I'm writing this at 4:17 am, so you can guess how my sleep schedule's been doing. But this time, my insomnia's your gain: I was sorting through some older stuff, and I came across this gem. It was written for a class on cyberpunk that I sat in on. One class, we we focused on hacker subculture, and we were all assigned to bring in something that resembles a "hack." In my case, I chose to write a short piece of fan-fiction. The idea is that it fit the general definition of a hack--unauthorized presence within a larger system--and it harkened back to the Grub Street hacks, a bunch of 18th century writers whose work was published by the printers in Grub Street. They were, as a group, horrible writers--poorly paid and universally reviled. The term "Grub Street hack" came to be known the lowest form of authorship. And what, in these days of Internet cyberspace, has earned the title of "lowest form of authorship" more than a fan fic writer? (Okay, maybe someone who designs LOLcat posters.) Anyway, I thought it was pretty clever, playing off the double meaning like that. Sadly, the professor didn't quite agree with me, but the joy of auditing a course means you don't have to be stellar, you just have to be there. Still, I had a lot of fun with writing the piece, and so, without further ado, I give you:
The Lord of the Deathly Hollows: A Fragment
A boy walked through an endless, empty cavern, following the path of a large, green creature. They trudged for hours in silence, until, at last, the green creature spoke. "An' where are we,again?"
"The Mines of Moria," said Harry Potter, shortly.
"Moria," Shrek repeated. "More like, like 'More-Dark. Ye get it? Do ye get it?"
"Would you shut up?" Harry hissed. "You're supposed to be looking for threats, not telling stupid jokes."
Shrek sighed. "Ach. He doesn't like mah jokes, he thinks ah'm just here to hit things, he's clearly got some sort of racial problems against Scottish ogres--"
"I do not!"
"--I'm starting to think I should have stayed with the donk--" He stopped in his tracks. So did Harry. A masked man stepped out of the mists before them. He was garbed entirely in black, complete with a flowing cape and a great dark helmet. Even from some feet away, they could hear the raspy sound of the figure's breathing.
"You shall not pass," said Darth Vader. He took a small cylinder from his side, and a red beam of light shot out from it with a faint hum.
Shrek leaned towards Harry. "Don't take this the wrong way," he whispered. "But his wand is definitely bigger." He straightened up. "Well, then," he said, starting forward. "Ah guess it's time for the big, mean ogre to hit--" Vader waved his hand, and Shrek flew backwards. He collided into the side of the cave, and landed in a heap.
Harry whirled around. "Shrek!" he exclaimed. A quick movement caught the corner of his eye, and he turned back just in time to see Vader advancing. "Protego!" he shouted, getting up a shield just in time.
Vader's lightsaber bounced off Harry's shield with a flash of sparks. "Your concern for your friend makes you weak," the Sith lord commented, circling around the boy. "Your friends will always make you weak. They will drag you down with their petty concerns, their little jealousies, their endless needs. Your friends are the reason you fail."
Harry brandished his wand. "No," he said, fiercely. "My friends are the reason I fight."
Now unnoticed by the two combatants, Shrek picked himself up. "There was some force behind that hit," he muttered. He noticed that another figure had entered the cavern, and was watching him silently. It was gigantic, dwarfing even Shrek, with a flaming back, full wings, and a long, coiling whip in its fist.
"Well, hello there, young man," Shrek said. "And what does your mommy call ye?"
The creature said nothing, but advanced slowly.
"Ah, the strong, silent type. Well, for yer sake, ah hope that silence extends to not weeping like a little girl." Shrek drew back his fist. "Brace yerself, boyo, 'cause this is really going to--"
The Balrog kneed him in the groin.
"Hurt," Shrek whispered, and fell over.
...Man, that was fun. Looking back, I can modestly say that I nailed Shrek's voice. Harry's okay too--no Rowling, but it works in a pinch. Vader... Vader talks a little too much here. And he's too angsty. Not enough Vader, too much Anakin. But what I mostly got out of the exercise--and even a bit now, from typing it--is how much fun it was. I totally get the appeal of fan fic. You get to play with established characters, which both makes it feel like you're participating in something bigger, and still carries a whiff of the forbidden, since it's "not allowed" activity. Plus, there's a challenge to it--can you match the character's tone? Do you have anything new to contribute? I might try this again some time; just as soon as my "Dr Who / Dark Tower / Uncle Scrooge" crossover finishes coalescing.