vendredi 29 novembre 2013

Over The Mountain Tops Of The Walking Dead Fanfiction

By Mickey Jhonny

It was many years ago, in the tender years of my misspent teenage youth that I joined some friends for a midnight viewing of the Wizard of Oz. No, there was no Pink Floyd involved. It was just the plain old Wizard of Oz, as I'd seen it in my childhood dozens, if not hundreds of times. Perhaps, being the callow and wanton youth we were, all this may have been under the influence of certain controlled substances. Though I don't recall that clearly, I do recall sitting in that theater watching the film unfold yet again.

However, this time, as the munchkins and witches and so forth all went about their well rehearsed business in the foreground, somehow my attention was riveted on the background. These cheesy painted studio backgrounds of distant mountains had me transfixed. I couldn't help wondering, yes, yes, I know all about the Yellow Brick Road and the Emerald City and all that. But what the heck is on the other side of those mountains?

This I think it's fair to say is the impulse that inspires the phenomenon of fanfiction. Fanfiction is the art form by which a fan of a pre-established work of art tells a tale within the context of the world created by the original. Though a very old practice, it became something of a pop culture (subculture) phenomenon in the 60s when a major fanfiction cottage industry grew up around The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and Star Trek. The fans took this as an opportunity to see things, which the original show didn't, wouldn't or couldn't provide: from a Klingon conquered universe to Kirk and Spock as homosexual lovers. Fanfiction truly did provide the opportunity for fans to boldly go where no staff writer had gone before.

Originally the fiction was produced in fanzines, which were mimeographed and stapled collections mailed out to subscribers within a narrow clique of aficionados and conference attendees. The rise of the Internet and particularly the World Wide Web in the early 90s changed all that and has allowed for a great blossoming of fanfiction of all kinds. In recent years, the proliferation of a vast inventory of video material available to be manipulated, edited and reinterpreted has taken fanfiction away from the written word into the YouTube editing room of any fan's bedroom. What remains consistent through it all though is the desire to see what lay beyond those distant mountains - to speak metaphorically.

An original show, like The Walking Dead, only follows, as it were, a thin line of narrative revelation. At every moment the characters go one way or do one thing and leave so many others intriguing enigmas. The rooms that were not entered, the pathways not followed, stones not turned, choices not made, desires not followed: these are the stuff of fanfiction. And it is a thriving undertaking in the world of The Walking Dead fanfiction. alone, citing just one example, has well over 2000 entries; stories exploring the Walking Dead world. And that is but the tip of the iceberg.

When looking for the common themes in The Walking Dead fanfiction, the ones that immediately come to one's attention are a focus upon fleshing out the bios and psyches of various characters. Daryl and Andrea are particularly popular objects of such exploration. There's also those who are more focused on getting beyond the distant mountains. They invent their own characters or sometimes clearly place themselves in the world of The Walking Dead, exploring the other possibilities of that world -- far from the goings on of Rick Grimes and co. Some fanfiction creators even ponder the possibility that the zombies may have internal thoughts. What could those be like. Turn to the fanfiction if you want some idea.

This fanfiction is a great venue for getting deeper still into the exotic world of The Walking Dead. The creativity of the fan creators suggests all kinds of new possibilities and venues of curious pursuit. To say nothing of being loads of fun. A question does come to mind though when we're considering the fascination with this TV show.

Does it say something about our world in a way that resonates, even if we don't realize it? Check out our thoughts on that at Pretty Much Dead Already

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