I just found this during a completely unrelated search: http://www.hatrack.com/research/questions/q0121.shtml It is Orson Scott Card’s vehement opinion about fanfiction.
I know nothing about OSC, other than that he’s written some excellent books, and I was just struck by his negative attitude toward fan fiction.
First of all, I cannot see any group large enough even wanting to write fan fiction with his characters. I haven’t read all his books, but the ones I have read don’t seem very natural to derive works from. There are, in fact, only 14 stories in Ender’s Game and 258 stories in Orson Scott Card, at least half of which are probably miscategorized Ender’s Game stories.
Compared to the near half-million Harry Potter works, or even the more modest 42,000+ in Lord of the Rings, the handful of OSC fan works on Fanfiction.net seems like a speck on the radar. Certainly not enough to set him off with such a strong response, though maybe he’s had problems with unauthorized commercial works in the past.
Another thing stuck out as being a bit funny. He says, “You will never do your best work in someone else’s universe, because you’re bound by their rules.” In his book, “How To Write Science Fiction And Fantasy,” he describes how he did the novelization for James Cameron’s movie, The Abyss, and how he created some of the best alien species he’s ever done (according to him.)
Was that not working in someone else’s universe? Yes, he extended it. Yes, he did create a whole civilization by working backwards, which is probably harder than making it up all yourself. (He also created the aliens using ideas generated in a group setting during one of his classes in a cool exercise — something that also sticks out to me.)
I’m not saying that he was unoriginal at all, and I am certainly not denying him the right to his opinion about fan fiction, especially when he is lawfully allowed to shut down copyright violators. As a fellow human being, I won’t even take him to task for being irrational — glass houses and all, you know?
The issue I have is how he puts forth his opinion as fact to “young, impressionable writers.” If you’re going to lay down the law, shouldn’t you first reconcile inconsistencies about work you did, yourself? Perhaps I don’t know the whole story behind the novelization of The Abyss, but that seems an awful lot like doing fantastic work in someone else’s universe.