P.N. Elrod

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Name: P.N. Elrod
Fandoms: Blake's 7, Quantum Leap
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P.N. Elrod is a filk writer, frequent LoCer to zines, fanzine editor, and professional fiction writer.

Elrod's 1992 Views on Fanworks

Elrod was one of several pro authors who either brought the hammer down on or clarified their views on fanworks based on her books. This was due to The Marion Zimmer Bradley Fanfiction Controversy.

Some other authors who joined Yarbro in 1992: Marion Zimmer Bradley, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, Anne McCaffrey, and Mercedes Lackey.

From the 1992 Open Letter to FYI from Author P.N. Elrod:
The rumor (as I understand it) is that if I come across a fan story in some zine where a person has borrowed characters or a setting from a pro novel, that I would "turn in" the writer and zine editor.

To explain, I was referring to my OWN professionally published works, not others.
 The person who talked to my friend did a story using another writer's characters in
a fandom that I'm interested in and was afraid I'd "come after" her. I have always
 registered my protest against this by simply not buying the zines carrying such stories. 
My personal opinion about this is that I think she and the editors acted unwisely and
 placed themselves in a legally vulnerable position, rather like perching naked on a
 picket fence. They're not only quite noticeable, but a push in the wrong direction
 and they get the shaft!

Just for the record, the public now has my word that I have never given anyone a such a push, nor do I plan to. Whistle-blowing is one of those unpleasant jobs I shudderingly leave for others to do. (I have been known to call the Humane Society when I see an abused animal, but that's another story.)

BUT -- I PROMISE that I WILL positively rip the lungs out of anyone using MY VAMPIRE FILK characters in a fan story. The criminals (and copyright infringement is a criminal offense) will wish that Jaws/the Alien/the Predator had got to then first rather than me! If there's anything left after I'd done, the remains/will be locked in an elevator and forced to listen to Muzak while being consumed by starved, rabid, flesh-eating mega-scorpions. (Maybe not, but you get the idea that I would NOT be amused.)

Realistically though, Berkley Publishing has an army of lawyers with nothing better to do than indulge in pricy lawsuits against plagiarists and copyright pirates and I would make use of their skills. I fully realize that fan stories are written for fun and out of admiration for a character or the excitement of a dramatic situation. On the other hand, if someone came up and decided to "borrow" your car out of a sense of fun or admiration or excitement you'd probably be more than annoyed at them and call the cops. The same principal applies.

Again, realistically, I think the chances are extremely remote that this will happen, but at least everyone now knows how I feel in regard to my own works. There are plenty of other universes to play in and characters to explore, please just leave me mine.

Elrod's 2006 Views on Fanworks


Once more I have stumbled across someone accusing me of being some sort of a literary hypocrite.

I've gone into detail on this on my website, but there's a few out there who've missed it.

Once and for all, I AM NOT ANTI-FAN FICTION!!!

I'll rinse and repeat if needed, but I'm optimistic that it will go forth and do no harm.

The only fan fiction I have a problem with is the unauthorized use of MY characters, and that's all. Most people get that and respect it, and I want to throw a great big ice cream party for them all, I love you, I love you, muah-muah-muah!...

Now--lemme clarify the whole QUINCEY MORRIS THING--which is apparently why some people think I'm a hypocrite: I wrote a Dracula "fan fiction" and got it published.

The copyright on Dracula has expired. I know it--the publishers know it. Now you do, too!

Dracula and anything/anyone else in Stoker's book is in something called The Public Domain. This is a cool thing. Learn about it. Enjoy.

When a work is in the public domain it means anyone can write a story using that universe and it is TOTALLY OKAY!...

And finally--RE the Kolchak: The Nightstalker stories I've done: I was contacted by the editor who has the copyright holder's (Jeff Rice) permission. I got paid to write a story, and Mr. Rice gets paid for the use of his character. It's totally allowed and I LOVE him for letting others play in his backyard.

The Stepping Through the Stargate book and other collections I've tribbed to are called "critical essays." They are not fan fiction. A critical essay is --oh, hell, look it up. I can assure you that it is covered by something called "fair use." Fair use covers book reviews, essays, and using brief quotes from a work. That, too, is perfectly legal.

Those who are swift to call people names, please--do your research first before you lay down a load of judgment on someone. Google and Wikipedia are your very good and helpful friends. They prevent blog-in-mouth syndrome. [1]


Archives Which Ban Fanworks Based on Elrod's Work


  1. Fan fic - sí! Public Domain - sí-sí-sí!!!; Archive, September 17, 2006
  2. "... my next thanks are due to Pat Nussman and Pat Elrod who helped me trace Lillian Sheperd to obtain her permission to produce a new edition." -- from the editorial in the 1996/98 edition of the zine