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KS Alternative Factor

Profic Fanfic

I’ve always been fascinated by and often enjoyed what I have recently taken to calling “profic fanfic”. i.e., modern novels based on popular/classic works from decades ago.

The first time I ran across profic fanfic was with Nicholas Myers’s 1970s era Sherlock Holmes pastiche “The 7% Solution”. I’ve since read a number of other Holmes pastiches.

I next encountered Jean Rhys’ 1960s era “Wide Sargasso Sea”, based on Jane Eyre:

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From an Amazon review:
Wide Sargasso Sea is the story of Antoinette Cosway, a Creole heiress who grew up in the West Indies on a decaying plantation. When she comes of age she is married off to an Englishman, and he takes her away from the only place she has known--a house with a garden where "the paths were overgrown and a smell of dead flowers mixed with the fresh living smell. Underneath the tree ferns, tall as forest tree ferns, the light was green. Orchids flourished out of reach or for some reason not to be touched."

The novel is Rhys's answer to Jane Eyre. Charlotte Brontë's book had long haunted her, mostly for the story it did not tell--that of the madwoman in the attic, Rochester's terrible secret. Antoinette is Rhys's imagining of that locked-up woman, who in the end burns up the house and herself. Wide Sargasso Sea follows her voyage into the dark, both from her point of view and Rochester's.
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I’ve since read “Mary Reilly” (based on Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”); next up on my reading list is “The Wind Done Gone” (based on “Gone with the Wind”). I’m planning to purchase “Ahab’s Wife” (based on “Moby Dick”) and I understand there are several Jane Austin pastiches.

Kinda laughing at myself here; in at least a couple of cases I don't even like the source material. "Gone With the Wind" was so annoying - 800 pages and not one single character I liked. And I've never been able to make it through "Moby Dick". But I just love the idea of "fanfic" based on these books.

Anyone care to add to this list?

And have there been any academic studies done of this phenomenon?

Comments

Gregory McGuire has made a career out of writing fanfic, including "Wicked" and "Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister". It was because of his success that I came out of the closet about my own fanfic writing. I tell everyone now, whereas I used to say "I write for an online writing community".


Oh yeah! How could I forget about "Wicked"? I have that book. I'll be ordering more of his books later on.

That's cool he's the inspiration for you coming out of the closet with your fan writing. As a friend of mine said last night, why is it respectable to say you're writing a novel based on Jane Eyre and not Star Trek? Decades of time give that nice patina of age and respectability.
I've come across a few in my book searches for Ebay - there was one called "Persuasion" (I think) that was a continuaton of "Pride & Prejudice", "Scarlett" & "Rhett Butler's People" for "GWTW" and one that I can't remember the name of right now that featured Tiny Tim from A Christmas Carol all grown up. And there are the Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys gay parodies that are great fun.

"Ahab's Wife" - I have a copy that I was about to pass on to my local paperback trader - I'll gladly pass it to you if you can wait until MediaWest & you don't mind it used. It's a little battered but still readable. Let me know and I'll put it on my list of stuff to bring :)
I've come across a few in my book searches for Ebay - there was one called "Persuasion" (I think) that was a continuaton of "Pride & Prejudice", "Scarlett" & "Rhett Butler's People" for "GWTW" and one that I can't remember the name of right now that featured Tiny Tim from A Christmas Carol all grown up. And there are the Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys gay parodies that are great fun.

Thanks for the additions to the list. I remember when that GWTW sequel came out. I think that one is an exception to my list, as it was an authorized sequel. If you can remember the Tiny Tim book, that'd be great; it sounds interesting. And tell me more about those gay parodies; they sound fun!

"Ahab's Wife" - I have a copy that I was about to pass on to my local paperback trader - I'll gladly pass it to you if you can wait until MediaWest & you don't mind it used. It's a little battered but still readable. Let me know and I'll put it on my list of stuff to bring :)

Sure, I'd love to have your copy of "Ahab's Wife". See you at MediaWest! Boy, that's coming up soon, isn't it? Did you get into the hotel? I finally got notication and yes, I'm in the hotel.
Have you read The Bee Keeper's Apprentice (I can't remember the author, sorry)? It's a Sir Arthur Conan Doyle pastiche and a well-developed and enjoyable series. There's also a series of books by Jasper Fforde -- I think the first in the series is Tuesday Next, which also has a solution to "problems" from Jane Eyre.

I haven't read Mary Reilly but I have added it to my amazon list which is where I basically keep all my "books I'd like to read".
The Beeper's Apprentice is by Laurie King. It's the first in a series of mysteries featuring a retired Holmes and Mary Russell, a young woman who is only 15 when they meet.
Have you read The Bee Keeper's Apprentice (I can't remember the author, sorry)?

Yes, I have - the author's name is Laurie King. I just found out there are a couple of new titles in the series. I have to catch up. I really enjoy those books, with one caveat - I hate the way she dumbed down Dr. Watson so much. But once I was able to get past that issue, I really got into them.

There's also a series of books by Jasper Fforde -- I think the first in the series is Tuesday Next, which also has a solution to "problems" from Jane Eyre.

Thanks, those sound interesting!
Pride and Promiscuity. The missing adult scenes from Jane Austen's novels...
Gotta love the title!
There are tons of sequels to Pride and Prejudice. You can find some of them here
Wow, that's one amazing list! Quite a cottage industry in itself...!
....and not forgetting The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, based on the film of the same name, which openly slashed Holmes and Watson.

Edited at 2008-03-16 04:40 pm (UTC)
Are you talking about the book "My Dearest Holmes" by Rohase Piercy? I don't recall it being connected in any way to the movie "The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes". Or was there a novelization of the movie?

I loved the movie; I remember when it first came out I was so taken with Holmes' apparently unrequited love for Watson. That movie really primed me for Holmes/Watson slash.
It was a novelization of the film - which starred one of my favorite British actors, Robert Stephens. Then-husband of Maggie Smith, and father of Toby Stephens, though he really looks like his mum, sans the red hair.

Edited at 2008-03-16 09:55 pm (UTC)
Cool! I wonder if I could track that book down somewhere.

which starred one of my favorite British actors, Robert Stephens. Then-husband of Maggie Smith, and father of Toby Stephens, though he really looks like his mum, sans the red hair.

Well, I know who Maggie Smith is, at least.
You might be able to find it in a used bookstore, or checking online at Abe books or other places which specialize in "oldies." It's pretty old, though.

Literary pastiches

Here is another discussion about this that might help you find a few:

http://ask.metafilter.com/76751/Literary-Prequels-Sequels-and-Spinoffs

This led me to parallel novels which is only one part of this genre:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parallel_novel

Another one that I didn't see mentioned was Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead which tells the story from Hamlet from the point of view of two other characters.

If you like children's literature, one of my favorite writers, Edward Eager, used this in several of his books. In Seven Day Magic, he had the characters interact with a character from his first book, Half Magic. The children went on to interact and interfere with many other literary characters.