Fans take control of TV...On-Line

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Press Commentary
Title: Fans take control of TV...On-Line
Commentator: Colin Flanigan
Date(s): unknown, between 1997 and 2001
Venue: Pitch Magazine, online
Fandom: The X-Files, others
External Links: Fans take control of TV...On-Line (Wayback Geocities version)
Fans take control of TV...On-Line (saved Geocities version)
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Fans take control of TV...On-Line is an article about fanfiction. It introduces a lay audience to the genre and then uses The X-Files as an "example of how a successful show spawns mountains of fanfic."

Genres like angst, MSR, casefile stories, crossovers and slash are explained and there is a link to the Gossamer archive (Simplenet version).

Fans interviewed for the article include Paula Graves, "a popular and prolific X-Files fanfic writer", Karen Rasch, "another accomplished X-Files fanfic writer whose "Words" series literally encompasses hundreds of pages", slash writer Brenda Antrim ("goes further than most in discussing why one would write slash"), Kelli Rochelle, Peggy Li ("combined the TV cult hit Twin Peaks with "XF" characters in a story entitled "Into the Woods"") and Sheryl Martin.

The article mentions that "Star Wars creator George Lucas once threatened to sue any and all fanfic writers when he came across a bit of extravagant Star Wars erotica. He's since relented but there is many a fanfic site, especially those with doctored pictures showing well known copyrighted characters, which are told to cease and desist." Textual Poachers by Henry Jenkins is also mentioned.

Perhaps the most interesting part of this phenomenon is the on-line community which has grown up around fanfic. Anyone who writes and posts an X-Files fanfic on one of the many group archives instantly receives mail. It's a guaranteed audience. Many of these groups now give out their own awards and even meet...off-line as well as on. Sheryl Martin, who was quoted in an article the New York Times ran on fanfic, met her fiance through her on-line life. She tells the appeal of this community this way. "I just like to make people happy- yeah, I know it sounds simplistic; but when I get a fan letter back...it just makes my day." One Star Wars fanfic writer made the observation that with audio and visual sampling technology becoming more and more sophisticated a new form of fanfic could arise. One where you took the images and sounds from a show with enough background material, say the long running series Seinfeld, and constructed a whole new episode. It must be said that with fanfic, the show never ends.
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