Saturday, March 24, 2018

3377 - An Ancient Post On Robin Hobb's Fanfiction Hatred

Originally posted on the DTM Blog back in June 2006. One of the few posts with no number. I can't say that I have much of an opinion on Ms. Hobb or the fanfiction community these days, but this piece is not particularly pleasant. So have fun dissecting some horrible writing and see how much better it HASN'T gotten over the years.


From a post on Trekweb, some guy offered a snippet from a commentary by Robin Hobb, a fantasy author who wrote some acclaimed trilogy. In this commentary, he sees the low points of fanfiction and why people shouldn't do it... you can check the full rant here.

Now I don't want to seem like a defender of fanfiction or even an opposer, because I've written my share and read through others. And I'm not going to say that Ms. (or Mrs?) Hobbs is wrong - she's entitled to her opinion on the topic and quite frankly so are a few other authors who might be opposed to fanfiction. However, you'd have to keep in mind that while there are those who oppose the notion, there are those original authors who embrace the idea and whatnot.

I'd just like to make a few points aside:

1) Fanfiction is extremely easy to get published on the Internet if you have your own site or a fanfiction hub like to post to. If people think fanfiction is an extension of the author's original vision, that's just plain stupidity right there. Fans have little to no say in where a creator takes its work; if the opposite was true, we wouldn't have fifteen different versions of Star Wars to put up with.

2) Ms. Hobbs believes that by changing certain aspects of a created work, she thinks that it tells the audience that "Look, the original author really screwed up the story, so I’m going to fix it. Here is how it should have gone." Well, the way I see, I interpret most alternate scenes either "The original author did a good job with this climatic sequence, but what if it took another turn?" or "What if Character A did this instead of that?" Sometimes, we like to wonder (and write) about the what ifs?

3) Creating romantic interests that the author never intended offers a different flavor. Turning said romantic interests into a banging job is turning that flavor into horse manure. Most of those fics are either banned from most fic forums or are just unread. And as far as Ms. Hobbs' usage of the extreme analogy, she can be assured that I won't be sending her any pictures so she can utilize Adobe Photoshop (R) software to manipulate the image into compromising positions and states of undress. I can do that on my own, thank you... if that interested me, of course.

*On a personal sidenote, I'm quite surprised that for her talk about infringing copyrights, she not only misused the software name, but also mispelled it. Someone ought to send a copy of Adobe's Trademark Guidelines so she can properly apply them. Or use this customized example:

INCORRECT: I think it looks dull. So I Photo-Shop it to put your friends and relations into compromising positions in various stages of undress.

CORRECT: I think the picture looks unimpressive, so I will utilize Adobe Photoshop (R) software to manipulate your friend and relatives into compromising positions in multiple levels of undress, to the point where no North American-based media website in their right mind will host them.

4) Ms. Hobbs makes a point about a fine line between free speech and infringement when it comes to fanfics... actually, no, she says fanfiction is infringement period. If that's the case, then this sort of legal information would also apply to fanart, cosplay, and other related fan activities. I suppose hosting a convention, creating a website, or even posting an opinion would be a fine line between free speech and copyright infringement. By that definition alone, JK Rowlings could probably sue for the mere mention of Harry Potter in said commentaries... that is, if she wanted to.

*On an unrelated note, vampire stories (regardless of their quality) are so frickin' easy to convey. More on this particular subject later on.

That's all I have so far. Again, I would like to insinuate that Ms. Hobbs has a right to her opinion and so do I. If she hates fanfiction, that's okay. If she thinks it's illegal, that's fine. But what's not okay is her blatant misuse of Adobe Photoshop (R) software... especially her interest in putting people in compromising positions and states of undress. Actually, as much as I tried to keep an open mind, all credibility shot out the instant I've read that short passage. One has to wonder if her books are the same. Anyone can comment and let me know or is that infringement too?

That's it for this morning rant. I think I'll go take a walk and look at a book to review... which might be infringement as well.

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