Real Person Fic (RPF)

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Blog Pulse: Real Person Fic (RPF), Real Person Slash (RPS)
Chart generated on August 14, 2007 comparing usage of ActorFic, Real person fic, and Real person slash.

Real Person Fic (RPF) is a genre of fan-fiction that utilizes, as the title suggests, real people (typically celebrities of some form or fashion) in stories. RPF comes in all variations and subject matter: movie/television actors, musicians, athletes, politicians, historical figures. The fan-fiction itself also covers a wide range of genres and styles, from "missing scenes" in the characters lives to complete fantastical alternative-universes. Much RPF that is written and shared today is romantic/ship-oriented and a good portion of those stories are adult in content.

Despite a long history and with mainstream entertainment often telling fictional stories about public/popular figures, the genre is still a contentious topic among fans--particularly in media fandom. Those in favor of RPF see it as no different from regular fan-fiction, and that the writers are treating the individuals as "characters" no different and no more "real" than those on television, in film, etc. Those opposed to the genre maintain that it is an invasion of privacy and/or an appropriation and possibly libelous infringement on the individual's sense of identity and personality. Though RPF is slowly gaining some acceptance in certain fan-circles, it remains and likely will always remain a topic of some heated debate between those who enjoy it and those who do not.


During the "Golden Age" of Hollywood, it was not unusual for the film studios to release novels and trade paperback collections of stories featuring their more popular "assets" in books portraying the actors/actresses in adventures and mysteries as if they were fictional characters. Cary Grant, Audie Murphy, Roy Rogers, and others became fictionalized representations of themselves under the studio's desire to market to the public both their stable of contracted actors and actresses and upcoming films in which those performers starred. At the same time, underground comics known as Tijuana Bibles featured many of these same stars in much more bawdy and adult adventures. These unlicensed productions were crude, pornographic, and might be seen in a way as some of the first "fan"-fiction published about media celebrities, not unlike later adult fanzines.

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