Lynn Flewelling

From Fanlore
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Name: Lynn Flewelling
Also Known As:
Occupation: author
Medium: Novels and short stories
Works: Nightrunner & Tamír Trilogy
Official Website(s): website, mailing list, livejournal & twitter
Fan Website(s):
On Fanlore: Related pages

Lynn Flewelling is a professional writer who is best known for her Nightrunner series. Her work is popular amongst slash fans as a few of her book characters are bisexual.



Nightrunner Series

  • Luck in the Shadows (Bantam Spectra, 1996)
  • Stalking Darkness (Bantam Spectra, 1997)
  • Traitor's Moon (Bantam Spectra, 1999)
  • Shadows Return (Bantam Spectra; June 24, 2008)
  • The White Road (Bantam Spectra, May, 2010)
  • Casket of Souls (Bantam Spectra, Spring, 2012)
  • Shards of Time (Del Rey, 2014)

Tamír Triad

  • The Bone Doll's Twin (Bantam Spectra, 2001)
  • Hidden Warrior (Bantam Spectra, 2003)
  • Oracle's Queen (Bantam Spectra; June, 2006

Short Stories

  • "Letter To Alexi" Prisoners of the Night, 1995
  • "Raven's Cut" Assassin Fantastic anthology, Martin Greenberg and Alex Potter, ed. DAW books.
  • "The Complete Nobody's Guide to Query Letters" Speculations, 1999, reprinted on SFWA website and in The Writer's Guide to Queries, Pitches and Proposals by Moira Allen, Allsworth Press (2001)
  • "Perfection" Elemental: The Tsunami Relief Anthology: Stories of Science Fiction and Fantasy, Steven Savile and Alethea Kontis, ed, TOR Books, 2006.
  • "Glimpses" (3 Crow Press, September 2010) - A Collection of Nightrunner Short Stories
  • "Glimpses 2" (3 Crow Press, Fall 2011) - A Collection of Nightrunner Short Stories

Attitudes Towards Fan Fiction

Sometime in 1999, fans of Lynn Flewelling's Nightrunner series set up a mailing list on OneList. Lynn Flewelling joined the mailing list (Night_Runner) and began interacting with her fanbase. In October of 1999, a fan posted a link to a website containing fan fiction based on Lynn's characters. Lynn then sent the following message to all members of the mailing list, copying her editor:

"Dear Owlet:
The website you have posted, and all fan fic that appears there, are illegal under copyright laws, and must come down. Fan fic shared privately among a few friends is one thing. It still illegal, mind you, but at least its private. Posting it on the newsgroup was pushing it. This is simply not allowable at all. You are copyrighting material that is not yours legally.
This disclaimer on one story saying that I've graciously chosen to pretend that it isn't there will get me sued and blackballed.
I know you all mean this as a compliment, but it's simply not OK. If you like my work, please respect it and don't put me in an impossible situation.
Sincerely, Lynn Flewelling"[1]

She then elaborated in a later message to the mailing list:

"There are several bottom lines here.
1. If Bantam thinks I am giving out permission to anyone for this, they will cancel my contracts and not give me any new ones. You will never see original Nightrunner fiction again, and I will have been robbed of a very happy occupation.
2. Whether you are writing about Seregil or Fox Mulder or Sherlock Holmes, if you do not have legal permission from the author, their estate, or publisher, then you *are* violating US copyright law. It is creative piracy. Doesn't matter how many disclaimers you put on, or if you're being paid. It. Is. Illegal.
3. No artist is flattered by their hard wrought creation being used by others without their express permission. Aside from the monetary considerations, it is rude. You wouldn't walk into someone's garage and take their lawnmower without asking, would you? Or walk into an art gallery with a camera to make copies for your own use? (Any art in my web page gallery is there with the artist's written permission) Fan fic amounts to the same thing.
It's not my intention to hurt anyone's feelings. Please consider mine. If I have been unclear in the past, I apologize. It wasn't until this all came up that I realized how serious the ramifications to my career are. I also never imagined things would go this far. No one has permission to use my work in any way.
Sincerely, Lynn Flewelling"[1]

The list owners, after some debate, suggested that one way Lynn could avoid running into competing copyright claims on her characters (ala the Marion Zimmer Bradley case) was to unsubscribe from the mailing list.

Needless to say this did not go over well and Lynn and some of her fans left to form an official fanfiction-free mailing list on what would later become Yahoo Groups. It is called "Flewelling" and continues to operate today.

The topic of fan fiction does crop up from to time on the Flewelling mailing list and Lynn has repeated her "no fan fiction" position on several occasions. In 2001, she described the Night_Runner experience as the following:

"I don't feel a bit guilty or apologetic about speaking my mind on this subject, just scared. ;-) I got chewed up and spat out by a certain Other Group a couple of years back and it was a bruising experience, and a bit frightening to be told, "You don't matter. They belong to us now."[2]

By 2004, she had processed the experience to the extent that she was able to offer the following to her fanbase:

For those who are new to the Flewelling list, this whole controversy started back in 1999, when your Humble Author got unexpectedly caught between US contract law, fan enthusiasm (and in a few rare and isolated but rather upsetting cases, frightening arrogance), and Herself's own personal feelings on the matter. At that point, fanfic based on books was very rare and I hold the peculiar distinction of being the first fanfic'd author my agent, editor, or I had ever heard of. One positive outcome of that whole nasty business was this list, thanks to our own dear Helen Brown, who was kind enough to establish a fanfiction-free list and welcome me in it. For the record, I've always suspected that my being here may skew the discussion, so I don't hang out anywhere else. People are welcome to say what they like about my work without me hanging over their shoulders.
But I digress. A lot of water has passed beneath the bridge since 1999 and I've done as much research as I can on the fanfiction matter as it pertains to my work.
The Legal Bottom Line: Under the terms of my contract with Bantam, and probably some of my other eleven or so international publishers around the world, I cannot legally sanction unauthorized fanfiction based on my work published in any public forum, including for free on the 'net, without risking my legal claim to my own copyrighted work. To do so could result in quite a disasterous scenario for me personally, both artistically and financially.
Thanks to this, I was placed in the very awkward position, back in '99, of speaking to some fanfiction writers on the 'net, asking them to take down their work. It was a horrible experience. While most were very nice about it, I still felt badly having to tell someone that such an expression of enthusiasm was unwelcome. No author wants the rep of "going after" their fans. I do not make it a habit to go hunting, either.
So how do I, in 2004, feel about fanfiction based on my work? Unofficially, off the record, and not legally bindingly? Mixed feelings. I'm still carrying the scars of that first encounter, and am very nervous at making any statement in quotable form, as here. But I do understand the "homage" aspect, and am touched that my work would have enough impact to make people's imaginations run wild--amok even. As I've told a number of people who have been kind enough to write me seeking permission, I cannot legally tell anyone that it's ok to publish it. Whatever anyone does privately is their own darn business, so long as it doesn't become my problem. N'uff said."[3]

In her message, she also touched briefly on Japanese copyright law as it applies to doujinshi before going on to say that she had no problem with fan art, poetry or songs based on her writing.[3]


  1. ^ a b Subject:[Night_Runner] Fwd: Web site, email sent by Lynn Flewelling on 24 Oct 1999 to [email protected], accessed March 31, 2011.
  2. ^ Re: Opinions on Fanfiction?, sent by Lynn Flewelling to the Flewelling mailing list, dated November 18, 2001, publicly accessible without membership March 31, 2011.
  3. ^ a b Subject: Pondering the Fanfiction Issue, sent by Lynn Flewelling to the Flewelling mailing list, dated Jan 22, 2004, publicly accessible without membership March 31, 2011.