An amazing story was just self-published on Amazon. It takes place in a buried silo where population control is critical, the Down Deep is flooding, and loved ones are being put to death. It is suspenseful and gut-wrenching. It is based on Wool. And I didn’t write it.
This isn’t the first piece of fan fiction from the Wooliverse. Lacuna author David Adams brought us Shear Terror, a frightening and brilliant satire of Wool fandom-gone-wild. It took place within our world while referencing Wool, and rumor has it that David is now wrapping up another story from within the Wooliverse. Meanwhile, WJ Davies has just released one of his own.
I don’t want to spoil the plot; I’ll just say that The Runner is a fantastic story that deserves to be read. Davies riffs on the flashback structure of the original Wool and writes with an evocative style that I wish I could emulate. The concept of giving up rooms to save a silo is brilliant. You’ll have to read to see what I mean.
After diving into the story, I raved about it on Facebook, which sparked an interesting discussion. People want to know if this is okay with me. It most certainly is! WJ asked me for permission, and I readily granted it. His plan was to give the work away, but I told him he was crazy (the same thing I told David Adams a while back). I suggested he post the story on Amazon and charge for his hard work.
One commenter pointed out that technically this isn’t fanfic since it has a price, and while I agree with the distinction, I like to think we can have the best of both worlds. The writing in this story is top-notch, but the spirit is one of fanfic rather than licensing. Besides, I’m not making a cent off these works. Anyone can write them as far as I’m concerned. All comers have my blessing as a fellow writer (and as an appreciative reader).Let’s not forget that the top-selling author of 2012 came from fan fiction. EL James’s series 50 Shades of Grey accounted for 1 out of every 20 books sold last year. Let that sink in for a moment. Yes, the names were changed and the book edited to avoid the fanfic label, but why not celebrate the work’s origins? Whatever you think of the popularity of the series, I believe we should give this rise from reader to writer to bestseller a round of applause. I certainly do! (Speaking of bestseller, The Runner has already cracked the top 100 in two Amazon categories! I like to think I took the first of many screen-caps to come in WJ Davies’s writing career. Lord knows, I’m an expert.) Take a moment and think about the natural progression, here. New avenues of artistic expression have opened to readers in the past decade. In just a few years, I was fortunate to go from self-publishing to writing full-time. Fan fiction takes this one step further as it urges readers to transform themselves into self-published authors! What’s great about fan fiction is that one of the challenging aspects of writing — the World Building — is already done. Readers can dabble in a world they love, and perhaps they’ll move from there to create worlds of their own. WJ messaged me on Facebook yesterday to let me know the story was live on Amazon, and then he told me how amazing it was to see his first review pop up. It gives me goosebumps and brings tears to my eyes to write this (seriously), because I know how he feels. WJ said he could see how addictive this was, the ability to agonize over a story, brave the publishing of it, and then have it appreciated. Dear readers, there is a lot to love about this and nothing to hate. The Runner costs a measly buck at Amazon right now. It is criminally under-priced. WJ Davies is also in the final editing stages of his debut full-length work of science fiction. Look for The Binary Cycle sometime in the Spring of 2013. Hey, maybe WJ will allow me to write in his world someday!