Talk:Mary Sue

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The TNH blog post listed under references has some great links and resources for whomever wants to expand this article. -Melina 22:09, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

Was it Martin Gero who talked about Rodney as the self-insertion character? And do we have a source for that? I'm fuzzy on the specifics. --rache 17:15, 26 October 2008 (UTC)

One quick question. Mara Jade: original fiction Mary Sue or not?--Xenakis 03:25, 27 October 2008 (UTC)

I'd say 'not', especially as she was first written by Timothy Zahn, who is unlikely to really wish he were a fabulous force-sensitive red-headed woman Luke Skywalker would fall in love with. At least, that's not the impression I have of him. SIGN YOUR EDITS. Maybe Whatserface in those LKH elf novels is a better example? --Betty 02:33, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
Sorry about signing! Don't get me wrong, I love Mara to pieces, but I've seen the issue being discussed a few times. I guess it depends on whether the true definition of a Mary Sue is the authorial wish-fulfilment element, or the actual characteristics of the character. Mara is certainly guilty of many typical Mary Sueism (has distinctive hair colour, her last name is-a-gemstone-is-the-colour-of-her-eyes, has "magic" powers, has a Tragic Past to overcome, is instrumental in Saving the Day, eventually marries the Hero, etc.) I also think that, while I agree that Zahn probably doesn't want to BE her, he does speak THROUGH her quite a lot. The entire passage in Vision of the Future where Mara confronts Luke about his actions of the past 10 years quite clearly reflects the authors opinion of the books that have been written after his first trilogy. Finally, many people in SW fandom do consider her a Mary Sue (see the numerous forum discussions on the subject by googling "mara jade"+"mary sue"). I think her example should be included, perhaps as an example of a derivative use of the word.--Xenakis 03:25, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
ETA: I just did this Litmus Test, as if I was Zahn, and scored 96/100. I'd be curious to see what result other people got.--Xenakis 03:44, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
ETA2: Hum, but this test gave me these results:
"mara jade is nothing like you. She may be popular, or she may not, but no matter what she's impossible to ignore; she stands out... just the way you always wanted to. She may have sometimes thought that she was special, or destined for greater things, but probably dismissed the idea as a fantasy. She's come in for her share of hurt, but gotten off with minor damage. And you've been sparing with the free handouts: whatever she gains, she's worked for. In general, you care deeply about mara jade, but you're smart enough to let her stand on her own, without burdening her with your personal fantasies or propping her up with idealization and over-dramatization. mara jade is a healthy character with a promising career ahead of her."
What to think?--Xenakis 03:57, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
I think these litmus tests are probably good if you are creating characters for like a Lawrence Block or John Grisham type of novel, but where would fantasy novels be without lost princes from forgotten ancient magic kingdoms? --KTJ 21:11, 15 April 2011 (UTC)
Uh oh. Are we doing the litmus test on Darby Shaw now? ;D Franzeska 14:24, 18 April 2011 (UTC)
There's also the two love interests for Qui and Obi in the YA novels. I read the descriptions on a wiki once and they were laughably OTT Sue-ish. --Kyuuketsukirui 03:27, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
"she was first written by Timothy Zahn, who is unlikely to really wish he were a fabulous force-sensitive red-headed woman Luke Skywalker would fall in love with...." James H. Schmitz probably doesn't wish he was a teenage girl true telepath and genius, either. Hell, Ariosto probably didn't wish he was a gorgeous and powerful knightress with a magic lance, who rescued gentlemen in distress. I think MS needs to be re-defined without the "self-insertion" business. Yeah, I know this is an old thread. Just had to say it. --KTJ 23:27, 29 May 2012 (UTC)

Do we really want to use the term "half-breed" on this page? What does that even mean? I mean, I know what it's referring to-- the typical D&D type character who's half elven, half dragon (but not regular dragon, the special shiny rare kind of dragon) or the HP Sue who is 1/4 Veela and 1/4 werewolf and whatever -- but is there a better way to say this? -- Liviapenn 00:04, 23 November 2008 (UTC)

I've tried to rephrase -- see what you think.--Penknife 13:50, 23 November 2008 (UTC)

Paula Smith interview

Every Trekzine at that time? WOW... I must have completely missed the boat. Or is this maybe like when people said "every zine is K/S now" when it was really only about a third of them? Anyway, I checked zinedex but there were no references to a zine with ducks on it. It must have had an incredibly low circulation. I'll check a few other sources, see if I can get my hands on that story. --KTJ 09:09, 17 March 2011 (UTC)

Duck zine found

Mrs. Potato Head says the "duck" zine was an issue of Double Exposure. Now all we have to do is find a copy. Rondeaus ahoy! By the way, they're very interested what we're doing with this page here. --KTJ 04:05, 21 May 2011 (UTC)

Cleanup needed?

Some time ago, I showed this page to someone I trust, who pronounced it "a mess". I think it is too long and could be tightened up. To begin with, I am wondering if the chart that has different definitions of what a Mary Sue is could be put on its own page. What think you? --KTJ 02:04, 18 March 2012 (UTC)

I agree. It is an ungainly page that is really hard to follow. It makes my brain hurt to read, and I wish it didn't. The chart moving to its own page (or something) would be a good start. How else can we make this page better? --Mrs. Potato Head 02:08, 18 March 2012 (UTC)
This is an important page, and it needs some serious editing and reorg and perhaps some subpages. Any ideas? --Mrs. Potato Head 23:05, 23 April 2012 (UTC)
It's definitely a bit repetitive but I'd be chary about removing very much content (even onto subpages) as the concept is important and has evolved substantially. I thought I knew MS's inside out, but I found elements that were new to me when I first read the article, and surely that's what Fanlore is here for! Espresso Addict 12:05, 24 April 2012 (UTC)

The History Section

The History Section has a technical error in it with "Influential Works" and I'm not sure how to fix it. --Mrs. Potato Head 13:32, 26 May 2012 (UTC)

More Cleanup Discussion

Okay, I removed that whole big chart and most of the description keeping what I thought were the salient bits. I want to cut it down still further if I can but don't want to lose anything important. Now on the first description, which you said needed a citation and who describes MS this way? Well, I thought that was Paula Smith's basic definition. It's more or less the description on page 94 of Enterprising Women. I'm gonna put this as a reference, let's see if that works. --KTJ 20:44, 26 May 2012 (UTC)

looks good! You can remove the 'who defines it this way" verbiage--MeeDee 20:51, 26 May 2012 (UTC)


I added the PPOV template because over time this article has shifted strongly in one direction and right now it almost reads like an essay on why calling a character a Mary Sue is evil. --Doro 14:03, 12 November 2012 (UTC)

I'm wondering if there shouldn't be a separate article on MS controversy, like the Slash Controversies one. The woman who originated the MS concept had a not wholly altruistic agenda, and the cultural responses -- especially in the Internet age -- are of lasting interest. --KTJ 22:52, 12 November 2012 (UTC)
It's a pretty long glossary entry, and the controversy is definitely worthy of its own page.--msilverstar (talk) 01:07, 3 May 2013 (UTC)
I agree, though I have no idea how to tease that part of this page out. --Mrs. Potato Head (talk) 02:01, 3 May 2013 (UTC)

I took this out for now

A more likely candidate for "blatant Mary Sue" is Sharon Emily's The Misfit, in which a homely old maid who has never known love finds a way into the future and is literally transformed (via the spores from "This Side of Paradise") into a beautiful, perfect woman who becomes Sarek's second wife.[1] (Sheryl Roberts' "Sherrith McRaith" crackfics are a parody of The Misfit and the Kraith subverse in general.)[2]

It can be put back in anywhere, any time, but I'm looking to shorten the article any way I can. --KTJ (talk) 09:50, 31 December 2012 (UTC)

What Does This Page Need?

What does this page need to have the {{PPOV}} taken off of it? --MPH (talk) 01:51, 12 April 2014 (UTC)

I am removing the PPOV template. --MPH (talk) 23:22, 9 June 2014 (UTC)

From One Issue?

It's unclear to me what the section titled "From One Issue" means. It looks like it could be combined with "Further Reading." --MPH (talk) 20:32, 18 November 2015 (UTC)

Will do. I wasn't sure what that was so I hadn't done anything with it yet. Instead of alphabetizing by author, I'm thinking about arranging them by date so readers can see the evolution. --KTJ (talk) 21:37, 18 November 2015 (UTC)
I think it was just an editing blip? I agree: combine and arrange by date. That's the most interesting and helpful, I think. --MPH (talk) 22:14, 18 November 2015 (UTC)


Was there a decision what to do with Boosette's original article?, I sent the full text to Mrs. P some time ago. --KTJ (talk) 20:55, 9 July 2016 (UTC)

Can some folks weigh in on this, either here or on KTJ's talk page? If the 2010 post was public at the time, an editor can quote it at Fanlore, yes? Or can an editor just refer to it and summarize it? KTJ also asked me if the text of the post could be uploaded as a text file to Fanlore (which I'm thinking "no," not without permission, but I am not certain). This may be helpful: --MPH (talk) 21:22, 9 July 2016 (UTC)
You're right MPH - If the essay was ever public it can be quoted on Fanlore, but no essays should be reproduced in their entirety without permission because that would be a copyright violation issue (but quotes are usually fair use). --sparc 05:49, 10 July 2016 (UTC)
I think it would be fine to quote; the only reason not to quote material that was public at one point would be if the information in the quote outs someone's personal information.--aethel (talk) 21:09, 10 July 2016 (UTC)


  1. ^ Sharon Emily, The Misfit, written in 1974 and originally published in Showcase 1. Entire novel online at
  2. ^ The Affirmation First story in the Sherrith series of alternative universe Kraith tales, published in Kraith Collected. Entire series on line at

Note 2 - "Every Trekzine?"

I didn't want to just remove this, but I think this footnote on Smith's comment ("I'm very much a pattern seeker, and you could see that every Trek zine at the time [note 2] had a main story about this adolescent girl who is the youngest yeoman or lieutenant or captain ever in Starfleet.") isn't very helpful or right for the tone of our articles:

Every Trekzine? Or was this some fans' perception, described on p. 64 of Boldly Writing, that "all Star Trek fanzines nowadays are K/S" when it was really less than half of them?

Is there any value in this aside, and if so can we rephrase it somehow? I think it's wrong of us to quote Smith and then leave snarky footnotes trying to put down her experience/opinion... while comparing it to what seems to be a completely different topic. Is there a substantial link between K/S and Mary Sues? - Hoopla (talk) 16:16, 31 January 2019 (UTC)

It was my kludgy attempt to put her statement in perspective. As you correctly point out, it's her subjective opinion, so the note should be rephrased or removed. (Somewhere along the way, the word "like" has gotten deleted from my footnote. Should be, "was this like some fans' perception.") The connection I was trying to make was controversial material in fanfiction leading to people complaining "it's all like that now." There does appear to be a substantial link between slash and Mary Sue, as in "female characters get in the way of imagined male/male pairings", and Misogyny in Fandom, but that's a topic for another time. --KTJ (talk) 17:34, 31 January 2019 (UTC)
Oh, that makes sense! I think we could still work some kind of prospective in there, it's probably a good idea, just uh, clearly not one I was exactly picking up on, although I'm not sure how I'd rephrase the footnote. - Hoopla (talk) 04:08, 6 February 2019 (UTC)