Open Letter to The Neutral Arbiter from Author P.N. Elrod

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Open Letter
Title: Open Letter to FYI from Author P.N. Elrod
From: P.N. Elrod
Addressed To: would-be fanfic writers
Date(s): September 1992
Medium: print
Topic: fanfic writing
External Links:
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This open letter by P.N. Elrod was published in FYI Adzine in September 1992.

It is a variation of a letter Elrod sent to six adzines [1]

A very similar letter, but one worth reading due to the differences, see Open Letter to FYI from Author P.N. Elrod.

Also see Fan fic - sí! Public Domain - sí-sí-sí!!! by Elrod (2006)

Note: see P.N. Elrod for this author's own Blake's 7 fanworks.

The 1993 Letter in "The Neutral Arbiter"

This letter is very similar to the one in FYI Adzine. It was also written in 1992, but due to the lateness of The Neutral Arbiter's seventh issue, it didn't appear until 1993. The differences between these two letters probably had a lot to do with the fact that Elrod was a long-time fan of Blake's 7, and had contributed many letters and wrote and edited fanzines in this fandom; her comments were probably somewhat tailored to this fact.

I've covered this elsewhere (including letters to 6 adzines) but thought I should mention it again. It's come to my attention that there may be a rumor going around fandom that I will "turn in" anyone taking a literary character and writing a zine story with them. For example: a KTD story or Elric of Melnibone turning up in a Trekzine. (The mind boggles).

For the record, it ain't my job to blow whistles. I've always registered my protest against this simply by not buying the zine and don't plan to change. I will, however, defend my own copyrighted work and will cheerfully rip the lungs out of anyone using any of MY characters in a fan story.

Whatever is left gets tossed to the tender mercies of the Berkley Publishing Groups lawyers. This sounds harsh, considering that such fan stories are usually written out of admiration for an author's work. For instance, I dearly love Lois Bujold's Miles Vorkosigan, but would never presume to drop him into any of my fanfic. Only Lois can write the way he should be written; the same goes for anyone else's original work.

Granted, it is crazy, but there IS a difference between a literary character and a media one. Mostly it's because media giants know that zines are too small to bother going after, but underpaid writers (like me) can't afford to be that generous. Some may welcome fan participation in their universe, like Bradley and Wendy Pini, but I'm not one of 'em.


  1. As per her comments in The Neutral Arbiter #7 (January 1993)