Lubbock, Texas- Sci-fi/fantasy writer Melvin Zetterhorn has found himself under attack from some of his fans. Zetterhorn, a mediocre writer who nonetheless has a sizable following, has discovered his fans have been writing fan fiction based on his work and that some of the fan fiction is better and more popular than his work.
In particular his futuristic fantasy series "Roboto-Dragon Guild Trilogy" has been a popular source for fan fiction. One writer in particular, Sir_Lazarus_IV (name taken from a secondary character in the trilogy) on fanfiction.net, has gotten more readers following him than there are buyers of Zetterhorn's book.
"It burns me that I can write a series, meticulously research it, and put months into writing it just to see someone write a version that's more popular," Zetterhron said.
Sci-fi/fantasy critic Able Calderon of Sci-Fi Review said that Sir_Lazarus_IV has created a better written and more coherent body of work than Zetterhorn.
"Sir_Lazarus_IV took up a couple of characters that appeared in the book but inexplicably disappeared. I suspect Zetterhorn either cut them later or forgot about their following stories. Sir_Lazarus_IV took them up and helped create a better universe," Calderon said.
Several fans have e-mail copies of Sir_Lazarus_IV fiction around so much that several people who had not read the original books were unaware it was fan fiction.
"Lazarus' writing is so good the entire back story seems like it's some poor fan fiction that attempts to add a background. The Lazarus canon is definitely better than the Zetterhorn one," said George Kittering, owner of Kittering Sci-Fi and Comics Shop in Omaha, Nebraska.
Sir_Lazarus_IV has humbly commented on a fan page honoring his fan fiction.
"I appreciate the support, but I'd be nowhere without Zetterhorn's trilogy. I hope he likes the work and wouldn't mind co-writing something with him, if he were interested," Sir_Lazarus_IV.
Zetterhorn said he had no plans to collaborate with any fan fiction writer, saying he prefers total control. However, his publisher says they might pressure him to join Sir_Lazarus_IV for his next series.
"The manuscript for his new series the Dragon Sphere Chronicles could use some reworking that only someone who knows a good narrative could fix. We'd gladly offer Sir_Lazarus_IV a good advance to bring his writing and fan base to our publishing house," said Editor Berl Johansen.