The Boy Who Lived Forever
|Title:||The Boy Who Lived Forever|
|Medium:||Article in Time Magazine|
|Fandom:||Multifandom, Media Fandom|
|External Links:||Online version at time.com|
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The Boy Who Lived Forever is an article by author and journalist Lev Grossman about fandom, primarily media fandom, and fanfiction that was published by Time Magazine in 2011. The article, timed to coincide with the release of the final Harry Potter film, uses Harry Potter fandom as a jumping off point to explain fanfiction and fandom culture to people who may know nothing about it, or at least, nothing true.
The article covers the subject in broad strokes in about 3,500 words. It is strongly focused on US experience of fandom—most of the quoted sources are US fans or authors, and the fandoms mentioned are either from US sources or are big international hits like Harry Potter. There is no mention of large fandom communities like Anime or Manga, but recognition is given to the international and diverse nature of fandoms. The focus is also fanfiction on the internet, but there is a brief history of pre-internet media fandom, using Man From U.N.C.L.E. as the example of an early fandom, a departure from the trend of articles focusing almost exclusively on Star Trek and Kirk/Spock.
Some issues around copyright, Fair Use and the feelings of professional authors towards fanfic are also covered, and the article dispels some popular myths about the legality of fanfiction while remaining sympathetic to the feelings of the authors who don't like it.
The reception from fans in media fandom has been almost universally positive, an unusual occurrence for a mainstream article about fanfiction and fandom. A linkspam of fannish reaction posts can be found here.
Prior to the publication of the article, Grossman approached the OTW and through them arranged to interview fans on a locked Livejournal community, lg_interview. The response was immediate and verbose, with over 100 fans responding to the questions, often at length. Much of the material in the finished article, some of it direct quotes, came from those answers.