TPTB's Involvement and Interference

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Fandoms had different levels of involvement with The Powers That Be, the creators of their source texts. This involvement varied in intensity, took on several forms, and had differing end results.

For a list of professional writers and their views on fanworks based on their material, see Professional Author Fanfic Policies.

No Involvement

Some fandoms, even very large ones, had very little or no contact with the producers, writers or actors. Some examples:

Direct Participation

Some canon creators directly participated in fandom.

an issue of the 1968 ST-Phile, signed by Gene Roddenberry, Leonard Nimoy, and William Shatner, is an early example of TPTB's knowledge of a zine fandom

Some Fans Don't Want TPTB's Involvement

  • a Star Wars fan writes: "What do I want from Lucas film? To be left alone, mostly." [1]
  • a Starsky and Hutch fan begs for the next Zebracon not to be in Los Angeles but somewhere in the Midwest. One reason: “If Spelling-Goldberg wouldn’t let Paulie put the guys’ pictures on T-shirts for a con in Chicago, what other kind of restrictions would be run up against if we held a con right there in their own backyard, where they could even sort of ‘drop by’ to check on things?”' [2]
  • a Star Wars writes: "I'm not at all as enthusiastic about the pro fiction out there. Fortunately, I just kept myself from opening my mouth on the subject on the Fidonet SW echo (discussion), when I found out that Kevin Anderson was lurking there ... but now I can at last say what I really think about Jedi Search." [3]

Some Fans Directly, and Indirectly, Contacted TPTB

While some fans were "required" to send their fannish work to TPTB (See: Open Letter to Star Wars Zine Publishers by Maureen Garrett, other fans directly, or indirectly, voluntarily alerted the original creators of their fanworks. Sometimes this had positive results. Other times, not so much.

Some examples:

Cover of the controversial issue #8

The eighth (and final) issue of The Holmesian Federation included a novella titled "The Adventure of the Gentleman in Black", written by Tina Rhea about a case in which Holmes & Watson encounter le Comte de Saint-Germain, the protagonist in a series of novels by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro who based her character on the Count of St. Germain, a historical figure from the 18th century. On learning of the novella's publication, Yarbro contacted legal counsel and sent Cease & Desist letters to the author and editor. A protracted dispute ensued; Yarbro's account of the matter appeared in consecutive issues of the SFWA Bulletin.[4] [5][6] The case was eventually resolved when the fans agreed to publish notices acknowledging copyright infringement in industry trade publications, and to forward all remaining copies of the issue in question to Yarbro for destruction.[5] Sources differ as to the specific publications in which the notices ran. Yarbro[5] and others[7] specifically cite Publishers Weekly as one venue; others mentioned (but not confirmed at this writing) include Locus and the SFWA Bulletin. A fan comments: "My own sense is that the Yarbro case is also not a definitive argument against fanfic. What got the fanwriter and editor into trouble in that one was that they personally and directly drew Yarbro's attention to what they were doing...and went ahead after she explicitly denied permission to publish. In a sense, this was the flip side of MZB's arguable error in judgment; where MZB attempted to get too involved with fanwriting, the Yarbro fanwriters attempted to get too involved with Yarbro." [8]


Before George Lucas' edict, some fans volunteered their creations:
In the spirit of sharing, early editors of Star Wars zines often sent their finished products to the offices of Lucasfilms. [9]
Another fan had this fear:
I'd love to send copies of these stories to TPTB, but I'm afraid they'd miss the author's intended meaning, and use them for plot ideas…[10]
From a submission request for the zine Here Lies Illya Kuryakin:
Anything and and everything will be read and considered and all are welcome -- from poetry to filksongs to stories. Art also greeted with open arms. No heavy 'R' or 'X' as a copy will be sent to Mr. McCallum upon publication. [11]
One zine, Third Age, was dead in the water before it even began.
Several months ago I wrote to J. Michael Straczynski to inform him of my plans to publish a fan publication based on Babylon 5. I finally received a reply a couple of weeks ago from Joanne Higgins (assistant to Straczynski) of Babylonian Productions. Even though my letter emphasized the fact that this fanzine was not for profit, Ms. Higgins has expressly forbidden me to publish Third Age, stating that "all publications using the Babylon 5 name must be licensed through Warner Brothers as they own the rights." Apparently Warner Bros does not share Paramount's view that fan publications increase fan awareness and commercial success of a series (Paramount has no problem with Star Trek fanzines as long as they are non-profit). Warner must also be unaware of the other B5 fan publications that are out there. As a result, I will not be publishing Third Age as planned. I've written back expressing my disappointment in this apparent "ban" on B5 fandom. [12]
The editors of Snakebit wrote of the response they got when they sent their zines to some of the Escape from New York creators:
John Carpenter was "... very impressed with the quality of the writing in Snakebit." And Mike McQuay said, "I read Snakebit the minute I got it out of my mailbox and loved it!"' The editors of Snakebit add: "Are we proud? You betcherass!! [13]
Deb Walsh recalls her proposed 1988 Tanith Lee zine, "Ghyste Mortua." It was to be based on Lee's Kill the Dead novel which Blake's 7 actor Paul Darrow declared was based on the characters of Avon and Vila:
..this zine was going to be my masterpiece. I had amazing stories - oh, fabulous stuff. Gorgeous art. It was going to be massive. I was exploring special black mailing envelopes, and I was designing a special insignia to use for wax seals on the envelopes. And I got involved in a very pleasant letter correspondence with the publisher of Daw Books, Donald A. Wolheim. Lovely man. I think I may have written originally to find out if there was any chance that 'Kill the Dead' might be reprinted... I mentioned the zine, he was thrilled. He mentioned the zine to Ms. Lee, she was appalled. She was very concerned at that moment in time that any hint that her novel - which was currently out of print - might be construed as stepping on BBC copyright. The zine died a sudden and definitive death. Much of the work I'd accepted found its way into other zines, but I could not publish it. [14]
Another fan explained that she was sending copies of the zine to the actors themselves:
A copy of each zine is going to PMG and DS. Everyone attending Zebra Con will be signing them before they are sent off. [15]
The actor who played Julian Bashir was given three fiction zines at the second Lunch with the Doctor. The editor gave Sid a copy of Palpitations, and he said that he would record some of the stories on tape. Another fan gave him a copy of Doctor Julian Subatoi Bashir: This is Your Life:
Again, Sid said, "I presume I'll get at least a couple of these on tape. I don't know when that will be." Finally, [L F] presented him with Through the Wormhole, showing him the Dax centerfold. [16]
At least one fan found herself disillusioned with the very show she'd based her letterzine on:
I chose to become involved with the Simon production offices, no one forced me to. But l've paid the price - the knowledge that real life problems such as networks, executives, ratings, production details and the personalaties [sic] of all those involved all dictate what we see on the air. lt's fun to totally immerse oneself in the fantasy world of Rick and A.J., but for me, it's become a luxury I can no longer enjoy. I know that we'll never see the type of episodes we talk about in this letterzine or in fan fiction and because I know that, I view Simon differently than I used to. Once you see behind the camera, it's hard to maintain the fantasy. I chose to see behind the camera, so l'm not asking for sympathy here, but nothing destroys illusions better than visits to the set and talks with people involved in the show. [17]

Citing LGBTQ Visibility as a Rationale for Canon Same-Sex Shipping

In the 2010s, many fans have begun communicating to The Powers That Be via Facebook, Twitter &c., supporting their favorite slash pairings and suggesting storylines in which they could be made canon. They make strong arguments in favor of establishing relationships between male stars in shows with fannish appeal; science fiction and fantasy, magic realism, "buddy cop" shows and action-adventure series. These fans often cite the need for more visible LGBTQ characters on television, making their petitions in terms of a call for visible diversity rather than a personal obsession or kink.

This has particularly been the case with Supernatural. Fans claiming to be LGBTQ, or to be supportive of same, have lobbied heavily for canon relationships between Dean and Sam Winchester, and especially for Dean and the angel Castiel (Misha Collins). Dean has had relationships with women in the past, especially Cassie (Megalyn Echikunwoke), to the chagrin of slash shippers. When Castiel had romance with a woman (April Kelly, played by Shannon Lucio) at the end of season 9, negative fan response pinned the meters. WB executive Chad Kennedy's Twitter account blew up after he said that the producers had not intended for either Dean or Castiel to be bisexual. He clarified that he did not write the show; that no one had pitched him an episode in which the male leads had romance with one another; but that he would not rule it out if such a script did come to him. [18]

Sherlock has received similar attentions from fans, including online petitions, but creator Steven Moffat says he has no intention of allowing the famous pair to consummate their relationship physically. [19]

TPTB? Who Cares About Them?

At a recent science fiction convention, one relatively new fan contrasted her views towards TPTB with that of earlier fans. This statement not only reflects changes in studio attitudes towards fan creations, but the place of the earliest generations of fans and especially the Fair Use Act in creating an environment where this writer could say such things:
"[The panel] was a bunch of writers who had mostly gotten their start in 1970s K/S and had mostly transitioned to being profic writers. When they were sharing fandom stories from back in the day, the panel was great. When they were talking about their approach to fanfic and its relationship to canon, TPTB, profic, and tie-ins, they were so far on the other side of a cultural and to some degree generational divide from me that it wasn't even worth the time and effort to argue with them.


They believed that the reason they could write Trekfic was because Paramount let them/turned a blind eye, and they believed that when Paramount started recruiting fic writers to write tie-in novels, that amounted to Paramount finally paying attention to the fandom.[20] I don't think they could have possibly understood the relationship I have with TPTB in my fandoms, that I don't care whether or not they want me to be writing the fic, that I often write fic that would be read as deliberately confrontational toward TPTB, except that I don't give a shit whether they read it because I'm writing in conversation with other fans, not in conversation with the creators. They can't comprehend how I approach contemporary copyright law as a thing to ignore when one is not politically inspired and to campaign against when one is."[21]

Gene Roddenberry (Star Trek)

Gene Roddenberry reading the zine Galileo 7 at FunCon 1968, photo by Kathy Bushman

Also see Professional Author Fanfic Policies.

  • The Halkan Council reported on "Gene Roddenberry's phone call to the August Party convention, and it had a remarkably accurate summary of the plot of Star Trek: The Motion Picture." The August Party convention was held in Maryland in the 1970s. It always featured a long-distance call with Gene Roddenberry, and the information would then be passed along to the rest of fandom. [22]
  • Susan Sackett, Gene Roddenberry's assistant, wrote in 1976: "Thank you for the copies of The Halkan Council. I have looked them over, and especially the letter that [name omitted] wrote, and enjoyed it very much. She said some nice things about me. I'm not sure where she got the impression that we don't receive fanzines in our office, but we've got quite a few. In fact, I have a whole filing cabinet full of them. Most of them Gene just has time to glance at since he is so busy. Good luck with your future issues. I'm sure they will be something to look forward to." [23]
  • Gene Roddenberry wrote: "...We were particularly amazed when thousands, then tens of thousands of people began creating their own personal Star Trek adventures. Stories, and paintings, and sculptures, and cookbooks. And songs, and poems, and fashions. And more. The list is still growing. It took some time for us to fully understand and appreciate what these people were saying. Eventually we realized that there is no more profound way in which people could express what Star Trek has meant to them than by creating their own very personal Star Trek things. Because I am a writer, it was their Star Trek stories that especially gratified me. I have seen these writings in dog-eared notebooks of fans who didn't look old enough to spell "cat." I have seen them in meticulously produced fanzines, complete with excellent artwork. Some of it has even been done by professional writers, and much of it has come from those clearly on their way to becoming professional writers. Best of all, all of it was plainly done with love." [24]
letter from Gene Roddenberry addressed to the official fan club members, see Inside Star Trek
  • From a memorial to M.L. Steve Barnes, a fan remembers: "It was just another of those dirty jokes that we all laughed about when [Steve] put together an x-rated tape using recorded bits of voices from all the tapes she had made of Star Trek episodes. It was so funny you laughed until your sides hurt, and it was hard to breathe...[25] When Maureen Wilson, the president of Gene Roddenberry's fan club told the Great Bird of the Galaxy about it, he wanted to hear the tape. When Maureen asked Stevie if she would send the tape to her to pass on to GR, Stevie was torn between wanting him to hear the tape and afraid he might disapprove. She had stars in her eyes when she showed us the personal letter he wrote to her expressing to her his enjoyment of the tape, and his appreciation of the fact that she did it only with her tape recorder, having no access to any kind of sound equipment." [26]
  • "What do we think of fanzines in those underground jobs, McCoy stretched out on the beach wearing nothing but a smile? Well, I'll tell you, I saw one of Leonard Nimoy. And I have heard that someone was going to do one of me. [Aud: They did.] It better be as good as Leonard's. [Laughter and applause] And I must say I was pleasantly surprised, y'all." [27]
  • "Gene Roddenberry was supportive of fanzines and fan newsletters, and the support went both ways. He and his assistants would give out information to fanzine editors and publishers and directly to fans at conventions (he had an annual call-in to the August Party convention for several years). In particular, the development of Star Trek: The Next Generation was thoroughly documented in fan newsletters through information from Gene Roddenberry and his assistants. (Fans did influence that development. For instance, initially there were no Klingons in ST:TNG; after fans wrote him about it, he added Worf.) After becoming connected with Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Harve Bennett regularly communicated with fans, through fan newsletters such as Interstat as well as through convention appearances. He did listen and respond to fan feedback on his productions, and he seemed to keep in mind fan preferences in making the Star Trek movies he produced, though for every movie, there were fans who were satisfied and dissatisfied with the results." [28]
  • Members of Star Trek Interstellar, the official Star Trek fan club founded while the show was still on the air, received a letter (see image) by Gene Roddenberry: "Welcome to STAR TREK Interstellar! This is the direct line to STAR TREK. We value you, not only as a fan, but as an active participant and contributor to our programs. We want your comments, your questions, your support -- and earnestly solicit you to write to INSIDE STAR TREK, our official fan newsletter. We also may be actively involved later this year in 'Twisting the Peacock's Tail.' More about that later. In the meantime, whatever your color, creed, or shape of ear, welcome aboard!"
  • "We managed to corner Roddenberry at a party in 1984. We asked him what he thought of fan zines. He said he approved. “All sorts of zines?” we asked with deep meaning. "All sorts of zines." He said he thought the characters were safer in the hands of the fans than those of the scriptwriters." [29]
cover of Trekkin' #2, a fan's depiction of The Great Bird of the Galaxy
  • "Among the many stories [in Odyssey] was a transcript of an interview with DeForest Kelley, recorded the previous year at a Space Trek convention in St. Louis. The editors asked the actor if he ever read any fan stories. DeForest Kelley replied, "Some of them I do. It's impossible to read them all.... There's some very good writing, you know. Some of the stories are better than the stories we did in the series." [30]
  • The editor of Interstat published a letter from Harve Bennett. Dated July 18, 1982, the letter said, "To you, to Interstat, and to all the incredible Star Trek fans who have been so generous in their praise of our work, my deepest thanks.... What a privilege for a filmmaker to have an audience that pays attention." [31]
  • Joan Verba remembers receiving a letter from Harve Bennett. "I found a very nice letter from Harve Bennett in my mailbox, dated September 16, 1983. Bennett wrote several Interstat contributors, commenting on something they said in those pages." [32]
  • from Judith Gran's article "Censored" "I can vouch for the fact that Paramount knew about K/S by at least the early 1980s, if not earlier. In April, 1983, I interviewed the lawyer who was in charge of Star Trek copyright matters for Gulf & Western Corporation (which owned Paramount before Viacom) about fan fiction and fair use. He initiated the topic of K/S, and it was clear that he was well aware of its existence and that Paramount had no intention of doing anything about it." [33].
  • In an interview with the National Fantasy Fan Foundation in 2010, Jacqueline Lichtenberg stated that "many years" after her initial contact with Roddenberry, pertaining to Star Trek Lives (this had to have been in 1973 or 1974), she was told that "there were copies of Kraith in Roddenberry's offices while they were working on the early movies (1980 and 1982), and he was asking people to read them." She claimed that elements of the films which are similar to events in Kraith stories were not copied, but were things "any trained writer" would realize were inevitable. Among these were that the Enterprise had to be destroyed, Spock had to die and be reborn -- "undergo a mystical death experience to remain valid" -- and that he had to have a sibling. [34] [35]

J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter)

[need other examples]

J.K. Rowling praised fan Steve Vander Ark regarding The Harry Potter Lexicon, a winner of J. K. Rowling's Fan Site Award, before bringing the legal hammer down. Rowling said: "This is such a great site that I have been known to sneak into an internet café while out writing and check a fact rather than go into a bookshop and buy a copy of Harry Potter (which is embarrassing). A website for the dangerously obsessive; my natural home." [37]

See: Harry Potter Lexicon Trial

Joss Whedon (Buffy, Supernatural, Firefly)

Joss Whedon said of fanfiction, "That’s why I made these shows. I didn’t make them so that people would enjoy them and forget them; I made them so they would never be able to shake them. It’s the way I am as a fan. I create the shows that would make me do that."[38]

  • the vid Kill A Man and fan anger
  • the character, Becky

[need info]

Teen Wolf

Many of the cast as well as the creator/executive producer Jeff Davis is on Twitter and answer questions from fans. Some, like Colton Haynes who plays Jackson on the show, like to have fun with fandom.


Last nights episode was gold for all you #sterek fans! What was your favorite part?

Harve Bennett (Star Trek)

Harve Bennett on the cover of Interstat #139

The review took the letterzine to task for two things:

  • "gnashing of teeth, the raking of claws, and the lashing of tongues -- not to mention the backbiting, mudslinging..."
  • the reviewer's belief that Interstat was nothing but a censored rag devoted to apple-polishing TPTB: "Mr. Bennett's continued interest in the goings-on of the fannish community -- as evidenced by his occasional letters to Interstat -- is the proverbial monkey wrench in the works. The knowledge that 'HB' will be watching casts a entirely new light on the subject, and the subscriber's letters, which once might have started out as an attempt to reach out to new fans and perhaps talk a little Trek, suddenly take on a very personal and a very immediate importance as each tries to impart his or her own personal vision of the essence of True Trek to one in a position of power. It then becomes of paramount importance that these personal visions not be marred or sullied in any way, in the eyes of HB. In this context, any opinion contrary to the author's own personal conception of Trek is taken as a personal attack, and by the same token, if an author wants his/her own beliefs to stand, it often becomes necessary to tear down those of others. Gone is the forum type of atmosphere one would assume of something called a letterzine. Gone is any give-and-take if opinions, any exchange of ideas; the atmosphere of Interstat is quite unmistakably that of competition. The goal is, I think, for each participant to try to get his/her particular vision to be the one that HB selects and possibly incorporates into future Trek projects..."

George Lucas (Star Wars)

inside art from Jundland Wastes #12
Other articles: Lucasfilm and George Lucas.
  • in October 1977, an issue of A Piece of the Action had a prominent warning to fans who may be interested in writing Star Wars fiction. This warning didn't appear to have any basis in example, something the notice mentioned. It may have been an attempt to keep fans within the Star Trek fandom and an example of the early tensions between the fandoms. It may be a brag by ST fans, pointing out that Roddenberry had been a benign PTB. Or it may have been much more a friendly warning, one with no hidden motives. The text: "IMPORTANT! Please take note: If you are a zine editor, writer, etc., who is planning to publish/contribute to a fanzine based on STAR advised 20th Century Fox may not be quite as understanding as Paramount has been for years about Star Trek. YOU ARE IN VIOLATION OF BOTH 20th CENTURY FOX'S & BALLANTINE BOOKS' EXCLUSIVE LITERARY RIGHTS IF YOU ARE PUBLISHING STAR WARS FICTION. BOTH of these prestigious corporations/companies have the legal right to SUE TO THE FULL EXTENT OF THE LAW anyone publishing SW-based fan fiction (or spin-off fiction). As APOTA has been informed., there have been no known cases of Ballantine taking such action, but do you want to be their test case?" [39]
  • In response to the "warning" in APOTA #55, this announcement was published: "As of February 14, 1978, this is the official status of Star Wars fanzines. The Star Wars Corp. wants to keep track of what SW zines are coming out. They are not out to hassle, sue, etc. anybody, they just want to convince 20th Century Fox legal department that there are more than five SW fans that are interested in publishing zines. Even if you are planning a zine, they would like to know about it. (For those of you who have already published zines, I was told in a telephone call from Craig Miller that he was 'certain nothing would happen.'" [40]
  • "I felt uneasy about their request that every fanzine send four copies to four different places. George could never admit to reading a fanzine, so why ask for a copy? Did Bantha Tracks ever explain what a fanzine was or recommend any to its members? (They did reprint an article out of Skywalker. Big deal, it never happened again.) Not that it would have done us much good, as the majority of the OSWFC [Official Star Wars Fan Club] members are still in kindergarten. Lucas film/OSWFC has nothing that I truly want. They give us nothing but trinkets..." [41]
George Lucas, as illoed by a fan in Empire Review #3
  • one writer recalls "an incident where a Lucasfilm rep informed an zine ed that in the SW universe, even the Imperials, were too ""innocent" to be gay'." [42]
  • From K.S. Boyd: "Lucasfilms openly allowed genzines based on Star Wars, but were up-front about telling fans that absolutely no pornography (gay or straight) would be allowed. In May 1981, L. Deneroff and C. Levine published the adult, heterosexual stories, 'Slow Boat to Bespin, 1 and 2' in the multimedia zine Guardian #3. In August of that same year, Maureen Garrett, Director of the Official Star Wars Fan Club, mailed an explanation to fanzine publishers of her earlier sent cease-and-desist letter." [43] Some of that letter can be seen here: Open Letter to Star Wars Zine Publishers.
  • Scoundrel is a Star Wars zine that was NEVER PUBLISHED. From an ad in Jundland Wastes #1 (June 1981): "Slated for '82 publication. Submissions should be Solo-oriented or oriented toward the Princess/Pirate relationship. We will consider adult material -- provided it compiles with Lucasfilms stated wishes and does not impinge on teh bounds of pornography. Any adult material provisionally accepted will be screened by Lucasfilm's representatives prior to printing. SASE to Jani Hicks." [44]

Marion Zimmer Bradley (Darkover)

Also see Professional Author Fanfic Policies.

from Darkover Newsletter #5, artist: Diana Paxson, from an invitation sent out inviting various local fans/writers etc. to celebrate Marion's Silver Jubilee as writer in 1977.

Out of all canon creators, Marion Zimmer Bradley was, by far, the most heavily involved in her fandom. She was actively aware of and participated in the fandom arising from her Darkover stories and novels, giving specific approval to several zines (including Moon Phases) and implicit acceptance to others. She edited the Darkover fanzine Bitter Honeymoon & Other stories and Starstone, and was intensely involved in Darkover Newsletter. Besides her involvement in fannish writing, MZB was so heavily involved in her fan base that she often invited fans to her home for the weekend. [45]

Around 1992, this closeness to her fanbase led to a well-known, and much referenced, conflict. See: Marion Zimmer Bradley Fanfiction Controversy.

Starsky and Hutch

  • A fan asks: “And what the everlivin' hell does what DS [David Soul] or PMG [Paul Michael Glaser] or [producer Joseph] Naar or anybody else think matter to the writing of S&H? Spelling-Goldberg [Productions] gave up on us, baby. They are all the outsiders in this fandom. The characters are now ours, to do with as we see fit. Who cares what Soul stammered out on the subject of homosexuality on the show? (I've seen the interview tape; he stammers.) [46] Does he write LoCs? Can he or PMG or anybody else involved with the production really be bothered about a show that went out of production over two years ago? Soul is not Hutch; Hutch is not Soul. Same thing goes for Starsky and Glaser. Let's be serious, folks: interested they might well be; panic-stricken, they ain't.” [47]
  • A fan crabs about a section in a zine that brings the actors way too close to her private world of fan fiction. "I have a couple of pet prejudices and one of them is intrusive reality (or attempts at same) barging into my fantasy worlds. I was uneasy with Amanda Green's [a minor employee on the show] article in Casa Cabrillo -- I bought a Starsky and Hutch fanzine, not an issue of MODERN SCREEN. If I'd wanted to read excerpts from VARIETY et al., I would have taken out a subscription." [48]

Invisible Man

The fans had a rocky relationship with some of TPTB, especially the head of SciFi's programming department (and later president), Bonnie Hammer. She gave every appearance of disliking the show and its fans (and strong rumor had it that she disliked the fact that the fanbase was skewed heavily toward women -- she was trying to program for the golden 18-35-year-old male demographic). The actors were a different matter; they kept in touch with the fans through chats[49], and used fan feedback after an episode aired to help shape the show (P = Paul ben Victor, who played Bobby; V = Vincent Ventresca, who played Darien):

P- What happened was, the show would play Friday night, and Friday night late we could log on and get some feedback from the fans. And the fans became an integral part of the show. They were like our critics, our altar ego, our voice, me with know...
V- *not sure where you're going with this, pal*
P-They were just a strong element, like a third voice to the show. And Monday morning, we'd show up and we'd want to know what the ratings were, of course, but almost more important was what was the feedback from the fans.
V- Cause they were smart. They were really smart.
P- Really smart. Thank you. That's what...
V- And they loved the show. It was weird...we we were in the show…
P- *to the audience* And you've become a part of that, which we appreciate.
V- But it's people's love of the show that made us more committed to try and make the show as good as it could be.
V- [...]I think you were sort of alluding to it earlier that we were sort of doing the show and the fans really sort of took to it, and then all of a sudden there was someone to make the show for. And that was cool. You're right, it was sort of in between doing a play and a big TV show, sort of a niche, sort of cult following that really their encouragement, and their love for it was sort of contagious and it filtered down to us and all of a sudden we were invested in it more.[50]

More here: The Invisible Man.

Anne McCaffrey (Pern)

Also see Professional Author Fanfic Policies.

Anne McCaffrey was aware of fan fiction written in her source text, and dictated a number of rules about its creation. [need some more information here]

Robin of Sherwood

  • The show's creator, Richard "Kip" Carpenter was an occasional (though lengthy!) contributor to the letterzine Cousins, something that had to have to been on the minds of fans as they read and wrote the letters. At least one reader backtracked on a previously stated opinon after learning Kip read and responded, writing, "I never thought that my flaky meanderings would be read by the Source Himself! I'm so embarrassed!" There was much mention of "what Kip requests" and that carried over to what kind of fanfic could be written, specifically slash, the big Robin of Sherwood no-no. More than one letter mentioned that the universe of Robin of Sherwood belonged to its creator and that its fans needed to always keep that in mind; many, many letters discussed how to write the characters, in relation to its creator's desires.
  • Another fan makes a separation of actor and character she feels her fellow fans have not: "I would never use the actors' names unless I'm discussing their performance. Calling the characters by the names of the actors could lead to confusion. Perhaps I feel that it's so important to clearly separate the characters from the actors because I write slash. Yet whether or not we are writing slash, we really should remember that neither Michael Praed nor Jason Connery are really Robin Hood. Robin Hood is a fictional character. Whatever we say in our discussions here, or whatever we write in our stories about either Robin or Robert, none of it has anything to do with the actual men who played these roles. We all know that intellectually, of course, but fans sometimes get swept away emotionally in the illusion of the actor's performance and forget the distinction between the characters and the actors. Apparently, some of the RoS actors also have difficulty making this separation, since they think slash fiction reflects on them. I am sorry, but slash has no more to do with them than any other idea that we might have about their characters." [51]
  • "These characters were created by Kip and should remain within the bounds he created. True, he does not have ownership of the legendary characters, but as they are represented in RoS, yes he does. Generously, he has given his permission for us to play in his universe as long as we remain true to what he created (he told us this at Son of Herne's Con). Therefore, a writer must tread very carefully when attributing to a character abilities that were never manifested in the show." [52]
  • "...slash as a generality... is a red herring in the context of RoS. Richard Carpenter has requested tht the fans not have the characters exhibiting sexual inclinations they didn't display on the series, the fans have obliged; no mainstream RoS editor will print slash and, apart from one short story in a long-out-of-print publication [53] no one seems to be aware of any RoS slash, period. Slash aside, Richard Carpenter has publicly expressed his approval of fanfic." [54]

Blake's 7

The zine ed of The Right Question admits she is sometimes hobbled by what should be printed in her letterzine: "TRQ is not a letterzine, but I do try to provoke responses from my readers. I also have to exercise judgement because the newsletter is sent to Paul Darrow and his wife. Is it censorship to print remarks about the attractiveness of the fictional character, Avon, while removing similar remarks about the actor Paul Darrow? I prefer to think of it as preventing potential embarrassment." [55]

"In 1988-89, the Blake’s 7 fandom was seriously damaged when some of the actors in the show, who had become friends with a good number of the fans, were shown samples of slash stories. Taking offense to the portrayal of their characters as homosexual, and seeing this type of writing as a betrayal of their friendship with the fans, the actors sought to ban the slash authors they knew from fandom and to rid the fandom of slash. As with all of the other forms of 'official' sanctions against slash, the furor eventually eased, and slash fiction continued to be written." [56] Sandy Herrold says, "I was by no means a BNF at the time, but that isn't my memory. I thought the mess in 1988-89, was about the idea of some actors getting together with some BNFs and putting on for-profit cons. This led to misunderstandings between the 'never make a profit' ethos of some fans, and jealousy between fans who weren't as 'connected' with the actors as other fans. I know that as things got ugly, slash was implicated, but I don't think it was a major issue in the mess." For more perspectives on these events, including a timeline see The Blake's 7 Wars.

Mercedes Lackey

Also see Professional Author Fanfic Policies.

In the late 1980s and early '90s, Mercedes Lackey exercised active oversight over much of the fanfiction written in her literary worlds, developing guidelines for fanwriters who were part of the Queen's Own fan community. She created a release form for writers to sign acknowledging her ownership of the parent material, and (together with husband Larry Dixon) moderated a GEnie online discussion area devoted in part to creation of interactive fan stories.

Later in the 1990s, on the advice of her literary agent, she stepped back from this role and altered her public stance on fanfiction to discourage its creation. While she has subsequently revised her views again, she no longer actively supervises fanwriters -- although she edits anthologies of Valdemar stories by professional writers, similar to the Darkover anthologies once edited by Marion Zimmer Bradley.

Forever Knight

The editor of a Forever Knight fan club newsletter, GWD Round Table (August 1995) warns its members: "Rumors about FK and USA, Ger's future with the show, the stars' coming and going, and the changes, have been rampant the past few weeks. Even some remarks Ger made at the Weekend seem to have been taken out of context and changed to fit the story. Ger felt at the Weekend that he could speak freely and openly about anything. Do you want him to become guarded with his answers? Or worse, shy away altogether from doing another Weekend?? I have always thought our club had the best fans, and I must say some of the things on the net that we have seen are not from our members, but we can still help squelch rumors before they can take how and spread... simply IGNORE THEM!!!"

Simon and Simon

In 1985, some fans discussed in the letterzine Simon and Simon Investigations on whether they wanted to send copies of the publication to the show's actor's, producers, and crew. Since this publication openly discussed slash, the editor proposed sending a "censored" version of it. It is unknown if this was eventually carried through and, if it was, what the repercussions were.

Some of the debate from issue #7:

  • "Yes. I heartily approve of a cleaned-up, "generic" issue of SSI going to the Simon offices. Especially with our insightful topics. I'd like them to know what we think! Definitely!" Another fan remarks: "I don't think SSI is all that slashy. I really don't think we need to make two versions. That could end up being too expensive. Especially if we all want it read it. too And I don't I see why anyone would or should be emharassed about what gets printed in SSI. It doesn't bother me that the boys, J P and Mackie and the production staff read it. What we write is just opinion. IF they don't like it, then let them join in with us and send in their locs. Most of us would like to know how they feel about things anyway. Just as long as they don't get terribly upset with us, I don't see what difference it makes."
  • "About 2 copies of SSI? I don't mind as long as we don't have to pay more for our copy. Do the offices or stars care about what we have to say? JP says zines make him nervous, and Mackie never did respond to a questionnaire in another Zine. What do you think. Dariene?" The editor responds: "Well, speaking from what little experience I have. I've yet to go to either Universal or Cannel (when [C S] and I were doing Now Yer Cookin') and not regret not having more copies of the letterzines with me. Not only are the producers, writers and stars interested but so are the crew folks. JP said they make him nervous but he still enjoys reading them, and Mackie failed to respond to the questionnaire (this from Pat) because after a couple very serious run-ins with some maladjusted fans. Mackie doesn't respond to any fan mail."
  • "I like the idea of two versions of SSI. It might be difficult though. Sometimes ideas become so mixed together that separating them might change thoughts. But if you can do it, great. I would love Mackie and JP and everyone connected with the show to read our Iocs and to know that we care and take their work seriously. But I don't really want them to read the slashy parts because I'm afraid Mackie and JP will say that they'd better not touch one another even in friendship or look at one another longingly like they do. etc. Just be sure to send me the slashy version, please!"
  • the editor makes a decision about the second version of the letterzine: "Seems pretty unanimous that most of you would like to see two issues of SSI, one for us and one for the offices. Ann is willing to put the second issue together after I do the deleting. Yes. I would delete out all slashy material, as it is my policy not to send slash to anyone who does not specifically ask for it and this is no different. However, other adult material will remain in--such as I think JP has a beautiful heiney. Sorry, for those who asked, this revised issue will NOT be available to subbers as it would get too difficult to keep subscriptions straight. if some people wanted version 1 and others wanted version 2. Again I reiterate: if the S/S aspect of the Ietterzine bothers you, perhaps you should reconsider whether this is the zine for you. Also, version 2 would come out long after the first version. No. this will not be cause for an increase in sub rates--I'll lake care of the cost of these myself, as I think SSI is a great zine and that we've covered some important material that I would like the powers that be to read."

Anne Rice

Main article: Anne Rice's attitude to fanfiction.
See also Professional Author Fanfic Policies.
See also Where Has Anne Rice Fanfiction Gone?

The fan fiction authors responded to Rice's stalking and harassment tactics by going underground.

Apparently Rice does not see her novels about the life of Jesus as fan fiction (specifically, RPF).

  • "I did live through Ricegate, though; it was really bizarre, seeing the fandom batten down the hatches and hide from the creator of the canon, especially since the canon wasn't all that great." [57]


A fan wrote of another fan asking Michael Shanks about slash at a con: "He screwed his nose up, thought deeply, and finally said 'whatever floats your boat or stirs your coffee, just don't ask me to be involved!' Good answer, but personally... not one I think he should have ever been asked." [58]


Also see Professional Author Fanfic Policies.

Jacqueline Lichtenberg's involvement with the Sime~Gen fandom, like Marion Zimmer Bradley's and Mercedes Lackey's, was complicated. While she was the creator of the universe, she was also a player and a fan.

In 1977, Lichtenberg encourages fans to submit Sime~Gen art:
I would like to invite some of the artists who like Kraith and who have found my Sime Series (HOUSE OF ZEOR, Doubleday, 1974) of equal intrest to try doing some Sime illos.

The Simes are one subject where one picture is worth 50,000 words. Although the cover of HOUSE OF ZEOR has won an artistic merit award, I, myself, am not satisfied with it. It is not accurate. It doesn't look real. It doesn't look like a photograph. I would like to submit artwork with future Sime stories -- such as UNTO ZEOR, FOREVER, the novel I'm working on now, December 1975 -- artwork which depicts real-looking Simes and Gens with anatomically correct tenticles [sic] that look like the descriptions I have labored over so hard.

I have no idea if publishing companies would even look at such they might. And it would be a good chance for a beginner semipro to show off a blt. There as of (September 1976) a paperback edition of HOUSE OF ZEOR in the the paperback lS a second chance to get a good cover drawing for the story, and sometlmes, after, a few years, they even do a new cover for a paperback. So I would like to have a few such, drawings, done to the hardcover or paperback specifications (the right number the rlght slze, etc.) to push at them when they intimate they want to put out a new edltlon of any Sime story.

If I can get them to use one that I like, of course the artist would get paid. But there's no guarantee, and I don't intend to return anything sent to me unless the return, packaging and postage is included. It could take years and years to get them to look at anything I want used. Authors traditionally have no say in the artwork or packaging, and in Kraith I have stayed out of that department as much as possible. If anyone wants a live, in-person description of the Simes, feel free to look me up at any convention. Likewise, if anyone wants to attend a Kraith gathering, send me your name and address well before the convention. [59]

War of the Worlds

The editor of The Blackwood Project sent copies of the fandom's letterzine to a number of industry people.

A fan asked her: "Elyse, are you going to keep sending TBP to Paramount even though they cancelled the show? If memory serves, I remember reading in one of the past issues that you send it to the studio?" The editor's response: "I did in the beginning but since I never received a response and had no idea if anybody was honestly paying attention, I stopped, but the cast members have been receiving issues, barring post office or black hole problems, and Jared told me that this zine was read on the set. At least this way the people who worked on the show (not just made the big decisions in California) knew how some of the fans felt." [60]

Babylon 5

By some accounts, Babylon 5 fandom has had an accessible relationship with series creator, J. Michael Straczynski, as he was a regular contributor to the newsgroups, and[61] JMS(as he is commonly known) would frequently answer fan questions about the show, not only about production or technical issues but about the backgrounds of the characters and the worlds he created. His posts, which are archived at, are an early example of internet creator/fan based interactions, such as those currently ongoing between John Rogers, co-creator of Leverage, and fans on his blog.

Fan interaction with JMS also helped to shape details in several episodes of the show. In the late first-season episode The Quality of Mercy, for example, there is a discussion of the rights of due process in a society where there are functional telepaths. JMS acknowledged on the newsgroup and in discussions that he fleshed out the on-screen discussion rather than glossing it over because there had been a high level of interest on the newsgroup.

Straczynski's interactions with fans online covered so much territory that in 2009, he and a team of fans released a five-part compilation of every question JMS had ever answered on Usenet, AOL bulletin boards, GEnie, and in online chats, sorted by category. The books total approximately 2,000 pages and cover 5,296 questions.[62]

Straczynski continues to post to, and also answers fan emails.

Other members of the production team do not have as visible an internet presence, but have been seen at conventions or contributing to fan-run projects such as the Babylon Podcast.

But by other fan accounts, this interaction was not as welcome.

Regarding fanfiction:
I've been informed that J.M.S., as the creator of Babylon Five prefers to be called, requests that no one write B-5 stories until the series is officially and irrevocably cancelled, some five years hence. This doesn't exclude artwork or filk..." [63]
At least one zine, Third Age, was dead in the water before it even began.
Several months ago I wrote to J. Michael Straczynski to inform him of my plans to publish a fan publication based on Babylon 5. I finally received a reply a couple of weeks ago from Joanne Higgins (assistant to Straczynski) of Babylonian Productions. Even though my letter emphasized the fact that this fanzine was not for profit, Ms. Higgins has expressly forbidden me to publish Third Age, stating that "all publications using the Babylon 5 name must be licensed through Warner Brothers as they own the rights." Apparently Warner Bros does not share Paramount's view that fan publications increase fan awareness and commercial success of a series (Paramount has no problem with Star Trek fanzines as long as they are non-profit). Warner must also be unaware of the other B5 fan publications that are out there. As a result, I will not be publishing Third Age as planned. I've written back expressing my disappointment in this apparent "ban" on B5 fandom. [64]

Another view: Straczynski requested that fans not post fanfiction to the newsgroup as he didn't want his copyright compromised by the possibility of being seen to have stolen a fan's idea.[65] In one case he went so far as to delay an episode's production, pushing it off for a season, until he could get a release from the fan who had suggested a similar idea on the newsgroup.[66]. While JMS has always formally had a no fan fiction policy--or, more accurately, a policy of "I can never say that I am in favor of fan fiction"--fans of the show have taken this as a request to keep the fanfiction where he could not see it. For a few years there was little Babylon 5 fanfiction openly published on the internet, with only a few archives and no discussion on the major fan boards. Gen fans found themselves in the unusual position, formerly the place of slash fans, of needing to be introduced to invite only fiction mailing lists.


  • An 1999 email exchange between Thamiris and Bruce Campbell is here. In it, he answers the question if he found the idea of women writing erotic fanfic about his character: "Heck no - as long as my exploits are properly embellished!" [67]


  1. from Southern Enclave #12
  2. from S and H #7
  3. from Southern Enclave #39
  4. Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, "A Willful Case of Copyright Infringement", SFWA Bulletin (Summer 1992), 11-14.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, "Copyright Infringement Part II", SFWA Bulletin (Fall 1992), 19-20.
  6. How Yarbro could claim that inclusion of a historical person in a story was copyright infringement has yet to be determined.
  7. FanWorks Inc. Fan Fiction Policies: Chelsea Quinn Yarbro (accessed 13 March 2010)
  8. Jim C. Hines, comment by djonn, May 26, 2010
  9. History of Slash by K.S. Boyd, accessed 12.12.2010
  10. from a fan reviewing Delta Quadrant of Venus in Now Voyager
  11. from Pop Stand Express #4
  12. from Trexperts #37
  13. Datazine #36
  14. from My Life in Fandom, Deb Walsh, accessed 7.5.2011
  15. from an ad for Dirtball Dispatch, a Starsky & Hutch zine
  16. from Multi-Species Medicine #20
  17. from Details at 11 #12 (1986)
  18. Regarding Chad Kennedy at The Fandom Debunker, October 23, 2013.
  19. Alyssa Rosenberg, Steven Moffat on Sherlock’s Return, the Holmes-Watson Love Story, and Updating the First Supervillain. May 7, 2012.
  20. That's exactly how it was.
  21. Philcon convention report dated Nov. 11th, 2013; reference link. The panel in question consisted of D.L. Carter, Kathy Sands, Roberta Rogow, Peter Prellwitz and April Grey.
  22. from Boldly Writing and the Halkan Council #11 (October 1975)
  23. from Halkan Council #20/21 August 1976
  24. from the 1976 introduction for Star Trek: The New Voyages
  25. For an example of this kind of tape, see Star Trek: The Lost Episode (audiofic). This is not likely to be the exact tape Barnes created, but probably similar.
  26. from Datazine #37
  27. DeForest Kelley comments on fanzines at a Baltimore con in July 1985, transcribed in Guyer in 1991 at DeForest Kelley Filmograhpy: Virtual Convention Appearance, accessed February 9, 2012
  28. Confessions of an Aca-Fan, an interview with Joan Verba, accessed 12.20.2010
  29. from a fan in The K/S Press #15
  30. from Boldly Writing
  31. from Interstat #58 (August 1982)
  32. from rrom Boldly Writing
  33. Censored by Judith Gran
  34. Jacqueline Lichtenberg, interviewed in The National Fantasy Fan, vol. 10, no. 2, June 2010.
  35. There is no Kraith story in which Spock dies and is reborn. The destruction of the Enterprise takes place initially offscreen between the first and second major Kraith stories. It is later described as a slow disintegration caused by a bacteria that infects polymers. Spock's half-sister T'Uriamne -- who is nothing at all like Sybok -- begins to appear in the third major story, "Spock's Argument".
  36. from STAG #1
  37. Official Site - Section: Fan Sites - The Harry Potter Lexicon, J.K. Rowling Official Site
  38. Television's afterlife, 22 May 2004
  39. from A Piece of the Action #55
  40. reported by Allyson Whitfield in A Piece of the Action #61
  41. from Southern Enclave #12
  42. Southern Enclave #51
  43. History of Slash by K.S. Boyd, accessed 12.12.2010
  44. See that article for more information
  45. there is announcement in Darkover Newsletter #3 (1977) about a Darkover gathering: it was invitation-only (call in advance, phone number provided), hostesses are Tracy Blackstone, Diana L. Paxson, guest of honor is Jacqueline Lichtenberg, place was "Greyhaven" as MZB's house, as "Greenwalls is too small." The next newsletter, #4, offers a report as well as some drama. Issue #21 is another issue which describes the after-effects of fans staying at MZB's home.
  46. Specifically, he says "There were some kind of pot shots taken at us. One time they called us two prime time homos... when people really don't know what to do with strong male relationships, they call them gay, which is stupid you know. I think when you have a friend that's a male and a really good friend, there's no bond that's stronger. Through history, the strongest relationships have been male."
  47. S and H #21 (May 1981)
  48. from a review of Me and Thee #2 in S and H #29
  49. List of chats with each main cast member and several of the writing staff, from, accessed January 28, 2009.
  50. Transcript of the first half of the cast interview from the Region 2 Season 1 DVDs, transcribed by sivib and posted in hot_donuts, on April 5, 2005. Accessed January 28, 2009.
  51. from (Cousins #8)
  52. from Cousins #3
  53. the story "In’sha’llah" in Wolfshead
  54. from Herne's Stepchildren #5
  55. from Comlink #39
  56. History of Slash by K.S. Boyd, accessed 12.12.2010
  57. comment by dorothy notgale at Nostalgia, posted 14 April 2012, accessed 23 April 2012
  58. from Discovered in a Letterbox #23 (Autumn 2002)
  59. from Kraith Collected #5
  60. from The Blackwood Project #7
  63. from the editorial of Grip #48 in 1994
  64. from Trexperts #37
  67. WebCite
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