Back in May, I told you about Kindle Worlds, Amazon's attempt to legitimize (and monetize) fan fiction. Today, Amazon made an announcement about a new franchise in Kindle Worlds, and as far as I'm concerned, this is huge news, and the first big catch for the program:
Soon "Pretty Little Liars" fan fiction will get a new neighbor: Kilgore Trout.
The recurring character of several books by the late Kurt Vonnegut will be able to live on in stories written by fans for Amazon's Kindle Worlds shop. The e-retailer Thursday said it secured a license from RosettaBooks for fan fiction based on Vonnegut's works, with submissions opening this month.
I didn't realize there was a market for Vonnegut fan fiction, but if there wasn't before, there will be now. The interesting part of this in the context of Vonnegut's work, of course, is that Vonnegut analog Kilgore Trout supposedly wrote hundreds of pulpy sci-fi novels, many of which figure into Vonnegut's books. The idea of being able to browse Kilgore Trout's bibliography has to be at least intriguing for fans. (The idea of a sequel to Slaughterhouse-Five, however, is terrifying, and since Vonnegut starred in many of his own novels, let's not even get into slash fiction.)
But Vonnegut himself had an encounter with fan fiction in 1975, and he wasn't very happy about how it turned out. With Vonnegut's permission, sci-fi writer Philip José Farmer published a book titled Venus on the Half Shell under the pseudonym Kilgore Trout. Vonnegut eventually proved to dislike the experience—there were some petty arguments, and people assumed he wrote the book, which frustrated him, as he was always fussy about not being labeled a science fiction writer—and the book has become something of a collector's item. (I've read it; beyond the novelty factor, it's fine, I guess. Like many of Farmer's novels, it tries so hard to fit into someone else's universe that it lacks anything resembling a soul of its own.) I don't think Vonnegut would be very happy about this.
But what do you think?
What Do You Think About Amazon Publishing Kurt Vonnegut Fan Fiction?