Judith Fathallah, Fanfiction and the Author – E-book | Amsterdam University Press, 2017
The production, reception and discussion of fanfiction is a major aspect of contemporary global media. Thus far, however, the genre has been subject to relatively little rigorous qualitative or quantitative study-a problem that Judith M. Fathallah remedies here through close analysis of fanfiction related to Sherlock, Supernatural, and Game of Thrones. Her large-scale study of the sites, reception, and fan rejections of fanfic demonstrate how the genre works to legitimate itself through traditional notions of authorship, even as it deconstructs the author figure and contests traditional discourses of authority. Through a process she identifies as the ‘legitimation paradox’, Fathallah demonstrates how fanfic hooks into and modifies the discourse of authority, and so opens new spaces for writing that challenges the authority of media professionals.
Earlier pages suggest this work intends to draw heavily from vanguard postmodernist Michel Foucault. Fortunately, Fathallah steadies a relatable and digestible understanding of Foucault’s contributions to discourse analysis. The researcher combines an assessment of discourse analysis with taut reviews of Internet Studies and Fan Studies. As a trained academic, her work is robust and impressive. Delving through the research references will be a treat to grad students and faculty readers alike. Fathallah remixes old and new sources that showcase a quality of fit between the author and her subject. In effect, she’s practicing meta-genre mixing in textual and mixed methods form.