A Piece of My Mind: Playing in Another's Universe
    
Bennet Pomerantz

A LONG TIME AGO IN A GALAXY FAR, FAR AWAY...I use to be a feature guest at major Science Fiction Conventions in SF cons heyday. During that time, I met some interesting authors and actors. I did some writer and creative panels. With such creative and diverse talents sitting on these panels as Horror Film host Count Gore DeVol (his web site which is worth checking out), Actors Brinke Stevens (her web site), James (Scotty) Doohan, Richard Hatch & Richard Briggs, Authors Hal Clement, A.C. Crispin, Frederick Pohl, Allan Wold, Mary J. Rudy, Margaret Weis, Rebecca Ore, Mike Allen, Christie Golden, Jack Chalker, and Marion Zimmer Bradley. The discussions were amazing to listen to and intriguing to be involved in. On a personal note...Count, I will always remember our Balticon panel of "Do Vampires suck?"..a convention memory I will Never forget!

To quote Dickens, 'It was the best of times, It was the worse of times' for me. I was considered a noted newspaper review columnist and Fanfic author when I did these conventions. To many authors, it was a fine line I walked, since many authors did not enjoy the medium of Fanfic. Many authors, when I did these panels, said "Stay with your own work, try not to play in any one else's universe."

For those who do not know what FanFic is. It stands for Fan Fiction. There is a great article that will explain it better than anything I can say (Wikipedia). In a nutshell, FanFic is writing using other writers' characters, situations, etc. Sometimes these stories would appear in fanzines. I did write a few stories many years ago. Those stories helped me get over or through my writer's block, when I couldn't get motivated. I need to thank Kim Murphy for giving me the chance of seeing my random FanFic printed in the pages of Power Star Magazine.

I do stand guilty of writing a MacGyver /Santa Claus Christmas tale (Mac saves Christmas of course!), A Quantum Leap/ Star Trek Voyager (Sam jumped into the holographic Doctor) and a story which was reprinted a few times "Night of the Shylock." Shylock is a story which combined a pre-Watson Sherlock Holmes tale with the Wild Wild West characters. I wrote a sequel "The Case of the Retired American Agent" which involved Holmes, Watson and Wild Wild West characters. This story did not fare as well as Shylock.

So am I proud that I wrote these other universe stories? In a way, yes I am. It was freeing to work in someone else's universe. I just set the characters loose in ideas and situations which were already there.

Would I do it again? Maybe, just to exercise a creative muscle when writer's block rears its ugly head again. When I remarked this to a few writer friends, they did not laugh. They encouraged me, by asking what ideas did I have. I said I have a Boston Legal vs. Perry Mason (Perry, you going down against Denny Crane!)..NCIS and CSI (not sure if I want Vegas or Miami) . . . House and Ben Casey and Marcus Welby (the mean doctor vs. the nice ones - lets the bad guy win!). My friends were enthralled at my ideas. Most said "Bennet, write them." I may one day.

FanFic is usually written for fan to fan use. However, some authors have made great livings by writing in other people's universes. Mystery noir author Max Allen Collins (his web site), noted for his Quarry and the Nate Heller mystery series, and the Ms. Tree and Road to Perdition graphic novels, and writes Dark Angel novels, C.S.I novels, computer game scripts & graphic novels as well as many film adaptation novels (like Maverick, Saving Private Ryan, The Mummy and Waterworld). Science fiction author Christie Golden has written a few Star Trek novels for Simon & Schuster/Pocket Books (more about her) , as well as writing her own fiction. A.C. Crispen cut her writing teeth on Star Trek (Sarak) and V novels, before branching out into her own created science fiction universe. Peter David started writing fanzines and went on to write such comics as The Avengers and the Hulk and Babylon 5 novels. Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski did a stint as writer of Spiderman comics. Diagnosis Murder: The Silent Partner and Monk novels are written by Lee Goldberg , noted author of the pulp-ish series .357: Vigilante (his web site). So you see by these examples, FanFic is out there in the publishing industry.

So if you want to write a novel of your favorite superhero or television show, start practicing at home . . . maybe one day you can.

So until next time, REACH FOR THE STARS!

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About the Writer:

Bennet Pomerantz is a media review columnist in 175 newspapers with his weekly column AUDIOWORLD. His fiction and reviews have appeared in the pages of Affaire De Coeur, Gateways, Mystery Scene, Power Star, The Hot Corner, Washington Entertainment Magazine, and many others. He is also known for his review appearances on the MCN Forum. View his web site at Audioworld.