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7

Fan Fiction: Credible Art Form or 'Kind of Lame'?

Fan fiction seems to be a bit like Marmite: fans of original fiction either love it or hate it.

When I took my ‘first foray’ into the realms of fan fiction, I was surprised to encounter a wider range of sub-genres, tropes and terminology than I had realised…

Sequels and prequels to other authors’ narratives, along with spin-off texts, new characters and ‘non cannon’ rewrites can prove contentious–especially when fans feel that the new text undermines or distorts aspects of the original work.

Yet, for some people, it extends the enjoyment gained from the original text and adds dimensions to the fictional universe in question. It can prove satisfying to read (or write) a character’s backstory or find out what happens next–even if these events and characters were created by someone else and/or not generally considered to be ‘cannon.’

In some cases, prequels, sequels and rewrites by different writers–without the approval or authorisation of the original author-have become published or otherwise firmly established in mainstream culture. Examples include Jean Rhys’s ‘Wide Sargasso Sea’ (a prequel to Charlotte Bronte’s ‘Jane Eyre’), and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s stage adaption (and rewrite) of Gaston Leroux’s ‘Phantom of the Opera’ and a sequel, ‘Love Never Dies.’

In the case of the latter, Lloyd Webber’s narrative is arguably better known than the story it was based on.

Does this mean that, what essentially began as a form of fan fiction has now entered the literary/cultural ‘cannon’? If so, at what point does this happen and how do we decide which ‘fan fictions’ become ‘cannon’?

I’d love to hear other people’s thoughts on the topic of fan fiction, particularly with regards to ‘intertextuality’ and Barthes’ theories on ‘The Death of the Author.’

  • I love the subject matter being explored here, and I think it would make a great article. Another random "fan fiction" of sorts that was adopted into the literary cannon would be John Gardner's Grendel from 1971 that built on the story of Beowulf from the antagonist's perspective. I hope someone picks this up! – Aaron 10 months ago
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  • The mind is a entity that knows no bounds. More often than not we see people through a third eye, imagining what they would do if they were faced by different circumstances. We need to live and let live, let people create their own worlds. – MsLinguista 10 months ago
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  • I gave up writing fan fiction years ago after three of my sub-plots for Star Trek Voyager mysteriously appeared in the next season. I wrote a novelette titled 'Thursday's Child' in which Ensign Kim assumed the (temporary) captaincy of Voyager and a member of the crew became pregnant, later giving birth to Voyager's first baby. Both ideas were roundly slammed by other fans, stating that they would never happen - but they did, in the very next season. A scene I wrote had Torres and Paris stuck on a desert planet, trying to survive long enough for Voyager to find them. A very similar scene, only set on a frozen planet, which even had very, very, similar dialogue between the two appeared in a later Voyager episode. Now I'm not accusing anyone of plagiarism (I can't afford the legal fees! LOL), but I began to wonder if the writers for Voyager (and other shows) occasionally scanned fan fiction for ideas they could use? Why not? It's cheaper than hiring a new writer. – Amyus 2 months ago
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  • The music for "Love Never Dies" is absolutely stunning, and was actual rather controversial around my circle. However, this example makes me wonder if a re-adaption counts as fanfiction in some cases or not. R.R Martin said about A Game of Thrones that the show could not do the same things the books could do, and so they were in essence their own thing.However, one's creative efforts in fanfiction can teach plot driving and story mechanics. It can build community. Although I am not a fanfiction writer, or common reader, I admire the community for its ability to come together.PBS' Storied actually did a Youtube video on a similar topic. It might have some more interesting ideas on the subject. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bdDIMOehLm8 – ruegrey 2 months ago
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4

Who Will Be The Face of The MCU After The Departure of Steve Rogers and Tony Stark

While the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is an ongoing, expanding film series, the original characters from Phase I remained key characters throughout the past ten years of film. In Avengers: Endgame, some of the major original characters completed their narrative arcs including Iron Man and Captain America. With the departure of Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark and Chris Evan’s Steve Rogers, the MCU will need other characters to play a larger role in the overall narrative. Which new or existing characters will serve as the narrative focus for future phases of Marvel films? This article could discuss potential candidates for new corner stones of the MCU, as well as which characters have the most pressing character arcs that need to be resolved.

  • This is a really interesting topic to discuss considering the fact that Phase II is still nascent. With MCU being the biggest money churning franchise in history, an exploration of the possible future direction the universe may take and how it copes with audience fatigue while managing to still keep things fresh and interesting would make for an intriguing read. – Dr. Vishnu Unnithan 5 days ago
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4

The Portrayal of Small Towns in TV Shows

I’ve been watching That 70s Show recently and noticed that their small town has a bad reputation, the after-graduation goal is to get out of the dead-end town. ‘Being someone’ means moving away from home. Then, I got to thinking, there are elements of this thinking in many other shows I have seen, Daria, Gilmore Girls, Community.
Is this prolific enough in TV shows to be considered a trend? Is there reason for this? Does the same ‘I need to get away from here’ thinking occur in characters born and raised in the city? Is this specific to American TV shows, or other countries’ shows too? Perhaps an article on this topic could offer a suggestion as to why the city is so romanticised?

  • "I'm gettin' out of this hick town!" Yes, I think this is an interesting phenomenon in film and TV. That 70s Show is a good example because I think it was much more prevalent to make those statements back in the 70s, 80s etc. The forces of urbanization meant that better jobs could be found in cities, but also there were lots more cultural waves going on that were focused in cities. If you wanted to be a punk or a hippie or anti-establishment like Hyde for example, that was something that you couldn't find many like-minded people for in small town America. Many high school and college movies of the last few decades had a dynamic that set the "interesting, alternative" type main characters against the jocks and cheerleaders of small town life. (Juxtapose this with something like Riverdale which only slightly criticizes jocks and cheerleaders, and ultimately upholds them as kind of the social rulers of high school). I think the 21st century has maybe seen a re-romanticization of small town life, in contrast to urban life which isn't idolized so much anymore. – Claire 2 days ago
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  • Another tidbit: I think, to make this a more recognizable-sounding topic, you should frame it as something like "Leaving Small Towns as a Coming-of-age Milestone for American Youth." – Claire 2 days ago
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  • Not sure how far back you want to go with this, but you could also do some research on the Industrial revolution as well since it caused one of the first big population shifts in history. It might be worth looking into as a short paragraph before you get into everything else as it frames the mindset a little. – MaeveM 1 day ago
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2

Shudder: All Horror All the Time

Discuss the merits of the new streaming platform "Shudder," which is essentially the Netflix of the horror and psychological thriller genre. There are many positive sides to the platform such as custom curated collections put together by famous horror movie buffs. There are also some limitations to the site and unexplored possibilities. This is a topic for the horror movie buff and perhaps the Shudder fan.

  • Be careful so this doesn't end up being an advert for the streaming service. – Misagh 3 years ago
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2

Twenty-first century English Curriculum

High school English curricula are filled with classics from centuries past. But, in a hypothetical high school curriculum that could ONLY include novels published in the twenty-first century, what would you choose? What considerations would need to be taken into account? What purpose would each text serve? Which genres are best/to be avoided? Is it possible to give a comprehensive education of literature without studying past texts? If so, why/why not?

    3

    Could Manhwa become the main source for anime adaptions?

    Manhwa is a Korean term for comics, generally considered to be of lower quality than a manga, manhwa is starting to gain in popularity. Recently manhwa has become a source for adaption, with Tower of God being released and the God of High School coming up July (Both by Crunchyroll/MAPPA). Research and analyze the rise of manhwa as a source for anime adaptation. Can manhwa compete with manga? Is manhwa going to become a source primarily for American companies like Crunchyroll? Does the general quality of manhwa compare to manga matter?

      5

      Which antagonists deserve their own book and which do not?

      When Suzanne Collins announced that her new book would follow President Snow, the antagonist of the original Hunger Game series, there was uproar from select fans who had no trouble expressing their distaste for a prequel story that followed this character.

      However, there are books that follow villains or antagonists that people enjoy without fail – Game of Thrones has a huge cast of people that you wouldn’t call ‘good’ necessarily, Vicious by V.E. Shwab protagonist is a ‘villain’. Dexter and Breaking Bad were highly popular television series following characters that, in anyone else’s story, would be the antagonist.

      What is it about an antagonist, a villain, that encourages an audience to want to hear their story? What is about the antagonist that has audiences not wanting to hear their story?

      I would argue its to do with how they became a villain themselves. Is it the world? Is it a privilege that has afforded them a certain belief system? Is it because the character is attractive?

      • Really interesting topic! I love v. e. schwab's "Villains" book. Victor is a fascinating antihero.I would say characters like Walter White fit into the antihero model as well.Remember that antagonist have specific story level specifications that they have to meet. Their role in a story is different than that of anti-hero. – Sean Gadus 6 days ago
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      • No character is evil for the sake of being evil. Everyone has their own motivations and reasoning, albeit sometimes flawed, behind the choices they make and the actions they take. Antagonists are often times more interesting than the altruistic heroes of most stories and it is due to this that makes them enticing to learn more about. Explore character motivation. You'll find that each antagonist probably started out with good intentions and were the heroes of their own stories before something forces their hand. Think of Walter White, started out so that he could support his family and his power corrupted him. – FarPlanet 6 days ago
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      4

      The phenomenon of seven-second videos.

      Whilst video platform Vine has closed down, its legacy of short Internet videos has remained. Investigate the popularity of these short videos. Why are they so popular? What makes them popular? How can a short video reach success – what needs to be included within the short video to make it successful? Is this medium preferred over longer YouTube videos, for example?

      • A good topic to think about. I think it's worth putting some attention on how the popularity has informed modern humor. – kerrybaps 7 days ago
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      • I agree. I've always wondered why short videos has been popular lately. Not just videos, they have different challenges too. I'd love to explore. – bp2020 6 days ago
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      Film

      Life Without Movie Theatres
      Life Without Movie Theatres
      Antoine Doinel – Juvenile Spirit of the New Wave
      A Life Measured: The Parasitic Nature Of Capitalist Dystopia
      Disney’s Mulan is NOT a Musical & Why that Makes it a Superior Remake

      TV

      The X-Files: A Feminist’s Analysis of Gender Imbalance
      The X-Files: A Feminist’s Analysis of Gender Imbalance
      The Mainstream Effect of SNL
      Person Of Interest: The Art of putting Kant’s Philosophy into a Computer
      The Sobering World of BPD in ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’

      Animation

      How Princesses of Color Have Improved the Disney Princess Narrative
      How Princesses of Color Have Improved the Disney Princess Narrative
      The Legendary and Cautionary Tale of The Simpsons
      Ray Harryhausen: The Monster Maestro
      Live-Action Disney Remakes and the Souring Faith in Animation

      Anime

      Made in Abyss: Gender Politics
      Made in Abyss: Gender Politics
      Anime in America: The Adverse Affect on Women
      The Religious Politics of Hellsing Ultimate
      Interpreting Live-Action Adaptations of Anime

      Manga

      The Horrifying Appeal of Junji Ito
      The Horrifying Appeal of Junji Ito
      One Punch Man vs. My Hero Academia: Reconstructing the Silver Age of Comics
      Manga: How to Travel Between Dimensions
      Naruto: The Unresolved Revolution

      Comics

      Monstress: World-Building With a Feminist Twist
      Monstress: World-Building With a Feminist Twist
      Why Has Batman’s Origin Remained So Iconic?
      Feminist Criticism of Society and Comic Books’ Past
      The Batman/Catwoman Wedding Is Supposed to Upset You

      Literature

      The Odyssey: A Father and Son Quest for Kleos
      The Odyssey: A Father and Son Quest for Kleos
      Why Do Readers Enjoy The Detective Genre so much?
      The Long-Term Positivity of Multi-Cultural Children’s Books
      Themes in The Book Thief

      Arts

      Indian Folk-art: An Expression of Cultural Diversity
      Indian Folk-art: An Expression of Cultural Diversity
      Problematic Creators: How Do We Interact With Their Work?
      Gavazov and the Eastern European Art Scene
      Alienation in Simon and Garfunkel’s Music

      Writing

      Susan Sontag and her love of photography
      Susan Sontag and her love of photography
      The Relationship between Travel and Creative Writing
      Fanfiction and LGBT+ Representation
      Planning for a Better Communication