This week, a colleague and I interviewed a fan fiction writer for the upcoming workshop “Fan Fiction and the Study of Scribal Culture” (EABS Annual Meeting, Cordoba, Spain, July 12-15).
It was great to get to bombard her with questions about canon, the authority of canon, but also: why write “more of”? What is it about a canonical piece that makes you need more, fill in gaps, fix plotholes? The answer to that question was not analytical, it was emotional. You write because you love your canon.
It was a fascinating conversation and it showed many similarities as well as a deluge of dissimilarities between writing fan fiction and studying parabiblical texts, rewritten Bible, Midrash etc.
We talked about fluctuating canons, that canon is a choice; we talked about writing as a communal activity, where those who know the canon as well as you do help and pitch in; about the joy of reading more of a story you love, the power that comes with writing and re-writing, and also the limitations imposed upon that power – those instances where the writer must not deviate from the canon or the writing/reading community imposes certain codes of practice (you do not write yourself into a story, for example).
We talked about gender, anonymity, pseudepigraphy, slash fiction and ships, and the way practitioners disappoint theoreticians by doing something theory did not at all anticipate.
I look forward to putting the material from this interview into a relationship (ship, hehe) with biblical scholarship on Bible, canon, authority, and commentary in the next few weeks and to presenting the results with my colleagues at the conference in Cordoba.
The call for papers is now open for the panel Science Fiction and the Bible, which will meet at the European Association of Biblical Studies (EABS)’ Annual Meeting 2015 (Cordoba, Spain, July 12-15th, 2015).
More information can be found here.
As always, there is an open session, inviting papers on all relevant themes to do with Science Fiction in all its guises and the Bible and/or ancient literatures more widely. This year there will be a themed session about destruction and forgetting (and/or re-construction and remembering). If you are interested in SF but have not yet worked in the areas of Bible or religious literature, we would very much like to hear from you. The conference itself might be worthwhile for you, too, as there will be a cross-over panel on visualisation of sacred spaces and artefacts in Science Fiction films, which is organised jointly with colleagues of the Archaeology of the Levant group at the EABS. Furthermore, there is a workshop on Fan Fiction and Scribal Culture(s), which is inviting contributions. Colleagues from the Biblical World and Its Reception group invite papers on spatial theory, and there are workshops titled Images of Creation and Bodies of Communication. There are very interesting intersections to be explored between these panels. All in all, it’s almost like a small SF convention inside a Biblical Studies conference.