The Early Pioneers

       The first known Ranger fan fiction (at least what would be recognized as fan fiction) is “Miami Munks”, written by David Walker in 1990. Actually, Walker meant it to be a script for the ongoing series but by the time he submitted it, the show had already been cancelled. I’ll include David’s remarks here from the time on Usenet…
       August 31, 1990 -- A possible new episode this season will be one written by yours truly. I wrote at story called “Miami Munks” which I recently sent to Disney. In May I sent a synopsis of the story, which Tad Stones (The senior story editor) liked, but at the time no new episodes were being produced (they were concentrating on DuckTales: The Movie and Tale Spin. Now, however, new episodes ARE being produced, so I sent it in. Keep your Fingers Crossed!
       Sadly, that second season never came, and David’s story became the first of a long line of fan fiction that has been expanding on the original story of the Rangers ever since. Then, a few years later, came perhaps the most famous and celebrated fan fiction story in all of Rangerdom.
       On April 17, 1996, Michael Demcio’s “Rhyme and Reason” premiered on Usenet. Ever since, it has been the watermark that all other Ranger fan fiction has been compared to. It was the first novel-length Ranger story, the first story to explore the possibilities of the Chip+Gadget relationship, the first to provide real character development for any of the characters (Chip in this case), and included perhaps the most sinister villain the Rangers have ever faced in Ivana M. Killjoy (although that wasn’t her/his/its real name). If a Ranger movie is ever made, I’d vote for this story to get the nod.

The Golden Age(s)

       For a time, Demcio’s story looked as if it would be the only novel-sized fan fiction out there. Then, as the popularity of the Acorn Café provided a sense of not only a community but also a hungry reading audience, the stories began to pour in. Classic tales such as Roy Neal Grissom’s “Home Is Where You Hang Upside-Down”, Matt Plotecher’s “Plots” and John Nowak’s “Under the Bridge” gave the Rangerphiles plenty to read and talk about.
       Writing spurred more writing, and the pool of Ranger fics continued to grow. Yours truly got into the game with “The Times of Their Lives” in 1999, and since I’ve teamed with Chris Silva we’ve published nine more long-length fics counting the parts of the “Untold Ranger Tales.”
       Following the Golden Age, beginning with Demcio, we now find ourselves in a new Golden Age. The most prolific fanfic authors are still around, and they’ve been joined by a new group of writers whose output is being well-received. Kevin Sharbaugh, Morgan Kohl, The J.A.M. and Rennod are but a few whose stories have been lauded at the Café.
       A look at the most popular websites, including the Ranger sites plus, showed a total of 326 Ranger stories (and counting!). That’s an amazing amount of output for one show, and particularly one that’s had no new episodes in over ten years. The truly amazing thing is, the writers keep finding new angles of the original series or previously-untried territory for our beloved Rangers. It just goes to show what can be done when you have quality characters and quality script-writing.

Closing Notes

       I’m keeping this brief, since most of the information I could talk about has been covered elsewhere. A couple of things I will include—first, a link to the ratings pages I did a while back on all the fanfics (which needs updating). There, you will find the fanfics listed by Author and Title, with my own explanations of why I gave a particular rating.
       The second thing is, I’m thinking about doing a review page for all the fanfics. It would be like a movie review—it would include the suggested rating, the premiere date, a synopsis of the storyline, my own comments on the story, etc. I think it could be a nice addition to the community, though it would take time for me to assemble. Perhaps I could grab some volunteers to help on that one…
       To close, let me say that if you are new to Ranger fandom that “Rhyme and Reason” is a great first choice to read. I can still remember the first time I read that off the Disney Afternoon File Time (DAFT) page, piece by piece. I was so eager to see the next part of it, I could hardly wait! I hope that each of you finds plenty of stories that do that for you, and hey, write a few for the rest of us! There’s always more to say, and each Rangerphile has a unique way of saying it.