The Phenomena of “Wesley Crusher: Teenage F*** Machine”

It’s going to be difficult to do a straight-up analysis of this, but as I’m a bit contrarian, it’s not going to be that difficult.  Now, lest the title of the post make you think I’ve gone insane, let’s back up here.

Recently a Kindle book as been igniting the Amazon sales charts, likely due to its subject matter (Star Trek and sex), its title (“Wesley Crusher: Teenage F*** Machine,” only with less asterisks and more other letters), and the fact it’s free to users of Amazon Prime.  I’m not making this up, you can read the extremely NSFW recap here at io9.

(Again that is really NSFW.  You’ve been warned.)

If, of course you wish to read this, you can go here, download the book, and . . . well, hell if I know.  

So anyway, that’s the story.  Someone makes what is basically a fanfic with sex, throws on a controversial title, and gives people a chance for a free download if they use Amazon Prime.  I’m pretty sure the Product Managers at Amazon prime didn’t see THIS one coming.

After following the story, I am, much to my chagrin, going to say the following words: “I’m going to analyze what ‘Wesley Crusher: Teenage F*** Machine'” means.”

Here goes.

  • First, really, this is fanfic.  I mean yes, we know that.  But the fact that people can get stuff out so fast (and judging by this incident, without much of a filter) makes me wonder about profiting from fanfic in today’s day and age since someone is trying.  Or could this be considered a parody of fanfic since it’s so over the top?  The author does seem to like doing over the top things . . .
  •  . . . which makes me wonder if this is a publicity stunt, because it bloody well worked.  With Amazon author pages, tie-ins, etc., doing something like this could get an author attention.  Attention is usually profitable in this day and age, so this could be extremely calculated.
  • The author’s strategy seems to be putting out some controversial or odd stuff with free options to get reviews.  This may actually be a viable strategy (I know some others doing it).  Imagine a marketing strategy of having a few works out, then releasing something big and free, attention-getting, etc.  The end result could be more sales.
  • I cannot wait to see how Amazon handles this – if at all.  They might just let this slide until it fades away.  Amazon’s reaction to something this crazy will be very telling about their current and future business model.
  • The way this went viral (even Wil Wheaton commented on it) may lead others to try similar strategies.
  • Finally, we live in an age where I, an intelligent and sane man as far as you know, have just had an intelligent conversation about “Wesley Crusher: Teenage F*** Machine.”  Think about what that means. *

Steven Savage

* For some people, it probably means this: