this is gonna be weird

Ika blake at
Thu Dec 9 08:09:21 EST 2004

Me/Paul (post I've been meaning to respond to for weeks, sorry!)

>> I disagree with Paul (I think it was Paul - apologies if not) that
>> calling *published* novels using other people's characters
>> "fanfiction" broadens the term beyond usefulness.
> Yes, it's me you're thinking of - but that's not quite what I meant.
> What I meant to say was that calling *all* published novels using
> other people's characters "fanfiction" broadens the term beyond
> usefulness - emphasis on 'all', not on 'published'. Some pnuopc
> obviously are fanfiction, but others clearly aren't: the specific
> example I had in mind was a Star Trek tie-in novel that the author is
> known to have written solely in order that her first original novel
> would qualify for the attention of publishers that only accepted the
> work of established authors.

Is that an example of obviously-fanfiction, or obviously-not-fanfiction? I
mean, did she write it because it was easy for her as a fan to become a
published author by publishing fanfiction, or because as not-a-fan it was
easy for her to publish a Star Trek novel because there was a ready market
for it?

I suppose I mainly use the term fanfiction for amateur, non-authorized
fiction by self-identified fans: but I don't think there's a single
criterion by which you can distinguish the *literary*/ textual qualities
of that group of texts from pnuopc as a whole, which is one of the reasons
it's difficult to generalize about fanfiction.

> -snip-
>> Ob DWJ: I felt like Cat and Tonino were much younger in *Stealer of
>> Souls* than they were in *Charmed Life* and *Magicians of Caprona*,
>> and I still haven't quite puzzled that out yet (what do other people
>> think about it, btw?)
> I don't know. Is it related to them being amnesic and befuddled for
> most of the story, or do they seem younger in the beginning as well?

They seem younger in the beginning to me, for which I can think of three
possible reasons:

(1) They have become younger in DWJ's head in the years between writing CL
& MoC and SoS, for some reason;

(2) I was probably around Cat's and Tonino's age when I first read CL &
MoC, and now I am 29, so they look younger to me in the way that when you
look at real live 10-year-olds you think "God, they're tiny! I was so
grown-up when I was ten - did I really look that small?"; or

(3) Cat is able to *be* younger now that he has proper adults around him
all the time and isn't having to be in charge of things (which is pretty
much what the story says at the outset).

> -snip-
>> (2) Teabags (and here I get back on topic!). Paul wrote:
>> > They're both [spontaneous sequels and commissioned sequels] cases
>> > of reusing teabags, perhaps, but one is reusing a teabag because
>> > they believe it still has a good cuppa left in it, while the other
>> > is reusing the teabag because they want a cup made with that
>> > particular teabag and don't care about the quality of the result.
>> > Or something.
>> The trouble with the 'teabag' metaphor, I think, is that it suggests
>> that fanfiction is always going to be the same as the original, but
>> weaker.
> I was going to add that good spontaneous sequels don't *just* use the
> original teabag, but add new ingredients and create something new and
> different (while commissioned sequels, I suppose, want exactly the
> same taste and don't care if it's weaker); but I couldn't quite get it
> to work within the metaphor.

And many good spontaneous sequels do something to the original, too -
bring something out that you hadn't seen in it before - which the teabag
metaphor doesn't allow for...

Love, Ika

"When God changes me into a dragon, people from all walks of life will
admire me and listen to what I have to say for once in my life. Nobody
wants to listen to a scared little boy with glasses, but everyone likes
- The confusing theology of Molatar (
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