quasigeek asked: On the fanfic debate: There's a fine line between something being "based on" something else, and fanfiction? But like you said, there's also the ones that rip off other works (ie, Eragon) and try to pass it off as their own. Maybe it IS a question of quality. Would we bash Fifty Shades so much if it were decent writing, based on a decent book? Who's to say.
Yeah, my instinctive answer is that the legitimacy of fanfiction is honestly a question of quality more than anything else—and, of course, if you’re making a judgment of artistic quality, it’s going to be an inherently ambiguous, fuzzy, subjective judgment. My instinct is to err on the side of caution with such judgments, just because I’m very afraid of dismissing authentic art due to some misunderstanding on my part— so I’m really unwilling to say fanfiction is fundamentally “lacking” somehow, or fanfiction should never be judged by the same standards as literary or genre novels. I think fanfiction is a contiuum, ranging from Paradise Lost to, uh, Kirk/Spock slash, I guess, and it’s hard to decide where the line should be drawn between those two extremes that makes something explicitly “not literature.”
This whole discussion is really interesting (to me) just because I feel like it involves a lot of very 21st-century issues. Do ideas “belong” to their creators, in the same sense as a property right, or are they fundamentally meant to be changed, expounded on, and transformed in ways that the creators may or may not approve of? Who judges artistic quality—a small academic elite (reading stuff like Philip Roth), the masses (reading stuff like Jodi Piccoult), or is it something more scattered and variable? And is art something that is primarily created by professional artists (people who get paid to write novels, win awards for their fiction, and have academics write papers about them), or is the growing ease of publishing (via the interent) just demonstrating that art is something much more wide-ranging, varied, and subjective than we’re used to recognizing?
i’ll probably meta about this on dw or something once i work my thoughts into something more coherent, i’m probably contradicting myself right now or something