Fan-fiction has had a surge in popular literature in recent years and this popularity seems to be ever rising. The growing popularity of this “genre” is apparent with the recent publication of Abigail Gibb’s Twilightinspired, ‘The Dark Heroine: Dinner with a Vampire’. It was a painful read. The times I felt myself being drawn into the story were quickly halted by my gag reflex. This was mainly due to the naivety of the writing, but also crucial mistakes in continuity and grammar. The need for an editor, or in fact a simple proof read, was never more so evident than in the school grade mix up of our and are.
However my biggest problem with the novel is that it deemed itself fan-fiction. To quote a goodread.com review “I never would have guessed that the story is inspired by Twilight. I mean, there is no connection…” To not draw, or to even echo the original story is to remove the basic fundamental nature of what it is to be fan-fiction. Instead it is another piece of literature that adds to the confusion that is the Vampire myth. Apart from the love story aspect, there isn’t a trace of Stephenie Meyer’s novels in this story. Nevertheless do not let its association or mis-association sway your opinion to read this.
However what I DO think is pure and unadulterated fan-fiction is Emma Thompson’s continuation of the Peter Rabbit novels: this is real FAN-fiction. Characters have remained the same and the “mischievousness” of Peter has been captured so eloquently by Thompson while maintaining enough originality to capture new readers. There is an obvious fanatical aspect to this work. Thompson’s notes at the beginning and the end of the book relate a love of Peter Rabbit – a love that needs to be apparent in any fan-fiction. It is hard not to smile and relive childhood while reading it.
The problem lies within the mis-use of the term. A novel that simply refers to vampires does not make it a Fan-fiction of ‘Twilight’. However to deny previous influences also seems redundant. Peter Rabbit has no place in Grey’s Red room of pain. Yet is this inevitably the problem; for all the benefits that self-publication allows, it tends to be one that serves the masses and not the mind.
Words by Rebecca McEwen