Spock the Sith Slayer

As befits its beginnings, the genre is planted firmly in pop culture’s nerd division. The films most often given the fanfic treatment –The Matrix,X-Men, andPirates of the Caribbean – wing straight out of dork central. There are thousands of fanfics online for each popular anime TV series, and many hundreds for sci-fi shows you might think no one even watches. When my wife was a teen in the early ’80s, she secretly filled a notebook with a story about Superman leaving Lois Lane to take up with the heroine ofIce Castles. Contemporary fanfics haveRoswell characters meeting the cast ofSmallville. But since they’re posted online, those fantasies aren’t private anymore. Today’s preteen girl will never be able to hide her embarrassing fantasy about taking the guy fromStargate: Atlantis to prom. —Neal PollockSpock the Sith Slayer (Wired)

The first thing I wrote on a word processor was a Star Trek short story. It was a comedy piece about Klingons invading the Enterprise. I had McCoy worried about the interruption to his golf game, and I gave the Klingon commander a dumb sidekick who kept interrupting his speeches to ask, “Duh, commander, do we loot first and then burn, or burn first and then loot?” Some other parts are still making me smile as I recall them, but they were predicated upon a fairly intimate knowledge of the show. But since I wrote them mostly for my sister, brother, and my dorky comrades at school, that didn’t matter.

This is another instance of the remix culture. (Larry Lessig has spoken eloquently on the collision between the current draconian digital copyright laws and equally extremist youths who turn theft into a virtue and even a right.)