|Trope · Genre|
|Synonyms:||reaction fic, fix-it story, HEX (in B7), rebuttal|
|Related:||shared universe, Remix, unauthorized sequels, metafic|
|Tropes · Slash Tropes · Tropes by Fandom|
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
Responsefic is a fanwork created in part as a method of conversation, or argumentation, sparked from the creation of someone else's fanwork, or an entire trend of fanwork. Sometimes the line is very blurry between casually sharing someone's universe, a trend in fandom where a number of stories seem to share aspects, and a story that is specially responding another another fanwork. The odds that a fanwork would be given the label responsefic seems to be more likely if the response appears to be negative. Sometimes those stories are also called rebuttal. Unlike many other glossary words, a recent conversation about the term responsefic  showed that while most fans could think of examples of it, most weren't familiar with the specific term.
Reactions to themes or trends in fandom
ResponseFic has a long history in fandom. In the 70s, as K/S was publicly appearing in Star Trek zines, many people feared that The Premise was tearing Star Trek fandom apart. J. Emily Vance (a pseudonym for Nancy Kippax, April Valentine and Beverly Volker), wrote The Rack to show how completely implausible the premise was. In The Rack, Starfleet Command suspects Kirk and Spock of having an affair, and court-martials them. At the end of the story, Kirk attempts suicide. The authors wrote the story to show what, in their opinion, would "really" happen if Starfleet suspected, even erroneously, that Kirk and Spock were having an affair.
In Highlander, both in fiction and metaconversation, it wasn't uncommon for people to talk about Duncan, the protagonist of the series, as if he were a stuffy moralistic prude. Luminosity created the songvid Not a Virgin Anymore to have an excuse to use three minutes of clips of Duncan drinking, wenching and carousing, to show certain fans that their fanon had completely overwritten the readily available canon.
In OZ fandom, Feochadn and Michelle Christian became annoyed by vids that seemed to reduce a richly complex (and violent) ensemble show to nothing but a twisted romance about two characters. To make a point about how OZ-the-show diverged from OZ-the-romance-about-two-guys, they made a vid to the theme music to The Love Boat, consisting of some of the most violent and bloody moments of the show up to that time.
Reactions to canon
When TPTB make sudden changes to a show or other source, or go in an unsatisfactory direction, fans often feel the need to 'fix' what they feel the show has broken.
Response fic in zines vs online
Some fans feel that the migration of fic online has made rebuttal fic today a lost art. One fan writes that maybe this is, "...an Internet thing, because passing things you don't like is easier AND recommended, and you get so much more to read that one single story rarely steers the passion enough to push anyone in writing an explicit rebuttal?...Interestingly, I think a rebuttal of a story in story form would be seen as impolite today... At least that's my feeling about it and that what I got from discussions with other current authors about stories we disliked/would have liked to rewrite. The usual opinion seems to be that it would be an affront. Today, if you don't like a story, it's expected you skip it - and if you write something as rebuttal, not to mention what you rebut." 
Reactions to Responsefic
Some people feel that responsefic is unfair. It can look like the responding author is bullying the original author. However, when the original author and the one responding are established authors with a readership of their own, it's not so much about authors bullying each other as it is about a perceived attack on the readers of the original; they liked it in the first place and are put on the defense by the reactions to the second story. Pitching readers against readers is rarely pleasant and a huge part of the controversy. This can be true when the fic is in response to a trend as well, not just a specific work.
Examples of Response Fics
- Two-Up Truly Queered was a step-by-step response to the homophobia that Jane Carnall saw in Jane of Australia's story Two-Up.
- The story Take Clothes Off As Directed by Helen was a response to Coming Home by Xanthe and perceived by some fans as a comment on the likeliness or unlikeliness of Xanthe's BDSM universe .
- Helen's popslash story All I Ever Needed was a response to All I Ever Wanted by NSyncGrrl and was meant as a parody that was supposed to make fun of the soap-opera-like qualities of the original, but some of NSyncGrrl's readers accused Helen of plagiarism and thought the response was in bad taste.
- The Beauty & The Beast zine Black Cover so shocked B&TB fandom at the time that a response zine was created, White Cover.
- The Star Trek Kraith series by Jacqueline Lichtenberg inspired others who disagreed with its premise to write rebuttals. (Examples?)
- The Star Trek: TOS story A Handful of Snowflakes, by M.L. "Steve" Barnes, tells how Spock has suffered serious brain damage, and Christine Chapel is the only one who believes there's something of Spock's mind left that is still viable. A Touch Of Love by Jacqueline Bielowicz, published in 1976 in Tal-Shaya #3 was written explicitly as a rebuttal to M.L.'s story, and is one in which Christine makes a different choice.
- The Pros circuit story Consequences by Tarot and A.N. Other (online pseuds), a partner rape story, gave birth to over a dozen response fics, including a zine novel. Responses ranged from serious to satire to parody.
- Another example is Velvet Underground by Sebastian, a BDSM story that upset another Pros author, Artemis, enough that Artemis wrote Dance with the Devil. Artemis' author notes are explicit about her intent to counter the original story. A responsefic to Sebastian's partner betrayal story ("Catharsis") resulted in heated discussion on Virgule-L which then spilled over to the CI5 List. See Sebastian rewriting controversy for more.
- Never My Love by Candy Apple has the introduction, "These stories and the accompanying essay were written as a response to the genre of fanfiction known as "Domestic Discipline". The title for the series is inspired by what I would picture being Jim's reply to Blair's question: 'Would you ever hit me in the name of love?'"
- Leslye Lilker, author of a number of 1970s Star Trek: TOS stories wrote in a personal statement that an author has used a name Lilker made up: "In this zine [-The Sensuous Vulcan-], appears a story... that used 'Valjn'd'jt,' the name of Sarek's home in the Sahaj universe, despite a request not to... I read the story before publication, and for my answer to 'The Way of the Warrior,' please read 'Nivar to a Desert Room' to appear in The Other Side." 
- An example of how a third party, in this case a casual statement by a reviewer, can muddy the waters: "[Name redacted] did a review of Mahko Root in which she mentions Jane Aumerle's story, 'Do Not Go Gentle,' as the end of a 'trilogy of Kirk-with-a-fatal-illness stories started in Contact #3.' I'd like to correct that statement. The 'twin vignettes': 'When Time Comes' and 'Not Yet There.' were NOT written as part of a trilogy. I purposely left the end undefined so that the reader could supply his own, thus the speculation as to whether Kirk died or not was part of the effect. Jane decided that he did and wrote her excellent interpretation and published it in 'Mahko Root.' However, that ending is no more or less valid than anyone else's fantasy. I have no objection to anyone writing or ending or spin off of any of my stories, but I do not want them mistaken as part of the original author's intention." 
- Rebelcat's Starsky and Hutch story Denial is Not Just a River in Egypt is a response to the We're Not Gay; We Just Love Each Other trope.
- Beside the Wells by UKJess is a response to Star Trek: TOS stories in which Kirk is a slave to Spock in Ancient Vulcan. "The story is a reply to a lot of old-style K/S stories set in some form of unreformed Vulcan in which, after a brief and usually perfunctory resistance, Kirk settle down quite happily to a life of servitude, apparently forgiving the rape that tends to occur en route. I found this scenario superbly unlikely, whatever one thinks of the character he was the most determined individualist and I think you'd have to be a saint to forgive rape - so I wrote this story."
- Thread in sherrold's LJ asking for a label other than "Reaction fic? Answer fic? Piss-on-you fic?"
- CatalenaMara: Fan History and Rebuttal Fic
- from a personal statement by Leslye Lilker in Scuttlebutt #5
- from a personal statement by Bev Volker in Scuttlebutt #6
- Original Usenet posting