The term fan fiction carries a wealth of emotional connotations and many of them are negative. I reviewed a couple different definitions of fan fiction, but I especially liked The Oxford Dictionary official definition. To paraphrase the The Oxford Dictionary fan fiction is a work of fiction written by a fan featuring the characters of any movie, television series or book(s).
The interesting thing about fan fiction, is that conceptually it is simply the retelling of a story from a different perspective. Consequentially, that means that the idea of fan fiction has existed for a very long time, because humans have been retelling stories with previously created characters for a long time. In her article regarding the history of fan fiction, Gaurdian author Ewan Morrison writes that “Fanfic is seen as the lowest point we’ve reached in the history of culture – it’s crass, sycophantic, celebrity-obsessed, naive, badly written, derivative, consumerist, unoriginal – anti-original. From this perspective it’s a disaster when a work of fanfic becomes the world’s number one bestseller and kickstarts a global trend.”
In some ways, mainstream culture has managed to ignore fan fiction. However the global phenomenon of Fifty Shades of Grey has forced many to openly to know what the term means and to recognize it’s potential impact on society.
I’m certain that not all forms of fan fiction are the same, and people absolutely have the right to create it if they do not attempt to sell it. However research indicates that it is not uncommon to see disturbing trends of violence or inappropriate sexuality (especially in regards to pedophilia or rape) in fan fiction. Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of fan fiction is not the act of copying or the legal issues. It’s possible that the worse thing about fan fiction is the extent to which it reflects the subconscious of our current culture.