Monday, October 20, 2014

Fanfiction: The Final Frontier

5:36 AM

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These are the log entries of the wanderer PaCho aboard the starship Farfignugletron. Her lifelong mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new characterizations, to boldly go where no (hu)man (in their right mind) has gone before (i.e. the archives of

ENTRY 000009.
The Farfignugletron has entered the Fanfiction solar system, and will be landing on its capital planet,, within the next three hours. The natives take no notice of our “log-in,” only stopping in their web activity to request email identification. I have taken on a penname to hide my true purpose of investigating the phenomenon called “fanfiction.”

“Fanfiction” is a term used to describe literary pieces about characters or settings written by fans of an original work, rather than the original creator. These appear to be created purely for the author’s satisfaction, as these do not inherently create material profit, which, under Intergalactic Copyright Law, is illegal. To avoid allegations of unfair use of titles, most authors claim no ownership to their used characters, though they still assume that their audience is made up of other fans well-versed in canon (see previous work on fandom jargon: here).

The narratives of fanfiction follow paths that include but are not limited to: a continuation of the story, an alteration of or addition to canon events, a retelling of the story through a new point-of-view, and an alternate universe featuring completely separate events to canon.

It would appear that the natives have already established more terminologies for fanfiction, which, to the uninitiated, sound more like euphemisms for illegal drugs: These include but are not limited to crack (unlikely and seemingly insane plots typically disregarding the laws of physics), lemon (stories featuring explicit sexual content), AU (meaning alternate universes), angst (plots where everyone suffers), and fluff (plots where everyone is happy or content).

I have already begun reading through some texts, particularly those written by the cults following Hetalia: Axis Powers, Harry Potter, and Free! (from limitations? From their clothing? Will investigate.)

ENTRY 000626.
We have made visits to planets LiveJournal, Dreamwidth, and AO3, alternate sites for sharing fanfiction. still offers the largest number of fanfiction, though Archive of Our Own (AO3) must be noted for its growth, organization, and quality. AO3 appears to be growing still at one million stories, while has several. Observation will continue.

I have been using the travel time between planets reading old books from Earth that I brought for this expedition. Among the titles in the inventory is Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time, one of the longest Earthian novels ever written, at 1,267,069 words. Even longer is Artamène or Cyrus the Great by Georges de Scudéry (usually attributed to his sister, Madeleine), with over 2,100,000 words.

I decided to research on the longest piece ever written in the Fanfiction solar system, and discovered it to be even longer than both of these pieces combined. It is The Subspace Emissary's Worlds Conquest by AuraChannelerChris, a fanfiction for the Super Smash Brothers video games. It has been ongoing since March 2008, and as of August 2014, has had 218 chapters with 3,929,194 words.

That’s six times longer than War and Peace. Seven times the unabridged Les Miserables. All the books that I have ever complained about reading for class might make up only five chapters of this beast.

Humanity is a marvelous thing.

Excerpt: REPORT 000742.
The Farfignugletron was destroyed in an attack on the Fanfiction system by The Stigma, a force insistent on the systematic demise of the natives here, and thus the death of Fanfiction, through discouragement and the attachment of shame to its name.  Further travel in and out of the solar system has been discouraged and may be banned in the future. Commissioning a new ship; the team may have to be evacuated.

ENTRY 000989.
We cannot leave.

We have unlocked ancient powers too great for us to contain or purge, and it augments The Stigma with every word. They are fixed points in time, in space, and in everything, and we can only look on in horror as they are left open for the public to see. Their discovery has heightened The Stigma, and the team has decided to stay to defend Fanfiction. This is a list of Bad Fanfiction, to be broadened at a later date.

Voldemort tries to force Ebony Dark'ness Dementia Raven Way, a beautiful “goff” Slytherin who hates preps, to kill Harry Potter. The infamous mother of all bad fanfiction; it is the only fanfiction that has a movie, a published novel, a web series, and several dramatic readings; the original has been translated into twelve languages.
“Daphne gets the ring in an antique jewerly shop, which transports the gang to Middle Earth. There, their job is to distroy it for good.” –The actual description. Beware the Daphne-Fred-Legolas love triangle.
Goku saves Anne Frank from the Nazis. They fall in love and are soon out to defeat Super Saiyan Hitler. Taken down but reposted with reviews and comments.
The new leader of SPECTRE threatens to turn every child in the world into a donkey. Naturally, James Bond must stop him – with the help of Pinocchio, Jiminy Cricket, Lampwick and Geppetto.
“Adolph Hitler travels back in time and meets a man who will change his life forever.” –The actual description.

ENTRY 014565.
I have been in Fanfiction for eight years now, with no contact from home base in four. I continue these logs, hoping they will not be in vain. “Real” books from Earth become harder and harder to come by – though I wonder at their perceived elevation over fanfiction, especially when I have come across deeper characterization and less contrived or overused plots in my time here. Some natives are superior writers to the ones back home, and while dark matter is constantly generated by some fanfiction here, the same can be said for some titles at home.

I’ve read stories about the consequences of time travel and the discovery of new worlds, letters written by protagonists’ younger brothers who only speak once or twice in books. There are love stories far deeper than finding faults in stars, infinitely many universes where happiness if possible for even the darkest of archetypes. I see baseless characters plunged depth through depth, until they are greater than they once were on a screen or on a page.

There are voices to be heard in this solar system – those of characters and those of writers. In these voices and in the very existence of these words is a challenge to the laws of the universe that we must be what others say we are, and that there is only fate and predestination.

They are challenges to limits – and they are done for love, and no satisfaction beyond its bounty. It is brave, and it is a challenge to the myths and the stigmas that dictate every step and routine we take for granted. They are ordinary people: they go to school or to work, and they are burdened with the myths we are all swallowed by. And yet they can still tell stories, repair the system created by a hate for difference. They are capable of so much.

[Am I?]

ENTRY 024601.I have begun writing fanfiction.

Article by PaCho
Art by Clar
PaCho is the nickname of a full-time fangirl who wants an infinite amount of money with which to travel the world and buy merchandise. This girl is currently amassing the skills to achieve these goals, and collecting stories and perspectives along the way (to consequently be the best that no one ever was) at a university. She will smile in satisfaction at the fall of the patriarchy and Western domination of international affairs. She is only half-joking about this (which means that she's completely serious).

Clar is a(n extremely) loud, nineteen year old Fine Arts student who swears a lot and takes pride in her horrible jokes and bad eyesight. No one believes her when she claims she’s shy, but she can’t really blame them – especially when she gets her foot stuck in her mouth so often. She enjoys reading angsty DHr fanfiction and talking passionately about the ASolaF universe once provoked. You can follow her on Twitter/IG: @clargorreon (WARNING: tweets in ALL CAPS 90% of the time)