‘Fan-fics’ are fan-written material set in the universe of another, established author, and ‘canon’ refers to the official, sanctioned material that said author produces themself. At least, it used to. Times are changing, and the fan-fic/canon distinction is taking several hits.
First, there’s Amazon’s Kindle Worlds program, which allows fan-fic authors to legally write stories set in particular worlds, most notably those of Gossip Girl, The Vampire Diaries, and Slaughterhouse-Five. But the distinction isn’t completely destroyed here: we can all tell the truly masterful and official stuff apart from the rest: no one’s going to best Kurt Vonnegut at his own novels. In theory, though, someone could put together a work that’s better. And it’s official, too, putting it in a third camp seperate from fan-fic or canon — it would become a sanctioned continuation, in the spirit of Eoin Colfer’s sixth book in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy trilogy, which took over after Douglas Adams’ original five books.
In order to completely break down the barriers between fan-fic and canon, we need a little help from the authors involved. And that’s why I was interested to see this post on my tumblr feed.
Artist Noelle Stevenson, most well known for her webcomic Nimona and for her doodles of that one Russian couple from Pacific Rim, was asked a question about the running commentary that her tumblr provides about her webcomic. it’s a case of the original author indulging in fan-fic-style opinions.
YOU WRITE A LOT OF EXTRA SNIPPETS OF INFO FOR NIMONA WHEN WE ASK QUESTIONS ABOUT IT. ARE THESE CONSIDERED FANFICS, OR IS IT CANON, SINCE YOU, THE AUTHOR, ARE WRITING THEM? ARE THEY BOTH FANFICS AND CANON? I NEED TO KNOW BECAUSE SCIENCE.
it’s all canon because I’m the boss. However that doesn’t mean I can’t change it as many times as I want. So I could say like “the Director is a reverse minotaur” and then a week later I could think of something better and say “NO WAIT she’s a pile of gnomes in a dress” and it would allll be canon.
What’s fan-fic? What’s canon? It’s a whole new wooooooooorld!