Fan fiction can be pretty terrible. It can be really terrible. It can sometimes be so terrible it blows your mind. That’s exactly the kind of fan fiction I had in mind while writing Thorquake. When I say it’s so terrible, I’m mainly talking about the juvenile humour that seems to drive a lot of fanfiction. So when I set about writing a fan fiction around James Steele’s ‘Felix and the Sacred Thor’ I chose not to do a straight up earnest attempt at fan fiction, but rather, one massive pisstake on the genre (if it can be called a genre).
I’ll be honest, I think the writing is good. I also think the concept/execution is good. But I’ve done a lot of things in Thorquake that I would never (without good reason) do with my usual writing. For one thing, a lot of characters are based on real people. Some of these people I’ve barely communicated with, and none of them I’ve met in real life. The characters are representative of their real-life counterparts, yet they are different in that they don’t necessarily portray those people’s characters accurately (in fact I’m sure they don’t). The only things that match up exactly are their names and maybe what they’ve written, if that’s important. I mean, I turned one character into a robot. For no good reason other than it would be cool.
That’s another thing. Doing things because it would be cool. Like, wouldn’t it be cool if I were dressed up as Felix and I got to meet James Steele. And wouldn’t it be cool if D. Harlan Wilson were a robot. And wouldn’t it be cool if ‘Felix and the Sacred Thor’ were a movie, and that movie became real.
That last part became the major plot point. The story is set in a world where bizarro is a massive phenomenon where there’s books and films and games and toys and BizarroCon has all the excitement and spectacle of an anime convention for example. I wander in dressed as Felix and I’m all like “this is so cool” and I’m like “hey James, sign my book!” and then one thing leads to another, and during a screening of the ‘Felix’ film, the characters leap out of the screen (which is a recontextualisation of the main plot point of Jeff Burk’s ‘Shatnerquake’) which is, like, totally awesome. It would be so cool if that happened.
Then there’s the random shit that makes no sense whatsoever that would be expected from a typical bizarro fanboy in the ‘Thorquake’ universe. Like dressing Cameron Pierce and Carlton Mellick as Gaston Glew and Fanny Fod and getting them to make out. Because fan fiction is about your most disturbing fantasies coming true, right? And the robot dildo that fires dog biscuits. And the flying toasters. Wait… that last one was part of James’ original book. Never mind…
The point is, writing fan fiction – or a parody of fan fiction – entitles me with a license to be pointless and retarded. It’s stupid and wacky and wrong, but who cares? It’s just pointless random fun. I would say that bizarro has more of a point to it (other than the self-gratification of the author), but really, there are a lot of similarities between the two. Neither are catering to the literary elite, and while bizarro is set up to be more professional, they’re both quite community-driven. Authors wanting to read a particular style of off-beat fiction getting up and writing what they want to read. That’s one of the main reasons why I write. For myself and people like me.
And the other story that won James’ fan fiction competition, which is in the link to Thorquake beneath my story, is well worth a read also. ‘Felix and the Sinister Cerebus’, by Dan Schwent, is a postscript to the original book, and as far as fan fiction goes, it reads less like bad fan fiction and more like what an actual author would write, following the style James set out in the book.