A Piece of My Mind: Playing
in Another's Universe
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
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
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
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
So you see by these examples, FanFic is out there in the publishing
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