Fanfic and "originality"

Judith Ridge Judith.Ridge at
Wed Nov 17 20:28:28 EST 2004

>> (To answer your general question, there are some quality stories in
>> which the only thing in common with the source work is, say, a shared
>> metaphysics.  For example, a Buffy fanfiction story could tell the tale
>> of a slayer in 4th century Norway.)
> So whyeveronearth say it is to do with Buffy?  Why not just call it a story
> about a vampire slayer in 4th century Norway?

Adding to Deborah's comments on this; it has to do with Buffy absolutely
because it is within the Buffyverse; this kind of fan fiction (not that I
actually read fan fiction, but I'm interested in the phenomena) will feature
things specific to the Buffyverse, such as the Watcher and the Watcher's
Council, perhaps the First Slayer, no doubt some of the Big Bads will
appear; all the mythology built up by Whedon et al. Of course, the fanfic
writers may play with these conventions and may even completely overturn
them, toss them out the window, but they can only do that because of the
original text, so the relationship remains. In fact there are at least two
volumes of books of short stories about slayers in different places and in
different periods in history, official/authorised Buffy publishing.

It IS to do with Buffy, even if Buffy doesn't appear; she's the ghost at the
banquet, if you will. The cultural heritage of a show like Buffy (or a DWJ
novel) is so strong that you can't say that fanfic isn't about the original
source. It just IS.

A quote from a review of the movie The Grudge, in which Sarah Michelle
Gellar, the actress who plays Buffy, stars, might help explain what I am
getting at (although it's tangential to the fanfic thing, it's entirely
relevant to the idea of cultural echoes across texts/intertextuality, which
is what we're talking about):

__Film horror tends to require women's blood as its psychic fuel. That may
be why few women make it. There's no mystery for them, no unspeakable desire
to see it spilled, no fear of its power. Whether women desire to see men's
blood spilled I don't know, but if they did, there should be a sub-genre of
female horror about slashed men - Psycho with Tony Curtis in the shower,
instead of Janet Leigh - but I haven't seen much like that.

Things are different on television. Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a sort of
comic horror show - albeit not very scary - and women were always at its
centre, and not usually as victims. Instead, Buffy demonised male sexuality,
literally. The girls regularly beat up horny devils who struggled to control
their cloven-hoofed, brutish desires - Spike and Angel, in particular. All
of which means that the casting of Sarah Michelle Gellar in this Japanese
horror film brings its own cultural meaning. Will Buffy get slain?__


PS The review is from today's Sydney Morning Herald

Judith Ridge
Editorial Staff
The School Magazine
PO Box 1928
Macquarie Centre
NSW 2113
+61 2 9889 0044 (ph)
+61 2 9889 0040 (fax)

This message is intended for the addressee named and may contain
privileged information or confidential information or both. If you
are not the intended recipient please delete it and notify the sender.
To unsubscribe, email dwj-request at with the body "unsubscribe".
Visit the archives at

More information about the Dwj mailing list