Since the publication of 50 Shades of Grey, which was originally a Twilight fanfiction called “Master of the Universe,” fanfiction has received a lot more attention by the media and the publishing industry alike. But 50 Shades of Grey is far from the first work of fanfiction to make it big. Here are 10 professionally published novels that are really fanfiction:
1. Atwood, Margaret – The Penelopiad
Homer’s Odyssey retold from the perspective of Odysseus’s wife, Penelope.
2. Brooks, Geraldine – March
A retelling of Louisa May Alcott’s novel Little Women from the perspective of the absent father, who is away fighting as a Union soldier in the Civil War.
3. Gardner, John – Grendel
A retelling of Beowulf from the perspective of the monster.
4. Grahame-Smith, Seth – Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter
5. Kay, Susan – Phantom
A retelling of The Phantom of the Opera, by Gaston Leroux, starting with the Phantom’s birth. This is a rare work of fanfiction that is more popular with many fans than the original novel that inspired it.
6. King, Laurie – The Beekeeper’s Apprentice
I hesitate to call this a Mary Sue fic, because the term has negative connotations and this novel is pretty good, but seeing as it features a young woman who impresses Sherlock Holmes with her intelligence and powers of observation to the point that he takes her on first as his apprentice and later as his wife…
7. Murphy, Pat – There and Back Again
The Hobbit… IN SPACE!
8. O’Neill, Eugene – Mourning Becomes Electra
Aeschylus’s Oresteia in 19th century America.
9. Rhys, Jean – Wide Sargasso Sea
A critically acclaimed retelling of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre from the perspective of Rochester’s mad wife in the attic.
10. Smiley, Jane – A Thousand Acres
A Pulitzer Prize-winning modern AU of Shakespeare’s King Lear, set on an Iowa farm. King Lear itself, like many of Shakespeare’s other plays, is arguably a work of fanfiction, since it is a retelling of a much older legend about an ancient king of Britain.
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