If his company's historic IPO filing and Google+'s meteoric rise are foremost on the mind of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, a close third is surely the inexplicably expansive collection of online fan fiction in which he is a featured character subject to all manner of bizarre scenarios and nonsensical predicaments.
The strange little corner of the Internet known as "fanfic" offers a venue for anyone to craft stories based on their favorite books, movies, TV shows, and even video games. Within this vast layman's dream factory, you will find everything (ev-er-y-thing) from treatments for unfilmed episodes of According to Jim to imaginary meetings between former American Idol competitor Adam Lambert and Buffy the Vampire Slayer right on through to torrid bouts of erotica in the world of Stargate SG-1 (NSFWly linked later, if you're interested).
You know who else gets the fanfic treatment surprisingly often? Mr. Facebook himself, Mark Zuckerberg.
Like so many other works that live at the axis of teen and geek culture, last year's dorm-to-domination saga The Social Network truly captured the imagination of the global fanfic community. In order to keep the magic of TSN rolling along beyond the credits, online fanficers have amassed a not-insignificant anthology of alternate realities, what-if scenarios, and unfathomable crossovers featuring everyone's favorite socially awkward kazillionaire.
The borrowed characters in fanfic often wrestle with secret inner conflicts that are nowhere hinted at in the original material, in the process revealing far more about the authors than was probably intended. And these tales of Zuck are no different (frequently leading to adult situations and language in the links, hence the NSFW designation on this post). But unlike the fanfic incorporating Indiana Jones and Alf, Social Network fic has an added surreal sheen in that it incorporates very real people behind a ubiquitous web utility.
Below we present synopsis of a few of our favorite Social Network sagas. If these works happen to spark your inner scribe, please feel free to leave your own brief fanfic on the trials and tribulations of one Mark Elliot Zuckerberg in the comments. We imagine that someone working at Facebook reads DVICE who could pass it along right to the top. And who knows, you might be asked to be the official bard of FB! But of course, you would just turn it down, because like a true fanfic writer, you're just doing it for the love.
(Please note there's an implied [sic] throughout the quoted sections.)
1. Mark and Eduardo: more than just friends
Many of The Social Network's reimaginings center around the frayed relationship between Mark Zuckerberg and his friend/initial Facebook backer Eduardo Saverin. Several authors envision an imaginary meeting when the two reconcile their differences. One touching take on this scenario is The Hero of Your Tonight by author "xheartoflifex." This unfilmed sequel features the two social media entrepreneurs working to mend their friendship. But in the process, they find they may be looking to establish much more (which, you will see is a peculiarly common theme in the Facebook fic world)...
Mark takes a step closer to him, and then another. To the point where they're practically touching. Eduardo closes his eyes, feeling the unshed tears across his lashes, because at this point, it physically hurts. He doesn't have the strength in him to push Mark away, so when Mark grabs a fistful of his soaking wet collar, yanking him forward into a kiss, Eduardo can only fall into it.
See that was what the split was really about. Good on those two for working things out.
Image credit: Reuters
2. Mark meets Magneto, discusses privacy
Author "shinygreenwords" regales us with the tale First Class Facebook, which details the time when Magneto and some of his mutant rebels storms into Facebook HQ to demand that Mark force Charles Xavier to befriend him. When Mark refuses on the count of "privacy," Magneto has Angel threaten the life of co-Facebook founder Dustin Moskovitz. Mark tries to reason with the powerful mutant, and the two come to realize they have much in common...
"He was my only friend," Magneto says, shedding a manly tear. "He was there for me."
"I know how that feels," Mark says mournfully. "I built Facebook for my best friend." Well really it was for Wardo so he could impress his dad but semantics.
"I built him Cerebro."
"I am the second youngest billionaire in the world and I'm completely miserable because I miss Wardo."
"I'm the baddest mutant and all I want is Charles's attention."
"He gave me 19 thousand dollars to start up this company and we had groupies."
"He gave me life. He saved me," Magneto says, a perfect tear rolling down his perfect face.
For the record, we are not able to disprove that shinygreenwords is actually Stan Lee.
3. Mark is a lady and gets pregnant by Eduardo
Did you ever wonder what would happen if you combined an Internet billionaire with a completely earnest version of the Arnold Schwarzenegger pregnant man romp Junior? Well, one author did for some reason. The short story The Unexpected Arriving portrays a 20-year old and pregnant tech CEO named Mark Zuckerberg who has found herself the midst of being sued by her former best-friend and baby daddy, Eduardo. We follow the tribulations of the youthful queen of Silicon Valley as she gets ready to take on single motherhood with gusto and a renewed sense of self-worth. This is the Eat, Pray, Love of Facebook fic.
Mark makes it into the office by eight-thirty, and the first thing she wants to know is if Dustin managed to finish the coding she left for him, and thankfully, he has. After that, she retreats into her office and does not come out until her assistant comes in to tell her that "Mr. Saverin is here to see you," and that sends a jolt down her spine that sends her running for the bathroom. Damn. She thought she was done with that for the day.
Seriously, extra points for originality on this one.
4. Wardo becomes a vampire
Vampires are popular now. So, I suppose this untitled mash-up of the business of social media and the bloodsucking undead was inevitable. In this version, Eduardo has become one of the children of the night and is back to take what is rightfully his.
And then at the shareholder meeting — held in the evening, after sunset, just as promised — Mark realizes just how wrong he was. Eduardo is extremely suited to being a vampire.
The skin under his eyes is dark, as if he is exhausted, but the eyes themselves are sharper, brighter. Paler skin, a slightly altered set of his mouth. The visible cosmetic changes are individually small, but the overall effect is startlingly obvious. Eduardo is fundamentally different, infused with a smooth grace that gives an impression of masking a lethal strength.
It's like True Blood, but with greedy geeks.
Image credit: Getty Images
5. A post-modern take on Mark and Eduardo's love
For every genre, there is an artist who pushes the boundaries of the possible. In the realm of Facebook fiction, that visionary is "eccedentesiast." In a unique twist, the meta-tastic Attraction centers around the actors portraying Mark and Eduardo in The Social Network, Jesse Eisenberg and Andrew Garfield. As they rehearse for filming they both come to realize "Andrew knows that Eduardo is in love with Mark. He's known it since the beginning. It's all so obvious to him, from the way that one of the first few things Eduardo says are 'I'm here for you', to the way that he tries his hardest to understand and protect Mark. Yes, Eduardo is in love with Mark.
"Jesse knows that Mark is, in some way, feeling something, for Eduardo. The two are very close friends, but Mark is highly intelligent and emotionally distant. Almost to an Autistic level. Mark does not know how to handle his softer feelings for Eduardo. That's why it's so big for him to say 'I need you'."
As you might expect, the natural thrust of story takes the two young actors there. Later, at the movie premiere the perfectionist Andrew Garfield looks back on his performance...
Andrew is about to walk of the theater. He's caught ninety-six nonexistant flaws in his performance. But then he sees Sean answer the door to a soaking wet Eduardo. He looks at Jesse out of the corner of his eyes, unable to hide the smile that rises to his face when he sees that Jesse was doing the same.
They've had many kisses since their first that night in Jesse's room, but they both think that the one that made the scene is their most magical.
As Mark says 'I need you', their hands interwine and in the darkness, they smile.
As stated earlier this is just a taste. We didn't even touched the heated erotica or the time the rift between Eduardo and Mark is worked out on The Oprah Winfrey Show. Like Facebook itself, fanfic is a way for people to express themselves within the safe confines of a community. And like youthful users on Facebook, many of these authors may cringe with embarrassment if they read back on their contributions in a few years. But isn't that what's great about the web: it enshrines our awkward stages for all eternity!