Jul. 30th, 2002

incandescens: (Default)
Okay, I owe part of an image for this to a column on http://www.aestheticism.net/ discussing cavemen creating the first stories based around a set of characters "owned by the group", which also referred to a concept of the same type from Ursula le Guin, IIRC.

Anyhow . . .

THE EVOLUTION OF FANFIC

One night, Blabberomenos the Greek went down to the taberna as usual. He drank a few cups of wine with his friends, and they did say, "Pity that there aren't any more stories about that Hercules guy, isn't it?" For lo, the Hercules guy had been marketed heavily.

And this was the first expressed wish for more stories concerning other people's characters.

And Blabberomenos did think mightily, and an idea came to him, and he said, "Hey, what about that time he fought the, um, big lion? From Nemea?"

And his friends scoffed, and said, "I never heard that one."

And B (to save the author's fingers) did say, "No, it was like this, right . . ." and told a story all about how Hercules had this epic fight with a big lion, and took its skin, "which is why you see him wearing a lionskin in the pictures."

And his friends did go, "Wow, that makes sense and fills in that hole in canon."

And this was the first fanfic.

But one smartass did say, "But why was he fighting it in the first place? Isn't this kind of plot, what plot?"

And B thought, and said, "Um, yeah! It's because he had to serve this cousin of his for twelve years, because he killed his children when Hera sent him mad!"

And this was the first hasty interpolation of "new" background history.

And there were general gasps, and comments of, "Hey, you need to write that one up."

And this was the first request to write up back history of current fanfic.

And the next day, B said to his wife, Yatteromena, "Hey, I had this idea for the sequel where he fights a hydra and cuts all its heads off. And I'm going to have a kid in it who'll help him."

And Y did say, "The kid's a good idea, but you might want to make the whole hydra fight thing a bit more complicated. If you have nothing but easy fight scenes, people will get bored."

And this was the first beta.

At the taberna that night, the response to the (reworked) tale of the Tegean Hydra was most flattering. And lo, more tales ensued.

And this was the first continuation.

And when they got to the bit about Hercules hitting the Island of the Amazons to get the Girdle of Hyppolita, B went into great descriptive detail of how Hercules persuaded her to hand the belt over.

And this was the first lemon.

And then they got to labour number eleven (as B was enjoying the series too much to want to stop) and the same smartass as earlier said, "Hey, I thought that there were only ten labours!" And an argument ensued.

And this was the first flamewar.

Until B hastily said, "No, wait, Eurystheus decided that the second and fifth labours didn't count, because Hercules got help in the second one and he asked for pay for the fifth one, so he made Hercules do two more."

"Oh, right," said the crowd.

And this was the first retcon.

And finally B reached labour twelve, with Hercules wrestling Hades and dragging Cerberus off to the surface world and everything. And the crowd said, "Wow. So what happened next?"

And B described a very affecting and tragic death.

And this was the first angstfic.

And the crowd said, "So, got any more?"

And B found that a fanfic writer's work never ends.

---

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