I just finished Eve: The Empyrean Age by Tony Gonzales and was shocked at how awesome it was. And not just because the Amarr look mostly like pigs. It was good space opera, which is really hard to pull off. Before this, I had not quite gotten the hang of the whole fanboy, read the fiction thing.
Now, I grew up in a household where my Dad read Star Trek novels, had the Enterprise Blueprints, etc. I had the Star Wars (original series, please) toys and trading cards/stickers and the first set of comics, but didn't read the books that built on the story. I loved reading Alan Dean Foster, but wouldn't read Splinter of the Mind's Eye. The whole Expanded Universe thing just didn't do anything for me.
The closest I came to extending my fandom beyond the original source material was for The Matrix. I got the extended box set DVD, watched all the documentary material, Animatrix, and have all the games on several platforms. Even beta-tested MXO. I started to draw the line at the graphic novels and wouldn't touch the fan fiction.
Upon finishing the Eve book, though, I felt differently about what I was willing to read. What really got to me was not just at the views and motivations of the different factions, but the reminders of the behind the scenes stuff that takes place. The fact that there are non-immortal people crewing our ships and living in the stations is something that I have been glossing over while playing Eve. Hell, the description of the reborn capsuleers fresh from the vat with smooth skin and regrowing hair made me wonder if people RP that experience. Do they take a day off and play on an alt when they get podded? I have actually never been podded, so I wonder what I will do. Ok, I will cry a lot and probably lose a ship or two trying to get revenge. But I will also think about the mechanics of the process. After reading the book, it just seems another level deeper than other MMO's where I get to do a corpse run and everything is just as it was.
What I think makes the Eve fiction community different from some of the other fanfic is that if the story is based on something that happened in game, then it is essentially canon. I have been reading some of your stories and retelling of battles since I started playing again, but now I am seeing this "unofficial" material from a different view.