One of the reasons I love being part of fandom is that the stuff fans create is often astounding. From fanfictions that surpass the quality of the source text to lovingly crafted comics exploring things the original story barely addressed, I’m continually amazed at the talent and passion of my fellow fans.
And then, of course, there’s “Full Life Consequences.”
What began as a well-intentioned and poorly realized fanfiction by a Fanfiction.net user calling himself Squirrelking eventually went viral thanks to its spectacularly poor quality. While Squirrelking’s poor writing ability can be attributed to the fact that he’s not a native English speaker and was trying to practice the language through fanfiction, other Half Life fans nevertheless found his epic tale starring Gordon Freeman’s brother John hysterically funny. Eventually the hype over the so-bad-it’s-good story led to a group of Half Life fans pulling together an animated dramatic reading of the fanfic:
What we have here is the kind of unique adaptation you only really get within the confines of fandom: a parodic adaptation of a fan-created text based on another fan-created text. With more mainstream media there are, of course, adaptations of adaptations, but generally they are created with the specific intent to generate profit. The magnificent thing about fan culture is that the Full Life Consequences video (and its sequel, based on the second fanfic in the series) were crafted simply for the entertainment of other fans. In that sense, it takes on the characteristics of an extended in-joke; there’s no attempt to connect to anyone outside of a fairly narrow fanbase who are assumed to have prior knowledge of the source material. Even so, the video has garnered over three million views and has spawned numerous parodies and alternative versions, and also managed to drum up enough fame for the video’s creator to propel his small video creation group, ICTON Entertainment, into presences across various social media websites. To me, this is a brilliant example of the fact that fandom is undoubtedly its own thriving, self-perpetuating culture with independent, internalized creative momentum.