Fannish Histories

  • Guest Post: Olivia Riley

    Claudia Rebaza sunnuntaina, 31 tammikuuta 2016 - 4:41pm
    Viestilaji:

    Banner by caitie of an OTW-themed guest access lanyard

    From time to time, the OTW will be hosting guest posts on our OTW News accounts. These guests will be providing an outside perspective on the OTW or aspects of fandom where our projects may have a presence. The posts express each author's personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OTW or constitute OTW policy. We welcome suggestions from fans for future guest posts, which can be left as a comment here or by contacting us directly.

    Today's post is a Q&A with University of Minnesota undergraduate Olivia Riley. Olivia's thesis on Archive of Our Own and the Gift Culture of Fanfiction caught our attention. As she created a video for 2015's International Fanworks Day, we ask her about looking at fanworks through an academic perspective.

    How did you first get into fandom and fanworks?

    I’ve been a lifelong fangirl. I grew up watching Star Trek (the original series, TNG, DS9, Voyager, and later Enterprise when that came on) with my parents, who introduced me to the shows that would be my first fandom. We always had shelves of Star Trek novels in our basement, and when I was in elementary school, I started writing stories about going on adventures with all the fictional characters I loved. So I was writing fanfic before I even realized what that was!

    However, it was truly Doctor Who and Sherlock that brought me into modern, Internet fandom as we know it now. My love for those shows inspired me to find out if other people also adored them, and lo and behold! There existed huge, magical communities of fans who’d loved these characters since before I was born! I discovered blogs, and social media pages, and fan videos, and fanfiction and fell in love.

    What made you think about writing your thesis on a fandom topic?

    A summer ago, I discovered rather accidentally and then subsequently devoured the wonderful book Fangasm: Supernatural Fangirls by Katherine Larsen and Lynn Zubernis, and that was my first real introduction to the academic study of fandom. I was totally captivated by the idea that other people had spent time investigating and working to understand fandom, and that maybe I could do that too! So, when I embarked on my research project, there was no question that it was going to be about something fannish.

    Then came the more difficult matter of deciding what angle I wanted to come at the topic from – communications, cultural studies, gender studies; a quantitative analysis or fic or a qualitative analysis of community; did I want to focus on vids or art or fic, etc. I ended up choosing to focus on fic, through the lens of the gift culture, mainly because it was an aspect of fan culture that I’d been peripherally aware of for years, but hadn’t known there was a name for.

    What was the most difficult part of it to do?

    Staying on task! It’s pretty hard to focus on writing a scholarly analysis of the structure of AO3 when, for that purpose, you have a really intriguing Daredevil Cops & Robbers AU open. Also, it was sometimes hard to remember that my own personal fan experience was not everyone else’s fan experience, and I had to keep a very open mind and look out for ways of interacting with fans and fanworks that I hadn’t known about before.

    To do that, I dove into the (rich and insightful) world of the scholarly study of fanworks and fandom, and determined that some of the most important aspects of fandom and fanfic in particular are gender, community, and the gift economy. I then argued that AO3’s form and function reflects and incorporates these key values of media fandom, from the site’s inception to the technical specificities of its realization. However, getting to the point where I had this nice, neat, thesis involved a lot of digging into literature and wandering around the Internet, and it was a bit of a struggle trying to figure out what exactly it was that I really wanted to talk about.

    Did your perspective on fanworks change as you worked on your thesis?

    It did. I realize now that what I really fell in love with wasn’t just the fanworks, but the love that their creators put into them. I’d often fan-girled in isolation, or only with a few people that I’d met in real life, but this project really opened my eyes to the expansive and amazing communities that blossom around every imaginable aspect of fandom. I saw how these incredible fans put their blood, sweat, and tears into their works and share them freely and with great love to their fellow fans, often in opposition to and despite the machinations of male, capitalist, power structures. (To my great pleasure, the more research I did, the more the feminist tilt of fan creation became apparent!) So, before I began my project I thought fanworks were really cool, but by the time I’d finished, I had a whole new level of respect for fanworks and their talented creators.

    What do fanworks mean to you today?

    To me, fanworks mean love, community, and freedom. They represent social ties and caring between friends and fellow fans, and they’re a tangible representation of these relationships. And they also mean freedom and revolution to me, because they represent a female tradition of creativity that has grown and thrived and created its own space separate from male-dominated capitalism. Fanworks are beautiful and magical and I could gush about them for hours...and in fact, did gush about them for months on end in the form of writing a ninety page paper!

    What would you tell others about International Fanworks Day?

    Participate! Don’t be scared to put yourself out there - the celebration of fans and their love is what this day’s all about. And participation doesn’t just mean going out and writing and posting your own fic – it can mean reblogging someone’s fanart on Tumblr, liking their fanvid on YouTube, or leaving comments on their fanfic on AO3. It’s pretty amazing that the Day exists, and being part of it can be a truly rewarding experience.

  • Guest Post: Earlgreytea68

    Sarah Remy keskiviikkona, 27 tammikuuta 2016 - 5:14pm
    Viestilaji:

    Banner by caitie of an OTW-themed guest access lanyard

    From time to time, the OTW will be hosting guest posts on our OTW News accounts. These guests will be providing an outside perspective on the OTW or aspects of fandom where our projects may have a presence. The posts express each author's personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OTW or constitute OTW policy. We welcome suggestions from fans for future guest posts, which can be left as a comment here or by contacting us directly.

    Today's post is by former lawyer and a published novelist, earlgreytea68, who started writing fic with a couple of friends around eight years ago, saying, “Sure, I guess I’ll give this a try!” That was, to measure it the way a writer does, a few million words ago. EGT has written babyfic in “Doctor Who,” “Sherlock,” and “Inception,” but she writes other sorts of fic, too. You can find it all on AO3 and hang out with her on Tumblr.

    Sometimes I meet people—professional writers, even—who have no idea what a fanwork is, and this always gives me pause. My world is so immersed in fan creativity; my most-visited websites are Tumblr and Twitter and LJ (I’m old) and my bookmarks are all fics I need to get around to reading and I use AO3 so much that I literally broke my log-in account (a saga for another day, but shout-out to the awesome tech support who helped me through it!). I wonder what a life without fanworks is like. I wonder how a writer learns to write without fanfiction, because I learned everything I know about writing from fic, honestly. Thank you to every writer who’s inspired me and every reader who’s left me a comment, because you’ve all been the best creative writing course in the universe.

    But from the outside, I guess, it all looks weird. Once I had to explain coffee shop AUs to someone, and I said, “You take the characters and you put them in a coffee shop, so they’re, like, baristas and regular customers and maybe bakers and stuff.” They blinked at me and said, “And that’s a whole story?” And I was like, “That is TONS of stories and THEY ARE THE BEST.” But I guess, in the abstract, never having read a coffee shop AU, it might sound weird.

    Then again, I have become more and more convinced that it’s only weird to people because I put it in the fanfiction context, and, for some reason, people assume there’s something different about fan creativity than about “regular” creativity. Which is such an odd premise. I say “coffee shop AU,” and people cock their heads at me. But I say, “I’m working on a story where the main character works in a coffee shop and falls in love with a regular customer who’s always ordering pumpkin spice lattes,” and people say, “Awww!” I say, “I think I’m going to write a story about a person having to raise a baby who is also their clone,” and people say, “Yeah, sci-fi is in right now, huh?” I say, “I’m writing a story about Sherlock Holmes having to raise his own clone,” and people raise their eyebrows and are like, “That’s kind of crazy.”

    So this may be a weird thing to say on International Fanworks Day, but on this day what I want us to celebrate is the fact that fanworks are just like every other form of creativity, in that they are valid and important and interesting and fun and if you are engaging in them, you should never feel like you should be ashamed of it, that you should “stop playing around” and start “getting serious” or doing “real creativity” or whatever terms you want to attach to it. Because fanworks are absolutely one hundred percent real. In fact, fanworks are, in many ways, more real than the vast majority of “real” creativity, because the reach of fanworks is tremendous, and the influence of every fanwork, in the great ongoing dialogue that is fandom, is undeniable. Even the smallest of ripples contributes to the larger conversation. No fanwork is an island, and that makes every fanwork vitally important, in a way that “real” creativity seems to purposely stand apart from.

    In fact, I might be biased but if you can’t say it on International Fanworks Day, when can you say it? So: Fanworks differ from every other form of creativity mainly in the fact that they are a higher percentage of amazing. Fanworks are so routinely derided and dismissed, so routinely mocked and belittled, that everyone engaged in fan creativity is that extra dose of amazing for forging forward with that. Every act of creation is an act of bravery; it takes great courage to step into the world with something you made. And fan creators do it in a world that has already decided that your creation is worth less because it has “fan” in front of it.

    We make astonishing, impressive creations and, so frequently, we say nothing about them to most of the people we know. I sold a novel for publication and I told everyone I knew. I have written fics for years—fics I adore, am proud of, cherish, who have introduced me to delightful people who make every day better and have pulled me through tough times -— and I don’t talk about it. And it’s so weird, because it’s something to celebrate. We should understand it as such.

    So, on International Fanworks Day, I want all of you to celebrate YOU. Don’t feel bad or guilty or pointless; feel every one of your pieces of creativity is the amazing achievement that it is. Drawing and painting is, frankly, nothing short of witchcraft. Crafting a fanvid is a joyful magic. All of the other creations blossoming out there -— stuffed bunnies and brilliant pieces of clothing and excellent graphics and transporting fanmixes and moving songs and all the rest of it, gloriously too numerous for me to list -—are an embarrassment of riches. And all of you writers out there (which happens to be my creative medium): writing is hard, writing a story even harder. When you step back and look at what you’ve accomplished, don’t call it a fanwork. Call it what it is: a piece of art. Know, all of you, that no matter what it is you’re doing, you are bringing great glee to many nameless people who you will never meet but who will smile at your work, who will make a note of how much they loved it, who will discuss it with their friends. That, after all, is what artists do. And that is what you are: an artist.

    I wanted, my whole life, to be a writer. I worked very hard at it and I succeeded in publishing a book and it was absolutely amazing and if that is your dream, I encourage you to go for it. But I want to share with you the lesson I ultimately took away from that experience: I worked very hard to be a writer, only to realize that I had been a writer all along.

    Happy International Fanworks Day, guys. Keep all that creativity coming.

  • OTW Fannews: Fandom Awakens & Stretches

    Claudia Rebaza tiistaina, 26 tammikuuta 2016 - 4:14pm
    Viestilaji:

    Female figure stretching 'OTW Fannews: Fandom Awakens and Stretches

    • New York magazine took the opportunity to point out what the release of a new Star Wars film really means and included some early numbers from AO3. "[I]f you have even passing knowledge of the internet you won't be surprised to hear that hundreds of authors and illustrators in the fan-fiction community are already hard at work asking tough questions, like, 'Yo, what if these two (or three) characters kissed?' But in a Star Wars universe with at least four major new roles, the key question is: Who are we most excited to read about boning?"
    • Birth Movies Death was stuck on the idea that we're in a remix culture where official and unofficial fanworks all co-exist. "The most interesting fanfic is the kind where the fan takes a property they love and says 'I don’t see myself in here, so I’m putting myself in it.' I don’t mean that in general Mary Sue terms, but social progress terms - making characters queer, introducing characters of color, bringing in characters of other backgrounds...when Lucasfilm finally hires a filmmaker who isn’t just a white guy who grew up on Star Wars is when we’ll truly be entering a truly new phase of the saga."
    • The Mary Sue considered the relative importance of fanon vs. canon. "This all seems to be part of a larger conversation that I’ve seen happening lately, across fandoms in genre fiction everywhere: how much should canon matter? How much should creators’ opinions matter? Can our own passion for what we believe the canon should be overpower what the 'truth' of the source material is? And does the 'truth' really matter, at that point? Can fandom bring about Death of the Author so effectively that we make our own 'truth'? Even referring to the canon as 'truth' here makes me squirm, because it suggests that fan-fiction and fan-art and fan interpretations are somehow false and therefore wrong … which they may be, according to the source material, but they feel true and so valid and so life-affirming to fans."
    • Meanwhile Upvoted discussed the continuity of fandom across generations. "An immigrant from Vietnam, Greenleaf’s electrician dad developed a love for science-fiction in America watching TV shows like Star Trek and Johnny Quest. Then he saw Star Wars in the theaters when it came out in 1977. 'Definitely seeing Star Wars was a big thing for him, but I think he kept it to himself'" Now, however, it's all in the open. "'Once he saw me bringing a lot of costumes home and making them, he got interested...He’d ask me, ‘Can I try it on? Can I wear it?’ I’ve taken him to a lot of character events and introduced him to a lot of people, and he’s really gotten into it.'”

    Make sure fanworks and events surrounding Star Wars: The Force Awakens don't get forgotten! Write about them in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a Fannews post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • Guest Post: Lisa Nicholas

    ashleyhasahat sunnuntaina, 24 tammikuuta 2016 - 6:00pm
    Viestilaji:

    Banner by caitie of an OTW-themed guest access lanyard

    From time to time, the OTW will be hosting guest posts on our OTW News accounts. These guests will be providing an outside perspective on the OTW or aspects of fandom where our projects may have a presence. The posts express each author's personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OTW or constitute OTW policy. We welcome suggestions from fans for future guest posts, which can be left as a comment here or by contacting us directly.

    Lisa Nicholas wears many hats: pro author, freelance web designer, crazy cat lady. When she’s not doing all of that, she fangirls as roane and roane72: recently Marvel and Star Wars (again, still, and always), but she’s also been active in the Sherlock and Doctor Who fandoms. At one point she’d hoped she’d be over her lifetime crush on Mark Hamill, but has now just given in and accepted it.

    Fandom changed my life. That is the absolute, literal truth.

    I have been a geek since I was five years old, when I saw Star Wars at a drive-in theater in 1977. The movie turned me into a lifelong fan of pretty much anything science fiction or fantasy. In my teenage years, there were bands, of course. Growing up in the 80s meant I had a wealth of bands to adore and I hung their posters on my bedroom wall. So I’ve always been a passionate fan of things, but I tended to give transformative fandom a wide berth. I didn’t understand fanfic—never mind that the very first story I wrote, at the age of 11, was Mary Sue self-insert fanfic about the band Journey. (It was 1983, cut me some slack here.)

    After that story, I kept writing. I spent several years in my late 20s trying to get published. I managed to sell a couple of short stories and wrote a couple of (terrible) novels. And I was a horrible, horrible snob about fanfic. I mean, awful. I did not understand the idea of writing something you could never sell, and why on earth would you write something that deviated so far from what the creators intended? Every argument you’ve heard against fanfic, I made it. Fanfic writers were “wasting their time”, slash was weird, etc.

    Thanks to a variety of personal crises (primarily dealing with my mother’s long bout with cancer), I stopped writing. Believe me when I tell you, the world was not poorer for lack of my mediocre science fiction and fantasy. But when my life settled down, I found that I missed writing. And no matter what I did, I couldn’t seem to get back into it.

    Then, in 2011, I found Tumblr. I’d just finished watching season one of Sherlock on Netflix, and season two was a few months away. I was delighted at the sheer imagination of other fans and got caught up in the excitement. I ended up watching season two live, and got sucked into the fandom. And—out of curiosity—I started reading fanfic. One of the very first things I read was abundantlyqueer’s infamous John/Sherlock fic: Two Two One Bravo Baker.

    I have, only half-jokingly, referred to this as my “road to Damascus” moment. Talk about transformative! I stayed up nearly all night reading, slept for a few hours, then grabbed my Kindle and finished reading it before I got out of bed. I suddenly got it. I got fanfic, I got slash, and oh hell I definitely got John/Sherlock.

    I started writing my own fic. Gen at first, because I had never written anything explicit before, but it didn’t take me long to move on to explicit slash. After ten years of not writing and missing it desperately, I was writing. And more than that, I was getting feedback. Enthusiastic, lovely, encouraging feedback.

    Writing as a career looked like a possibility again. Even more so when one of the fans who got in touch with me to compliment my fic turned out to be a literary agent. (I think I hyperventilated for the rest of the day. In my old writing life, I’d never gotten to the agent-hunting stage.) She told me if I ever had any original fiction I wanted to show her, she’d love to see it.

    That lit a fire under my ass. Within a year, I sent her a romance novel, and she agreed to represent me. Less than six months after that, she’d sold two of my books to Penguin. The Farther I Fall and As Lost As I Get both came out in 2015. I also started self-publishing under a variety of pennames.

    A few months before Farther came out, I was laid off from my web development job. It seemed like a sign. I started my own business, doing freelance web development part-time and writing the rest of the time.

    Without fandom, I probably wouldn’t have started writing again. I wouldn’t have found the world’s best agent. Without her, I wouldn’t have gotten published. And I wouldn’t be working for myself. That’s a hell of a lot of change, and it all started thanks to fandom. My life is on a path I never thought possible, but always wanted. I’ve since moved on to other fandoms, but nothing will likely have a greater effect on me than that glorious hiatus between season two and season three of Sherlock.

    So in celebration of International Fanworks Day, I’d like to say thanks. Thanks to all the fic writers and artists and podficcers and gif makers and knitters and podcasters and—everything else we create out of love. You reminded me what it is to love the act of creation and now? Now I feel sorry for the fans like I used to be, who don’t get fanworks in all their messy, imaginative glory. They’re missing out.

  • What Fanworks Mean to Me

    Claudia Rebaza sunnuntaina, 17 tammikuuta 2016 - 5:04pm
    Viestilaji:

    Banner by caitie of an OTW-themed guest access lanyard

    From time to time, the OTW will be hosting guest posts on our OTW News accounts. These guests will be providing an outside perspective on the OTW or aspects of fandom where our projects may have a presence. The posts express each author's personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OTW or constitute OTW policy. We welcome suggestions from fans for future guest posts, which can be left as a comment here or by contacting us directly.

    On December 10, OTW's Communications Committee sent out a call for essays on "What Fanworks Mean to Me" as part of celebrations for International Fanworks Day. A number of you responded, and we'd like to thank everyone who contributed! Today's post shares some of those submissions.

    Kasey, currently in USA

    Fanworks. Wow. Where do I start?

    The vast majority of my fiction-reading in the past, oh, seven or eight years has been fanfiction.

    Through these stories I have gotten some idea what being genderfluid feels like, and felt okay getting medical help managing my depression; I’ve seen my deep love of dancing put into words I’ve never been able to find, and learned about things (winemaking, for example) the authors are knowledgeable about that I wouldn’t have researched on my own. I’ve gotten to read about theatre people like myself, and been ridiculously happy when characters were shown being competent with wrenches (that almost never happens in fiction, have you noticed?).

    Plus there’s the wonderful plethora of AUs which make it easy to just ignore the utter tragedy of several canons (HA, TAKE THAT, lit-teachery sensibility!).

    Fanart, comics, picsets, gifsets, fancasts, and headcanons bring stories from people who prefer those media or didn’t want to write a full fic, and lots of different ways of seeing characters beyond what’s shown by a book cover or source film or limited narrative point of view.

    Fanmixes have introduced me to some new favourite songs.

    And fanart and fancasts and headcanons have begun breaking me of the habit of automatically imagining characters as white, for which I am very greatful.

    In short, stories get much more interesting when the knowledge and life experiences of hundreds of millions of people are thrown at them.

    (Also, International Fanworks Day and Femslash February have turned February from my least favourite month of the year into one I actually look forward to. /Tusen takk/, fellow fans!)

    KathNatsumezaka, Portugal

    Eu escrevo porque é um escape da minha rotina. Cada vez que alguma coisa boa ou má me acontece, eu tento encaixá-la numa história que estou a escrever juntamente com alguns traços de fantasia. Sendo assim, as fanfics fazem parte da minha vida e são a coisa mais preciosa que tenho. Posso dizer que é uma das poucas coisas a que sou boa a fazer é escrever sobre o que quer que seja.

    Durante 6 anos escrevi inteiramente em Português mas agora com 21 anos estou a tentar escrever noutro idoma não só para o meu trabalho chegar a mais pessoas como também para me superar. Gosto sempre ver onde fica o meu limite. Resumindo, a escrita para mim é como a minha vida. Se me tentam tirar isso, é como se uma parte de mim morresse.

    Andromakhe, USA

    As a fanfic author, I would say that the privilege to write about, to "spend time with," my favorite characters and to share my dreams and opinions with the world concerning them is something very much bound up in my identity. That is, fanfic writing is fun, and joy, and a way to make my mark somewhere, a way to be heard and known. Because when one writes a story, a part of oneself goes with it into the world.

    This can be said for any kind of writing, but with stories, it's the heart rather than the brain that gets exposed, and I think that's why stories are so enduring and universal in a way essays can never match. Fan creativity is an outpouring of love and an indication that a story has taken root in people and inspired imagination and new ideas. I think it's the highest compliment to a creator that people have been captivated by their creations, and that's what fanworks show.

    Writing for my fandoms keeps my passion and my emotion alive. It keeps me in touch with the child inside, and I think that's a very important function that should never be lost. Fanfiction is where my heart is.

    Rós Vailintín, China

    International Fanworks Day is coming and I would really like to share my thoughts with you. It's really great that I'm still on winter vacation when this day falls, so I can do almost whatever I wanna do - and I've got a huge lot of unfinished fanworks, novels, arts, songs (yep I write songs), etc., and finishing any one of then can take at least one whole day, so I'll certainly have something to do for IFD.

    Sadly there ain't any cosplay parties or anything like that at this time in my area, but some of my friends would love to enjoy this day with me, so it's still not only me. In a way I think that our friendship developed around fandoms and fanworks; it's what we always chat about, and we inpire each other. Fanworks aren't just mind palaces of the fans. Of course, for people who don't get this, say, my teachers, fanworks are just 'a waste of time' or 'incredibly harmful distraction'.

    But over these years, fandoms and fanworks have become a big part of my life, and have taken up at least a quarter of my brain I suppose. It's not a bad thing though. At least when you're bored, you have something to think about. And making fanworks is a super effective way to use your imagination and express yourself, but many people just don't realise this.

    Say, when I write a crime AU fanfic, I've gotta consider every detail of the case, and that stimulates my brain better than 100 math problems. Fanworks can't help me with exams or schoolwork, but it makes you happy, and that's enough for me. Maybe it's because I'm in my terminal year that I need this much something to keep me in a good mood and motivated. When there's an uncompleted fanwork there, I really finish my shitty homework faster, it's true. Anyway my point is just that fandoms and fanworks are sort of like 'lights of my life', and I can't realy imagine how I lived without them when I was a little girl. And in the end, thanks for finishing reading this!

    SoloShikigami, USA

    I've been dying to start a major re-haul project of my old fanfiction, and perhaps getting it prepared and releasing it on IFD would be the perfect way to celebrate!

    So what does fanwork mean to me? It's a chance to explore - explore the environments characters live in, their personalities or alternates thereof, it allows me to explore the "what if?" possibilities. I feel that it opens up conversations about characters and in turn, people in real life. It's like being part of a really fun and awesome sociology project because it helps me to connect and understand people.

    Fanwork has allowed me to express myself and open up to others in a way I never knew possible - verbal communication tends to be challenging for me and to have an idea expressed, understood, and even welcomed has helped me in the many facets of my life. It may be difficult for others to understand me sometimes as I go about my everyday life, but knowing that I have a safe, warm, welcoming environment in fanwork to come home to makes life a little easier to take.

    Rainbowfootsteps, New Zealand

    Fanworks, to me, are a way of connecting with others through art. People are brought together through mutual enjoyment of shows and stories, and together we create something wonderful.

    Through my creation of fanwork I've made many friends, and gained a deeper understanding of the fandoms I'm in. But it's not just the social aspect I love. It's also the ability to create more content about something you love! Your interest doesn't have to end in canon!

    No matter what you want, you can almost certainly find - or create - a fanwork about it. It expands our knowledge of characters and situations in a beautiful way. So what do fanworks mean to me? They mean community, and they mean the creation of beauty.

  • OTW Fannews: From Philes to Fire

    Pip Janssen torstaina, 26 marraskuuta 2015 - 5:04pm
    Viestilaji:

    Background flames with text saying From Philes to Fire

  • Fan/Fic Magazine wrote about how AO3 revolutionized fandom by looking at the events that led to the founding of the OTW. "A brief snapshot of fandom in early 2007: The first Naruto series had wrapped, and Naruto Shippuden had just started airing. Supernatural was wrapping up its second season with a shocking finale in “All Hell Breaks Loose.” Kingdom Hearts II and Final Fantasy XII came out only the year before, and Final Fantasy 7 fandom was back with a vengeance with the release of Advent Children. The world waited breathlessly for the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. And fandom on LiveJournal was on fire."
  • Den of Geek looked back at development of X-Files fandom. "There was more online buzz before the commercial aspects of The X-Files had caught up, which allowed for a freer flow of media content. 'Best of all, unlike most ‘fan magazines’ with their carefully controlled content, it was a free-for-all discussion, where the most outrageous and insightful and sometimes brutally honest discussions about UFOs, the government, conspiracies, Mulder's hair, and Scully's wardrobe could take place without interference.'" Although the article mentioned various fan sites it failed to mention Gossamer, the landmark fanfiction repository.
  • A number of outlets wrote about an Australian documentary on boyband fans. "Leski has met fangirls in the US and Australia that own their passion and use it to create material of their own. 'It was the first time I’d seen fan art and fan fiction, and it was a much bigger world that I realised,' says Leski. Fangirls can form accepting and inclusive online communities...Adolescence is when girls experience a drop in self-esteem and depression rates go up. Fangirls are empowered by their fandom, make deep connections with each other and have an outlet for personal expression. Educators and psychologists Leski interviewed believe that validating fandom, rather than dismissing it as trivial and temporary, is important. It can set girls up with the self-esteem, passion and skills they will find useful as adults."
  • The Bangalore Mirror featured a look at fan behaviors. "In 2008, Shira Gabriel, a psychologist at the University at Buffalo, conducted a series of three studies on celebrity worship to measure its impact upon the self-esteem of 348 college students...Students who initially scored lowest on the self-esteem scale scored much higher on the second test (after they wrote about their best-loved celebrities). Gabriel was quoted: 'Because people form bonds in their mind with their favourite celebrities, they are able to assimilate the celebrity's characteristics in themselves and feel better about themselves when they think about that celebrity.'"

What have been landmark events in your fandom's history? Write about them in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a Fannews post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: For Reals

    Katie sunnuntaina, 22 marraskuuta 2015 - 6:17pm
    Viestilaji:

    Image reading OTW Fannews For Reals

    • The BBC noted that fans have been right all along in their devotion to popular culture, given that it's adding to the stories of old. "Our modern civilisation, like all civilisations before it, has settled around a set of myths and legends as the basis of its culture. They are more complex, more interesting, more sophisticated, and with a much richer interaction between creators and fans than you might think. Far from being mere films or comic books, they are whole extended fictional universes, entirely self-consistent, with deep histories, hundreds of characters, and even a form of theological scholarship."
    • As the curators of cultural preservation, librarians have been proactive in responding to fans activities by not just encouraging their creation with numerous library programs, but also now doing readers advisory for fanworks. The results can be important. "While wearing an Avengers t-shirt in the library, a librarian was stopped by a little girl who wanted to know if she'd seen the Avengers movie. The librarian responded that it was one of her favorite movies, and the girl confessed that she loved it too, even though her teacher said it was just for boys. She then asked if the library had any Avengers books. As the librarian helped her collect a stack of Iron Man easy readers, the girl's mom tearfully explained that her daughter was a reluctant reader, and that this was the first time she'd actually wanted to check out books."
    • Even media outlets that one wouldn't expect are trying to integrate fannish practices into their coverage, such as Fashion & Style highlighting Twilight fansites, or Seventeen making a fairly good list of responses to criticism, such as countering the familiar "'Why don't you care about something that actually matters?" with "Who are you to say something I'm this passionate about doesn't matter? It matters to me."
    • Meanwhile more fannish and amateur publications are reporting on topics from fan terminology in motion, to what happens when fandom burnout begins, or charting the course of a fannish passion. Stories like these mean that all sides of fandoms and fannish experiences are joining their canons in being a part of cultural history.

    Is it important to you that fannish history be preserved? Then open an account and write about it in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a Fannews post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Shouting it Out Loud

    Claudia Rebaza tiistaina, 17 marraskuuta 2015 - 5:34pm
    Viestilaji:

    Banner by doughtier of a young woman in black and white shouting yelling with arms spread with the title 'Shouting it Out Loud'

    • More people are discussing the long reach of fandom into their lives. The Huffington Post spoke to the OTW and others about fanfiction and sexuality. "The opportunity to displace these risky desires, not just into pseudonymous fictions, but onto fictional characters, makes fanfic a welcoming sexual space for girls and women, where they can safely spin their more illicit fantasies off into the minds and actions of distinctly separate alter-egos. 'It made me much more comfortable in myself. More comfortable in my sexuality and going out to find other erotica and pornography without having to feel ashamed,' recalled Amy, 23, who lives in Portland and got into fan fiction early in high school. 'These are characters, but they’re also people, they do normal people things and that includes sex and other sexual activities.'”
    • The Deseret News spoke with various fans about how fandom has changed their lives. “'I started to feed back into nerd culture and all those happy feelings, basically everything that fandom gives you — not just escapism, but the immediacy of enjoying something with someone else,' Smith said. “'I realized nerdiness isn’t being happy alone, it’s about being happy with other people. Nerdiness saved me from myself.'”
    • The Salt Lake City Weekly spoke to Anne Jamison about why studying fanfic is important. "It's crucial for people who study literature to pay attention to this way in which writing is now being produced and disseminated. It's crucial for us as literature professors, because so many of our students will have read and written this way, [and have] learned to critique and engage this way—even if they sometimes won't admit it. It has had and will have an effect on published books, but it is also where we first see how digital, networked texts are changing reading and writing habits and expectations—as well as the texts themselves."
    • Certainly more people than ever are giving shoutouts to their favorite fanworks including Rainbow Rowell who when asked asked about her favorite said "I have a few. My favorite fanfiction is a Harry/Draco fanfiction and it's called The Pure and Simple Truth."

    What's been the richest part of fandom in your life? Write about it in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a Fannews post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Creating & Remembering Fans

    Pip Janssen keskiviikkona, 21 lokakuuta 2015 - 4:47pm
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    A TV on a red striped background with the words OTW Fannews

    • Slate wrote about the University of Iowa's Hevelin Collection of fanzines, quoting the OTW's Karen Hellekson who wrote "fanzines were typically self-published pamphlets, made from 'stapled-together pieces of ordinary-sized letter paper, sometimes folded in half.' Fans would exchange these documents through the mail, often after discovering one another through the letters pages of magazines such as Amazing Stories...According to Hellekson, in those pre-photocopying days authors of zines would reproduce their work via carbon paper, mimeograph, or other similarly primitive means."
    • Texas A&M University now hosts The Sandy Hereld Memorial Digitized Media Fanzine Collection in remembrance of the OTW supporter Sandy Herrold. "Sandy’s legacy of work includes the founding of Virgule-L, the first Internet slash mailing list, hosting numerous other mailing lists and fan sites, and helping to create the annual 'Vid Review' panel at the Escapade convention (the longest-running slash fan convention), which became the model for serious conversations about vidding as an art form."
    • The Mary Sue discussed the difficulties in passing on fandom. "Sailor Moon was something we were really looking forward to sharing with our son. I knew that Usagi’s outfits, transformations, and quirky sensibilities would be right up his alley!...Within 3 episodes, I was horrified and questioning everything I ever knew about my love of the series. When all was said and done, we made it only 6 episodes in before I tragically put an end to it, completely taken aback. These girls were so vain, and her superpowers were triggered by a magical makeup mirror? I was right about my son, though: He was hooked."
    • Netflix released a study exploring when people became fans of a TV show. "While around the world the hooked episode was relatively consistent, slight geographic differences did present themselves. The Dutch, for instance, tend to fall in love with series the fastest, getting hooked one episode ahead of most countries irrespective of the show. Germans showed early fandom for Arrow whereas France fell first for How I Met Your Mother. In Better Call Saul, Jimmy McGill won Brazilians over one episode quicker than Mexicans. And Down Under, viewers prove to hold out longer across the board, with members in Australia and New Zealand getting hooked one to two episodes later than the rest of the world on almost every show."
    • WBUR had a segment where a couple tried to see if they could become baseball fans. "A change had come over Susie. Over the course of a few hours, she’d become a Cubs fan for life. In those same few hours, Kris Bryant had singlehandedly undermined our relationship. Just kidding. But as we headed home, even I, the longtime sports cynic, had to admit — that was incredible. It’s hard not to get caught up in the thrill of a dramatic win at home. But at the same time, I wondered if I should resent the Cubs for winning? Because I didn’t. And maybe that made me less of a Sox fan?"

    What fans do you want remembered for their contributions to fandom? Start a page for them in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a Fannews post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Unearthing Slash

    Janita Burgess sunnuntaina, 4 lokakuuta 2015 - 3:59pm
    Viestilaji:

    OTW Fannews banner by caitie~ with the text Unearthing Slash along with stylized images of the members of One Direction with slashes between them

    • Vice speculated on why adults read One Direction fanfic, and discussed the appeal of slash. "The appeal of One Direction homoeroticism also seems related to how physically comfortable and genuinely playful the boys are with each other... It seems related to the fact that they are boys who sing songs about feelings and look like they mean it. It seems, unfortunately, related to Louis's irreverent-shading-into-dickish personality, which fans... wish to understand and explain away. Perhaps most significantly, it seems related to taboo and tragedy: how impossible to fall in love with your best friend, while the whole world watches, and also how beautiful."
    • Certainly the ease of stumbling on fanfic has created awkward moments for the subjects of that fiction. NME quoted The Libertines discussing the unnerving combination of fact and fantasy. "A lot of effort has gone into it. There’ll be a poetic stream of consciousness and then suddenly, BANG! My cock will appear in Carl’s ear." The singer added that some of the descriptions were uncannily accurate: "I think it must be written by someone close to us, because apart from the actual sex side of things, which obviously isn’t true, some of it’s quite close to life."
    • The Daily Dot provided a bit of fandom history by discussing Man from U.N.C.L.E.'s slashy past. "As fandom academic Cynthia W. Walker put it, "if Trek was the Big Bang, (Man from U.N.C.L.E.) was the primer." The Man from U.N.C.L.E. was the patient zero for the kind of passionate fan community we see for shows like Sherlock today." It was notable in many ways. "At this point it's practically tradition for TV shows to misinterpret which of their male leads is the real heartthrob. From Spock to Teen Wolf's Stiles, female-driven fandoms tend to gravitate toward the characters who aren't portrayed as suave ladykillers. And back in the day, Illya Kuryakin was a bona fide teen crush magnet."
    • One bit of progress (?) in media coverage of slash is that the pairings are no longer the main surprise to people. Cracked's video gets a lot wrong, such as confusing characters and fandoms with genres, and discussing commercial bestiality erotica series as works of fanfiction. But the idea that pairings might consist of same sex doesn't itself get dubbed as 'weird'.

    Is slash history something you know about? Share your knowledge on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a Fannews post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.