Thursday, August 18, 2011

The world of fanfiction... who's in it? [A follow-up on the Michael Voris 'kerfluffle']



How many Catholics lurk there?
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It appears Simon Rafe, webmaster at St. Michael's Media, has been involved with fantasy fiction for quite some time - so it had to be common knowledge amongst his colleagues and associates what he was up to with his obsession - wouldn't you think?  A 'concerned parent' sent me an email with an attachment, explaining:   "Here is a Medill Report article, 2007, where Simon Rafe is briefly quoted and it appears many have known about his interest in fanfiction.  Given this report was written 4-years ago and that Simon would have had been visible enough prior to this date for a Medill reporter to seek him out, it seems hard to believe other Catholics were not aware of this until the Catholic on-line jrnl knew ..."
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No harm in fantasy fiction, right?  Where's Michael O'Brien when you need him?  From the Medhill Report:
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Online writers reinterpret the word of God
by Elizabeth Gibson
July 31, 2007
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From spiritual poetry to novel-length religious metaphors to action stories about Jesus to X-rated gay affairs between God and mortals, fanfiction has hit the Bible.

Fanfictions, or fanfics, are stories written by fans using their favorite premises and characters from comics, movies, television and books. Fans post their stories, most under pseudonyms, on blogs and archive sites such as fanfiction.net and adultfanfiction.net.
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“I guess I never really thought of the Bible as a text that would be appropriated,” said Kristen Schilt, a Rice University scholar who will join the University of Chicago’s sociology faculty in 2008.
“But on my second consideration it seemed to line up with what’s already out there. The appeal of fantasy fanfiction is re-imagining the world and turning things on their heads.”
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Fanfiction buffs and community leaders say Bible fanfiction, particularly smutty gay sex stories, aren’t likely to become mainstream, but it’s a curious subculture. The majority of stories aren’t risqué and writers say the stories are mostly a personal creative and spiritual outlet.
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Fanfiction.net has 2,273 stories in its Bible category compared to about 309,200 fanfics about Harry Potter. Poetry is the most popular genre in the Bible category, with 830 fanfics. Adultfanfiction.net, a hub for NC-17 fanfics, has 11 Bible entries.
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Most Bible stories aren’t risqué, and many fanfiction writers said they find the proliferation of gay as well as incestuous stories frustrating.
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Simon Rafe of Hazel Park, Mich., writes novel-length fanfics through Catholic allegories based on C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia. His “King Edmund’s Crusade” is 170,033 words long with pages of footnotes and character sketches.
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Rafe is Web master for a Catholic evangelical media group in Detroit and is publishing a book about the Bible, but he spends days at a time working through drafts and researching texts like Machivelli’s “The Prince” for new chapters of fanfiction.
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“This is a hobby,” he said. “Although it does kind of take over your life. It is a desire to say, ‘Here is a theological view that I have and this is the story I want to say.’”
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Rafe said he and other fanfiction buffs post to online forums on which they debate issues such as whether C.S. Lewis’ depiction of salvation is theologically sound. Should a character have been saved even though he had prayed to the wrong being when he was alive? - Medhill Report

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Man! - You just never know who you're dealing/blogging with these days, do you.  Yeah - not a question. 

I wonder how many Catholic blogs are really just fanfiction experiments?  What if "BlackSheepDoggie" was?  Or the popular monarchist site, "I am Isabella, Queen of Aragon-Castille Blog, So Don't Say Nothin' Bad About the EF"?  Or, "The Princess of Ebola-Virus Blog" written by the one-eyed stigmatized Carmelite?   As a friend of mine said, "So-called Catholic 'leaders and experts' sure seem to have a really hard time discerning and monitoring themselves and what they get involved with during their extracurricular activities online." 
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Of course - maybe it is all much ado about nothing, huh.  It's not like occult fantasy fiction then, is it.  And fanfiction has been around a long, long time.  Maybe.
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Thanks to "my friend" for the link. 
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Art:  Soldiers of the Catholic Church, by Skorpi

11 comments:

  1. +JMJ+

    Madeleine L'Engle has written what might be called Bible FF. Read her "Genesis" trilogy. I still think of her whenever I hear about Jacob's twelve sons (and one daughter) at Mass.

    And since you care, Terry, I'll have you know that I've written Terminator FF and earned some enthusiastic reviews. If I had more technical knowledge about guns, et. al., I'd give The Sarah Connor Chronicles a run for it's money and tell the world what REALLY happened to Sarah and John during all those post-Kyle years.

    Blogs as FF, though? I love the way your mind works. I'm going to have to think about that some more.

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  2. I knew you knew about this. I looked for your name on a Fantastic site but I didn't see it - I was looking for Enbrethiliel.

    I love it!

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  3. Anonymous5:21 PM

    Terry, I have never heard of anything like this before and it kinda creeps me out. Is this like Dungeons and Dragons for Catholics? This sounds like a sin against the 1st Commandment. Please correct me if I am wrong.

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  4. Anonymous5:58 PM

    Anonymous, I wouldn't worry about it. FF is essentially fiction writing where others can participate in the plot. It generally isn't dangerous, though some do blur the line between reality and fiction. It is mostly the geeky set who take part, above average IQs and poor social skills. They find each other and write out a life for themselves. We did the same thing with Holly Hobby when I was a kid.

    Jane, Boston

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  5. Anonymous - Jane is right.

    This post was sort of a lame attempt at fanfiction of another sort.

    Now I'm thinking I should start a Princess of Ebola Virus Blog on OCDS spirituality.

    Wow! This is freaky, my word verification is 'deduck' - I better remove this post.

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  6. I'm a big fan of Princess of Ebola.
    (seen the film Teresa de Jesus couple of times). LOL

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  7. Topherdone9:47 PM

    I don't think there would have been any reason for anyone to be concerned simply because they knew he liked writing fan fiction. Fan fiction (from what I've seen in my very limited contact) is generally just people who really enjoy the universe an author/movie created and want to continue exploring what could happen in that universe. Which is why it's so popular in sci-fi and fantasy genres. Now if they knew he was into cosplay, that's another matter. :-)

    And those are great tags/label for the post. Covered just about all the bases possible. And the "all of them witches" tag just makes me think of Monty Python.

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  8. Anonymous11:51 PM

    But Terry and Jane, I am very concerned that our devout Catholic young people are getting involved in these sorts of writing clubs. Why don't they start a Rosary Crusade or create spiritual bouquets for our Holy Father? It seems so much more effective than fantasy writing with strong sexual over tones. My heart has been deeply saddened to learn this tonight. Terry, please don't get involved in this. Remember you are asking Our Lady for healing, seek first the Kingdom of God.

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  9. "Terry, please don't get involved in this. Remember you are asking Our Lady for healing, seek first the Kingdom of God."

    Is Terry thinking of writng fancyfiction or woteva it's called, I thought he was just reporting?

    You just never know with people do you?

    I used to play The Sims, it was my first real introduction to Americans online. Oh, not interactive Sims, I mean building massive American houses with swimming pools and the yellow school buses and taxis. I bought it for the kids but they would never get near it with me around! I became very successful career wise in one of my sim roles. You lot would have really looked up to me, had it been real.................

    Oh well, nothing compares with the joy Our Lady brings after any amount of time in the darkness of this world, which we only ever see as shadows or dimly lit mirrors. Trust in God, not man.

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  10. +JMJ+

    The concerned anonymous commenter should know that not all FF is overtly sexual.

    Here is one story I wrote which is rated K+: Nox Natalis. It's "family friendly" enough (and more so than The Terminator itself), but of course the quality of the storytelling is for others to judge. =P

    Now stop looking for my other stuff, Terry! ;-)

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  11. Fanfiction styles are as diverse as genres of fiction proper.

    An example would be Taking the characters of an established novel and putting them in a different setting or just writing a quirky chapter. Or meshing the characters of two novels together, like Twilight and Harry Potter, which is oddly very common.

    The fanfiction authors usually include disclaimers along the line of the I own nothing, and the characters belong to the original author.

    Though sometimes ff authors will put in new characters referred to as OCs which are theirs and not part of the original cast of characters.

    Both my daughter and husband write fanfiction.

    Bear enjoys spoofing the latest teenage vampire angsty novel, in one he has the idiot vampire turn a bear, and then has a heck of a time destroying said bear.

    And dd, wrote a story where a Sailor Moon character has an annoying sister.

    Fanfiction is no more sinful than regular fiction, it depends on what the authors write.

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