In late 2013, Anne Jamison, a/k/a ProfAnne from Twilight fandom, came out with a book titled Fic: Why Fanfiction Is Taking Over the World, with an intro by ubiquitous author Lev Grossman.
Meme first discussed Jamison on Dec. 20. One nonny said, "I thought it wasn't very good. It covers a very narrow span of fandoms and the author has very clear biases." And then…
I read it and I hated it, but I'm gentleblaze and Anne Jamison's narrative feels super grudgey against me, so if you don't want to take my word for it, this review is pretty spot on.
Basically, I could write (have written) a 5,000 word essay on why this book is mostly bullshit. A lot of the essays are actually really good, but Jamison purposely doesn't delve into anime, manga, video game, sports, or music fandoms, so it's a pretty shitty representation of fan culture from the start.
The bulkiest and most thoroughly discussed topic is regarding the commercialization of fanfiction, but Jamison's bias shows as she not only defends the practice but fails to show a comparable argument against it, even though there are plenty within fandom. Jamison was actually involved in the commercialization of a very popular P2P Twilight fanfic and is in the position to gain professionally from P2P/serial-filing being viewed in a legitimate light, so take what you will from that.
Jamison also makes so many clumsy attempts at blindly filing the support of serial-filing under the banner of Happy Shiny Feminism that it makes one suspicious as to why she never shows the other side of the coin. It honestly reads as an inelegant attempt to employ SJ culture as armor against any and all criticism of the practice. And it's... not done well.
But I am understandably very biased, having been taking out of context in this book multiple times and painted as someone who would bully others for daring to take the craft of fanfiction seriously, so...
Downthread, another nonny noted this Jamison post about Caitlin Moran picking a random Sherlock BBC fic off AO3 and reading it in public. Nonny summarized Jamison's post as, "'Hey, don't class me with those faceless fangirls, I'm a Big Name Speaker To Fans just like Caitlin Moran!' I read back through the rest of her Tumblr and thought 'Do I want to spend that much time with this person's thoughts on fandom? Nope.'"
The next day, a nonny started a Hollowstone-style thread called "Academics Talk About Fic - Meme Style!", in which nonnies would call out a random page number and the OP would quote a passage appearing on that page of Fic. This included such gems as "The simple answer is, I didn’t choose the pony life; the pony life chose me" and:
Paradoxically, fanfiction, the cultural enterprise apparently dedicated to revisiting familiar ground, ends up leading us to new models of publishing, authorship, genre, gender . . . and to voyeuristic aliens who resemble lava lamps, vampire peaches, sex pollen, and an entire universe based on the structure of a canine penis.
Some nonny criticisms:
- "Fuck this, I'm on holiday. I don't have the energy to connect why this level of academic narrative is sharing book space with a section on knotting."
- "Honestly, one of the main problems with this book is that for half of it, you'd need to be in a fandom to understand, and for the other half, you'd need to be an academic to understand."
- "This author does not get fandom wank at all. To read this one would easily come away with the impression that fandom_wank and other wank communities exist solely to persecute fanfiction authors who take writing seriously. I just... what?"
- "Jamison's book is on a Ben Bella imprint, about as far away from academic credibility as you can get. The lengths of the essays and the lack of any references would throw that out for a college essay, let alone anything else."
Nonnies were especially critical of Jamison's downplaying of Cassie Claire's wrongdoing by blurring the lines between transformative usage and plagiarism. Also, the book features an essay by Claire's buddy Heidi "Heidipology" Tandy. A nonny quips, "An article on HP fandom written by Heidi is like a history of Russia written by Stalin." And another complains:
This is like reading a try-hard blog post pasted between essays. The author spends like 5 pages passing judgement on everyone--Avocado, FF.N, Pamela Dean--but when it comes time to pass judgement on Cassie (and Aja? Was this about Aja? Because the author and Aja are friends, so that would make sense), then noooo she wasn't there, can't comment. Jesus.