Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

A Few Last Words

I've just locked the comments section of the previous post. We've had about four hundred comments since the post went up last night, and the whole thing is about to collapse under its own weight. I suspect that someone or other has already said everything that can be said on the subject, so now we're starting to go around in circles.

Also, with this many comments, it's becoming obvious that some of the later commenters aren't actually reading what went before. I'm starting to get asked the same questions over and over again -- what about Suvudu? what about the Vance book? what about fan art? what about role-playing games? All fair enough questions, but I have answered all of them in responses to earlier comments. Some I have answered two or three times by now. I am not going to answer them four, five, six, or twelve times, sorry. So if you've posted a question that has already been asked and answered, your post will likely be ignored or deleted. (Yes, I know it's a pain to have to read four hundred comments. Tough. If I have to read them all, so do you. That's the price of taking part in the discussion).

Some comments haven't been unscreened yet. There have been so many of them coming in so fast that it has been hard to keep up. A few have been buried by now, especially comments on comments on comments. Ty or I will get to all of them eventually, I hope, and everything will either be unscreened or deleted.

I want to thank ninety-five percent of the people who took the time to comment. I appreciate your thoughts, and even more, I appreciate the relative calm and thoughtful tone of this discussion, which never degenerated into the kind of ugliness I've seen (and am still seeing) in the comments over on Diana Gabaldon's blog, where the discussion has long since been derailed. I don't know how many minds were changed here, but all the major issues were thoroughly aired, it seems to me, and I hope this generated more light than heat.

There were a few issues raised during the debate that I'd like to address a bit further.

A number of commenters suggested that I was wrong in my assertion that copyrights need to be defended, and suggested that I was confusing copyrights with trademarks. Perhaps so. This was raised often enough that it is obviously something I need to look into further. There were also posters who agreed with what I wrote, however, including some who identified themselves as lawyers or law students, so I don't think the issue is as clear cut as the "trademark" folks are claiming. I'll investigate this, and if I was wrong about this, I will come back here and say so (eventually, this is not my top priority in life). If I was right, I'll come back and mention that as well.

ERB v HPL. I never said that allowing others to play with the Cthulhu mythos was the ONLY reason Lovecraft died in poverty. Actually, I am a huge Lovecraft fan, and not much of a Burroughs fan at all (though Melinda Snodgrass and I did once work on the screenplay for A PRINCESS OF MARS). I know a lot about HPL. His work has been hugely influential on modern horror. But my point stands. I could write a Cthulhu Mythos novel tomorrow, and I would not have to pay a dime to any Lovecraft estate (if such exists) or get their permission. I would never dare write a Barsoom novel, though surely PRINCESS is in the public domain by now. (The later John Carter and Tarzan novels may still be under copyright).

A few people have quoted or posted links to the other side of the Marion Zimmer Bradley incident, the account of the fan involved. Fine, two sides to every story, check it out. At this point, twenty years after the fact, it all becomes she said/ she said. But the version I posted was hardly "urban legend," as one commenter called it. It was the version given by Marion Zimmer Bradley herself in SFWA FORUM, what she told the rest of the writing community. If you want to believe she lied, well, that's your prerogative.

More thoughts as I have 'em. Just now, I have work to do.


May. 10th, 2010 05:39 am (UTC)
Re: fanfic
You're assuming - as Ms. Gabaldon and so many other have done - that fanfic writers don't write original stories. I write both fan fiction and my own original works. They're not exclusive, and each is a wholly different experience for me. When I write my own stories, I'm creating everything from scratch, and yes, there is a joy in that. But with fan fiction, I get the chance to further explore characters or worlds I fell in love with through the medium that comes most naturally to me - writing, and there's a different joy in that which I will never get through writing about my own characters.

I see an interesting character and wonder: what if...? and want to know more about them: to investigate what makes them tick, what goes on in their heads, their dreams and aspirations, their fears, and every little thing that might have been only hinted at in the canon but suggested a whole other world lying there beneath the surface, and it fascinates me. The stories come, and when they do I just have to write them or they'll stay in my head for ages. There's this one character who existed for a mere 3:40 minutes as a cameo in a television show; I've written tens of thousands of words about him in fan fiction.

"And if people really want to write fiction online to share with the world, why can't all those people create worlds and characters together and write about them? Why do they need to borrow someone else's creations?"

For me and many others, it's a fear of plagiarism. If I wrote an original story and posted it online and someone were to steal it and publish it and get money out of it, it's possible that I would never know.

Whereas fanfic can never be published for money; it's against the law. If someone tried to publish, say, a Star Wars fanfic that I wrote, the publishers would recognise Luke Skywalker and Han Solo and go "hey, isn't this Star Wars? You can't publish this commercially without George Lucas' permission!" But if it's a story with my own original characters and universe, a publisher would not be able to recognise it as written by some kid in an obscure part of the Internet, and would believe the plagiarist if they claim it as their own work.


George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin

Latest Month

April 2018


Page Summary

Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Lilia Ahner