How Did Sherlock Holmes Pave the Way for 50 Shades of Grey? | Idea Channel | PBS

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Published on Jul 18, 2012 by

You've probably heard of the risque novel "50 Shades of Grey" since it's now the best selling paperback of all time. But you may not know that it's Twilight fan fiction! It seems shocking that a fan fiction novel has become so popular, but 50 Shades isn't the first book to break through the fan community boundaries into mainstream culture. Over 100 years ago, Sherlock Holmes' popularity created a profusion of well received fan fiction. It allowed authors from amateur to professional to explore the world originally created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and pave the way for other future fan fiction canons, including Star Wars, Harry Potter, and yes, 50 Shades of Grey.

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Top Comments

  • What I find interesting is the mindset that you have to "genuinely love" the source material to produce a good fanfic. What if you absolutely hate the way a work of fiction was executed and wish to retool it under your own penmanship?

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  • If you take it back to oral traditions it starts to seem like fan fiction (and fandom as a whole) is a natural and inevitable consequence of storytelling in any medium. Which is interesting, and makes me wonder whether copyright isn't a dangerous construction that is holding us back culturally.

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  • for what you said about how the creator of a specific fan favourite would actually congratulate a fanfiction creator for success on their title, one of the best example's is MLP, or my little pony, (sound familiar?) as not only would they congratulate some music artists and fanfic writers on their success, i can think of one specific of where they would voice act for a fanimation... pretty crazy right.

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  • Isn't most of the well known Cthulu mythos, and, in fact, most of Lovecraftian work, not actually written by Lovecraft?

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  • A whole episode on fan-fictions, and not one reference to MLP?

    How'd that happen?

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  • you guys, look up one direction on tumblr. we have created this fandom upon fan fiction, especially the sub fandom larry stylinson shippers. (SO MUCH GAY IT HURTS) we may be12-20 year old fan girls, but daum when the feels get to us, the fics get good. p.s 50 shades of grey is the worst smut i have ever read in my life. i`ve read better smut written by 11 year-olds, not even kidding. good old live journal baby.

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  • Elementary!

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  • I think fanfiction is one of the greatest things to happen to literature. It takes existing characters that people already love and places them in locations and situations that they haven't been in before. I think the only reason there is the while "perverted" cloud around it is because a lot of it is written by lonely women. You have to take into consideration the author. I go by my rule of thumb which states 60% of fanfic is crap, 25% is okay, 10% is good and 5% is amazing. Just like the lite

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  • I think fanfiction is one of the greatest things to happen to literature. It takes existing characters that people already

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  • I love that picture 2:15

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  • Jacob keep your shirt on!!

    hmm NO!

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