) universes and share their thoughts, there is another part of me that rankles at the thought of writing about characters and a world that someone else slaved to create.

If anything this book did give me some things to think about, such as comparing mainstream adaptations (such as Sherl
Frankie Brown
Nov 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
So refreshing to read an academic work on fanfiction. Highly recommended -- especially for Sherlockians.
Jan 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I discovered fanfiction over a decade ago, and my life has been significantly altered by this fact. That is approximately half my life, over half my reading life, and encompasses all of my transformative years. I am interested in how fanfiction, and the fanfiction community, alters ones world views. I think looking at fan communities from a largely enthographic standpoint is fascinating. Overall, this book pushed the right buttons for me and got me thinking in a good way. Was it perfect? No. But ...more
Jul 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Husband's comment after looking at me reading just the introduction:

"Pencil and highlighter and sticky notes? What are you reading? It's another great big hard novel like Parade's End again, isn't it?"

Yes, I did in fact read it that thoroughly because this is simply the best available collection on this topic that yet exists. Jamison has done a good, if not definitive (she herself admits that some writers she hoped to include refused either initially or once they saw who else was included) job o
Margaret Sankey
Nov 24, 2013 rated it liked it
How the hell did I not know about Wold Newton? Seriously, this piece of continuity restores order and meaning to my life. Jamison begins this cultural examination of the phenomena of fanfiction by finding examples as far back as the 18th century (Jane Austen was an early writer of revisions of Shakespeare as well as parodies), but things really took off when Sir Arthur Conan Doyle let fans carry on after Reichenbach Falls. TV ushered in new fields of fandom, with Star Trek at the center of fan-p ...more
Nov 07, 2013 marked it as contemplating-its-sins  ·  review of another edition
I've officially given up on this one - I just haven't been in the mood to read academic writing. Might never be in the mood to do that, actually. :) ...more
Julie Bozza
Nov 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
An interesting and thorough look at fanfiction and fandom across time, starting with a whole lot of historical practices that are almost but not quite entirely (un)like fic. Sherlock Holmes is presented as the ur-fandom for how we think of fic today. Then we examine fic and fandom through the Huge Fandoms across more recent decades, and finish off by looking at a few modern-day practices that are also almost but not quite entirely (un)like fic. It's all a tad US-focused, but when one's dealing w ...more
Nadia Elisa
Dec 31, 2014 rated it it was ok
Yes and no. Thank you for your effort but, no thank you. I'm not big on writing very long, in-depth reviews so just a few thoughts; take it or leave it. The HP part was over so quickly. I was expecting a lot more elaboration on this subject given its immense online presence. Then she started praising the Twilight fan fiction and books.......YIKES. She completely lost me there. Clearly in favor of publishing fan fiction works as original, and although yes I have read some ff stories that are orig ...more
Oct 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, fandom
I would like to give this book many more stars. It is fascinating, insightful, compassionate, well-researched, wide-ranging, and frequently quite funny. For all that it barely scratches the surface of the world it describes.

When most people hear fanfiction, they think either 'porn' or 'theft.' Neither is (necessarily) entirely inaccurate, but at the same time, as is so often the case, the truth is much, MUCH more complicated. And interesting.

I have written a little (and read a very little - I c
Nov 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult-nonfiction
I need to lead off with two disclaimers: 1) I personally know the publisher of this book; 2) I am a write and consumer of fanfic.

This was much more book than I was expecting, to be honest. There are scads of essays by all sorts of people within all sorts of fandoms. I thought it was well organized by Anne Jamison, who added some excellent commentary of her own.

I especially appreciated her discussion around the issue of "pulling" fic off of fansites to "file off the serial numbers" (i.e., change
I found the subject--fandom, fanfiction and the ongoing change in the relationship between fans and published media--very interesting. The actual book Jamison has written, not so much. I wasn't bored, but I was never riveted and when I set the book down, I didn't feel any particular desire to pick it back up again.

Jamison tried to accomplish several tasks simultaneously: explain fanfiction to a general audience, validate fan fiction and discuss how fanfiction has and continues to change the medi
Whitney Borup
May 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
It was absolutely fascinating to learn so much about this community I knew almost nothing about (with the exception of some completely clueless X-Philes fic I wrote as a kid, I haven't ever belonged to a fandom). And some of the reviews here are equally fascinating. Jamison warns about the anger and vitriol in fan communities (the reason I feel a lot of nerds are scared to get involved), and these goodreads comments are a great illustration of that kind of passion. It actually reminds me a lot o ...more
Nov 13, 2013 rated it liked it
This is a good overview of fanfiction; I like that Jamison calls it "an important grassroots cultural activity."

If you've been in fandom for awhile, there's not much new here, although I did like learning more about the history of fanfiction.

Some of the essays are more successful than others in supporting Jamison's contention that fanfiction is worthwhile, even important. I'd imagine that someone unfamiliar with fanfiction would balk at the essay discussing mpreg and a/b/o, even if they were re
Dec 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
A wonderful history of fanfiction, especially early zine distribution and recent works in the Internet age. Much fandom scholarship focuses on the early days of ficcing, and while that is useful for historical and educational purposes, those of us who got our fix through dial-up rather than mail-order zines can't relate personally to that era. Jamison's Fic is the first wide survey of fandom to the present day that I have come across, and I loved the chance to relive my own first years in fandom ...more
First Second Books
This book has the best-ever summary of literary history.

(Also it is both informative and interesting.)
Feb 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’m going to be more generous than the previous reviewers, although I absolutely see their point about inclusion. Jamison says very early on, however, that the book covers only a limited sample—Sherlock, Star Trek, Buffy, etc—so she gets a pass. I enjoyed her enthusiasm and reading about the history of fanfic. The section on Twific also made me (middle-aged fanfic evangelist) reconsider my own snobbery. That said, while the book does have quite a bit to say about male slash, it glosses over the ...more
May 29, 2019 rated it liked it
Started with some really interesting information, and covers a lot of different areas of fan fiction from multiple viewpoints.

With multiple contributors and areas of focus, some parts are more interesting and better written than others, but overall interesting for those interested in writing, media, and community.
Feb 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
A really exhaustive look at fanfiction, its birth and rise to cultural (semi) prominence. Definitely an academic book, so not something you’ll race through, but overall I enjoyed it even if it did take my 3ish years to finish.
Jul 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book, actually, and I'm glad to see more work analyzing the phenomenon if fanfiction. It's strengths are in it's analysis of the history of fanfiction and fandom, as well as an understanding that different fandoms have contributed different things to the history and culture of the practice of fandom as a whole. But I have quite a few reservations about the book. Firstly, there is a lot of bias here. Particularly in descriptions of the Twilight fandom, in which you can sense ...more
Nov 20, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, essays, p
Valuable for the multiple essays from many authors, especially the ones who aren't involved in the Internet fanfiction scene. It's probably good that the focus of the book is on the fic itself as well as the writing of the fic rather than as a study of fans, because that's where a lot of books of its type break down. And dealing with the ephemeral Internet, where a lot of fans are untraceable once gafiated...that's even worse. For instance--Chris Rankin's essay about the early Harry Potter fando ...more
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Anne Jamison is the author of three critical books and one young adult novel. She lives in Salt Lake City with her dogs, her son, and an avant-garde poet. She is an English professor, but not the kind that corrects your grammar (unless she is actively grading your paper).

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