Aspects of Culture: Literature & Arts (Literature)

[Originally posted on February 24, 2015]

By Jacob Toman

This is a public study on several pillars of culture. Gospel & Gaming is observing these foundational aspects of culture for the purposes of better educating our readers about how & why gamers are a culture unto themselves. For part one of this series, check out Language as a foundation piece of culture here

Art and literature are such huge pieces of culture, that they will be divided into 2 posts: one on Art, and the other on Literature.

Included in our discussion on Gamer literature are a couple written forms:

1. Canon

2. Fan Fiction

Canon is described by wikipedia as:

"canon is the material accepted as part of the story in an individual fictional universe. It is often contrasted with, or used as the basis for, works of fan fiction."

The key part here is "accepted", gamers distinguish between fan fiction and canon as what is primarily & popularly accepted. Literature that is considered Canon is typically produced by the particular creator of the universe-with the caveat that an original creator can set up a successor to finish or conclude a series such as with the Wheel of Time series (read more about succession in Canon literature & Wheel of time here).

Fan Fiction is described by wikipedia as:

"Fan fiction or fanfiction (also abbreviated to fan ficfanfic or fic) is fiction about characters or settings from an original work of fiction, created by fans of that work rather than by its creator. It is a popular form of fan labor, particularly since the advent of the internet."

Fan fiction differentiates from Canon in that rather than being created by an original creator, Fan Fic's are made by consumers of Canon literature in an effort to mirror, copy, enhance, or homage the original creators work.

An example of this would be in the Star Wars universe, the 3 movies made in the late 70's and early 80's would be considered Canon. George Lucas is the original content creator and as such, whatever he creates is a part of the Star Wars Canon. Whereas if a blogger decides to makeup a story about the characters and events within the Star Wars universe, until that particular story is widely enough accepted, it will remain fan fiction, and will not be included as "canon".

Both Canon and Fan Fiction can be broken into sub categories of genre across a wide spectrum of literature. These genres include the following-but is not exhaustive. This list is compiled of images taken from republicofgeek.com/geek-genres/.

1. Sci-Fi

2.Fantasy

3. Horror and Monsters

Others included are the list from Republic of Geek are:

4. Action-Adventure

5. SuperHeroes

6. Supernatural

7. Technology

8. Futurism

9. Historical

10. Space & Aliens

Some of these could be included into the larger scope of the first three genre's, but I would be willing to concede that there are probably a minimum of 10 genres that gamer literature is categorized.

Just for pure enjoyment, here is a story board of some "Canon" gamer literature.

What distinguishes gamer literature from just movies, or books, or nerd culture in general? The medium plays a huge part of this! As soon as a story, in written, filmed, or spoken form, enters the realm of a game space-it becomes a part of gamer culture. This is why gamer culture & nerd culture have such a massive overlap, a movie/book/story that is popularly consumed also turns into merchandise which includes games.

Keeping with the Star Wars theme of examples, take a look at the list of Star Wars games. From the sheer amount and popularity, Star Wars is a clear exhibit of gamer literature that has continued, endured, & grown as a result of both Canon & Fan Fiction creations.

(All links from Wikipedia)