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When Fanfiction Becomes Canon: Twilight; Life and Death: A Reimagining of the Classic Novel, My Little Pony Equestria Girls, Adventure Time’s Fionna and Cake, and Supernatural

30 Sep

Fanfiction where fans of books and TV shows expand on the characters and the universe to create their own spins has become a huge part of Sci-fi and Fantasy fandoms especially with the ease of sharing content on the internet.  Many of the reviews of the recent Harry Potter play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which depicts many of the characters from the main series as adults along with their own children, have claimed that the play reads a bit like fan fiction, which had me thinking about times when fan fiction ideas and creations have made the jump to becoming canonized as part of the actual series.

Twilight; Life and Death: A Reimagining of the Classic Novel, by Stephenie Meyer

twilight-life-after-death
In honor of the 10th Anniversary of Twilight last year, Stephenie Meyer released a double book with her Young Adult novel starring the vampire Edward and human Bella on one side and bound on the opposite the story told with the gender roles reversed so that it is the story of a human male who falls in love with a female vampire.  She was inspired by fan fiction about the characters. Meyer had also released online a portion of Twilight rewritten from Edward’s perspective.  Infamously also the very adult Fifty Shades series began as Twilight fanfiction; E.L. James also published Grey, with her first book told from Christian Grey’s perspective in 2015.  Borrow all of the Twilight series and Life and Death from BCCLS libraries.

My Little Pony Equestria Girls

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As a little girl I loved My Little Ponies–both the TV movies and the pastel colored toys.  The ponies have since went through several different incarnations.   The most recent series centers on Twilight Sparkles and her five new BFFs, who learns about friendship when Twilight takes up residence in Ponyville.  I wasn’t sure about the new series based on my beloved childhood memories, but the fact that Twilight Sparkles loves books and resided, in the beginning of the series, in a library inside a tree won me over.  The surprising thing about My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic was it wasn’t just little girls this time becoming fans of the show, but also young men who enjoyed the clever animation.  There wasn’t just fan fiction springing up but remixes of the music in the episodes, a vast variety of art, and more.  My Little Pony Fan Conventions popped up across the country.  At the Cons fans often dressed up as human versions of their favorite ponies which were also depicted in some of the fan art.  This inspired Hasbro to create movies based on an alternative universe where the ponies all have human counter parts.  You can borrow the Equestria Girl movies Rainbow Rocks and Friendship Games from Hoopla.  BCCLS libraries also have the first in the series Equestria Girls and many of the cartoon series and movies that have appeared through the years.

Adventure Time’s Fionna and Cake

adventure-time
Although I am totally behind in my viewing of it Adventure Time about the last human boy, Finn, and his magical transforming dog, Jake, living in post-apocalyptic land with a candy kingdom, flying unicorn, and a crazy ice king is another cartoon with a lot of adult fans.  Quirky characters and an intriguing story line make it fun for the whole family.  The creator Pendleton Ward was inspired by Dungeon and Dragons (something I loved playing with my Dad and sister as a kid).  My husband and I enjoy watching Adventure Time with our son, who is still a bit too young for D&D.  Like Twilight its fan fiction moment that became canon comes from gender swapping the characters.  Natasha Allegri who worked on the show created some sketches of Finn as Fionna and Jake as a female cat Cake.  Not only were fans charmed, but so was Ward and Fionna and Cake have appeared in several of the episodes of the show.  Fun fact: Neil Patrick Harris performs the voice of Prince Gumball (in place of Princess Bubblegum) in some of the gender swap episodes.  You can borrow seasons One through Five of Adventure Time from BCCLS Libraries.

Supernatural

supernatural
Some fantasy series start out strong and then burn out fast, but Supernatural has lasted for over ten seasons and survived the jump from the WB to the CW network.  The show follows the Winchester brothers, Sam and Dean, on their endless road trip fighting demons and saving the world time after time.  Having been on so long there are few myths and legends the series hasn’t at some point focused on.  The series has acknowledged fan fiction in several stories.  Season 10’s fifth episode is even titled “Fan Fiction”; the episode focuses on a teacher’s disappearance at an all girl’s school, where they are performing a musical based on the Carver Edlund’s comic book series which is the story of the brother’s adventures.  In earlier episodes, in a metafiction twist, Edlund was revealed as a sort of prophet, who  has visions about the brother’s journey.  These episodes allow the show to lovingly poke fun at some of what has become standard in both the series’s fan fiction as well as the series itself.

Have more examples of when Fan Fiction became Canon?  Let us know in the comments!

-Written by Aimee Harris, Head of Reference

More Selections from the HPL Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Discussion Part 7: Mary Poppins, Protector, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, and Contact

20 Jul

We continued to have some great discussions about a diverse selection of books this year in the Hoboken Public Library Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Discussion Group.  Here is a peek for those who aren’t able to attend our meetings.

Click here for previous Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Discussion roundups!

Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers

mary-poppins
My mother is a huge Julie Andrews so the movie adaption of Mary Poppins was something my sister and I watched a lot as children, but it wasn’t until the Book Discussion Group picked it for our April selection that I read the novel that it was based on.  Mary Poppins is a little less sweet and a lot sassier in the book than the movie.  Although one group member preferred the film, most of the group enjoyed the depiction in the original novel since it made her a more complex character.  Mary Poppins came to “life” first in stories P. L. Travers told her younger sibling.  The novel is made up of many short stories and lacks the cohesiveness of the Disney film, however, this makes it good if you are looking for something to read to your children over several nights as a bed time story since each chapter feels self-contained.  The illustrations were drawn by Mary Shepard, whose father E. H. Shepard was the illustrator of Winnie-the-Pooh and The Wind in the Willows.  You can check out the book and movie from the Hoboken Public Library.  You can also borrow Saving Mr. Banks, a movie based on the story of adapting the film that several of the discussion members recommended.

Protector by Larry Niven

protector
We had previously read Niven’s Ringworld in September of 2014 for the group, which was our highest attended meeting in the history of the group.  Niven is known as being a master of hard science fiction and Ringworld is his most famous of his Known Space series, which charts the expansion of people across the Universe.  Protector in the timeline of his books occurs earlier, but was published three years after Ringworld.  Although I found Protector a bit slower to get into then Ringworld, I think Protector was overall an even more intriguing work to me.  It brought up some interesting philosophical discussions about evolution, family loyalty, and what it means to be human in our group discussion.  Protector is the favorite novel of one of our group members.

Because Protector has not been adapted as a film, we instead viewed The Fifth Element before the discussion.  The Fifth Element stars Bruce Willis and Milla Jovovich; it was directed by Frenchman Luc Besson.  Another film that Besson also directed, The Professional, used part of the second floor reference department for interior scenes featuring Natalie Portman in her first role.  The group enjoyed The Fifth Element and thought it had an interesting view of the future.  Although film came out in 1997, the group thought its unique stylized look kept it feeling fresh.

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne

20000-leagues
Growing up I was a huge fan of the Disney movie and loved the now closed ride at the theme park, but I had never taken time to read the novel it was based on before our July book discussion.  Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea marked the first translated work that the group had read (it was originally published in French).  I was surprised to learn that the leagues in the title referred not to how far down the protagonists went, but how far across since depth under water is measured in fathoms, not leagues.  Although the group as a whole felt that story was a bit bogged down by some of the scientific descriptions that the main character sometimes goes on tangents about, overall the adventurous story was enjoyed.  The group discussed how the work was inspirational for many other science fiction works today especially the steampunk genre.  The group also enjoyed the movie, but felt that it emphasized the characters more than in the book.  The group thought Peter Lorre was an unusual choice for Conseil, but believed Kirk Douglas did an excellent job as Ned Land.  Director Bryan Singer plans to release a new cinematic adaptation.  I am interested to see if the original ending and several other exciting portions of the novel that were left out in the previous version, perhaps due to the special effects limitations at that time, will be included.

Contact by Carl Sagan

contact
In the month of July we discussed Contact by Carl Sagan; although Sagan is a notable scientist and writer of nonfiction works, this is his only work of fiction.  We had several new faces join us for the movie screening, who also stayed for the discussion.  We always enjoy having new perspectives.  Jodi Foster is impressive in her role as the lead character Ellie Arroway, who is desperately trying to find a signal from alien life.  The group was split with some of the members enjoying the story, while others felt the ending was a letdown based on their expectations of Sagan.   Ellie’s strong connection to her father and his inspiration in her career path reminded me of my father, an amateur astronomer, who fostered in me a love of the stars and science fiction.  To me one of the strengths of the book is that it balances hard science with complex emotional characters.  Sagan’s knowledge made the scientific details seem more realistic than most sci-fi novels I have read and I was curious if some of the supporting characters were based on actual people.  The movie plot diverges in a number of ways from the novel of Contact and leaves out some of the group’s favorite minor characters, but was still quite enjoyable.  Both are recommended.

Coming Attractions!
Join us for more great discussions for the rest of the year.  In August you can discuss with us Jim Butcher’s Storm Front, the first in his popular Dresden Files Series, Urban Fantasy series (as mentioned in this Halloween blog post).  In September we will be reading our first play, the much anticipated Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling.  In October we will read a classic horror work, Bram Stoker’s Dracula; we will be showing three different adaptations of the novel before the discussion.  Then in November join us for a novel by one of my favorite authors, Connie Willis.  Hope to see you at one of the discussions!

And if you love Jane Austen be sure not to miss our other Book Discussion Group, The Mile Square City Readers’ discussion of Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld which was inspired by Pride and Prejudice, on July 28.

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