Fanfiction is definitely a controversial subject. The question has always been- is it right to profit off a story based on someone else’s work? The books below are good examples of how humble fanfiction can grow into something separate to the tale that inspired it. Some authors love it, some authors hate it, and some authors owe it their career. “It” is fanfiction, and here are some of the most famous examples.
1. The Mortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare
Clary is Ginny Weasley, and Jace is Draco Malfoy. The series is based on Clare’s Harry Potter fanfiction, published in installments between 2000 and 2006. While the characters are not immediately similar to JK Rowling’s creations, fandom lore assures me Clare’s interpretation of the characters was always more amusing than faithful. The Mortal Instruments introduces Shadowhunters, descendants of angels, bred to fight demons. The setting is very different to the Harry Potter universe, and since the books are a copy of a fanfiction of another book, they have definitely evolved into something separate.
Disclaimer- Clare has been accused of plagiarism many times, from copying throwaway lines from Buffy to lifting chapters from an out of print novel. If that prickles your sensibilities, skip this series.
2. Point Pleasant by Jen Archer Wood
Can’t get enough of CW’s Supernatural? Check out this moody horror by one of the series‘ biggest fans. Monster-slaying Dean Winchester is bestselling author Ben Wiseheart. An encounter with the paranormal at the age of eight changed his life, and heartbreak drove him from his hometown of Point Pleasant. Drawn home many years later, Ben finds his life becoming entwined with that of his childhood best friend and first love, Sherrif Nick Nolan. The longing of the love story will make your heart ache, and with Supernatural placing so much emphasis on family, it is nice to see two main characters engage in a bit of lovin’.
The story itself is fantastic, with an eerie tension that will play on your mind.
3. Paradise Lost by John Milton
I don’t know if this is the first fanfiction ever written- Virgil’s Aeneid springs to mind- but it sure is a hella old one. Milton’s epic poem retells the tale of Adam and Eve’s banishment from the Garden of Eden. The characters- divine, mortal and diabolic- are more rounded out in the poem than the sacred text. Adam and Eve are portrayed in a sympathetic light, and humankind’s redemption is emphasized. Both stories are a bit heavy for day to day reading, but it’s nice to see a different take on a tale many people have known their whole lives.
4. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith
You might have caught the recent movie adaptation of this one. Lizzie Bennet and her sisters are a five-woman army, trained in martial arts to defend humankind from the undead. Although hilariously over the top, it might be the best example on this list of fanfiction done well. Pretty much every element of the original is present- from Mrs Bennet’s determination to marry off her girls, to Elizabeth’s mercurial feelings towards Darcy. The zombies make as much sense as they can in such a setting. The violence is senseless and tremendous fun. Maybe it’s bastardizing a classic, but the original love story and wry social commentary are still there. Everyone just has a katana now.
5. 50 Shades of Grey by EL James
Ooh, a contentious one. EL James’ erotic trilogy has become a global smash hit and a blockbuster movie. Twilight’s Bella Swan and Edward Cullen, the innocents who saved themselves for marriage, would no doubt be horrified by their alter-egos’ scandalous behavior. Is it the best example of erotica? No. Is it a healthy portrayal of a BDSM relationship? Hell no. But it exists, it’s based on fanfiction and it’s incredibly famous, so I felt it deserved a mention. Do you see merits in the story I do not? Feel free to persuade me in the comments section below.
What do you think of fanfiction? What are some of your favorite fics?
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