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.


Examples Edit

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. Perhaps the best-known philosophical author-surrogate is Socrates in the writings of Plato.

Fan fictionEdit

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. For male author surrogates, similar names such as 'Marty Stu' or 'Gary Stu' are occasionally used.[3][4]

Other usesEdit

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

See alsoEdit


  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. 

References and further readingEdit

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