Diane Werts, a terrific TV columnist and feature-writer, wrote about fanfic this week and champions a view very different than my own:
Fan fiction has become a booming hobby, with millions of stories written for
cyberspace by ordinary consumers of TV shows, movies, books, even video games.
"Fanfic" recycles well-known characters by taking them down fresh paths,
recounted in epic-length chronicles, 100-word "drabbles," explicit character
vignettes and crossovers between completely unrelated series. The reimaginings
use existing entertainment icons to present an alternative mythology to the
"official" version – a modern grassroots folklore subverting corporate control
of "intellectual property."
I wouldn’t characterize KIRK/SPOCK slash as "grassroots folklore," but I certainly agree that it’s "subverting corporate control of intellectual property" as well as the authors intellectual property rights (something she makes only passing reference to in her piece).
Diane definitely sees fanfic as something positive and buys heavily into the romanticized notion of fanfic as modern-day folklore, continuing traditions began around the campfire centuries ago. Obviously, I don’t agree… but since Diane and I are friends, and my views on fanfic are hardly a secret, I’ll leave it at that.