Several weeks ago I talked about the lack of fiction within fictional works. Click here for the original. Now I’ve come to the conclusion that thinking of fiction within fiction is even more useful than I first thought. The reason: copyright.
I’ve tried to wrap my head around what is and isn’t allowed when it comes to copyright. There seems to be a disconnect between what is legal and what people have actually been cautioned for. Obviously uploading entire episodes of a series is illegal but reviews should be legal.
In my novel I want to reference various works of fiction. It seems so natural to me. If a character finds herself on a starship, or finds out magic exists, she is almost certainly going to talk about the fiction she knows. If someone told you that you have magical powers might you be tempted to say: “Hogwarts here I come!” or maybe refer to your mentor as “Gandalf” now and again.
These are the sorts of things I want to do. I thought of having the wizard say “You know its not too late. You can take the blue pill.” – meaning that my protagonist is given the option to forget she has magic and go back to her life.
I still can’t get my head round what is allowed. Does The Big Bang Theory, for instance, have to ask permission for every reference they make? Do they have to pay Sci-fi (I refuse to use their new spelling) whenever a character says ‘frak’?
I have no idea. This difficulty has lead to an interesting opportunity. I can use my novel as a proving ground for new ideas. Instead of the characters watching real shows they watch things I’ve made up. The particular favorite is a show called Guardians of Kronos.
Guardians of Kronos follows Sian Fry. Her job is to maintain the integrity of the space/time continuum as aliens attempt to disrupt history. Inventing concepts and characters is always fun. Its nice to be able to do it without having to work out all the ins and outs.
I did have one other idea which was to use Galaxy Quest; but to use it as a real show. I.e. In this universe. we have Galaxy Quest, Galaxy Quest: The Second Generation, Galaxy Quest: Babylon 9, Galaxy Quest: Valiant, and Galaxy Quest: Protector – and there was also a 1999 film spoof about this successful franchise….
A spoof called Star Trek….