Once again, it’s time to wrap up my run here on Science Fiction, Transmedia, and Fandom. Thanks for hanging out and joining in the discussion. I want to close by making it clear that I strongly believe that authors should be able to maintain control of their work and make a living from it. If I spend years crafting a world, characters, plot, and work on the narrative to the best of my ability, all for someone else’s entertainment, I have the right to monetize it. No one else should be able to profit from it at my expense. Conversely, I should not be able to profit from or because of someone else’s creative effort. Beyond that, I have to acknowledge that I did not come up with my ideas in a vacuum.
I also believe that stories don’t really “belong” to anyone. Ideas don’t “belong” to me; concepts and questions don’t “belong” to me. Only their expression does, and even then I sometimes wonder if I can really own an intangible thing that’s going to be reinterpreted every time someone reads it. The questions of ownership and profit are at the heart of every fanfiction debate I’ve ever heard. Here’s my take:
Early on in this series, I talked about a children’s story I wrote which was based on the long-running Berenstain Bears media franchise. The Berenstain Bears have books, toys, computer games, TV shows, and if I’m not mistaken there were DVD movies. It’s a very profitable franchise. My parents didn’t have a lot of money. My sister and I both liked the Bears, but our folks couldn’t afford any of that stuff. The TV show was free, and once a year on Christmas we probably got a few picture books. Yet, because I could make up stories about the Bears and learned to write some of them down, we had hours and hours of enjoyment that we probably wouldn’t have gotten from reading the same handful of picture books for years. That meant the Berenstain Bears stayed a presence in our lives, and they stayed on our parents’ radar when the time came to buy Christmas presents or at any other time they might’ve had cash. If I hadn’t been writing those stories, my sister and I would probably have moved on to something more current. So, as far as I’m concerned, fanfiction represents a real potential for to generate revenue at exactly zero cost to the author or the publishing house. I don’t see how that’s a problem. By discussing the ways in which my own series has been influenced by other media properties,I’m also encouraging folks who may not otherwise be interested in those properties to go and check them out. Again, free advertising. I don’t see how the established product loses out.
Rose B. Fischer is an avid fan of foxes, Stargate: SG-1, and Star Trek. She would rather be on the Enterprise right now. Since she can’t be a Starfleet Officer, she became a speculative fiction author whose stories feature women who defy cultural stereotypes.In her fictional worlds, gender is often fluid, sexuality exists on a spectrum, and “disability” does not define an individual. She publishes science fiction, science fantasy, horror, and biographical essays. To find out more, visit her website or her Amazon Author page.