Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Fic: Why Fanfiction is Taking Over the World

Rate this book
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, who’s telling them, how, and why.

With provocative discussions from both professional and fan writers, on subjects from Star Trek to The X-Files and Buffy the Vampire Slayer to Harry Potter, Twilight, and beyond, Fic sheds light on the widely misunderstood world(s) of fanfiction—not only how fanfiction is transforming the literary landscape, but how it already has.

Fic features a foreword by Lev Grossman (author of The Magicians) and interviews with Jonathan Lethem, Doug Wright, and Eurydice (Vivean Dean).

Katie Forsythe/wordstrings
Cyndy Aleo (algonquinrt; d0tpark3r)
V. Arrow (aimmyarrowshigh)
Tish Beaty (his_tweet)
Brad Bell
Amber Benson
Peter Berg (Homfrog)
Kristina Busse
Rachel Caine
Francesca Coppa
Randi Flanagan (BellaFlan)
Jolie Fontenot
Wendy C. Fries (Atlin Merrick)
Ron Hogan
Bethan Jones
Christina Lauren (Christina Hobbs/tby789 and Lauren Billings/LolaShoes)
Jacqueline Lichtenberg
Rukmini Pande and Samira Nadkarni
Chris Rankin
Tiffany Reisz
Andrew Shaffer
Andy Sawyer
Heidi Tandy (Heidi8)
Darren Wershler
Jules Wilkinson (missyjack)
Jen Zern (NautiBitz)

418 pages, Paperback

First published November 26, 2013

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Anne Jamison

5 books133 followers
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).

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
143 (22%)
4 stars
236 (36%)
3 stars
187 (28%)
2 stars
60 (9%)
1 star
19 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 146 reviews
Profile Image for Rose.
1,878 reviews1,065 followers
November 12, 2013
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 when going into the narrative for Anne Jamison's "Fic: Why Fanfiction is Taking Over the World."

The second part will be a review of the excellent essays and food for thought that this narrative brought to the table, and probably the more enlightening parts of what "Fic" provided in terms of the history of fandom and the role it plays in our society.

The third part is probably one that will get me in trouble. It's going to be a scathing critique of Anne Jamison's contributions to this narrative and why I think she had no business being a part of this narrative in the first place. If anything, she shot the narrative in the foot, preventing it from being the very constructive and enlightening piece that it could've been collectively. I'm not mincing words about this and I HAVE to talk about the author's viewpoints, prejudices and role in this part, because you can't separate them from the text. You absolutely cannot.

Part 1: As a writer in fanfiction: reflections, values and biases

If you're interested in other contexts as to where I've exercised my ability to reflect about or in fandom, you can reference some of my reviews as noted below - I talk a lot about my viewpoints on what fanfiction is, how I feel about P2P, among other dimensions:

Beautiful Bastard by Christina Lauren
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Alice in Tumblr-land by Tim Manley

Fandoms have existed for a long time, longer than I've been alive, but it seems in the 20th and 21st centuries they evolved into their own beasts. This corresponds with how much our capacity for sharing and perusing media has grown over time. For every division of media you can think of, there's a fandom for it.

This is totally okay. The image of the fan is never under one to simply put an assumption over. Anne Jamison, to her credit, notes in "Fic" that there's this prevalent stereotype that the term "fan" has negative connotations in mainstream schemes of thought if depicted as the squeeing fangirl in romance or erotic context, but yet if a fan is noted as male in certain genres like science fiction or fantasy, it's somehow more reputable.

That couldn't be further from the truth considering "fans," as a collective term, come in all backgrounds and forms. I am, myself, an introverted, almost 30-something woman of color with a background in health sciences who just so happens to have fandom passions spanning across books, video games, movies, animated series including anime/manga, music among other things.

I hold no qualms about saying - as a writer - that I've written fanfic and feel proud of that. The problem I had was struggling to define it Many people do in general, whether inside or outside fandom. Digging into scribblings that I wrote in notebooks, saved on 3.5 floppy disks, and even my writings to the present day - my own history in writing fic stretches back to when I was a little girl still using Prodigy as a web service.

Some of you are probably thinking "Darn, that's old," but imagine the people who published in paper fanzines. Imagine those who imported anime series on VHS dubbed tapes or Laserdiscs from Japan, listened to 8-track tapes or vinyl records of their favorite musicians, participated in RPs of Dungeons and Dragons, Vampire the Masquerade, Star Trek, Star Wars, Cyberpunk 2077, or Tales of the Crystals. There's a lot to be said about the diversity of fandoms people partake in and how it's evolved over time.

The first fanfics I wrote are different from the first fics I actually attempted to share. One was based on the first PC game I ever managed to beat and it was called "Megarace." It came pre-packaged with my Packard Bell computer. Guess you can say my cyberpunk leanings started early, even before I knew it was cyberpunk-ish.

Anyway. The story was about a female driver competing in a death race against several male race car drivers in a futuristic life/death scenario. I tried to imitate Lance Boyle, failed miserably at it. I never even finished the darned thing. But it has a history. As you'll note when I get into my review of the better essays "Fic" has to offer, many fanfic writers note the same when referring to the histories and contexts in which they write their own fanfiction.

The second fic I wrote was in the universe of Rainbow Brite. (I could tell you "Don't judge me, I was 14," but I'm actually not sorry for it.) Came out of watching my VHS tape of "Rainbow Brite and the Star Stealer" for goodness knows how many times. I never shared it.

I shipped Red Butler X Lala Orange in an adventure/romance where Red actually betrays Rainbow and the other Color Kids, but it's because he's being mind/body controlled by some evil being who (apart from actually saving his life) wants to steal color from the world. Red ends up having to right the wrong he did, even when his friends shun him for what he does, and Rainbow and Lala are the only ones who end up going after him when he has to make the journey on his own. I was once invested in the Rainbow Brite story community the same way some are invested in Firefly, Battlestar Galactica, or Star Wars.

But it too had a history with me.

The reason I mention this is because I did not grow up with a heavily gendered view of media in general. My parents didn't just buy me "girly" things because I was a girl, or toys of color because of being of color. I collected toys and dolls that were Asian, European, South American - white, black, male, female and that had a factor in the stories I would tell. And that carries over even to the diversity I include in my fiction to date. I can't say that others have had this same experience and it saddens me sometimes because I recognize the biases and limitations in the bases out there.

The games we play within our imaginations and with the tools we have foster more influence in our creativity and society than even we ourselves know. And influence is a big thing, because it's that inspiration that allows the shaping of the things that we build upon.

With that in mind, let me state some of the biases I bring to reading "Fic."

1. I may write fanfic, but as far as being a part of "fandom" - it's still really limited to me. So this book was an eye-opener in many cases as to showing me how some people interact in these fandoms and what they value.

Twilight, Harry Potter, Sherlock, Star Trek, Buffy, Supernatural, and X-Files get HUGE focus in this book, and of those - I only know two of them intimately. And they aren't the first two, which arguably get the most scene time here.

2. The focus of this book really hinges on erotic and slash content in fic, rather than gen audience - which I'm more familiar with. Granted, Jamison reveals that there are reasons why she focuses on this, which I'll get to in the review.

3. I know about a lot of fan wank and I can definitely say there are things that Jamison gets wrong in this work. Very wrong. So...this affected my rating/enjoyment of this collection, in terms of recognizing the heavy biases which were reported in this text by Jamison.

Part II: The Fruits of Labor: Why "Fic" is such a valuable text

"Fic: Why Fanfiction Is Taking Over the World" is probably the only non-fiction work in mainstream notations that attempts to delve into the complex history that is fandom and fanfiction writing. I find that a valuable effort, but not as much when the main person writing it is so agenda driven (more on that in the third section).

I can't discount the wonderful contributions that were a part of this compilation. There are a number of fandom writers, actors, published authors, researchers among others who jump into the narrative with their perspectives and experiences on fanfic and fandom.

There are screenshots, evolutions shown of how fandom has grown over the ages, and plenty fandoms cited in the mix. Jamison notes the limitations in the work as far as what fandoms are covered and the aspects touched upon in her introduction.

Some newer fanbases such as the TV series "Psych" and "Teen Wolf" are mentioned, but only in passing and in more recent notations as odes to previous bases or notations of the contradictions one may find in fandom.

There was an excellent essay by two Indian fans (From a Land Where “Other” People Live: Perspectives from an Indian Fannish Experience by Rukmini Pande and Samira Nadkarni) who discuss how cultural appropriation is used in Teen Wolf and Vampire Diaries, among other aspects. I'll admit I thought it was especially squee worthy since Weiss Kreuz was mentioned by one of the contributors in that article - though anime/manga isn't covered much. That saddened me because I know a LOT about anime fandom. There are plenty of valuable discussions for this in cultural impact and reflection, mythos, and even story thematics that differ from Western culture. Even if you focused on one anime, such as the long running Gundam series or the impact of Sailor Moon, or consider the anime series in the shoujo, shounen, josei and seinen categories, books on those could be written.

I wish I could cover, at length, all of the essays that were included in this because each has their own strengths and weaknesses for the length of the narrative. Quite notably, it's not as if this text could delve into every nook and cranny of fandom as a construct, but indubitably, it's food for thought.

The text is broken up into five sections, as follows:

Part 1: Writing from Sources
Part 2: A Selective History of Fandom
Part 3: Fic and Publishing
Part 4: Fanwriting Today
Part 5: Fanfiction and Writers Who Don't Write Fanfiction

Part 1 covers fanfiction as noted from the time of the Greeks and Romans to Sir Authur Conan Doyle's timeless character, Sherlock Holmes. There are numerous articles in here that are quite valuable from the research portion, and admittedly, Jamison does a good job delving into some fan dervied works from the Bronte sisters writings, to a fanwriter who wrote an unofficial sequel of Don Quixote that actually inspired Cervantes to write his own follow-up to his famous work.

I was a little troubled by the direct juxtapositions of contemporary writers (like E.L. James and Anne Rice) in terms of attitudes taken by figures in the past, as if there's some precident to justify why the contemporary writers took the positions they did. Anne Rice banning fanfic doesn't necessarily compare to Cervantes attitudes on writing a follow-up to Quixote, nor does Doyle's letter to his fan justify James actions in publishing Master of the Universe/Fifty Shades of Grey. You can't put them on the same scale.

A few writers, such as Katie Forsythe and Wendy C. Fries (Atlin Merrick) share their experiences with writing Sherlock stories, and in particular with respect to the BBC adaptation of the franchise.

An addendum to what's noted in this text (albeit small note): "The Great Mouse Detective" in itself wasn't a contained adaptation. It was based on a beloved children's series called "Basil of Baker Street" by Eve Titus. I should know, I own the first book in that series and read it until the cover was worn (but it's still in good condition for being over 20 years old).

Part 2 covers parts of the history of fandom, starting with Star Trek, Sci-Fi and how the roots of media fandom began. Every single essay in this section as penned by the guests is excellent. Andy Sawyer's "Fables of Irish Fandom" talks about how BNFs (Big Name Fans) used to make fun of each other in writings within fandom, sometimes with mixed results, but discusses the once open culture of the matter. Jacqueline Lichenberg discusses the rise of female fandom in science fiction pursuits and her experiences. I think also that this was probably among Jamison's best contributions to the text because she compiled information about how the fanbases grew over time and even their impact on the creators. There's a humorous bit about Spock and Kirk's relationship and how Gene Roddenberry even poked fun at their rather striking bond. It was a fun section to read.

The narrative continues with how internet fandom actually started with X-Files and Buffy being BIG players. There are discussions on the impact that Mulder and Scully's relationship had on the fandom at large, as well as notations of lesbian relationships as noted in fandom versus when the relationship became real in the context of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and was met with mixed reactions.

One of my favorite essays in this section was written by Jen Zern (NautiBitz), who wrote "Fic U," an examination of fan writing, though told from a narrative in which one writes fanfiction and specifically slash fanfiction. Granted, I have never written slash or explicit fic, but I admit she does a nice job of delving into the building blocks of writing within fandom for those measures. Like a university course or such.

Then came the juggernaut fandom examinations of Twilight and Harry Potter.

I have mixed sentiments regarding the portrayal of these two fandoms, but it's not so much on the level of the contributors here, at least in some dimensions. Many of the essays - apart from Jamison's texts and one contribution by Lauren Billings (who was a co-writer of the Twilight fanfic turned published work "Beautiful Bastard") were good. Billings's individual narrative was a complete mismatch with the tone of the entire compilation and really nothing valuable was noted in that essay at all.

Jamison contributes a lot of the text in these sections, with interspersed thoughts from Chris Rankin's (who played Percy Weasley in the HP film series) college thesis and Cyndy Aleo's (algonquinrt/d0tpark3r) account of her triumphs and struggles within her fandom. There's commentary from some notable controversies within the Twilight community - including SnowQueenIceDragon's (SQID) rise to fame. SQID is also known to be E.L. James, and this narrative reveals many of the behind the scenes players and controversies surrounding the creation of "Fifty Shades".

Only it has just a part of the story highlighted within.

Part 3 was a valuable section in that it highlights some very notable authors who got their start in fandom. Tiffany Reisz and Rachel Caine contribute two of the most well written accounts in the entire narrative, with reflections on their having written fanfic, and it shaping their path to writing original fiction. On the contrary, Jamison interviews Eurydice (a.k.a. Vivien Dean) about her upcoming transformed slash fanfic into a heterosexual romance, and Andrew Shaffer, who wrote the parody "Fifty Shames of Earl Grey, talks about the gold mine that was "Fifty Shades" and shares thoughts about how people receive P2P or Pulled to Publish fanfic.

Part 4 and 5 are, respectively, examinations of current fandom and issues within that - from RPF (Real Person Fic) to Supernatural fandom, to even those who are not fanfic writers but have a hand in designing the communities that host fic and give narratives on the impact of music, writing, media culture, and creativity. Many of the articles in these sections were worth the definitions given to terms in fandom and controversies, including Pande and Nakarni's narrative mentioned earlier in this review.

But for the level of reflection and personal narratives that provide the framework of this text, probably the biggest factor working against it was Anne Jamison herself.

Part III: How Bias, Agenda, and Ambiguous Narratives Undersold the Contributions to "Fic"

Forgive me for saying this, but I'm a little more than livid going into this section of my review. There are some brilliant contributions in this collection, and they're worth value on their own standing.

But Jamison has a lot of nerve with masquerading some of her contributions in this collection as objective pieces, especially when they don't tell the whole story of a controversy, nor do they present the sides of "fandom wank" with as much expansion as they could've been. Furthermore, they don't even remotely show her role in perpetuating a buffer for her arguments, especially with targeting contrasting opinions to the ones that she actually promotes and attempts to defend in this narrative.

If there's something to be said about her contributions to "Fic" - even when you begin reading her narrative in the section entitled "Why Fic?" - it comes across as argumentative, defensive, instead of building upon the constructiveness of fanfic writing moreso.

I don't have too much more space in this review, so I'll touch on a few potent quotables that make the bias stand out.

There's a lot of reference to "filing off the serial numbers" when it comes to re-purposing fanfic. By re-purposing, I mean pulling a fic from fanboards, changing the names of the characters, and publishing it as a new, "original" story. I don't understand why there's so much attention/contention with this phrase on Jamison's part, or why the Jamison somewhat pushed the ludicrous envelope in tone when it came to referencing AngstGoddess never wanting to P2P "Wide Awake" compared to E.L James publishing "Fifty Shades" AG had every right to think it was a wrong practice. Jamison could've provided a balanced perspective on this matter, but she undercuts and somewhat dismisses the argument against P2P practice. This is probably because Jamison supports P2P and there's a clear measure to undermine that argument, not understand it. Jamison even targets two reviewers unfairly for their shelving and commentary on the matter. It's basically painting a target on their backs without examining the issue.

There are attempts to address some fandom controversies in this work, including Cassandra Clare, author of The Mortal Instruments series, who plagiarized from a romance author back in her fanfic writing days. Jamison undercuts the plagiarism by saying "Isn't all fanfic copyright infringement anyway?"

For a university professor, it's shameful that the definition of plagiarism is intentionally made ambiguous in the text, that she suggests the outcry against Clare isn't beyond some people being "offended", even if the author herself never went after Clare legally. Further, having limited resource cited multiple times for intellectual property/legal measures (Heidi Tandy) doesn't cut it.

There was also a reference where Jamison suggests that J.K. Rowling probably should've offered her mystery novel in fandom and she would've had more readers for feedback.

Fandom is not a resource for writers to have their work beta read. Fandom is dedicated to the writing we love, to the subjects we love, to the matters we love. It has it own value and place, and writers should not be encouraged to use and lose fandom just to further their own careers in writing.

I could say more, but I think I'm done here.

Overall: 2/5 stars

Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, from the publisher BenBella/SmartPop Books.
Profile Image for Lilia Ford.
Author 15 books185 followers
May 30, 2019

"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 this book fascinating. I am an academic by training--my specialty was/is 18th and 19th English fiction--and I was pretty skeptical going in, but I thought Anne Jamison did a great job, much better than you usually find, of melding an academic and a generalist perspective and style. The inclusion of contributors' essays was especially beneficial and I thought very much in the collaborative spirit of fandom itself.

There was a certain inevitable disappointment that my particular fandom--Teen Wolf--was barely mentioned, but I thought the author had good reasons for focusing on the fandoms she did--e.g. Sherlock Holmes, Buffy, Star Trek, Harry Potter, and Twilight.

I actually found the Twilight material especially interesting and helpful for several reasons. It matters that that fandom is the one Jamison was personally involved with. I have no interest in reading a book on fanfiction written by anyone who has not been involved--obsessively involved--in a fandom. This is one instance where "outside" or "objective" perspectives are useless, and neutrality constitutes an irreparable bias.

I also have had a tendency to look down on Twilight and its fanfiction, especially in comparison to Sherlock or Harry Potter or Buffy, so the section was a bracing reminder of why that attitude is deeply problematic. Part of what makes fanfiction so fascinating as a cultural and academic topic is the way it brings together issues of technology, literary prestige, cultural capital, access to publishing, class and educational status, and most of all gender. Coincidentally, these are also key issues in the "rise of the novel." Basically, my tendency to make snobbish distinctions between fandoms replicates attitudes that marginalize and degrade fanfiction and traditionally female cultural forms. So, pretty obviously, if I am willing to argue at length for the vitality and brilliance of the Teen Wolf fandom (absolutely!), I damn well better pay the same respect to the Twilight or the One Direction fandoms, especially when I haven't read anything in them. (For that reason I found the brilliant essay by V. Arrow on RPF (real person fiction) and One Direction to be the best chapter in the entire book.)

Still there are some key ways that the Twilight fandom feels distinct: to a noticeable degree, Twilight fans tended to be new to fandom and/or uninterested in wider fan culture. Other factors set it apart from traditional "geek" or sci-fi fandoms, such as the dominant role of "Big Name Authors," the sheer size of it with popular fics tallying hits in the millions, the relentlessly heterosexual focus and complete lack of slash, the role and culture of its specific sites, and most notoriously the move to traditional publishing. Of course it is the last, epitomized by the record-breaking sales of Fifty Shades of Grey, that justifies Jamison's emphasis on Twilight and gives some basis to her subtitle, "Why fanfiction is taking over the world." It is telling that most of the major fanfic publishing deals have been with p2ps from this fandom. I have blogged quite a bit about the overall importance of Fifty Shades of Grey and the failure of "respectable" mainstream critics to deal with it (see here and here,) which is directly tied up in problems of gender and literary prestige, so I was grateful for the context Jamison's book provided, including the debates and flame wars that surrounded the decision to transform "Master of the Universe" into Fifty Shades of Grey, its effect (mostly destructive) on the wider Twilight fandom, the legal and literary issues involved, and the mind-boggling financial stakes.

There is a lot more that I could say, but I'll close by reiterating that this book does not and could not cover everything; I suspect that most readers who are also fans will have pretty serious issues with what has been excluded. My own personal peeve was the lack of in-depth discussion of slash itself, which was exacerbated by Jamison's emphasis on specific fandoms that are generally pretty het-dominated--ie Buffy, X-Files, and Twilight. There were perfectly good reasons to focus on those fandoms, but I did feel that the otherwise excellent discussions of heavily slash fandoms like Star Trek and Sherlock seriously shortchanged this aspect. Admittedly, my own experience of fandom is 100% slash, but I also feel like it's an issue that is poorly understood for all its enormous influence on a number of major fandoms. Certainly, I have yet to read a truly satisfying critical discussion of it and I would really have liked an essay as insightful and informative about slash as the one on RPF. Still, the topics the book did cover were influential enough to be justified, and the discussions themselves were challenging and informative.

Bottom line: Fascinating and informative.
Profile Image for Jeanne.
536 reviews297 followers
December 4, 2014
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 for and writing of this book. The details of this dispute can be found here.

Review Proper
I have a lot of mixed feelings about this book that extend beyond my own personal experience with the author. It starts with the title and the assumptions it makes about the actual impact fan fiction has had on mainstream culture. Which doesn’t take such a blatant shape or scope the author tries really hard to convince us it does. All this aside the book has a poor construction. There are many really informative and fascinating individual essay that are mired in the authors ham-fisted attempts to string them together in a very specific narrative she’s chosen for them, but no matter how hard she tries they never quite fit. Leaving the reader with an scatter, often incoherent mess to sort out on their own.

From the start of the book seems to contradict the promise made by the title. While Lev Grossman’s forewords are well written and informative they’re be better suited for an introduction to fan fiction and fan culture, something this book fails to provide. Instead the book drops the reader head first into the world of fan fiction with very little help them guide the reader.

One of the biggest flaws of this book is it’s purposeful exclusion of hugely influential fandoms, Anime/manga in particular. In Jamison’s own words: “I’ve largely restricted the discussion to literary-and media-based fandoms, thereby excluding a number of vast, productive areas such as anime and sports.” This implies that anime, which includes magna a literary art form that actually predates Western comic books, is neither literature or media-based. This is not only wrong, but insulting. This kind of blatant ignorance about fan culture sets the tone for the entire book.

Fic presents a distinctly lopsided representation of fandoms. The majority of the contributors are actors, published authors, and a fan/fan fic writer with significant notoriety within their given fandoms (aka BNA/BNF, big name authors/big name fans). The fandom equivalent of the 1%, who are on first name basis with content creators or have even crossed over become published authors themselves. While these makes for great stories, they don’t represent the majority of fan fiction readers/writers or fandom in general. Not to mention that the majority of contributors (and the author herself) are educated, white, middle class women. That privilege shows in the book, specifically in how Jamison whitewashes the entire timeline and history of fan fiction.

Don’t even get me started on Jamison’s laughable attempts at trying to turn feminism into a shield to deflect legitimate criticism privileged, white female fan fiction authors like E.L. James and Cassandra Clare. A task easily done if you ignore the significant amount of women of color in fandom, but there’s no room for intersectional feminism in this book. Not surprising there’s also very little time and spotlight shone on the voices of POC in general or even the LGBTQ+ community. In fact, most of the discussion of slash/femslash (fan fiction featuring LGBTQ+ characters and themes) is mostly discussed by het, white women. That is not to say that there aren’t some POC and LGBTQ+ contributors, but their inclusion is a token effort at best. One that doesn’t outweigh the purposeful erasure of the significant influence that the LGBTQ+ community and media from non-white countries has had on ALL fandoms.

Jamison attempts to shift the blame for this lack of diversity on to marginalized people, claiming she “approached a disproportionate number of *self-identified men and people of color” and that they “declined to participate for a variety of reasons, including professional concerns and simply time.” This is the most irresponsible non-excuse I’ve ever seen. I seriously doubt any college professor would accept a similar excuse from one of their students. [As a bisexual woman of color in fandom I can assure you there is a lot more to those "variety of reasons" than Jamison is letting on.]

*Special Note: The phrase “self-identified men” is transphobic. If some identifies as a man you call them a man. Qualifiers like this are disrespectful and damaging. Don’t ever do this.

Jamison goes to great extents to acquit herself of even the most basic responsibilities required to respectfully represent the literature of a subculture. Proclaiming she isn’t a anthropologist and saying she is examining fan fiction from an "literary perspective," which sounds good if you know nothing about critical analysis. Imagine writing a book about Victorian literature that makes absolutely not mention of how cultural attitudes of Victorian England and the Industrial Revolution influenced the genre. Likewise FAN fiction is a genre born out of FAN culture. To ignore the subculture that created this literature, or in this case selectively acknowledging only certain parts of that culture, isn’t examining it from a literary perspective at all.

Because of this lack of true understanding of the culture much of the information in the essays written by Jamison are laughably useless. There were times where I felt like the book was written but the SNL character “drunk girl you wish you hadn’t started talking to at the party.” This is not an exaggeration.

I’m far from new to the world of fandoms, I’ve been writing/reading fan fiction in multiple fandoms for decades and there were times even I struggled to understand the far fetched conclusions Jamison came to, not to mention the clumsy narratives of her own essays. Jamison’s own first hand account of discovering a BBC Sherlock meta fan fiction (terms she uses later in the essay but never fully explains) was so confusing I had to reread it a several times before I finally realized what the hell she was talking about. To get an idea of how convoluted it was, imagine having someone who has never used the internet try to describe Facebook.

Now, don’t get me wrong there are some great essays in here (that aren't written by Jamison), but they are buried deeply under Jamison’s agenda of selling herself as an expert in a field she does not, in fact, have a claim to academically. She is a professor with a degree in Medieval literature, who has been teaching classes on Twilight and Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan fiction for a handful of years. Her lack of knowledge shows in how little she mentions fan culture studies and the distinct absence of any contributions from established scholars in this field of study. Even though this book covers long established fandoms that have been studied for decades (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Xena, Supernatural, etc).

Like Columbus, Jamison walks into fan culture and plants a flag ignoring the hard work and existing presence of academia in favor of selling herself as the sole voice of fan fiction and fandom. This claim rings false, despite her significant social network presence in the Twilight fandom, consider her completely ignorance or at least lack of acknowledgement of the existence of acafans.

All this aside the book is poorly put together, scattered and rushed in its conclusions. The lack of comprehensive knowledge of the many fandoms being study, the willful erasure of the contributions made by people of color, non-Western fandoms, and the LGBTQ+ community to fan culture and specifically the fan fiction being produced in internet based fandoms today, will leave knowledgable readers infuriated and new comers woefully misinformed.

Though there are some really wonderful essays in this book I cannot in good conscious recommend it to anyone.

I would instead suggest reading The Fan Fiction Studies Reader. (I’ll add some more titles as I work through the pile of fandom studies books I have on my to-be-read list).
Profile Image for Sandra .
1,770 reviews316 followers
December 18, 2013
It's so nice to be quoted without permission or have your shelves listed as an example of cattiness. /sarcasm
Profile Image for Liviania.
957 reviews64 followers
January 6, 2014
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-internet fanfiction, while Buffy and the X-Files cover the beginning of fic on the internet. The Harry Potter and Twilight sections are shakier. I felt that Harry Potter went by quicker than the other sections, and glossed over some things. Jamison glosses over Cassandra Claire's plagiarism (the most important being several pages of Pamela Dean's writing), trying to make it just a game and pulling out the old fic is basically plagiarism anyway. (It isn't.) There's an essay from Heidi8/Heidi Tandy that presents her as a totally reliable point of view instead of a figure frequently at the heart of controversy.

Then we get to Twilight. Jamison is clearly too close to the fandom to really give a good portrait. She is very clearly in favor of pull-to-publish, or P2P. The other side of the argument is given short shrift in favor of several essays by people who agree with Jamison's point of view. In fact, the authors of BEAUTIFUL BASTARD get an essay together in addition to individual essays.

But I must say that the essays are the best part of FIC. The essay authors make fewer pretenses about their biases and only focus on the narrow aspects of fandom that they are experts in. Jamison shows some of her ignorance just by what she chooses to include. Her megafandoms only include Western sources. The only fandoms represented are literature, television, and film. And why not throw in some discussion of small-to-medium fandoms? I read this book in December as Yuletide was happening. Now there's a big event that shows a wonderful slice of small fandoms all at once, albeit also mostly Western focused.

I was quite disappointed in FIC. I'm all for people taking a scholarly approach to fandom. But this is quite slipshod. The style isn't that great, either. The Sherlock section constantly makes reference to a fic that isn't excerpted. Am I supposed to stop reading FIC and track down this story and read it before continuing? As for when Jamison does excerpt fics, her glowing introductions generally leave me with secondhand embarrassment. Don't tell me that a fairly pedestrian set of sentences are going to totally make me see Edward and Bella in a new postmodern sex positive light.

There's some interesting history in here. But take Jamison's point of view with a grain of salt.
Profile Image for N.
835 reviews195 followers
November 22, 2013
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 as time and as natural as imagination.

To paraphrase one of the contributors to Fic: Why Fanfiction Is Taking Over the World: if you’ve ever daydreamed about what happened to the characters of a book following the final page, you have (in essence) written fanfiction. Indeed, one of Fic’s most charming chapters humorously charts the historical context of fic. I would like to staple it to the face of anyone who says that fic is WEIRD or WRONG. Tell that to Shakespeare, dude.

Despite my excitement at being able to pick up an academic (or pseudo-academic) work about fanfiction, I began reading Fic with a fair amount of trepidation. The fan in me wondered: Do I need someone in an Ivory Tower telling me things I already know? Can someone outside of fandom really get fandom? The critic in me wondered: Could this book be accessible to the non-fan? And, indeed, who is this book really targeting?

Unfortunately, the beginning chapters did little to allay my fears. As the author and her contributors wend their way through fic-writing in Sherlock Holmes and Star Trek fandoms, the book seems little more than a confusing mish-mash of the obvious and the oblique. Parts are hopelessly niche, charting obscure moments of fandom history that surely cannot have mass appeal. Other parts are simplistic to the point of banality; like listening to a friend tell you to the entire storyline of a TV show you have no desire to watch.

However, just as I was beginning to lose patience with Fic, it hit its stride in the Twilight section. This part of the book is fascinating. Even better, it’s topical. It’s in Twilight fandom where the seismic shifts in fanwriting are happening and their tremors are being felt across publishing as a whole. The author does a good job of laying out the “pulling-to-publish” phenomenon, putting Fifty Shades of Grey in context and interrogating why it’s such an anathema to the fan community.

Indeed, during the height of Fifty Shades hype, I found it very difficult to articulate my opinion on it during casual conversation. Not just because I don’t want to talk about BDSM with the ladies at the office, but also because Fifty Shades makes me want to VOMIT UP A WHOLE LOT OF RAGE. The idea of making money out of fanfiction is so repugnant to me; it goes against the entire ethos of fanwriting; it stomps on the idea of fandom as a community that trades in goodwill and stories. (The word is fanfiction. FANfiction.)

However, Anne Jamison deftly challenges (though doesn’t change) my feelings on this matter. She points out that fans overemphasise both the illegality of fic and the unwritten rules of fandom. Actually, fanfiction is more legal than you think and many of the fan community’s participants are ignorant of its rules (none of which are codified anyway).

In this vein, the quoted comments from E.L. James in Fic – although obtained rather sketchily; the author didn’t interview James, but reprints some IMs from her that were temporarily shared online – are illuminating. What’s fascinating is that James didn’t feel like she was part of the Twilight fandom, but felt instead that she had gained millions of readers (for her fic, Master of the Universe, which became Fifty Shades) purely through the amazingtasticness of her writing. (Just goes to show that if you want to succeed in life, all you need is a stupendous level of self-confidence, despite extensive evidence that you suck.)

There are certainly highlights to Fic and, broadly, I found it a diverting and worthwhile read. Yet Fic is ultimately too flabby to be truly rewarding. Its compilation simply doesn’t seem judicious enough. When it comes to the essays, the range in quality is too broad; there’s too much repetition and not enough sharp critical analysis. I can’t help but feel that fewer essays of a higher quality would have created a better book.

I’m also still not sure Fic knows who its audience is (fans? non-fans? casual fic-readers at the periphery of fandom? media studies students? confused middle-aged readers of Fifty Shades of Grey?) and it tries to be all things to all readers, with mixed success.

Despite these criticisms, and although it’s easy to slam Anne Jamison as an interloper in fandom, I think she makes a sincere effort to untangle the complex world of fanwriting. She doesn’t get everything right (I, like other reviewers, find her retelling of the Cassandra Claire plagiarism scandal simplistic and too sympathetic to Claire) and there are inevitably gaps (fandom’s internalized misogyny doesn’t receive enough attention, and the role of LiveJournal in fandom’s past is weirdly underplayed), but that’s no reason to dismiss this book outright.

If you’re interested in the cultural context of fanfiction – either as a long-time fan or as an aforementioned confused Fifty Shades reader – you could do worse than to pick up Fic.

Read more of my thrilling, illuminating, superamazingtastic reviews at meloframa.com
Profile Image for Carmen.
2,064 reviews1,907 followers
April 29, 2015
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 recommend this book.
Profile Image for Martina.
37 reviews1 follower
January 14, 2014
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 Potter fandom, which is the largest I guess and as other reviewers pointed out, it was done with quite fast. And then came the Twilight fandom. God I was frustrated with this part of the book and there lies its problem. The author is also a fic fan and writer. She was singing praise about Twilight fandom and the quality of the writing. The parts about pulling for publishing were basically pro-pulling and I also really minded the part about one fanfiction author stealing whole scenes, word for word (in HP fandom though) in her fic. The author thought that allright.

The book is overall providing only positive aspects of fanfiction, encouraging writing fic as a great way of improving oneself, to become a good author of original works. And here I would like to have some counter-arguments. The problems of characterisations once working outside the given scheme or even unhealthy time dedicated to fanfiction. The author is teaching a module where students are supposed to read Twilight fanfiction for God's sake, of course she would be biased regarding the fandom and consequent works, such as 50 shades...

Overall, fanfiction is a growing phenomenon of modern popculture and to me it should have been looked at in a more balanced way. These are just ramblings of a fangirl, pretending to be a scholarly work.
Profile Image for John Carter McKnight.
470 reviews75 followers
April 9, 2014
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, apparently, was a "rogue fandom," largely ignorant of the long history, social values, and technological platforms of media fandom. It not just reinvented the wheel, but speciated, and the anthology is excellent at documenting Twilight fandom's innovations, misunderstanding, and conflicts, particularly between a view of fannish audiences as a test market for publication versus a gift-exchange community. It's absolutely great stuff.

I really can't recommend this collection highly enough: it's comprehensive, superb scholarship, interesting, insightful, and never a slog.
Profile Image for Carey.
581 reviews50 followers
January 25, 2014
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 obsessed with cannon. I don't have a problem with characters doing filthy things to each other, if it fits within cannon. My intense love of cannon prevents me from accepting fanfiction.

Anyway, I read this book for two reasons. First, I'm a YA librarian and I help run a writing workshop for teens, and they sure do love fanfic. Second, I was curious. I don't have to like fanfic, but if I'm going to work with teens and their intense fandom loves, then I was determined to at least understand it.

I give this volume five stars because reading it has made me understand why people read and write fanfic. I have more compassion for fanfic. I feel beter equipped to talk about fanfic with my teens and I won't even make the face I make when I smell something awful. I still think certain things are gross, like Wincest and real people fic (seriously, the Colbert Nation webpage has Colbert/Stewart slash fic).

Reading this was enlightening. I'm probably not going to become a fic reader or writer, but I will now defend (most) fic as a valid form of artistic expression.
Profile Image for Thomas Edmund.
937 reviews58 followers
October 21, 2014
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 Sherlock) to fan-fic and asking the question How is this different? Unfortunately the meandering subjects, overblown writing (which I fear may be similar to the fanfic discussed) made the book feel unprofessional and half-baked.

I did enjoy the vague exploration of the rationale of fanfic, and the chapters linking specific fiction and television to fanfic were the strongest.

It was mildly annoying that the book did not explore in more depth the response of authors to fanfic (controversy is always entertaining) and I felt many topics (such as the large amounts of sex) were only touched about tangentially.

The most difficult thing about the book was the constant in-joke style of reference, the author frequently referring to events and subjects briefly, obviously with an expectation that the reader knew what they were talking about.

So is this book recommended - only if you are very interested in the subject.
Profile Image for Frankie Brown.
Author 6 books118 followers
November 18, 2013
So refreshing to read an academic work on fanfiction. Highly recommended -- especially for Sherlockians.
Profile Image for alienticia.
200 reviews3 followers
July 15, 2020
Depois de um ano lendo fan studies com um objetivo específico em mente, agora eu decidi ler por diversão. E... foi uma Experiência.
Esse livro me instigou a conversar e contar fun facts pras pessoas durante a semana que eu passei lendo. Eu pensei muito sobre ele em vários momentos e vou continuar pensando bastante. E é muito interessante ver como a fanfic se autoinfluencia e é influenciada historicamente, e os ensaios foram muito bons no geral.
Porém (sempre tem um porém), eu não amei todos os aspectos dele. A argumentação de que plágio é ok em trabalhos literários não me convenceu, o único ensaio sobre questões raciais em fandom aparece no último quarto do livro, a parte das intersecções com a literatura contemporânea foi muito interessante mas muito curta.
Mas é um bom documento histórico (a fic mudou muito de 2013 pra cá), um bom ponto de partida acadêmico, e vou continuar refletindo sobre por muito tempo. (E o comentário obrigatório sempre que leio sobre internet: eu PRECISO da perspectiva brasileira disso!!!!!!)
Profile Image for Melody.
951 reviews44 followers
January 17, 2014
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 fanfiction, taken from the perspective of all the varying fandoms, is a lot to cover.

I am slightly disappointed that the Twilight fandom by and large got the largest section. I do not quarrel with much of it, as the publishing industry has definitely been impacted, even if some of the articles about this impact could feel repetitive toward the end. Rather than giving Twilight less attention, I wish another fandom had been given more as well. This is largely due to the facts pointed out in the book that in many ways the Twilight fandom reinvented the wheel.

I will be interested to see what my friends who aren't as familiar with fanfiction as me, but have expressed interest in the book, think in terms of its accessibility to the culture. A glossary of fanfiction terms may have been a helpful bonus, even if they're quickly explained in the text. However, the conundrum of a Mary Sue goes far beyond self-insertion at this point. This doesn't cover everything, but it covers a lot. And hopefully will get some people thinking.
Profile Image for Margaret Sankey.
Author 9 books207 followers
November 24, 2013
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-produced mimeographed and mailed out newsletters, filk songs and slash pairings. But the real unleashing came with the internet--creating vast archives of every imaginable form of writing built on an existing narrative. Jamison interviews some of the most popular writers, digs into the tropes of leading fandoms (Supernatural, X-Files, Buffy, Harry Potter, Twilight) and documents what happens when actors find fanfiction about themselves (and themselves as their characters), when the characters on the show mention fan fiction about themselves (double-meta? triple-meta?), when fanfiction is published as its own new text (James' 50 Shades of Grey via Twilight), the legal angles on fair use and the theraputic use of writing to many of the authors.
Profile Image for Chris.
2,862 reviews204 followers
Shelved as 'contemplating-its-sins'
October 4, 2014
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. :)
Profile Image for Julie Bozza.
Author 31 books288 followers
November 12, 2020
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 with such a large subject, a line needs to be drawn somewhere. Jamison contributes a good half or two-thirds of the text, with guest essays and interviews focusing on a good range of various details.

As you might have seen through my updates, an aspect of one guest essay infuriated me, but that was me taking something personally, and I realise that my principles are only mine. Another guest essay disappointed me, but again if I can't take a bit of reality with my fancies then that's my problem alone. Otherwise, I was really interested to share this journey with Jamison.
Profile Image for Christie.
234 reviews7 followers
August 16, 2023
i preface this review by disclosing that i am not a non-fiction reader and my comfort zone is not here

i thought that this book was a fairly interesting time capsule that gave me a history of fanfic and then for about 200 pages told me things i knew

i found the author (who is an academic first) had a good knowledge base but it was at times too surface-level, and at other times very repetitive and a little redundant

i would have loved to have been in her class about fanfic though

what was fun was placing myself into the 'narrative' of the book, the timeline so to speak

i am, quite clearly, a huge fangirl and this brings me zero shame. reading about the og twilight fanfics i actually read at the age of 14 and the harry potter universe was so fun!

i would really only recommend to people who are pretty academic and don't know much about fanfiction
Profile Image for Judy.
665 reviews24 followers
September 14, 2022
I've read maybe a third of this because honestly, I don't need another historical recap of fandom and I have my own engagement with various fandoms over more than a decade to draw on so I don't really need to hear about what BNFs did in 2009 Twilight fandom. Still, of the essays I read, most were interesting (even if only a couple are useful to me in the academic context).

However, the editor's introductions and commentary really grated on me—the obnoxious know-it-all I'm-so-cool-and-quirky tone of it all wasn't it. Also, the transphobia in the introduction? Yikes.
Profile Image for Elisabeth.
813 reviews14 followers
February 4, 2014
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 can't find the exact quote, but the author's comment on the invariability of new readers finding the absolute worst possible stuff to read is spot on) fanfiction. New to fandom as a passion in my late thirties, I am fascinated by the idea that something you watch or read can generate in you a whole new set of ideas and inspirations never before imagined. Five years ago I would have shrugged it off as 'weird.' And it is, a little. It's also thrilling; worlds are possible that never were before. The wardrobe opens to Narnia; the TARDIS appears at your door; an owl drops a letter in your mail slot, and the life you knew is gone. This book is an honest, accessible look at that thing, whatever it is, and what it makes possible in the world.

If you are a fan, or know a fan, read this. If you are interested in stories and storytelling, and how they both change and stay the same over time and technology, read this. If you are intrigued by the limitless creativity of the human mind, read this. You won't be sorry.
Profile Image for Nadia Elisa.
12 reviews
August 25, 2023
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 original enough that they completely deserve to be published as original work (i.e. Turn by Sara's Girl), I got the feeling that she's just pro things like City of Bones (Draco Trilogy anyone?) and, good GOD, 50 Shades of Grey being published. Do NOT even get me started on that disaster of a book...just...no. I must admit after a while I found myself flipping pages and not really reading it so I can't say I read all of it. I suppose I read enough to know that it wasn't my cup of tea. I don't think she has spent enough time in fan fiction at all to really know what she's on about. All in all...I was expecting a lot more from this book. I like that she touches on slash a bit but...*sigh* she got so much wrong. As a slash reader myself, I feel that it fell short. Big time. Also...self-identified men? B**** please. Perhaps I was expecting too much from this book, it wasn't terrible, but it wasn't excellent either. There are MUCH better essays and podcasts online explaining and delving into the history of fan fiction than this and they're FREE. Long live net-neutrality and a "free" internet.
Profile Image for Kifflie.
1,447 reviews4 followers
January 4, 2014
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 the names) and publish said work in the so-called "real world." I appreciate that she's sympathetic both to those of us who just want to keep this a non-profit labor of love and those who have no problem with seizing on opportunity to make money from their work (as long as it's legal).

It was dismaying to watch how a certain fandom came apart over Fifty Shades of Grey and how another one got nasty over Mortal Instruments. Frankly, I'm not crazy about Cassandra Clare's writing, and I couldn't even get through one chapter of Shades without major cringing -- but I agree that these women had the right to try to make a living for their work, and at least not be abused for that action. Criticize their lack of writing skill -- sure. Call them "whores" or "sellouts" -- not okay.

But I digress.

We are legit. We are legion. And we have been around for a long time. Long may we continue to transform.
Profile Image for Cris.
1,325 reviews
February 17, 2014
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 media/literary landscape. Unfortunately, these tasks didn't always mesh together. Jamison's formal, academic, tone used when validating fanfiction and explaining its historical context often clashed with her more casual tone when attempting to explain fanfiction (and fandom) to the general public not involved in fandom. Moreover, I felt Jamison was trying to hard to assure any fans who read Fic that she was one of them.

The inclusion of essays by professional and fan writers proved a mixed bag. Some of the essays integrated well with Jamison's current topic. Some essays seemed almost random.
Profile Image for Whitney Borup.
1,041 reviews43 followers
May 13, 2016
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 of the early reactions to academic work on superheroes and comic books - people afraid of academic appropriation, of elitist attitudes towards their beloved medium, or the creation of some kind of artistic hierarchy within comics culture. Since I read this on a kindle and the pictures were too small to really see, it was nice to see these examples play out in the goodreads comments section! :)
Profile Image for Dana.
69 reviews27 followers
March 28, 2014
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 reading with an open mind. And I say this as someone who has read both. A lot.

Still, it's cool to read a serious study of reading and writing fanfiction as a legitimate endeavor and not just an embarrassing hobby.

Profile Image for Amanda.
271 reviews240 followers
August 5, 2015
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 in the early 2000s. A recommended read!
Profile Image for First Second Books.
560 reviews560 followers
June 17, 2014
This book has the best-ever summary of literary history.

(Also it is both informative and interesting.)
Profile Image for Sara.
588 reviews60 followers
February 18, 2018
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 queer women out there writing riveting and often hilarious stories that rip apart the paltry sample of mainstream narratives we’ve been given. Also, this book really didn’t need Jonathan Lethem to step in and pontificate on fanfic’s legitimacy or lack thereof. He might be an “open-minded” literary chap—good for him!— and I enjoyed his essay on Plagiarism in Harpers a few years back, but these readers and writers are more than fine on their own. From what I’ve seen (and this is not an insult to either party) many of them write as well as he does. I was glad Amber Benson got the last word.
Profile Image for Gina.
Author 5 books24 followers
May 30, 2019
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.
Profile Image for Jamie .
174 reviews
February 25, 2018
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.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 146 reviews

Join the discussion

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.