The Mystifying Fandom of Shey Stahl

“One man’s paraphrasing is another’s man’s plagiarism”. -Amos Lassen, after he was banned from Amazon for plagiarizing reviews.

pla·gia·rize

verb \ˈplā-jə-ˌrīz also -jē-ə-\

: to use the words or ideas of another person as if they were your own words or ideas   -Merriam Webster online dictionary

In September it was revealed that author Shey Stahl had lifted a significant portion of her newest book, For the Summer, from the popular fanfiction, Dusty. The review was a model of tact and diplomacy never once calling Stahl a plagiarist but listing several passages from both books and letting the readers draw their own conclusions.

For the authors of Dusty there was only one conclusion: Stahl had plagiarized their book. It wasn’t the first time Stahl had had difficulties with appropriating other’s work. As an author of fanfic she had been at the center of controversy in that community. Links to the September event and other are here, here, here, and here. Lots of interesting reading detailing how very busy Stahl had been publishing other author’s work as her own.

While Stahl denied any wrong doing, more instances were coming to light. Amazon pulled her books. Authors were demanding answers. Stahl deleted her Twitter and Facebook pages and disappeared from sight.

And now she is back, without an apology or an explanation. Not that many are surprised by this, it was a given that she would return. Authors beware.

What bothers me most isn’t Stahl’s reappearance but her fans reactions:

“Soooooooo GLAD you are back…you know we all have a girl (author) crush on you! Shey Stahl ROCKS!!”

“Holy hell! What a sight for sore eyes!!! Please tell me you are back for good!!!”

 “Haters are going to hate, friends are forever”ch

That’s depressing. How can you not understand what Stahl has done? To use the example I really hate, let’s say that Dusty is YellowBella’s child. Stahl has kidnapped Dusty and changed her name to Summer. She has also dressed her in different clothes, dyed her hair, and pierced her ears. But none of that matters, Dusty is still not Stahl’s child. Stahl has committed a crime, and no matter how good a mother you think she is, that isn’t her child. You can still love the mother, just love the real mother.

For poster #1:  That author crush you have is for all the authors Stahl stole from. It’s their work you liked, their ideas. Stahl only changed a few words and took your money for their efforts.

For poster #2:  We all knew she would be back. The lure of all those authors she hasn’t ripped off, the fans like yourself who will pay her for ripping them off, the approval you are giving to a woman who has no compunction about stealing from her own is irresistible.

For poster #3:  And friends tell their friends when they have committed a crime, friends are the people who tell you all the things you don’t want to hear. Toadies, suckups, and morally bankrupt fanpoodles are the ones who tell a common thief how glad they are she is back without mentioning that she should be apologizing and making restitution.

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