I had two free credits for Audible, an audio-book website. Having virtuously used one to purchase the read-aloud version of James Boyle’s public domain book, I looked for lighter fare. I found it in Dr Who: The Resurrection Casket read by David Tennant.
I giggled to hear Tennant switch from his narrator to Doctor voice, but swopped quickly into the story’s groove. Too quickly in fact–the groove was already carved in my mind because The Resurrection Casket is a cross-over fanfiction with Robert Louis Stevenson’s 1883 classic, Treasure Island. All of the old characters are there: the raggedy and mutinous crew, the scruffy-but-mysterious-regular, the precocious boy who loves pirate stories.
Like any good fic, there are lots of Author’s Universe (AU) characters: a robot-human barmaid, the Black Spot personified, a greedy treasure collecting widower looking to resurrect his long-dead wife.
But like any fanfic, the joy I found in listening to it came from excitement at finding differences above a firm foundation of familiarity. The authors could assume I knew the tropes and the plot, and get on with illuminating their visions.
Fanfiction rides a groove carved by someone else–and what’s the harm, unless its marble bumps those ahead or behind off the track?
“When words leave off, music begins.”–Heinrich Heine