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Do you read or write fan fiction? Blogger Laura McConnell discusses her experiences of contributing to the TV community:
The Highest Form of Flattery
I recently spent some time on the couch with a stomach bug and several Stargate DVDs. The stomach bug passed, but one line of dialogue kept rolling around in my head until this came out.
In the Stargate Atlantis episode “Doppelganger,” one character remarks to another that “it’s almost as if somebody in a warm, cosy room typing on their computer sent us here for their own amusement.”
Most people would probably assume that remark was directed at the writers of the show, but for those of us who write fan fiction, it struck a chord. We laughed our way to our computers and once there we did indeed amuse ourselves with more Atlantis adventures than we could ever see on screen.
See, fan fiction aficionados are an interesting breed.
We pick up on lines like this one and embrace them, and we have very good reasons for this. After all, we’ve come a long way since the Trek ‘zines of the ’60s. In fact, in the past ten years, we’ve gone from mostly underground to nearly mainstream, and the recognition is nice.
The internet, for better or worse, gave us a much louder voice in the mid-’90s. By blind luck, one television show changed everything. While other fandoms have surpassed it in numbers and websites now, The X-Files was the first show with a strong internet fan base. It was also the first show to have huge fan fiction archives online. Because of this, The X-Files can be used to sum up the fan fiction journey quite well.
Chris Carter, creator of The X-Files, was none too fond of fan fiction at first. He was pretty vocal in his opposition of it. But over time, Carter changed his tune. He began to embrace X-Files fans more as the show’s following grew, and fan fiction writers were no exception to this new behaviour.
Nothing proves this more than X-Files character Leyla Harrison.
Even though Leyla appeared in only two episodes, she is nonetheless important. Leyla Harrison, the character, was named after Leyla Harrison, the fan fiction writer. The real life Leyla succumbed to cancer in her mid-20s, when The X-Files was still on the air. Chris Carter heard about this, and he homaged the young woman in his show.
They say that imitation is the highest form of flattery, and it seems that that works both ways.
I can think of no greater compliment to a show than to write about it, and I can think of no greater way for a show to embrace the fan fiction world than to give us a shout out. I still smile when I think of Agent Leyla Harrison, because the character proves a point: like the Atlantis writers after him, Chris Carter realized that, like it or not, fan fiction is here to stay.
This is a personal article by Laura McConnell, one of our new bloggers – read more about our volunteer contributors on this dedicated page.
Your thoughts about this subject are welcome as always, in the comment thread below or on our forum. Let us know your personal experiences of the fan fiction community.