This was copied directly from Cecelia Tan’s site, and used with her permission.
I, Steven Brust, tell stories and publish my works because I want to spur the imaginations of my readers. I view non-commercial fanworks as a natural extension of that inspiration. The only thing I can’t support is anything that would damage my livelihood or reputation, hence keep the stuff non-commercial and label it as non-commercial fanfiction when disseminating/posting it. If you break any local laws where you are to either read my works or write about them, please don’t tell me. I may or may not read or comment on fanworks out there. Sometimes my time is limited, sometimes a comment would turn out to be a spoiler for another reader, and so on, but don’t mistake my silence for ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ I support the creation of non-commercial fanworks and fanfiction as a valid fannish activity, right up there with costuming, filking, and text-based play-by-post role playing.
Note: Corwin and Felix, when we get around to updating my home page, please put the above on it with a link like, “Policy on Fanfic”
0 thoughts on “Statement on Fanfic”
Hey, this is kind of cool-creepy! Just last night, I was reflecting upon the (rather opposing) views of two authors on that subject, when a wondering shut it all down: what’s Steven Brust’s view on it? I had even resolved to go back through blog entries today to see if you’d ever mentioned it.
Then, this morning, I gnawed through the leather straps, crawled to the computer and found my question so conveniently answered!
In that case, I’ll admit that I’ve been to a convention while costumed as Aliera. :-)
Maybe… Consider mentioning that your books are now on audible.com? Considering I’ve waited for almost 10 years for this to occur, it was sort of a “almost shit my pants” moment when I found this out.
I drive a WHOLE LOT (sometimes up to 10 hours a day) for my job and audiobooks make my life so much nicer and as one of my top 3 book series of all time, having your books added is just… spectacular.
This kind of makes me wonder what your thoughts would be about someone making some of those horrible Fan Fiction Friday stories (those pornographic stories that are often posted about super heroes, which have no danger of keeping proper grammar, spelling, or any other mechanic of the English language). I, personally, would see it as a bastardization or corruption of Dragaera, but then, I’m not an artist.
I sort of expected this was the case, since I’d heard you’d written fanfic yourself. But, nonetheless, yay!
Now I don’t have to feel weird about the fact that I’m writing a (non-commercial, natch) LARP set in pre-Interregnum Dragaera ;) More details if you’re interested, but I also expect you have valid reasons for not wanting to know more. (I’ve heard of authors supporting fanfic while having a policy of not reading it themselves because they fear it might influence their own work).
I was bright enough to take a Law course in University. It primarily covered Contract law for Engineers heading for their P.Eng., but there wasn’t enough material, so the Lawyer also covered Patents, Copyright, and Trademarks. So I have been aware of the potential Copyright claims against authors that use fan ideas for over 20 years.
I am a big Web Comic fan. And once in a while, my authors make mistakes, and admit to it. One made a big mistake concerning electricity a few years ago, and as an electrical/computer engineer, I contacted him about it, since he stated that his intention was to be 100% scientifically accurate.
Since I knew that any ideas I presented were threatening as a Copyright violation, the first sentence in my message was, “I relinqush all claims to any ideas or suggestions presented in the following message. You may use everything I suggest freely and with no fear of lawsuit.” I then went on to describe why the electricity could not do as he wanted, and presented ideas on how to use what was already written without editing, to prevent a major rewrite.
He used my idea.
No, the author never contacted me to tell me that he even read my message: he may have already had it on his own. Or someone else may have given it, too. But if anyone else tried to claim he had stolen it, he could truck out MY email and say, “No, Kreistor gave the idea to me: I didn’t steal it from you.” It no longer mattered if my author or myself had the idea first, no one else could threaten a lawsuit that required settlement, because I had given him what he needed to protect himself.
I urge ANYONE that is going into fanfic or author assistance to do the exact same thing. Preface your story with a general statement that the author can freely use any ideas presented in your story. That person created the world you are wanting to play in, so give them the ability to do the same. It is ONLY respectful.
Chris: I probably wouldn’t care to read them, but I don’t mind that they exist.
Very nice to hear
When discussion fanfic Charlie Stross had a not so short but rather amusing quote “In summary: I am not a precious sparkly unicorn who is obsessed with the purity of his characters — rather, I am a glittery and avaricious dragon who is jealous of his steaming pile of gold. If you do not steal the dragon’s gold, the dragon will leave you alone. Offer to bring the dragon more gold and the dragon will be your friend.”
So Steve, if I wanted to one day create a book based on Dragaera (ala the Star Wars off shoots), in an attempt to actually publish and sell it, would that be shot down automatically, or would I just have to aquire permission, or would I have to throw some money your way, or would there be a mess of lawyers and publishing companies involved?
As an alternative, I could always narfel the garthok, or failing that (since garthoks don’t actually exist as far as I can tell), perform some other quest to proove my worthiness.
Prove* Crap, I can’t spell today.
Chris: I have no idea how that would work. I’d have to ask my agent. Her answer would, almost certainly, involve money.
Is that a typo on Cecelia’s name or an inside joke I don’t get?
Typo; thanks for pointing it out. Fixing it now.
I vastly enjoyed the Jhereg themed LARP run by Society for Interactive Literature – West at BayCon circa twenty years ago. Eighty people wandering around the con in character – and one thing we learned, was never ever try to beat up a Teckla. Just don’t.
I really appreciate Mr. Brust’s willingness to share his playground with us.
Drew: There are, I understand, a few Dragaera-themed larps already. I’ve played in one of them, which was by SIL West, called Dragon. (It ran again a few years ago now at RPI, which is when I played). That is probably the one you played in?
It was kind of a strange experience. Given that it was written about when Phoenix came out, there was a lot of stuff that I KNEW was correct about the world that was not written into the game. Like… one of my pals played Kiera. Who totally was not secretly anybody else. We joked about that a lot.
Also hilarious, I played Cawti, and my husband played Vlad. And we’re even still married, to this day!
But anyway, that was a big inspiration to me in deciding to write my own Dragaera larp. (although mine is a short game, only 4 hours).
Ha, I was also at that SIL LARP. Not sure of the year, maybe 1990 or so? As I recall there was a kriegspiel wargame for the Dragons to play with units like Jhereg scouts and so on.
The event was fun, as I recall, mainly because of the setting — I didn’t think the writing and story was all that great.
Ah, SIL-West games. Great fun for a weekend. I tended to forget about the rest of the con unless my character got incapacitated.
Now, years later, I’m part of Theatre Arcanos, running LARPs of my own.
I’m very glad more authors are becoming more accepting of fanfic as the tributes they truly are.
I’m just glad Wikipedia had “filking”. I thought I might have to go to Urban Dictionary, and that never ends well.
I am so relieved. I was just reading some of the Dragaera fanfics the other day and I couldn’t help but get frightened at the thought that you might one day do an Anne Rice and permaban it all. From some of the stuff I’ve seen there are quite a few very competent Dragaera fanfic authors out there and it would be really upsetting if all their work suddenly disappeared. Especially when official books always seems to take so long to be written and published, which – as much as it can’t be helped – tortures me with unwelcomed suspense.
Way to go, Steve and Cecilia. This is why we write after all?
As a fanfiction reader, thanks for this! “Pulling an Anne Rice” won’t actually stop people from writing and sharing fanfic. I keep track of authors’ opinions on the topic and try to buy more stuff from supportive authors.