Does Fan Fiction Deserve a Readership or a Copyright Lawsuit?
Novels that are transparently taken from more original works are sometimes praised as the stuff of art and other times are lamented by authors who think they violate their sacred work.
What's the Latest Development?
In the album Sketches of Spain, Miles Davis riffs on traditional Spanish flamenco music to create literally one of the most inspired jazz collections of all time. But writing seems to play by different rules. In 2011, a book billed as the sequel to The Catcher in the Rye was banned from publication by a US court. Today, E.L. James' Fifty Shades of Grey has become an international bestseller though it takes Edward and Bella from Stephenie Meyer's best-selling Twilight fiction. "James took elements of Ms. Meyer's characters and plot and set them in the world of sexual submission and dominance," says the Wall Street Journal's Cynthia Crossen.
What's the Big Idea?
Fan fiction, in which inspired fans write sequels to or spin-offs of an original work of fiction using the same characters, "exists in a legal gray area; it appears to violate copyright law, but it's a labor of love, not avarice." Typically published online and with a disclaimer stating the characters are not original, fan fiction is accepted by some professional authors but not by others. Michael Chabon, in his defense of fan fiction, makes the salient point that the history of art is the passing down of story forms and archetypal characters: "There is a degree to which...all literature, highbrow or low, from the Aeneid onward, is fan fiction. ... All novels are sequels; influence is bliss."
Photo credit: Shutterstock.com
Giving our solar system a "slap in the face."
- A stream of galactic debris is hurtling at us, pulling dark matter along with it
- It's traveling so quickly it's been described as a hurricane of dark matter
- Scientists are excited to set their particle detectors at the onslffaught
The climate change we're witnessing is more dramatic than we might think.
A lazy buzz phrase – 'Is this the new normal?' – has been doing the rounds as extreme climate events have been piling up over the past year. To which the riposte should be: it's worse than that – we're on the road to even more frequent, more extreme events than we saw this year.
Once again, our circadian rhythm points the way.
- Seven individuals were locked inside a windowless, internetless room for 37 days.
- While at rest, they burned 130 more calories at 5 p.m. than at 5 a.m.
- Morning time again shown not to be the best time to eat.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.