fan fiction n.

fiction, usually fantasy or science fiction, written by a fan rather than a professional author, esp. that based on already-existing characters from a television series, book, film, etc.; (also) a piece of such writing


SF Criticism

SF Fandom

  • 1938 Science Fiction Collector (vol. 4, iss. 3, whole no. 21) Aug. 6 (advt.) page image

    The second issue of SCIENCE ADVENTURE STORIES out soon! 64 pages of good fan fiction. Only 15¢ a copy, four issues for 60¢. Soon to go bi-monthly.

  • 1939 ‘B. Tucker’ Le Zombie 19 Aug. 2

    And Milt is to be congratulated on the story…it is definitly [sic] pro and not fan fiction.

  • 1944 J. B. Speer Fancyclopedia 31/1 Jack Speer bibliography

    Fan fiction…Properly, the term means fiction about fans, or sometimes about pros, and occasionally bringing in some famous characters from stf stories.

  • 1959 R. Eney Fancyclopedia II (1979) 56 Dick Eney bibliography

    Fan fiction, (1) Sometimes meaning by fans in the manner of pros; that is, ordinary fantasy published in a fanzine. Properly, it means (2) fiction by fans about fans (or sometimes about pros) having no necessary connection with stfantasy.

  • 1975 J. Lichtenberg et al. Star Trek Lives! i. 23

    Laura, whose ambition is to become a professional writer, has been writing STAR TREK fiction since her early teens, and was recently nominated for a Hugo Award for fan fiction for her series ‘Federation and Empire’.

  • 1981 Science Fiction Rev. Summer 40/1

    What fringe-fans on the Trek experience don’t realize is that in STAR TREK fan fiction the concept of a character dying is quite common as this allows the writers to explore the other characters more deeply by examining their reactions to the death of an old friend.

  • 1993 R. Swan in Dragon Magazine Feb. 70/3

    Best of all, the editorial approach focuses squarely on the nuts and bolts of the game system, avoiding the lame fan fiction and long winded analyses that drag down so many do-it-yourself publications.

  • 1997 Entertainment Weekly 26 Sept. 84

    Chris Carter may bar X-Filers Mulder and Scully forever from consummating their deep bond—but it’s a common fantasy in the archives of fan fiction, where familiar TV and movie characters populate digital poems, scripts, short stories—even full-length novels—that span hundreds of websites and Usenet discussion groups. Readership figures are elusive, but fanfic’s America Online index page has collected a half million hits in the past year.

  • 2002 Science Fiction Chronicle May 24/2

    We're burning everything… The Wesley/Worf slash fanfiction sent in ‘just in case we had an interest’.

Research requirements

antedating 1938

Earliest cite

Science Fiction Collector

Research History
Leah Zeldes submitted a 1959 cite from Fancyclopedia II.
Enoch Forrester submitted a 1993 cite from reviews by Rick Swan in Dragon magazine.
Katrina Campbell submitted a 2002 cite from an article by Robbie Hudson in the Sunday Times.
Ben Ostrowski submitted a 1997 cite from an article by Patrizia DiLucchio in Entertainment Weekly.
Maureen O'Brien submitted a 1975 cite from Jacqueline Lichtenberg, Sondra Marshak and Joan Winston's "Star Trek Lives!".
Jeff Prucher submitted a 1981 cite from James Van Hise published in Science Fiction Review.
Jesse Sheidlower pointed out that there's an example in the original 1944 Fancyclopedia.
Ben Ostrowsky submitted a 1938 example from an ad for fan fiction.

We are separately tracking the sense 'fiction specifically about fans', and would welcome any examples of this.

Added to the OED as a subordinate entry under "fan" in December 2004.

Last modified 2023-02-07 18:11:33
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.