A few words about fan fiction, and, in which the editors draw fire
|News Media Commentary|
|Title:||a few words about fan fiction (part one) and in which the editors draw fire (part two)|
|Commentator:||two writers at Mouthorgan|
|Date(s):||September 16 and 18, 1997|
|Fandom:||has a focus of The X-Files, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Xena: Warrior Princess|
|External Links:||a few words about fan fiction, now offline|
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
a few words about fan fiction and in which the editors draw fire is a 1997 article in two parts. It was posted at a gender and sex positive blog called "Mouthorgan."
The articles are very critical and unflattering.
The articles at the site are off-line and not archived by the Wayback Machine, but it was copied in full for the mailing list Virgule-L when a fan, Morgan Dawn, transcribed and posted it there on April 17, 1998.
The writers of this article proclaim many times that they are either not fans, or that they are fans, but not those crazy kind of fans that create fanworks or go to cons (at least after reaching adulthood.) While the comments are no longer available, they must have been very negative. The first part of the essay begins with:
The writers of this article conclude with:[Hindsight: After writing this column, we received a fair amount of mail ... so before you send us more, be sure to read the column which followed it (see link at the end), where we retract and clarify a fair amount of it.]
Matters of editorial navigation.
Next week, we're returning to our home territory - gender - and knocking off the ventures out into other areas for a while.The regular readers may have noticed that our columns fall into two broad categories - columns which talk about gender differences and related sexuality, our core territory, and columns which explore other aspects of the online or sexual universe. We've been doing a lot of these latter "travelogue" columns in recent weeks, because although we could probably write about gender forever, our assumption has been that our readers get sick of it quickly. Our advisory editor, Eric Albert, however, suggests gently that we are mistaken, and that we need to spend more time on the home ground.
Some Topics Discussed
- why slash?
- fans are obsessed, immature, crazy people
- why is there so much fanfic written and read
- fanfic presented in public
a few words about fan fiction: september sixteenth
With a considerable amount of trepidation, we are finally getting around to writing the fan fiction article(s) we thought we'd be writing over a week ago.
We think it is a generous understatement to say that we didn't know what we were getting into.
We have spent a week ransacking several hundred web sites, rummaging through newspaper articles, reading books, and we are still no closer to comprehending fan fiction. There are just too many things about it which puzzle us, and no one seems to have answers.
Why is there so much fan fiction? Why is there so much erotic fanfic (which, as we'll note, seems to be written for an entirely different set of reasons)?
And then there's "slash" fiction. (Don't know what that is? Patience, we'll get there.) Is it a separate animal from erotic fanfic? If it isn't, then why are there such peculiar patterns in it (the fact that most of its authors are female, for example?)
We are far from satistfied with the few feeble answers to these questions that we've been able to unearth. So, today and on Thursday, we're going to attempt to make up our own answers - a situation which should strike a few chords with the many authors of fanfic out there.
Quality control, and the size of the haystack.
Note that we're not asking what to some people is an obvious question: Why is so much fanfic lousy?
We were going to ask that - a week ago, when we were stupid and didn't comprehend how much fan fiction was out there. But now we see that the apparent rottenness of fanfic is due to the same reason discussed in last week's porn column: there is so much of it, and we search through it so randomly, that Sturgeon's Law ("99% of everything is crap") and the law of averages combine to prevent us from having much chance of getting to the good stuff.
In other words, you're looking blindly for a needle in a really large haystack. Just how large a haystack is beyond our ability to demonstrate effectively here. Fortunately someone else has already done the job for us, and we highly recommend that you go take a look at Karen Nicholas' list before proceeding with this column.
You don't have to visit any of the sites; just check the length of the page which that link loads. Those are the site links for the first half of the alphabet. There's a second page just as long. Furthermore, several genres (notably Star Trek and The X-Files) have so many sites that they've been split off onto their own pages. And this is almost certainly not a comprehensive list.
You could spend the rest of your days just reading web fanfic - but again, that is merely the tip of the iceberg. Although the web has revolutionized fanfic in many ways, the fanfic 'zines - we mean paper 'zines now - were where it began, and they still far outnumber the web sites. Plus there is amazing Usenet activity, even now, after the Coming of the Spam. Plus private email lists.
In short, after trying to grasp the scope of this, we began to believe that we were the only people in the world who admit to reading a lot of science fiction who have not written or read any fanfic.
Writing fan fiction as public behavior.
Fanfic, assertions of quality aside, has never interested us much. Perhaps because we're not Fans (with a capital F). One of us watches Star Trek episodes fairly compulsively, the other occasionally; we both have considerable love for the works of Chris Carter; and we both have been known to take in an episode of Xena every now and then. We read a lot of sf/fantasy, and see a lot of sf movies. Yet we're not Fans. We're lower-case fans - because we don't indulge in group behaviors regarding our love for sf/fantasy.
We don't wear funny costumes at conventions (in fact, discounting the follies of our youth, we don't go to sf or fantasy conventions), we don't go to sf movies in large groups and holler at the screen, and ... let's face it ... we don't write fanfic. To our minds, writing fanfic is one of those behaviors that crosses one over the line into capital-F Fandom.
A capital-F Fan, we submit, celebrates his/her fan-ness in the company of others. Going to conventions is the classic Fan behavior. It's a place to celebrate being a Fan with other Fans. We're not knocking it; it's just not something we do - not in the sf/fantasy arena, anyway. (We do go to conventions involving fetish clothing, sex toys, et cetera, which makes us sex Fans. But our regular readers already knew that.)
Similarly, writing fan fiction for public consumption is a Fan behavior. You're putting your love of the material out there where everyone can see how much you love it, share in the way you've expanded that particular little chunk of fantasy universe, and possibly critique it, inspire more or better writing, or inspire writing from others which builds on the scenario further. It is definitely a participative activity.
That part we understand.
Building rooms in another's house.
What we don't understand is the idea of fan fiction as a creative outlet. As a group activity, we buy it, but as fiction writers, we loathe the idea. We prefer to generate our own ideas, not play off someone else's universe. Or, put another way: If you can write well - and we are now convinced that there are fanfic authors who can - then why not write something which is completely your own? Why write in someone else's world?
Please don't think that we're singling the Fans and amateurs out for this particular firebomb. This has long puzzled us about pros as well - why a writer with talent would want to write a novel set in someone else's universe. We can see writing a Thieves' World story for a lark, but these people who've been collaborating with Anne McCaffrey (we're waiting for one called "The Ship Who Climaxed"), to pick one example, drive us to distraction. Or the myriad robot books produced post-Asimov. Or, going a little more mainstream, John Gardner's James Bond books. Usually a book like this is neither a credit to the "name" author nor the one riding her coattails (often they have produced much better work on their own). When we see something like this in pro fiction, we shake our heads cynically, murmur "money talks," and walk away.
But there is little or no money in fan fiction. So we can't even use that excuse here.
On the other side of the fence: It could be argued that writing a plausible expansion to someone else's universe is a much bigger challenge than writing a fresh universe of your own, in the same way that debugging someone else's computer program is often more hellish than just writing a new one from scratch. But if this is the case, then we have to wonder why more people aren't taking the simpler road and inventing their own worlds.
We have only two explanations so far. First, because they lack the imagination to do so. Second, because they don't find it as entertaining. Cynical as we are, we find the first easier to believe than the second, but there are probably plenty of examples of both floating around.
Certainly we've seen a couple of examples of stories whose authors obviously couldn't construct an original story to save their souls (we don't mean an original plot, per se; there are no new plots, just new retellings of old ones). We've also seen some stories by people that make our teeth ache, thinking to ourselves, "What could this person do if she cut loose? What kind of marvels would she create?"
If that makes it sound like fanfic isn't good enough for us, that we somehow feel it's an incomplete thrill ... well, we'd have to concede that, at least as far as the non-erotic portions of fanfic are concerned. We don't particularly care to have the Voyager meet new aliens or get into new kinds of trouble - we can watch next week's episode for that, and we'd rather leave that writing to the people who are ostensibly in charge of maintaining that universe. But ...!
There is the very obvious exception: What about situations the Keepers of the Universe can't, or won't, show you? Situations there is no possibility you'll ever, ever see on your TV screen?
For example, what goes on after curfew on the good ship Voyager? All those red-blooded young men and women in perfect condition, and no sex? We're not buying it.
Looking behind the closed doors.
Yes, we seem to have a great deal more latitude for the erotic variety of fanfic. Fortunately we have a lot to choose from: A substantial minority of the sites on the list cited above are either flagged as "adult" or "slash" or both ... or contain stories with non-sexual, yet decidedly romantic, content. A lot of people, it seems, are interested in what goes on behind closed doors.
And why shouldn't they be? Erotic fanfic is primarily structured around television as its source material, not films or the written word, and we think there's a statistical connection. An sf novel or film will generally at least pay lip service to the idea that characters have sex lives. Only on TV (and in comic books - there's quite a bit of X-Men erotica out there) is sexual contact taboo. In some cases it's deliberate (the "if the leads sleep together, the show goes to hell" theory, which - by the by - we mostly endorse), and in other cases it's self-censorship by the networks.
Only on TV could we have a crew in extremely close quarters in a stressful situation with no respite in sight (yes, we're back to Voyager again), and have no intimation whatsoever that any of them are seeking the obvious stress relief. Or is there something about Starfleet indoctrination they're not telling us? (Ooh. That would make an interesting story. We'll make a note of that.)
Under the circumstances, and considering that we are, as noted, sexuality Fans to begin with, we can hardly fault the viewers for wanting to fill the void.
And, oh, boy, have they ever. We thought we had seen everything, but we were mistaken. Put it this way: any possible pairing of any two characters on any sf television show has probably had at least one story written about it. Seriously. Name the most improbable pairing you can think of. If it's merely an "odd couple" pairing such as Captain Janeway and Neelix, chances are we can dig up a story for you. (Of course, we thought Kes and Neelix was pretty improbable, and as the only official "couple" on Voyager, they were presumably doing the nasty regularly ... oh, never mind.)
Of course, your mentality may be such that a same-sex pairing between a fairly compatible couple, one where the parties obviously have deep feelings for each other already, strikes you as much more improbable than an opposite-sex pairing between two people who are clearly incompatible, such as Janeway and Neelix.
If so, we have two things to say to you: First, you need to work on that homophobia, and second, you're probably not going to want to read what we have to say about slash fiction on Thursday.
If the sexual tension fits ....
We confess that we went off on this fanfic chase, a couple of weeks ago, because of one site, a site recommended to us by several people who also run sex websites and whose opinions we trust. It's called Auto-Erotic Asphyxiation, and it consists entirely of erotic X-Files fan fiction.
Although the quality of the fiction varies, in general there were enough excellent examples - some sexy, some funny, some both - that we decided to take another look at this fanfic thing. And, in the course of our looking, we realized that The X-Files is probably one of the best things to happen to fanfic in years.
We've mentioned that X-Files sites on the list cited above have already grown to the extent that they require their own subpage - a feat that has happened in only five years - as opposed to the time that Star Trek fanfic has had to build to critical mass. (ST, all flavors, is the undisputed king of fanfic source material - if you hadn't already guessed that.)
We think that The X-Files lends itself to fanfic because there is such obvious sexuality between the two leads, and it will never be consummated on the show. (Nor, again, do we think it should be. The tension is a good thing for all parties concerned, and Chris Carter is right to not want to tamper with it.)
Contrast this to a show like Deep Space Nine, where the characters are so blatantly nonsexual that the fanfic hasn't really taken a foothold ... or to a show like Xena: Warrior Princess, where you can't really write fanfic, because the sex is so heavily implied that there are few gaps left to be filled in.
We're going to get some people who dispute the latter - people like Lisa Jain, whose notes on the sexual "subtexts" in Xena are still extremely good reading, inasmuch as they make a compelling case that the stars and writers are doing it deliberately. We just dispute the "subtext" part. There is nothing "sub" there. (Well, Gabrielle makes a good sub, but that's not what we mean.) Surely no one can watch the "Indiana Jones" episode or the "Gabrielle becomes a vampiregothslut" episode and have any doubt whose sleeping bags are pushed together every night when the campfire is extinguished.
No, we're going to assume that erotic fanfic thrives best in cases where there is clear sexual tension. Except for slash, of course, which seems to invent sexual tension out of thin air (or, some would say, perceive sexual tension where there is none).But it'll take a separate column to dissect that. Come back on Thursday and we'll talk.
in which the editors draw fire: september eighteenth
Even after this second round, slash issues refuse to die ... which is the way we like it; some of the slashers who reported in on these issues became regular readers and commentators. We next invoke slashy considerations on 2 October. The question asked near the end of the column - which way should we steer? - seems to have died a quiet death, and we continue to wander all over our peculiar little section of the map.]
When we wrote our column about fan fiction on Tuesday (which you should read first if you haven't already), we were stepping outside our usual orbit of sex and gender issues. But it wasn't supposed to be that way.
We really only set out to write about erotic fanfic ... but the sheer size of the behemoth that is fan fiction distracted and confused us, and we got a little turned around ... and before we knew it, we were making conclusions about fanfic in general that we probably shouldn't have made.
To our credit, we were aware that we were going out on a limb - uncomfortably so - and, after the column was "printed," we asked a few people who had more experience with fanfic to take a look at it and provide us with a reality check.
We don't want to describe what we got back as flames - they were pleasant, intelligent, well-phrased, entirely justified, and often complimentary. But there are a few things which everyone said we got wrong. Ouch.
The bright side is that, in the process of reading and responding to all these messages, we have obtained better answers to a lot of questions that puzzled us, including our frustrations about slash fiction, which is what this column's supposed to be about.
So we'll correct our previous mistakes first, then proceed to slash. And if you'd like to read the email we got, you'll find most of it on the comments page.
Someone else's universe.
The big sticking point was what we have, in the past 48 hours, taken to referring to as the Big Question: Why write fanfic at all? Why write in someone else's universe?
We begin by admitting, frankly and unabashedly, that our own preferences in fiction writing colored our comments more than they should have. We were handed any number of excellent justifications for fanfic, which you can read for yourself in the comments, but which boil down to:
It's easier. The characterization, et cetera, is already established, so you don't have to do as much of the groundwork. If you bring Spock into a story, the readership already knows the backstory - you don't have to bother explaining why he doesn't react to a situation with the same emotional response you'd expect from a human.
The "what if" opportunities. There are a lot of gaps, big ones and little ones, which you may want to see filled in - possibilities never explored, things the Powers That Be never bothered to flesh out, inconsistencies to explain, and - our favorite - things that are going on behind the scenes which the Powers That Be will never show you.
It's a group activity. We already noted this one last time, and no one seems to have disputed it (whew!) There is definitely a fanfic "community," and this is the shared activity which unites it. As we noted, this is actually the point (of these three) which we have the easiest time dealing with.
We will no longer dispute any of the above, but we should point out how our personal biases interfered. We personally are not likely to write fanfic, because we like the spadework - we prefer to set up our own characterizations, et cetera, because from our perspective, drawing the characters is more fun than writing the actual plot. Plot, to us, is what you put in to keep the story going while you're having fun with the characterizations. But this is not the Clarion workshop, and we shouldn't have let our biases get in our way on Tuesday.
Also, although we like "what if" as much as the next person (maybe more so), we seem to prefer keeping in our heads the "what ifs" which are specifically related to existing universes, and not writing them down. We're not sure why that should be, except maybe for the feeling of hubris. Who are we to interfere in someone else's vision? One of us personally got so mad at the ending to Octavia Butler's Dawn that he had to throw the book across the room ... but he's not going to go out and write a story where the book ended differently. Similarly, we're not going to write a story about Janeway and Chakotay having sex, although heaven knows they both need it (we see a session where Chakotay helps Janeway relax so she can go talk to her spirit guide again, and then things sorta go from there ... uh, point being, we can plot that whole thing in our head, but we'd feel wrong writing it).
Again: this is just us. We are not - honest to god - knocking fanfic. Just because writing it makes us feel uncomfortable doesn't mean it's wrong for other people to write it, or that it somehow lacks legitimacy. Merely a personal hangup.
(The hangup itself probably goes back to a long-standing argument we've had elsewhere about who brings more to a work, the author or the reader ... one of us strongly believes in the sanctity of authorship, feeling that the reader is merely a spectator; the other is rather more ambivalent on the subject.)
But all this is moving us even farther afield from sex, the topic nearest and dearest to our heart. Let's get back on track here.
The old porn vs. erotica debate.
We love pornography. All kinds. But we love erotica more. And we need to take issue with the idea that they're the same thing, and that the instant characterization inherent in fanfic is an advantage. In porn it is. In erotica it isn't. (But wait, and see where we're going before you fire.)
To begin with, no one defines "porn" and "erotica" the same way, or even stipulates there's a difference. It's not a black-and-white border, for sure; there is plenty of overlap, and we tend to use them mostly as labels of convenience ourselves.
We define erotica as material which is concerned with buildup, with sexual tension and longing and anticipation, and also material which is more concerned with sensuality.
We define porn as the parts which are concerned with the sex acts themselves. When you are writing a strictly pornographic story, anything else but the sex is a waste of time; you want to get the characters to the bed as quickly as possible.
We use these as rules of thumb; they're far from absolute. We are mostly fans of the erotica parts ourselves, but we're not knocking the porn parts. Ideally there should be some balance, yes?
The point here is: Instant characterization is useful when you want to get the characters into the bedroom quickly. It is of limited utility for buildup. Since the buildup is basically an extended characterization, if the characters are already well-defined, you are either restating the obvious, or you have to add new details which didn't exist in the Official Universe and may be tricky to fill in plausibly.
We're not saying that it makes fanfic erotica impossible - good heavens! (We're not hallucinating all that material out there, are we?) We're saying that sometimes it throws in a hurdle which the writer must overcome.
Taking as an example the X-Files fanfic "Coffee," which we love, it would do no good whatsoever to state or imply that Scully and Mulder are secretly pining for each other - presumably, if you're reading the story, you already know that. Instead, the writer gives physical examples, via their behavior, which flesh out this existing idea around the edges - Mulder filling in Scully's name in a crossword puzzle instead of the real answer, for example, and the steamy material Scully occasionally writes on her laptop (an example of new character data inserted plausibly into an existing universe).
We are still looking through the slash fiction to see the various ways in which this erotica hurdle is being overcome. A lot of slash seems to be frankly pornographic - straight to the bedroom, Spock - but we have also read a lot that is more erotic than pornographic, some which falls in between ... and in general would not like to make any statistical generalizations about the matter, being rather gun-shy at the moment.
Now we must slash.
We started writing about this topic backwards. Having put up such initial resistance to the idea of fan fiction, several correspondents assumed that we were anti-slash. This is what comes of starting with the hostility and moving to the parts you embrace. Truth is, we have less of a problem with slash than with other fanfic. Sex generally needs no justification to us.
In case you've made it through all this and still don't know what slash is: Slash is fan fiction involving erotic/sexual contact between two people of the same sex - classically, two men. The canonical slash story involves the relationship between Kirk and Spock, but there are plenty of other combinations. (We favor Mulder/Skinner pairings, mostly because we think Mitch Pileggi has the best and most underappreciated torso on television.)
Slash is about ninety percent male/male porn, and is written at least ninety percent by women. We're not bewildered about that combination, though. We're just wondering where the men are.
It doesn't strike us as odd that women should be writing and reading what is basically gay male porn, because we already know that many women admit to secretly or not-so-secretly preferring it. We also know that many men prefer watching two women, for exactly the same reasons. To some, a presence in the scenario of a person the same sex as the viewer/reader is an intrusion - competition, if you will, or a force that prevents the reader from projecting his/her self into the story. And some just think that if one man is good, two are better.
We also are fond of the statement made by L. R. Bowen that, in the case of Kirk/Spock fiction, those two characters were basically the only two complete characters on the show - the supporting cast not being very well-defined. (One of us is not a fan of old Star Trek - TOS, as the fans say - for precisely that reason.) So who else could the fans write about? We don't know how much validity to give this theory, but we like it.
But, to return to our last remaining question about slash: Where are the men? In a short and woefully incomplete examination of the field, we found only one slash site dominated by fiction from a guy, and, true to cliche, it was female/female fiction: a site of Janeway/B'Elanna stories by a gent under the name of Reverend Jim.
One would think that the Xena sites, also being fem/fem pairings, would have a fair number of men writing, but we have found that those sites are exceptions, in a number of respects. (We'll cover that in a minute.)
We would turn to the tired cliche about "men like porn, women like erotica" - and certainly it may work as a rule of thumb here - but, as we noted, we also found plenty of slash which was blunt, sweaty, and frankly pornographic - quintessentially boy-porn, in other words.
So is this a case of women reclaiming their right to write blunt pornography? (We never disputed it for an instant.) Or are there other factors at work here that we're not getting? Don't say it's because men just don't write much (porn or erotica) - we can disprove that one in a jiffy, by pointing to sites outside the fanfic universe.
It's a mystery, and as frequently happens when we try to scrape away at those gender cliches, we find an onion-like structure, peeling away stereotypes only to find other stereotypes underneath. We believe we will come back to this one another day. Discretion being the better part of valor and all that.
A few words about the Warrior Princess.
We stated that we didn't see much to write about in the way of Xena/Gabrielle stories. We got our heads chopped off via chakram and handed to us.
We made the statement because we have always felt that Xena and Gabrielle have an established, obvious, indisputable relationship. In short, we think they're doing the nasty regularly, and we don't really feel that there is any sexual tension between the characters per se - we think they look at each other, and behave toward each other, like established lovers who are thoroughly familiar with each other's company. Sex, yes. Tension, no.
However, we've backed off the claim that this leaves nothing to write about, because when we stopped spewing words and actually gave the matter some thought, we realized that we could plot several stories right away ... sexual tension isn't everything, after all. We're not going to write any of them, but we concede the point readily. (Now stop pointing that spear at us, OK?)
The other realization we came to about Xena is that Xena has become something of a lesbian icon. Eeep. OK, so we're occasionally guilty of naivete. The editors live and function, by choice, in a largely gay-friendly community, where lesbian relationships are an implied, commonplace thing, and we forget sometimes that lesbian role-models are hard to find outside that community. We apologize. At any rate, we agree with one correspondent who suggested that Xena is the closest thing she's seen to a normal lesbian relationship being shown on television. (We'll sure as hell take Xena and Gabrielle over Ellen any day.)
Where were we? Oh, yes. This is a generalization, but most of the Xena/Gabrielle stories were written by and for lesbian interests ... and this seems to be unique in the slash universe. So, in retrospect, we are no longer surprised that there aren't more Xena/Gabrielle stories being written by men. The other difference about the Xena slash sites is that the pairing is nearly always Xena/Gabrielle - there is less impulse to say "what if these two characters slept together?" and more interest in painting the offscreen aspects of the life of a lesbian couple. In fact, although we're certainly not attempting to marginalize it, we're not sure we'd consider some of this Xena material to be "slash" in the usual sense - which may just mean that the definition needs expanding.
And who are we to talk, anyway? We're just passers-by.
Matters of editorial navigation.
Next week, we're returning to our home territory - gender - and knocking off the ventures out into other areas for a while.
The regular readers may have noticed that our columns fall into two broad categories - columns which talk about gender differences and related sexuality, our core territory, and columns which explore other aspects of the online or sexual universe. We've been doing a lot of these latter "travelogue" columns in recent weeks, because although we could probably write about gender forever, our assumption has been that our readers get sick of it quickly. Our advisoryeditor, Eric Albert, however, suggests gently that we are mistaken, and that we need to spend more time on the home ground.
It's a very pretty and professional feeling site, and a not bad article. They swear there's a specific-to-slash fanfic article coming out later this week, but since this article is at least a week late, I took that with a grain of something...
I mentioned the MouthOrgan site's...
...original article on fanfiction and slash last month, but I'd never gone back and read the comments on it. They got a *bunch*, enough that they apologized for not doing enough research (gee, I wish more 'journalists' did that), and they got some very articulate comments.
This one was a fav (and reminded me of our conversation on "community" last fall):
You spoke of fanfic on the net as a group activity, and seemingly got some agreement on that via feedback. A different perspective: the net provides a way for an individual to get the benefits of fandom without having to deal with the group. I don't much like crowds, stay pretty much to myself, and wouldn't have the money to blow on cons anyway. The net allows me to get exactly the kind of smut I want without having to put up with the small talk. Nowadays, I do join in on various lists and converse via private email, and I think of myself as part of the online slash community. However, I'm more interested in the fanfic than in the people who write it, and wouldn't have much trouble resuming lurker status.Anyway, it's an interesting collection of feedback--more so than the original article was, I think.
- "And who are we to talk, anyway? We're just passers-by."
- " We don't wear funny costumes at conventions (in fact, discounting the follies of our youth, we don't go to sf or fantasy conventions), we don't go to sf movies in large groups and holler at the screen, and ... let's face it ... we don't write fanfic."
- comment from a fan who didn't hate it, Sandy Herald, on Virgule-L who titled her comment "Goodish web article on fanfic" -- quoted with permission (September 16, 1997)
- comment from a fan who didn't hate it, Sandy Herald, on Virgule-L who titled her comment "Goodish web article on fanfic" -- quoted with permission (September 16, 1997)