That the originator "owns" ideas in the first place...
Is inherently ridiculous. Whereas a work itself is the expression of the individual, the elements within it like characters and whatnot do not and should not belong to the author. The original work does belong to it, but not the characters and everything else within it. Characters etc. are merely thoughts, and people have not the right to have any monopoly of thoughts over others. In addition, sometimes, I would have no respect for the originators whatsoever. Fanfiction is not only a tribute to the original author, but also does other things, like spite the original author. If it were a tribute, then the original author could be respected, but it is not always a tribute.
So...I have a question for anextropian. If you were to someday have a vaguely original thought (about the best I've ever managed, so I'm cutting you some slack), and you wrote a fic with that thought, and then some asshole professional (like myself) came along and gutted it, using your characters and/or situation and/or universe to writer her own book, and — wait, it gets worse — then sold that book for an advance of $20k...that wouldn't piss you off, right? Cause, we cannot own ideas, yes? Remember now, I was actually defending fanfic as a legitimate artistic undertaking, but this is bollocks. When artists can no longer eke out even the meager living most of us manage from our work — well, you do the math. And to whom will you pay tribute or spite then?
Now, something much nicer courtesy a MySpace reader:
How about a reprinting of "The Black Alphabet" for lazy coelacanths such as myself who were not subscribed to Sirenia at the time? Do I ask too much? Do I get a scoff and a scorn? I have an old Carpe Noctem where you reviewed some album(s). Cannot recall which bands they were, but I remember buying the cd's because I, too, was enthralled with Silk and thought you were the bee's knees. Still do.
Man, I miss Carpe Noctem. That said, no scoffs or scorns, and I adore lazy coelacanths. But "The Black Alphabet" was already reprinted in its entirety as The Black Alphabet: A Primer, a chapbook (soft and hard cover) from Subterranean Press, which is now out of print. We will be offering a few on eBay. Or you could order the two back issues of Sirenia Digest that include parts one and two of "The Black Alphabet" (issues #6 and 7, respectively). Requests for back issues should be addressed to Spooky at crk_books(at)yahoo(dot)com. $10 each.
Oh, and here are the current eBay auctions.