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It appears that Gabaldon has, after posting a fauxpology (the classic "I'm sorry if anyone's feelings were hurt" response), deleted all her posts on the subject. Couldn't stand the heat? Some attempt to save face? Since the posts are gone, and she hasn't replaced them with a statement on their removal, we'll probably never know why. But I hope she knows that, on the Internet, wank is forever.

I also wanted to share two follow up notes to the GRRM posts. First, check out this totally fascinating post from nihilistic_kid which basically demolishes GRRM's claim that H.P. Lovecraft died in poverty because he allowed unlicensed derivative fanworks of his books. I really recommend this post, not only for the information about Lovecraft, but especially for links and discussion in the comments that cast the infamous Marion Zimmer Bradley fanfic case in a somewhat different light.

The other is from GRRM himself. He's posted on this issue twice more since his original comment on the situation. The first was a standard attempt to simultaneously entrench and backpedal (he did acknowledge the copyright misconpetion, sorta), but the other is actually fairly thoughtful and interesting, and it's worth reading, if you can get past his annoying habit of referring to fan writers as "fan fictioneers". It's an emotional look at what his characters mean to him, and why reaction to fanworks can be just as much about love for the original creators as for the fan writers. Fan writers create out of love for the characters and the world; original creators feel protective of their creations for the same reason. While I still take issue with some of the particulars of his argument, I find it a lot more sympathetic than the usual "copyright/stealing/talentless hacks/write your own stuff/ZOMGporn!" tactics that pro authors often use against fic. Good debate in the comments, too. For starters, I recommend this comment, a semi-rebuttal from dagas_isa taking issue with the implication that pro authors who allow and/or encourage fic love their characters less than GRRM. And I agree: not more or less, although possibly different.


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 10th, 2010 03:39 pm (UTC)
BAAAHLETION! Well, she is still reachable on the Compuserve board. And she is mentioned on Encyclopedia Dramatica.
May. 10th, 2010 04:21 pm (UTC)
I think it's telling that fanfiction sees the most pushback from novelists, as opposed to, say, TV creators/writers, comic authors, etc. I'm assuming it's something to do with a) TV/movies/comics/games are more collaborative by their nature and b) since the medium is the same (text), it is harder to negotiate the difference for the pro-writers.

(And personally, I think some writers are insecure and have a fear of someone 'doing it better' that in part feeds their antipathy of fanfic.)
May. 10th, 2010 05:06 pm (UTC)
I was talking about this subject with some RL friends over dinner last week, and one of them made a similar point to your "a": she thinks that book authors should be able to say "no fic" and have that position be respected, because they created the characters themselves. But since characters are mostly created collaboratively in other forms of media, no one has as strong a claim on them, which means that fic of those characters is always okay in her eyes. It's a nuance I hadn't really thought of before she brought it up.

The same-media thing is also interesting. If you read the comments on the GRRM posts, you might have noticed that he is absolutely fine with unlicensed fanart -- actively encourages it, is happy to have people send it to him. He even has a page for it on his website. Changed media is less of a threat? But then, how far do you have to go? I had a conversation with rabbitprint about this yesterday and he raised that point: if fanart is okay, what about a fan comic? Or an illustrated story? Where's the line between storytelling and art?

And I agree that, consciously or not, that insecurity certainly plays a role for at least some authors.
May. 10th, 2010 06:45 pm (UTC)
I'm no fan of Derleth's work, but even I can admit that it's his fanficery and devotion that saved Lovecraft's work from almost certain oblivion. o_o

also, Lovecraft died from cancer, not copyright, wth?

/never heard this argument before.
May. 10th, 2010 07:47 pm (UTC)
Now he ded from fanfi
GRRM's argument, as best as I could understand, was that HPL was poor in part because he allowed people to write in his universe without paying licensing fees. He speculated that, had HPL charged those writers, he would have had more money, hence a better diet and/or access to medical care, and therefore might have lived longer. According to the nihilistic_kid post I linked (not to mention common sense?) there about a million things wrong with that argument, but that was the claim.

It does seem likely that the expose that Lovecraft's universe got through official and unofficial fic is a huge factor in the ongoing popularity of his work. And really, which would most authors rather leave: an enduring creative legacy, or a pile of money for their heirs? (I'm seeing some evidence that GRRM would choose the latter, which might explain some things.)
May. 10th, 2010 07:32 pm (UTC)
KJ, thank you so much for your continued updates on this debate(/shitstorm) and your thoughtful commentary. I admit that I have missed most of what happened, but thanks to your posts, I can go back and have a look.

The mindset of some people astonishes me.
May. 10th, 2010 07:49 pm (UTC)
You're welcome! It's been fascinating to follow along.
May. 10th, 2010 10:33 pm (UTC)
The more I think about it, the parenting metaphor he used is completely apt once I get past the surface implication that "our characters are our children" and look at say the difference between stricter and more lenient parents (as well as the level of parental control that's going to be exercised once the kids 'leave the nest' as it is).

Obviously fanfiction is not going to be anything the GRRM is ever going to want for his character, but I doubt J.K. Rowling loves her characters any less for allowing her fans to write fic about them.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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