The wonderful world of absolutely terrible fanfiction
In Gilesbie’s less-than-capable hands, the struggle between good and evil in the wizarding world became a pitched battle between “goffs” and “preps,” frequently interrupted by detailed physical descriptions of protagonist Ebony (variously called Enoby, Evony, Egogy, and Tara.) But the real star of “My Immortal” was its author. From the beginning, Tara was telling insufficiently gothic readers to “get da hell out,” and she soon started using copious author’s notes to defend her spelling, dialogue, and bizarre reworkings of major characters.
Lizzie Skurnick knows YA (young adult) literature. In addition to having written fiction for the popular Sweet Valley High, Alias, and Love Stories series of books, Skurnick was the author of the popular Jezebel column “Fine Lines,” which also served as the basis for her non-fiction book, Shelf Discovery: The Teen Classics We Never Stopped Reading. So it wasn’t a huge surprise when she launched her own publishing imprint – Lizzie Skurnick Books – this past fall to bring out-of-print young adult fiction back to book shelves. But it was certainly welcome.
Forty-one years ago in New York City, a man known only as Simon walks into a witchcraft supply shop with a cardboard manuscript box, the kind of thing you see in library rare book departments. He estimates that the work in his possession is six or seven hundred years old.
Simon is a Slavonic Orthodox priest, a student of the occult, but until he walked into that shop he didn’t know anything about H.P. Lovecraft, a writer of “weird fiction” (the literary forefather of both science fiction and horror). Neither had he heard of the Necronomicon, a book that the author had invented for his stories. It’s supposed to be an incredibly powerful grimoire, or collection of spells and incantations, and as Lovecraft was in the habit of blending reality and fantasy in his books — even going so far as enlisting other “weird” writers to expand on his characters and locations in their own stories — more credulous readers came to believe that the Necronomicon was real. It was as if Luke Skywalker was real, or the flying skateboards from Back To The Future were real.
It happened. We made it to (and through) our sophomore year. And it’s not as if that second year was an apocalypse where men (and women) had to fight other men (and women) to the death for the last remaining scraps of food, either: it’s been a pretty good year here at The Verge. In fact, it’s been a spectacular year for us. We’ve expanded not just our team, but also the types of things we cover – we now have dedicated sections for topics as varied as culture, world news, and design. We also launched a giant, dedicated science section, headed up by editor Katie Drummond. In the past year, we’ve expanded our videos to include a multitude of original series including Small Empires with Alexis Ohanian, which provides a never-before-seen look at rising New York City startups, and Top Shelf, a show that takes a deeper dive into the products and experiences that shape our lives. We’ve also published hundreds of features and longform pieces that we’re incredibly proud of. Here’s a look back at 20 (or so) of our favorites. Onward.
On a rainy Saturday in September, I took a MetroNorth train from Manhattan to Westport, Connecticut, to visit Erica Jong in her weekend home. It’s tucked away in the woods down a serpentine driveway, just as I expected. This is the house that I’d read about in some of her novels—well, not…
“Breathing down their necks is a form of control. Children should have their own space.” My mother and Erica Jong had similar child-rearing philosophies.