The Bizarre, Unsolved Mystery of 'My Immortal,' the World's Worst Fanfiction Story

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News Media Commentary
Title: The Bizarre, Unsolved Mystery of ‘My Immortal,’ the World’s Worst Fanfiction Story
Commentator: Abraham Riesman
Date(s): March 12, 2015
Venue: print, online
Fandom: Harry Potter, all fandoms
External Links: The Bizarre, Unsolved Mystery of ‘My Immortal,’ the World’s Worst Fanfiction Story, Archived version
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The Bizarre, Unsolved Mystery of ‘My Immortal,’ the World’s Worst Fanfiction Story is an article in "New York Magazine."

It discusses the mysterious fanfic My Immortal.

Introduction

Like Stonehenge or the works of Shakespeare, we’ll probably never know who was behind “My Immortal” — the massive Harry Potter–inspired text that is widely regarded as the worst piece of fanfiction ever written — but there’s no shortage of theories. Was it, as the text’s pseudonymous author’s notes suggest, a teenage girl living in Dubai? If so, was her name Tara, and did she make a handful of mysterious YouTube videos under the username “xXblo0dyxkissxX”? Could it have been the fanfiction.net user who went by the handle “TheBatman” and wrote a 988-word confession saying he crafted the story as a hoax (a confession that has since been deleted)? And while we’re at it, who wrote the disputed 39th and 40th chapters of the story, which contain introductory notes claiming they were written by a hacker? Was there ever just one author, or was this a collaborative con job? We’re getting ahead of ourselves, but it’s hard not to go down rabbit holes while chasing after “My Immortal.” The story poses two great, as-yet-unanswered questions to anyone who encounters it: Who wrote this thing, and was he or she (or they) playing some kind of prank? Ever since it was published serially on fanfiction.net between 2006 and 2007, the 22,678-word-long story has generated very little concrete information, but a tremendous amount of discussion and fascination. Its original posts inspired droves of comments, and although those posts were purged from the web in 2008 (yet another mystery), they were the beginning of debates that continue to rage among fanfiction enthusiasts and internet archaeologists. Indeed, there’s an entire miniature Wikipedia solely dedicated to analyzing every aspect of the story. There’s fan art, there are parody versions, there are dramatic readings, there’s a successful live-action web series based on the tale … the list of tributes, both spiteful and loving, goes on and on.

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