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Is it valid to ask about fanfic and other alternate-version sources for science-fiction material on this site?

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I can't think of a reason why not. Seems to me that scifi is scifi, whether written by established authors or by fans. Now if you're looking for canon, that is a different story.

From Wikipedia:

Fan fiction, therefore, is defined by being both related to its subject's canonical fictional universe and simultaneously existing outside the canon of that universe.

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There is no notability requirement on this site. You can discuss works that haven't been published professionally, including fan-fics.

That being said, please don't post questions that no one in the audience had any chance of reading. A question about a fan fic that's only ever been distributed on flyers at Gryffon†Con 1942 would be too localized.

Posting a question just for the sake of promoting your own fan-fic is not appreciated, like any other self-promotion question on Stack Exchange. For writing advice, as per this meta thread, go to Writers Stack Exchange.

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I generally agree with morganpdx. However, if there's any question of fanfic that's in violation of copyright, we should probably avoid linking to it or discussing its content (as opposed to, say, discussing its status as an infringing work) to keep from performing contributory infringement.

  • Excellent point. I would NOT want to open that can 'o worms. – morganpdx Jan 28 '11 at 21:08
  • Notably, there's a handful of authors who have expressly disallowed fanfiction of their work. Anne Rice is one of them; no fanfiction about Lestat is allowed to exist. – Aarthi Jan 17 '12 at 23:59
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    @aarthi: Just because the original author disapproves doesn't prevent fair use, which most fan fiction falls under (at least under US law). While I certainly think true fans would respect an author's wishes, there's no legal reason for Lestat fanfics not to be allowed. – Jeff Jan 18 '12 at 15:23
  • @Jeff I don't disagree, however, Rice's legal team would. As an employee, it's my duty to mention that some authors disallow people to write fic on their work. I'd be remiss to not mention it. – Aarthi Jan 18 '12 at 15:47
  • @Aarthi: Absolutely, we don't want to invoke legal problems, even IF they'd be basically empty threats. – Jeff Jan 18 '12 at 19:08

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