Author surrogate

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As a literary technique, an author surrogate is a fictional character based on the author.[1] On occasion, authors insert themselves under their own name into their works, typically for humorous or surrealistic effect.



British writer David Hume used the author-surrogate 'Philo' in the Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion. Michael Crichton used his character Ian Malcolm to express views on catastrophic system failure in his novel Jurassic Park.

Fan fiction[edit]

Main article: Mary Sue

Author surrogacy is a frequently observed phenomenon in hobbyist and amateur writing, so much so that fan fiction critics have evolved the term Mary Sue to refer to an idealized author surrogate.[2] The term 'Mary Sue' is thought to evoke the cliché of the adolescent author who uses writing as a vehicle for the indulgence of self-idealization rather than entertaining others.[citation needed] For male author surrogates, similar names such as 'Marty Stu' or 'Gary Stu' are occasionally used.[3][4]

Other uses[edit]

The expression has also been used in a different sense, meaning the principal author of a multi-author document. [1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Pandey, Ashish (2005). Academic Dictionary Of Fiction. Isha Books. p. 18. ISBN 8182052629. 
  2. ^ Segall (2008). Fan Fiction Writing: New Work Based on Favorite Fiction. Rosen Pub. p. 26. ISBN 1404213562. 
  3. ^ Luc Reid (4 September 2006). Talk the Talk: The Slang of 65 American Subcultures. Writer's Digest Books. p. 300. ISBN 978-1-59963-375-6. Retrieved 30 July 2013. 
  4. ^ Steven Harper (18 February 2011). Writing the Paranormal Novel: Techniques and Exercises for Weaving Supernatural Elements Into Your Story. Writer's Digest Books. p. 76. ISBN 978-1-59963-301-5. Retrieved 30 July 2013.