Poppy Z. Brite

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Name: Poppy Z. Brite
Also Known As: Billy Martin
Occupation: writer
Medium:
Works:
Official Website(s):
Fan Website(s):
On Fanlore: Related pages

Brite is the professional author of multiple novels, short stories, and non-fiction works.

Some Novels

  • Lost Souls (1992)
  • Drawing Blood (1993)
  • Exquisite Corpse (1996)
  • The Crow: The Lazarus Heart (1998)
  • Plastic Jesus (novella; 2000)
  • The Liquor Series, five books (2002-2007)

Brite's Own Fanfic

Plastic Jesus is a thinly-veiled Beatles RPF novel published in 2000.

The characters Seth and Peyton represent John Lennon and Paul McCartney and there dozens of other Beatles-analogous characters and events.

Brite's Views on Fanfic

2001

Q. Will you read my unpublished work? I'm looking for a publisher/an agent/your opinion/nothing at all, just wanted to share it with you.

Putting aside the question of time, I (like most professional authors) simply can't accept unpublished work for legal reasons. There are all sorts of wingnuts out there just dying to take someone to court for "stealing their ideas." Of course I understand that you're not looking to do this, but protecting myself legally requires that I not make exceptions. Theoretically, the wingnut could drag me into court, and I'd be on the witness stand, and the wingnut's lawyer could make me testify under oath that I NEVER, EVER read unpublished/unsolicited work ... or even subpoena my computer records to see if I've corresponded with readers like you and looked at their work. So please understand that this is in no way a personal decision. I wish the world wasn't such a lawsuit-happy place, but since it is, we all must cover our asses to a ridiculous degree.

Q. How do you feel about fan fiction based on your work?

OK, I really, really hate this whole subject, but for the record, here's where I stand on fan fiction. I don't especially mind people writing about Steve & Ghost, Trevor & Zach, or the characters from EXQUISITE CORPSE. I'm done with those characters, and if people want more of them, it seems reasonable to allow them to make it themselves as long as they're not profiting from it. Knock yourself out. Have fun.

At this point, I don't want fan fiction published about Rickey, G-man, or the other characters in the Liquor world, and yes, I'm afraid I am willing to back that up legally -- not to be an asshole, but because I plan to continue writing about these characters for a long time to come and there is quite a bit of evidence that allowing fan fiction can weaken an author's copyright (as discussed here). Writing is my only source of income and I just can't risk having that compromised. Honestly, though, it's about more than money or whether I ever even see the stuff -- it's the fact that when someone else writes without permission about characters that are still very much a part of my life, it feels a lot like having someone sleep with my husband, or rather more like having someone sneak up behind him and stick a finger up his butt. They may mean it in a flattering way (because he does have a cute butt), and I may not have to look at it, but that doesn't make me feel a whole lot better, and it's not something I am ever going to get used to.

More than anything else, I simply wish I were not the kind of author who makes people want to write fan fiction about his characters. Ever since I saw that Jughead/Mr. Weatherbee slash piece, though, I'm convinced that people will write the stuff about ANYTHING. [1] This statement is on Brite's official website. The posting date is unknown, but it references something posted in 2001 [2].

2002

Jason Louv: Slash fiction has suddenly been getting an unprecedented amount of attention in the media. As someone who has written (thinly-veiled) Lennon/MacCartney slash and slash involving you & Matt Stone and Trey Parker of "South Park" fame, would you be able to pinpoint the appeal that this kind of fiction holds for you and others? Also, why do you think it's a mode of fiction used almost exclusively by women?

PZB: Is Plastic Jesus slash fiction? I'm not particularly happy with it in retrospect, but I don't think it is quite that bad. For one thing, it doesn't contain a great deal of sex. The South Park story was just a joke, not the sort of thing I'm ever likely to repeat. While the slash culture has a kind of icky fascination for me, I can't say the fiction holds any appeal, so I can't really comment on that--or why the form is almost exclusively used by woman, for that matter, since I don't feel that I write (or do much of anything else) from a female perspective.

I did read an interesting article on slash by Adam Parfrey in Apocalypse Culture II. An author of Star Trek slash commented, "When Kirk and Spock love each other, instead of the standard bitch brought on every couple of weeks, I still have them for myself." I don't know that I see this as a particularly admirable reason to write any sort of fiction--for one thing, it seems to imply that male homosexuality is a less valid (and therefore less threatening) form of eroticism than heterosexuality--but it is an interesting perspective. [3]

2010

The Internet seems to be having one of its periodic cycles of wank about fanfic -- or maybe it's always there and I only notice it periodically -- so this would probably be a good time to mention that I used to be anti-fanfic (and personally squicked by the idea of people writing about my characters), but no longer am. I've seen people pointing out that my original feelings on the matter were rendered pretty hypocritical by the publication of Plastic Jesus, and they are right. I wrote Plastic Jesus during a spell of creative bankruptcy and am not proud of the book (except for the illustration of Amsterdam -- I wish I had the original of that). If I had it to do over again, I wouldn't publish it. (Not to take anything away from readers who enjoyed it; I've learned that one should always appreciate enjoyment of one's work. Took me a while, but I think I've got it now.)

It's not so much about Plastic Jesus, though; it's just about getting older and encountering real troubles and realizing that, as theferrett eloquently pointed out today, people being inspired by your characters and wanting to play in your world is a pretty goddamn luxurious "problem" to have. It doesn't matter, it doesn't do harm, and the loss-of-copyright bugaboos that scared a bunch of authors (including me) some years back appear to have been inaccurately reported and (probably) wildly exaggerated. So I hereby apologize to everyone I've ever been a douchenozzle to about fanfic. I hope I wasn't too much of one; I know I've expressed some very cranky general opinions, but I don't think I've ever actually been mean to anyone who wrote/wanted to write about my characters. (I imagine the volume of PZB fanfic is minuscule compared to most fandoms anyway.) I still don't want to actually read it, but obviously the world has moved on in regards to this issue and my attitude needs to catch up or else I will only needlessly insult readers or would-be readers. The FAQ on my website [4] does not reflect this change in attitude because I'm a lazy bum who never updates my website, but the next time I do, it will. [5]

Fanfic

Most fanfic is based on "Lost Souls."

References

  1. ^ poppyzbrite.com; archive link, accessed July 12, 2017
  2. ^ Fan Fiction, Novels, Copyright, and Ethics, Michela Ecks, 2001, posted to Whoosh!
  3. ^ poppy z. brite: iron chef (July 25, 2002)
  4. ^ poppyzbrite.com; archive link, accessed July 12, 2017
  5. ^ *Fanfic: At The End of the Day; archive link, May 8, 2010