Wednesday, February 26, 2014

My kind of fan fiction

I recently listened to a Bookrageous podcast about fan fiction the other day. I hadn't really ever considered fan fiction other than what my son Luke tells me about the ever expansive universe that is Star Wars. I prefer my Star Wars to contain only Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Princess Leia. I really don't care about the back story of Boba Fett. I don't want anyone messing with the Harry Potter universe, but yet there is all kind of fan fiction about Hogwarts. There's fan fic that imagines Harry Potter without the epilogue in the final book. I originally thought that fan fiction was really relegated to the world of DC and Marvel Comics and science fiction geeks, but I learned something. There is fan fiction for everything! What is fan fiction? It's stories written by fans about characters or settings of the original work.

So, I may not be comfortable with all the re-imagined universes of other favorite books and characters, but I'm excited about almost all Austen-inspired fiction. I suppose I prefer a re-imagining of the original tale vs. a story that moves Austen's characters in a different trajectory. Longbourn, a recent book club selection has a shifted narrative of the story. While the elements of Pride and Prejudice remain the same, it's vantage point is from the help.

This is my recent book club selection. It's Pride and Prejudice from the perspective of the help. Think Downton Abbey meets Austen. 

So, I realized that I'm steeped deeply in the world of Jane Austen Fan Fiction. I never read Austen in either high school or college, but shortly after graduating from college, I realized what I had been missing. The first Jane Austen novel I read was Emma. I remember being delighted by the Gwyneth Paltrow's Emma  in 1996.

  Are you surprised that it wasn't the Colin Firth Pride and Prejudice mini-series that made me mad for Austen?
I'm pretty sure this is the reason that most women decided that Austen was irresistible. It's this iconic Darcy-in-a-wet-shirt scene.

 Emma was the reason I fell in love with all things Jane Austen in the first place. I proceeded to read all her novels and collect multiple editions of Pride and Prejudice and Emma.

Can I just say how much more I prefer Mr Knightley to Mr Darcy?
                                         Then, there were a slew of Austen-inspired movies.
As if!

Fox Books. F-O-X.

Mark Darcy!
This adaptation of Pride and Prejudice transported to India is just lovely.

The Jane Austen Book Club. The movie is WAY better than the book.

Just when you didn't think we needed another adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, we kinda did and while not fan fiction, I'm sure this new movie rekindled the Austen imagination. So, in 2005, a feature length P&P was released and guess what? The new Mr. Darcy grew on me. 

The trend continues today. Last weekend, I watched Austenland based on the novel of the same name by Shannon Hale. Remember, I'll read anything Austen-related. (Well, almost anything.) I remember thinking that the book was just so-so, but I thought it might make a delightful movie. As it turns out, the movie is so-so as well, but it did make me think about how much Austen has impacted our culture.

When Austenland landed in theaters several months back, my friends and I made plans to go to see it wearing Regency gowns. It never happened, but that doesn't mean I haven't paraded around Bath, England wearing a Regency gown during the Jane Austen Festival. Because I have! Yup. I'm that girl.

Anyway, I'll continue to read a lot of Austen-inspired fiction. I have read two (yes, 2!) YA novels that re-imagine Pride and Prejudice in the modern high school. Of course, you're dying to know the titles so that you can read them too, right?? Right? Okay, it might just be me, but these books were cute and just fun.

I have a whole shelf dedicated to Austen-related fiction on Goodreads. Check out my Austen-pastiche shelf.

So, yes, I love fan fiction. I just happen to love my particular brand of fan fiction.

1 comment:

Alexandrea Brandon said...

There is another book after Austenland as well. It is Called Midnight in Audstenland, as you have said though Austenland was just SO SO, that's being said i have not yet decided if the second is worth the read. I could not agree more about The Jane Austen Book Club! The movie was wonderful and I could watch it over and over, but the book fell flat for me...and I did read the book first.