CLOSE
Original image
Getty Images

12 Subjects We Didn't Realize Had Their Own Fan Fiction

Original image
Getty Images

After we stumbled across some Bill Nye fan fiction, we decided to plumb the depths of Fanfiction.net and the rest of the internet to see what else is out there. Here are some of the weirdest fan fiction subjects we could find. And this is only the beginning. (Click at your own risk—here be smut!)

1. Pong

Think there couldn’t possibly be fan fiction about a set of paddles and a ball bouncing around on a black screen? Think again. Fanfiction.net has 114 fanfics—not counting crossovers—devoted to this 1972 video game. Some writers express disbelief that there’s a Pong category; others embrace it with relish. A few standout stories:

“The Last Chance” — Imprisoned and exhausted, Ball knows he has only one chance to escape.

“Blood and Thunder” — The arena roars in anticipation of the battle of a lifetime. Two titans clash, one will fall, one will triumph. Don't miss out on this epic of bloody, thunderous proportions. You'll regret it. No, really.

“PONG: A Curse” — A man has been playing Pong for his entire life ever since he was six. He is in a way cursed to play it. But one day, he meets a woman and falls in love with her. Will love lift the curse?

“A Day in Pong” — At an old beat-up arcade cabinet, the two paddles and the ball remember the good old times when they were the popular ones. Wait...why does Pong have a category, and why did I write this?

If video game fanfic is your thing, you might want to check out the Guitar Hero stories.

2. NASCAR


Buckle your seatbelts: NASCAR fan fiction isn’t so much about changing a tire at breakneck speed as it is about romancing the racecar driver of your choosing. There are at least two main sites: FanFicNation—“NASCAR fan fiction community where NASCAR fans of all drivers can come together to read, write, discuss, and giggle about their favorite drivers. It doesn't matter if it's Tony Stewart or Brian Vickers, you can find your driver here”—and Loose Lugs: “Why 'Loose Lugs' you ask? Well, to begin with, we're all a little off our rocker arms to read and write stories based on racecar drivers! How many times have you heard a driver shout 'I've got a vibration!'? And what's usually the cause of said vibration? Yep, loose lugs. Besides, it's sorta cool to call each other 'lugnut.’”

3. Classic Literature


Getty Images

Ever wonder what might have happened after the ending of that classic book you read in 10th grade English class? The internet has every possible answer. On Fanfiction.net you can find 458 stories about To Kill A Mockingbird, 169 stories about Of Mice and Men (what would Steinbeck think?!), and 110 stores about The Crucible. Some fanfic about these books that you might want to read, based on description alone:

“Tales of a Fourth Grade Lovely” — Now in fourth grade, Scout's getting prettier and making more friends. However, a lot of them are boys. Yet she promises to be Dill's forever. But can she keep her promise?

“And I Get to Tend To the Rabbits” — George and Lennie meet again after George dies.

“The Ballad of Curley’s Wife Call Me Maybe” — Just a little musical interlude, Curley's Wife sings about how she met Curley

“Futuristic Assassinating Lover” — My name is Angel and I'm on a mission. I must go back in time to the Crucible and change it. Abigail Williams must die. Got the title from Katy Perry, but this is NOT a songfic. it's futuristic though... meaning time travel.

"God is Just A Bit Sick and Twisted" — Title says all.The Truth behind how Lucifer was really born.A short story on why the Salem witch-hunts occurred. crackfic. warning: a bit of sugar induced blasphemy.

Head over to the Books forum to find more literary fanfic.

4. TV Commercials


Getty Images

Sometimes, a TV commercial leaves you wanting. So head on over to this forum, which is devoted to the post-commercial lives of iconic advertisement characters and more. A few of the more ridiculously enjoyable stories (at least judging by their descriptions):

"That's Why Trix Are For Kids" — The Trix rabbit longs for a bowl, a spoon, a taste. When he finally has an opportunity, what will the consequences be if he attains his prize? Both humor and tragedy, but isn't that the way of the rabbit's life?

"Activio" — "I should be studying, I should be studying" 4 bonus points if you get this. Rated K for weirdness, and stuck in the "Drama" genre because there is nothing more dramatic than irregularity.

"Folger's House" — The commercial with the couple? From the 1980's? I'm ending it my way.

"I Hate The Snuggie" — This is what I think of the Snuggie commercial. Please R&R! Flames are not appreciated.

5. Kevin Smith


Getty Images

Smith's fans are busy creating homages to his work—including Clerks, Chasing Amy, and Mall Rats— in fanfic forums. For example:

"Cheer Up, Silent Bob" — Sing to the tune of "Daydream Believer" by The Monkees

"Haikus for Clerks" — Just like the title. A small collection of short, pointless haikus for Clerks and maybe Clerks 2.

"Jay & Silent Bob Visit the Magical World of Disney" — While visiting Disneyworld, our favorite drug dealers come across a portal to another world while following what appeared to be a mining dwarf. They end up in a world full of princes, princesses, and talking animals and objects. As they travel, they soon realize that their supply of pot is running low. How will Jay and Silent Bob survive with less than a pound of weed while trying to help the heroines with their quest to marry the man of their dreams?

6. Ancient Literature


Getty Images

Interested in the continuing adventures of your favorite Norse gods, Biblical heroes, or ancient Greeks? There's fanfic for that!

"Bailing Yourself Out With A Straw" — Jesus and the disciples and the women drive around America in a multicolored minibus.

"Digestives of Troy" — Biscuits, always a vital part of life, have been mysteriously omitted from the Iliad. I blame later editing. But what if they were included once more...?

"The Daughter of Apollo" — What happens when the daughter of Apollo is allowed to fight in the Trojan War? Warning: Contains a lot of mythological inconsistancies and chronological errors.This is done on purpose.

"The Raven and The Milkmaid" — Freyja's necklace has been stolen, Heimdall is on the hunt for Loki, and Sigyn is just trying to milk the cows in peace. And maybe outsmart a trickster while she's at it.

"Sins of the Father" — Are monsters born or are they made? This is the story of the Norse serpent god, Jormungund, and how he fell.

BuzzFeed has also gathered some of the saucier Biblical fanfic for your reading, um, pleasure.

7. Kids' Television Shows


Wikimedia Commons

This, in my opinion, is the weirdest category on this list. Why would anyone want to write fan fiction about Dora the Explorer and Thomas the Tank Engine, among other kids' shows? To be fair, I haven't seen Thomas since Ringo was conductor, so maybe there's something I'm missing. But here are a few examples that show just how weird kids' television fanfic (or in Dora's case, hatefic) can get:

"DORA'S GONE RAMBO" — DORA'S GONE ON A KILLING SPREE! Stupid, isn't it.

"A Typical Day for Dora" — A typical day in Dora's adventuring life. Yes, it does include the farting Maps, giant poop and a weird gizmo... Note: Rated for VIOLENCE and LANGUAGE. Not for Dora-lovers!

"Steamies vs. Diesels: Dawn of the Rebellion" — A humanised story about a war between the Steamies and the Diesel. An evil empire donimates the world and a small band of rebels fight for freedom and to end its tryanny.

"End of an Era" — In the future, steam engines have been made illegal, and any steam engines found by authorities are scrapped. On tank engine, Johnny, enters a resistance movement and encounters a very famous old engine . . . DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT OWN THOMAS AND FRIENDS

"The Survivors" — Thomas finds out that he's the alst E2. He doesn't take it too well. Luckily, his friends are there for him. It's kinda soppy. Oneshot.

8. Judy Blume


Getty Images

There's no underestimating the impact Judy Blume's books had on millions of young girls. Theoretically, these are the same ladies who are now paying homage to Blume's works and iconic characters—including Fudge, Blubber and Margaret—in fanfic. Some are true to Blume's original intentions, and some ... are not ("Blubber's Revenge," anyone?).

9. Perry Mason


Wikimedia Commons

You can still catch Perry Mason reruns on TV today—but why watch when you can read what fanfic authors have in store for the defense attorney? There are 222 stories on Fanfiction.net—here are just a few of the stranger stories you might want to check out:

"Got Rhythm" — In the mid 80s, Della's got rhythm when she welcomes the day with some modern music and invites Perry to share it accordingly.

"Statistics" — Because I had this vision of all the main characters standing around watching someone flip a coin while Perry called every toss correctly ...

"The Case of the Memento Mori Murderer" — Perry is abducted by a vengeful young man and his unknown accomplice. Hamilton Burger and Lt. Tragg join Della and Paul in a desperate attempt to find him before it's too late. And what bearing does an unsolved 80-year-old mystery have on the case?

Of course, you could also read Erle Stanley Gardner's Perry Mason mystery novels, but where's the fun in that?

10. Citizen Kane


Getty Images

Proof that for this newspaper tycoon from the classic 1941 film, there is life after Rosebud—at least on the internet, via stories like "Charlie's Love Nest."

11. Carl Sagan


Getty Images

Fan fiction doesn't need to be about fictional characters. Real people have fans too! Take, for example, the late Carl Sagan, one of the greatest astronomers of our time. He popularized science through his television show, Cosmos; wrote about space in science fiction novels like Contact (which was eventually turned into a movie starring Jodie Foster); and waxed eloquent about the pale blue dot we live on in "Reflections on a Mote of Dust." Sagan has no shortage of fans, and some of them have chosen to write about him or use him as inspiration:

"The Wormhole in my Mind" — Carl Sagan fanfic. Is that a thing? Well, it is now. After finding a golden ticket allowing travel in space and time, with a guest alive, dead, or fictional, I go on an adventure with Carl Sagan through the cosmos.

"Canned Primate" — “Houston, we’ve had a problem.” The two tall, slender men were sprawled outside on a park bench on the Cornell University campus. It was April 13th 1970, the Ides of April. One was wearing a bright orange nylon parka, the other a long wooly brown coat...

"Eighteen Hours" — Based on the film adaptation of the novel "Contact" by Carl Sagan: A recount of of Ellie's journey via the Machine in Hokkaido, from the perspective of Dr. Kent Clark.

12. Frosty the Snowman


Getty Images

There's no letting Frosty the Snowman melt away in the fan fiction world. If you want to liven up your annual holiday caroling, sub out the regular "Frosty the Snowman" lyrics for the words from "Frost-T The Kill Bot, Wherein a Snowman-shaped Killer Robot Goes on a Homicidal Rampage."

Original image
Kevork Djansezian, Stringer, Getty Images
arrow
Pop Culture
LeVar Burton Is Legally Allowed to Say His Reading Rainbow Catchphrase
Original image
Kevork Djansezian, Stringer, Getty Images

It’s hard to imagine the original Reading Rainbow without LeVar Burton, but in August, the New York public broadcasting network WNED made it very clear who owned the rights to the program. By saying his old catchphrase from his hosting days, “but you don’t have to take my word for it” on his current podcast, WNED claimed Burton was infringing on their intellectual property. Now, Vulture reports that the case has been settled and Burton is now allowed to drop the phrase when and wherever he pleases.

The news came out in an recent interview with the actor and TV personality. “All settled, but you don’t have to take my word for it,” he told Vulture. “It’s all good. It’s all good. I can say it.”

The conflict dates back to 2014, when Burton launched a Kickstarter campaign to revive the show without WNED’s consent. Prior to that, the network and Burton’s digital reading company RRKidz had made a licensing deal where they agreed to split the profits down the middle if a new show was ever produced. Burton’s unauthorized crowdfunding undid those negotiations, and tensions between the two parties have been high ever since. The situation came to a head when Burton started using his famous catchphrase on his LeVar Burton Reads podcast, which centers around him reading short fiction in the same vein as his Reading Rainbow role. By doing this, WNED alleged he was aiming to “control and reap the benefits of Reading Rainbow's substantial goodwill.”

Though he’s no longer a collaborator with WNED, Burton can at least continue to say “but you don’t have to take my word for it” without fearing legal retribution. WNED is meanwhile "working on the next chapter of Reading Rainbow" without their original star, and Burton tells Vulture he looks “forward to seeing what they do with the brand next."

[h/t Vulture]

Original image
chris2766/iStock
arrow
literature
The Charming English Fishing Village That Inspired Dracula
Original image
Whitby as seen from the top of the 199 Steps
chris2766/iStock

The train departed King's Cross at 10:25 a.m. on July 29, 1890. Bram Stoker settled wearily into the carriage for the six-hour journey to Whitby, the fashionable and remote seaside village in North Yorkshire. The sooty sprawl of London gave way to green grids of farmland and pasture, and then windswept moors blanketed in heather and wild roses.

Stoker needed this holiday. The 42-year-old manager of London's Lyceum Theatre had just finished an exhausting national tour with his employer, the celebrated but demanding actor Henry Irving. The unrelenting task of running the business side of Irving's many theatrical enterprises for the past decade had left Stoker with little time for himself. When the curtains fell at the end of each night's performance, he may have felt that the energy had been sucked out of him.

Now he looked forward to a three-week getaway where he would have time to think about his next novel, a supernatural tale that harnessed the sources of Victorian anxiety: immigration and technology, gender roles and religion. In ways he didn't foresee, the small fishing port of Whitby would plant the seeds for a vampire novel that would terrify the world. Stoker started out on an innocent and much-deserved vacation, but ended up creating Dracula.

A photo of Bram Stoker
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

As Stoker emerged from the train station in Whitby, the sounds and smell of the sea would have restored him after the long trip. He loaded his trunk into a horse-drawn cab for the journey up the West Cliff, where new vacation apartments and hotels served the crowds of holidaymakers. He checked into a flat at 6 Royal Crescent, a half-circle of elegant Georgian-style townhomes that faced the ocean.

He often felt invigorated by the seashore: "He's finally on a holiday, away from the hustle and bustle of London, the Lyceum Theatre, and Henry Irving's dominance over him," Dacre Stoker, a novelist and the author's great-grandnephew, tells Mental Floss. "The ocean and the seaside play into Bram's life, and, I believe, in stimulating his imagination."

Stoker's wife Florence and their 10-year-old son Noel would join him the following week. Now was his chance to explore Whitby on his own.

The East Cliff with Tate Hill Pier in the foreground
iStock

"A curious blend of old and new it is," wrote a travel correspondent for the Leeds Mercury. The River Esk divided the town into two steep halves known as the West and East Cliffs. Down a tangle of paths from the brow of the West Cliff, Stoker found himself on the town's famed beach, where people gathered to watch the many vessels at sea or walked along the gentle surf. At the end of the beach was the Saloon, the nucleus of Whitby's social whirl.

"The enterprising manager engages the best musical and dramatic talent procurable, whilst on the promenade a selected band of professional musicians gives performances daily," wrote Horne's Guide to Whitby. Holidaymakers could purchase a day pass to the Saloon and enjoy afternoon tea, tennis, and endless people-watching.

Next to the Saloon, the West Pier featured a long promenade parallel to the river and a three-story building containing public baths, a museum with a collection of local fossils, and a subscription library. Shops selling fish and chips, ice cream, and Whitby rock lined the winding streets. Visitors could watch all kinds of fishing vessels discharging their daily catch, and even hop aboard a boat for a night's "herringing" with local fishermen.

Whitby's East Cliff had a more mysterious atmosphere. Across the town's single bridge, tightly packed medieval cottages and jet factories leaned over the narrow cobbled streets, "rising one above another from the water side in the most irregular, drunken sort of arrangement conceivable," the Leeds Mercury reported.

Above the ancient Tate Hill Pier, a stone stairway of 199 steps (which pallbearers used when they carried coffins) led up the cliff to St. Mary's parish church and its graveyard full of weathered headstones. Towering over the whole scene—and visible from nearly any spot in town—were the ruins of Whitby Abbey, a 13th-century pile of Gothic arches that had been built upon the remains of a 7th-century monastery.

"I think [Stoker] was struck by the setting. He's thinking, 'This is perfect. I have the ships coming in, I've got the abbey, a churchyard, a graveyard'," Dacre Stoker says. "Maybe it was by chance, but I think it just became that perfect scene."

Whitby Abbey
Whitby Abbey
Daverhead/iStock

In Dracula, chapters six through eight kick the narrative into frightening action. By then, real estate agent Jonathan Harker has traveled to Transylvania to negotiate Dracula's purchase of a London property and become the vampire's prisoner. His fiancée Mina Murray, her friend Lucy Westenra, and Lucy's mother have traveled to Whitby for a relaxing holiday, but Mina remains troubled by the lack of letters from Jonathan. She confides her worries and records the strange scenes she witnesses in her journal.

On the afternoon of his arrival, according to a modern account compiled by historians at the Whitby Museum, Stoker climbed the 199 Steps to St. Mary's churchyard and found a bench in the southwest corner. The view made a deep impression on Stoker, and he took note of the river and harbor, the abbey's "noble ruin," the houses "piled up one over the other anyhow." In his novel, Mina arrives in late July on the same train as Stoker, mounts the 199 Steps, and echoes his thoughts:

"This is to my mind the nicest spot in Whitby, for it lies right over the town, and has a full view of the harbor ... It descends so steeply over the harbor that part of the bank has fallen away, and some of the graves have been destroyed. In one place part of the stonework of the graves stretches out over the sandy pathway far below. There are walks, with seats beside them, through the churchyard; and people go and sit there all day long looking at the beautiful view and enjoying the breeze. I shall come and sit here very often myself and work."

The churchyard gave Stoker a number of literary ideas. The following day, Stoker chatted there with three leathery old Greenland fisherman who likely spoke in a distinct Yorkshire dialect. They told Stoker a bit of mariner's lore: If a ship's crew heard bells at sea, an apparition of a lady would appear in one of the abbey's windows. "Then things is all wore out," one of the sailors warned.

Stoker ambled between the headstones that sprouted from the thick carpet of grass. Though most of the markers' names and dates had been erased by the wind, he copied almost 100 into his notes. Stoker used one of them, Swales, as the name of the fisherman with a face that is "all gnarled and twisted like the bark of an old tree," who begins talking with Mina in the churchyard. Mina asks him about the legend of the lady appearing in the abbey window, but Swales says it's all foolishness—stories of "boh-ghosts an' barguests an' bogles" that are only fit to scare children.

St. Mary's churchyard
St. Mary's churchyard, which Mina calls "the nicest spot in Whitby."
iStock

For the first few days in August, Stoker was occupied by the summer's social calendar. He likely enjoyed dinner with friends arriving from London, and went to church on Sunday morning. On the 5th, Stoker's wife and son joined him at 6 Royal Crescent. The next several days may have been spent at the Saloon, promenading on the pier, and making social calls, as it was the custom for newly arrived visitors to visit with acquaintances in town.

But Whitby's infamous weather had the ability to turn a sunny day somber in an instant. August 11 was a "grey day," Stoker noted, "horizon lost in grey mist, all vastness, clouds piled up and a 'brool' over the sea." With Florence and Noel perhaps staying indoors, Stoker set off for the East Cliff again and chatted with a Coast Guard boatman named William Petherick. "Told me of various wrecks," Stoker jotted. During one furious gale, a "ship got into harbor, never knew how, all hands were below praying."

The ship was the Dmitry, a 120-ton schooner that had left the Russian port of Narva with a ballast of silver sand. The ship encountered a fierce storm as it neared Whitby on October 24, 1885, and aimed for the harbor.

"The 'Russian' got in but became a wreck during the night," according to a copy of the Coast Guard's log, which Petherick delivered to Stoker. The crew survived. In a picture taken by local photographer Frank Meadow Sutcliffe just a few days after the storm, the Dmitry is shown beached near Tate Hill Pier with its masts lying in the sand.

'The Wreck of the Dmitry' (1885), by Frank Meadow Sutcliffe
The Wreck of the Dmitry (1885), by Frank Meadow Sutcliffe
Courtesy of the Sutcliffe Gallery

Petherick's account gave Stoker the means for his vampire's arrival in England, the moment when the mysterious East disrupts the order of the West. Mina pastes a local newspaper article describing a sudden and ferocious storm that hurled Dracula's ship, the Demeter from Varna, against Tate Hill Pier. The Coast Guard discovered the crew had vanished and the captain was dead. Just then, "an immense dog sprang up on deck and … making straight for the steep cliff … it disappeared in the darkness, which seemed intensified just beyond the focus of the searchlight," the article in Mina's journal reads. The dog was never seen again, but townsfolk did find a dead mastiff that had been attacked by another large beast.

Mina describes the funeral for the Demeter's captain, which Stoker based on scenes from an annual celebration he watched on August 15 called the Water Fete. In reality, thousands of cheerful spectators lined the quays as a local band and choir performed popular songs and a parade of gaily decorated boats sailed up the river, with banners fluttering merrily in the breeze, according to the Whitby Gazette's report. But through Mina, Stoker transformed the scene into a memorial:

"Every boat in the harbor seemed to be there, and the coffin was carried by captains all the way from Tate Hill Pier up to the churchyard. Lucy came with me, and we went early to our old seat, whilst the cortege of boats went up the river to the Viaduct and came down again. We had a lovely view, and saw the procession nearly all the way."

The final week of Stoker's holiday elicited some of the most important details in Dracula. On August 19, he bought day passes to Whitby's museum library and the subscription library. In the museum's reading room, Stoker wrote down 168 words in the Yorkshire dialect and their English meanings from F.K. Robinson's A Glossary of Words Used in the Neighborhood of Whitby, which later formed the bulk of Mr. Swales's vocabulary in his chats with Mina.

One of the words was "barguest," a term for a "terrifying apparition," which also refers specifically to a "large black dog with flaming eyes as big as saucers" in Yorkshire folklore, whose "vocation appears to have been that of a presage of death," according to an account from 1879.

"I do think Stoker meant for that connection," John Edgar Browning, visiting lecturer at the Georgia Institute of Technology and expert in horror and the gothic, tells Mental Floss. "Moreover, he probably would have meant for the people of Whitby in the novel to make the connection, since it was they who perceived Dracula's form as a large black dog."

Downstairs, Stoker checked out books on Eastern European culture and folklore, clearly with the aim of fleshing out the origins of his vampire: Curious Myths of the Middle Ages, a travelogue titled On the Track of the Crescent, and most importantly, William Wilkinson's An Account of the Principalities of Wallachia and Moldovia: with Various Observations Relating to Them.

The library building where Stoker discovered Dracula
The library building where Stoker discovered Dracula
Courtesy of Dacre Stoker

From the latter book, Stoker wrote in his notes, "P. 19. DRACULA in Wallachian language means DEVIL. Wallachians were accustomed to give it as a surname to any person who rendered himself conspicuous by courage, cruel actions, or cunning."

The Wilkinson book gave Stoker not just the geographical origin and nationality for his character, but also his all-important name, redolent of mystery and malice. "The moment Stoker happened upon the name of 'Dracula' in Whitby—a name Stoker scribbled over and over on the same page on which he crossed through [the vampire's original name] 'Count Wampyr,' as if he were savoring the word's three evil syllables—the notes picked up tremendously," Browning says.

By the time Stoker and his family returned to London around August 23, he had developed his idea from a mere outline to a fully fledged villain with a sinister name and unforgettable fictional debut.

"The modernization of the vampire myth that we see in Dracula—and that many contemporary reviewers commented upon—may not have happened, at least to the same degree, without Stoker's visit to Whitby," Browning says. "Whitby was a major catalyst, the contemporary Gothic 'glue', as it were, for what would eventually become the most famous vampire novel ever written."

Bram Stoker visited Whitby only once in his life, but the seaside village made an indelible mark on his imagination. When he finally wrote the scenes as they appear in Dracula, "He placed all of these events in real time, in real places, with real names of people he pulled off gravestones. That's what set the story apart," Dacre Stoker says. "That's why readers were scared to death—because there is that potential, just for a moment, that maybe this story is real."

Additional source: Bram Stoker's Notes for Dracula: A Facsimile Edition, annotated and transcribed by Robert Eighteen-Bisang and Elizabeth Miller

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios