Luscious Lucy gets naked

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Press Commentary
Title: Luscious Lucy gets naked
Commentator: Gail J Cohen
Date(s): 06 May 1999
Venue: Xtra!
Fandom: Xena: Warrior Princess
External Links: Luscious Lucy gets naked (Wayback)
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Luscious Lucy gets naked is an article about Xena: Warrior Princess fanfiction. The article's topic line says: "Gazillions of fans imagine Xena & Gabrielle doing the nasty."

The article gives a bit of context by saying that the internet "is crawling with fan fiction sites dedicated to the X-Files (lots of Mulder and Scully smooching), Star Trek (it all began with "slash fiction" exploring the sexual relationship between Spock and Capt Kirk), Buffy The Vampire Slayer" and then goes on to focus on Xena fanfiction.

Xena fan fiction is an explosive growth industry. Over the past two years the number of on-line, fan-created stories dedicated to the heroes and anti-heroes of this mythological world have skyrocketed from about 100 to well over 2,000. There are about 800 bards worldwide, says Kevin Unverferth, who runs The Athenaeum, a comprehensive computerized database of Xena fan fiction. It averages 6,000 hits a day.

The archivist of The Athenaeum explains that "bards are generally women - but there are some men", and Rooks, a straight male fan who writes stories about relationships and lesbian sex, is mentioned. On the question why it's so popular:

It's also the rare blend of strong women, surviving and travelling together without the aid of men, and the bond of love and friendship between the two, says Maribel Piloto, a Miami librarian who reviews fan fiction under the pseudonym Lunacy. The action, special effects and zany humour of the show are fun, but the heart of it all is the women, says Piloto.

"The appeal of that relationship is, in my opinion, the reason for the success of Xena," she says. "One strong female heroine is rare enough. Having two is a gift."

Melissa Good ("considered by many to be the doyenne of the genre") is said to have "created a whole different life for the characters that weaves in and out of the television episodes" and the article describes the rise of the Uber genre:

Some of the best stories, many of them novels, really, have sprung up from this alternate exploration of the characters. Chicago 5am pits a Xena-like private detective and a novice Gabrielle-esque FBI agent against a child slavery ring in modern-day Chicago.

Other Über works show the two distinctive pals as a reporter and drug lord, a wealthy socialite-cum-sleuth and her former-prostitute assistant, a spy and a lawyer, an outlaw and school marm, ranging through time from the Middle Ages to the techno future.

Good created a wildly popular duo, Dar and Kerry, in her first uber-outing, Tropical Storm. She says she draws on her own personal experience in the high-tech world and living around Miami, and combines that with the personalities of Xena and Gabrielle.

Her stuff is so popular that Good, who also goes by the pen name Merwolf, has her own 750-member fan club of Merpups. There's also an Internet page dedicated to the Dar and Kerry characters on the Australian Xena Information Page, one of the biggest fan-run websites.

Because of the popularity of uber fanfiction, one of the Merpups "founded Justice House Publishing, and is putting out in paperback the most popular Über titles."

JHP's first three books are slated for release in mid-May and pre-sales have been brisk, she says. Within two weeks of announcing the publication of Good's Tropical Storm, Paterson had 500 orders for the 512-page, US$17 book. Who knows where the future may lead for some of these bards. What started out as a way to enhance their experience in the Xenaverse has turned into something more. Good says she just signed a contract with a production company to make a film of Tropical Storm.
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