Authors and FanFiction: “Precious Sparkly Unicorns”

Writing instructors at CMU-Qatar used a technique called “camping” to help their students write research papers. They asked the student to try and group authors in their field of study into camps (for cloning, against cloning, etc). With a little twist, that is what I’ve done. Below, you’ll find the four authors who I think represent a distinct point on view on fanfiction. My camps are

The first two camps’ names come from Charlie Stross, author of “Down on the Farm” and “Trunk and Disorderly”:

“I am not a precious sparkly unicorn who is obsessed with the purity of his characters — rather, I am a glittery and avaricious dragon who is jealous of his steaming pile of gold. If you do not steal the dragon’s gold, the dragon will leave you alone.”

To keep this interesting, I’ve included quotes from each author on fanfiction. Here they are:

Precious Sparkly Unicorns

Anne Rice, author of Interview with a Vampire, and one of the most popular authors revolted by fanfiction:

“I do not allow fan fiction. The characters are copyrighted. It upsets me terribly to even think about fan fiction with my characters. I advise my readers to write your own original stories with your own characters. It is absolutely essential that you respect my wishes.”

George R.R. Martin, author of the Song of Ice and Fire series:

“My position on so-called ‘fan fiction”‘ is pretty well known. I’m against it, for a variety of reasons that I’ve stated previously more than once. I won’t repeat ’em here […]

No one gets to abuse the people of Westeros but me.”

Diana Gabaldon, author of the Outlander series:

“OK, my position on fan-fic is pretty clear: I think it’s immoral, I _know_ it’s illegal, and it makes me want to barf whenever I’ve inadvertently encountered some of it involving my characters.”

Ms Gabaldon goes on to compare writers in her fandom to thieves, seducers of her husband, and a middle-aged neighbor sexual harassing her daughter.. Her post on fanfiction lead to a lot more attention than she expect, causing her to first shut down, then delete the comments of both of her posts on the subject, then delete the posts themselves. Therefore, the only quote I can get from her is this LiveJournal archive. Each of her arguments has been answered extensively, and I won’t repeat them here.

Jasper Fforde, author of First Among Sequels and Shades of Grey:

“My thoughts on Fan Fiction are pretty much this: That it seems strange to want to copy or ‘augment’ someone else’s work when you could expend just as much energy and have a lot more fun making up your own. I feel, and I think with good reason, very proprietorial about Thursday and all her escapades; clearly I can’t stop you writing and playing what you want in private, and am very flattered that you wish to do so. But anything published in any form whatsoever – and that specifically includes the internet – I cannot encourage, nor approve of.”

These authors are more likely to talk about their characters as children, or physical property. They often claim that copyright law requires or protects their positions. They are also more likely to dislike fanfiction on aesthetics, see it is intellectual laziness or immaturity.

That’s it for the Against category–if you know of a particularly passion, articulate, or popular author who has a strong position on fanfiction, let me know in the comments section.'s List of Banned-Authors

UPDATE 31 May 2010:

A good friend friend directed me to this list. I’m including a screen-shot because it’s from the members-only section of the website, but it’s a list of authors who have asked to not allow fanfics of their work:

  • Anne Rice
  • Archie comics
  • Dennis L. McKiernan
  • Irene Radford
  • J.R. Ward
  • Laurell K. Hamilton
  • Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb
  • P.N. Elrod
  • Raymond Feist
  • Robin Hobb
  • Robin McKinley
  • Terry Goodkind

I think these would all fall into the “Precious Sparkly Unicorns” camp.

Update: June 3. Here is another list of authors who do not want fanfiction to be written in the worlds they write in.


I collected these authors’ names by reading everything I could find (mostly news articles and blogs, all online) on authors and fanfiction, clicking through every reference I could find (praying they wouldn’t involve Hogwarts and the squid thing, or Luke Skywalker and a velociraptor but clicking anyway), and then slogging back to original sources for good quotes.

Basically, I did the research in the only way I know how to do research, on anything.

Inspirational Quote:

THE DOCTOR: Science geek? What does that mean?
MARTHA: That your obsessively enthusiastic about it.
THE DOCTOR: Oh, nice.

Dr Who, The Lazarus Experiment, Season 3, Episode 6.


  1. I enjoy fan fiction, it’s a way for people to make a different ending for different shows, books, movies, and more. As long was the original authors of the characters are given full credit, then I think it should be allowed.

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