News of Note

  • OTW Fannews: Explaining Fandom

    By Claudia Rebaza on Thursday, 8 November 2012 - 7:38pm
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    • Writing for Novis, a "Journal of Communication, Culture & Technology", Sara Levine looks at the PBS OffBook video "Can Fandom Change Society" and focuses on the importance of fanworks. "If I were hired to create a seven minute video explaining fandom to the general public, I would focus on notable examples of the impact that these passionate communities have on their members and, increasingly, the world outside of fandom. Fanfiction would be the first feature because I believe it is the easiest concept to comprehend." More importantly, "[a]n introduction to fan communities would be more effective if it showcased the excitement and creativity fandom can inspire in its members."
    • From communication and cultural studies to philosophy, Mark Linsenmeyer at The Partially Examined Life speculated on "the existential weirdness of being a fan." "Sartre’s concern in all this would be what this says about me, the person who feels this way. By treating celebrities like toys, I exert imagined power over them. By denying their reality I deny my own basic humanity, as a person among other, ontologically equal persons, meaning that the celebrity’s social status, or wealth, or fame is all irrelevant to the moral facts relationship between us. Being star-struck is existential because it makes a claim (a wrong claim) about my position as a human being in the world."
    • A new book of essays tries to explain one specific fannish creation, Fifty Shades of Grey. "Editor Lori Perkins collected writers from all walks of life to pen the essays on debate. Romance novelists, BDSM dungeon masters, matrimonial lawyers, and professors are just a few examples of those contributing to the collection." The essays aren't all positive. "While several topics -- including sexual empowerment and pop culture influences -- are included in the upcoming book, [Jennifer] Armintrout’s viewpoint is that of an author and it is a negative one. “It’s the writing, the content, and the ethical violation of taking someone else’s work to sell and make a heap of money,” Armintrout said of her troubles with "Fifty Shades."
    • A more supportive view of fanfiction appeared in The Huffington Post where writer Peter Damien discussed the importance of it in his life. "This, then, is the purpose of all my rambling: to show that my own roots run deep as anyone's, but they begin in other people's worlds, in fan-fiction. It's not evil, it's not dangerous. It's unoriginal true enough, but so what? Fan-fiction is the equivalent of a group of teenagers working hard as they can to play covers of Metallica songs. Eventually they're good enough to play in bars, and maybe beyond...Writers becoming snotty, or hostile, or even actively aggressive against fan-fiction is, to my mind, the equivalent of a big rock band showing up in a tiny town bar with a SWAT team to stop a group of teenagers from playing an off-key cover of one of their songs. It's not only stupid and pointless, it's petty, mean, and probably more harmful to the major rock band than to the bar band."
    • One of the more interesting examinations of fanfic appeared on Buzzfeed, looking at deathfic in pop star fandoms and it cited Journal Committee staffer Kristina Busse's work for Transformative Works and Cultures. "But Busse says that these morbid fanfics are a drop in the bucket compared to the larger genre of stories of the writer’s imagined trauma and recovery, like the ones where Bieber saves a girl from self-harm. “[Deathfics] are few and far between compared to the much larger and more popular ‘hurt/comfort' genre,” Busse says, “where the pain and suffering functions as a way to bring the characters together, like a cancer victim meets Justin and they fall in love, or as a way to test their love." Fan fiction of this stripe can even have a therapeutic effect. “[In fan fiction], tragedies that are then survived and overcome are actually much more common,” says Busse. "They're a very safe way to work through imagined or real trauma.”

    If you cover rock tunes, enjoy deathfic (pop stars optional), or have an academic take on fandom, why not put together an entry 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 roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Fanfiction and Publishing

    By Claudia Rebaza on Tuesday, 6 November 2012 - 8:15pm
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    • An article in Publishing Perspectives looked at what fanfiction could teach the publishing industry. "The way the best fanfiction relates to its source content, its questioning, at times analytical, and often philosophical and political interrogation of the certainties and assertions of the original Text could be seen as analogous to the rewriting of the settled narrative of publishing by tech startups. Those startups come not from publishing but often from engineering, computer science, and mathematical backgrounds, shaking up the staid world of the publishing industry, adding 50 shades of sexiness (or nerdiness) to the old print-bound linear processes and outputs. A few years ago, the publishing industry was certain of its borders, convinced of its rights, sure of its power, definite about who the main characters were in their narrative, and what their respective roles were. The gaps that it didn’t see — the enormous possibilities of agile processes, digital bits and bytes, content as data, the high speed distribution over connections that the print world couldn’t even begin to imagine — were explored by the tech startups on the fringes. They put everything into question."
    • Certainly one way publishers are trying to utilize fanfiction comes from contests, encouraging not just writing but recording as in this recent item at Bookseller.com: "AudioGO has challenged five fan fiction authors from the Twilight Fandom (www.fanfiction.net), the original source of Fifty Shades of Grey, to write an original young adult story exclusively for audio" where winners would be chosen by a public vote. The citation of Fanfiction.net as a type of publisher, however, indicates a confusion over fandom, its practices, and its posting sites, that gets expressed in various ways. In a piece on Fifty Shades of Grey (which also quoted OTW Legal Committee chair Rebecca Tushnet's work), the New York Review of Books copied a banner without permission or attribution to the banner’s creator, instead crediting the publication from which the New York Review copied it.
    • An increasing number of outlets are beginning to write more thoughtfully about fanfiction, particularly as one writer after another begins to land large book deals. The Guardian discusses how "fan fiction is an inventive antidote to a PR-obsessed entertainment industry" and a genuine expression of real life experiences. "Fan fiction is making teenagers better writers and better satirists, and allowing them to explore sexuality in a way decided by them rather than dictated by the entertainment industry. A purity ring doesn't carry much meaning when Ron Weasley is pulling it off with his teeth."
    • Of course, the eagerness of publishers to find the next big hit is often a world away from fanfiction archives making it on their own. In an interview with the owner and head moderator of AdultFanFiction.net, OTW staffer Aja Romano shines a light on its history and inner workings. "AFF which turned 10 years old this month, is one of the largest fanfiction collections on the Internet. Over 140,000 registered users have generated nearly nine gigabytes of fan-generated stories, written by and for adults, and much of it X-rated." The archive is moderated and run with a very small staff and was hit by a flood of new users from Fanfiction.net, as were other fanfiction archives. "We had 10,000 alone in June, and we check each new registration."

    If you're a fanfiction writer, or have your own publishing experiences to share, why not do 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 roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Fandom and Technology

    By Claudia Rebaza on Saturday, 3 November 2012 - 7:01pm
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    • Entertainment reporter Ken Baker has written a novel about a pop star dating a fan but in a twist it's the star who stalks the fan. His inspiration was the intimacy provided by social networking in contemporary fandom. "Fans know so much about
 their idols. The interesting thing is that it doesn't seem to have spoiled 
the fantasy or dampened their fanaticism. If anything, it seems to only 
fan the flames of their passion for the celebs. As they say, information 
is power, and I think fans feel empowered to know so much and become that much more interested in their favorite stars."
    • Hypebot provides a different take on music fandom, but one which also looks at the role of technology. Several public relations specialists weigh in on how music fandom currently functions. "The older online music communities were ecosystems dedicated to either genres or geographic locations...Now that communities are forming around artists and personal tastes, these older characteristics of ecosystems are evolving, but some are stagnated based on the fact that complementary activities need to take place away from the community for it to evolve." One concern? Over-reliance on a particular online platform. Another is how much the artist can offer. "The artists that have thriving fan communities are generally a result of their cult of personality, not their art. Most don't have artistic output rate high enough to maintain engagement by the community, hence the need to be...more than the sum of their art."
    • Tor.com recently proclaimed Babylon 5 set the bar for fandom in the 21st century. "[W]ay back at the end of the last century, one of the first sci-fi fandoms did have the internet, complete with online spoilers! That fandom was centered around Babylon 5, and though we don’t talk much about Babylon 5 now, the narrative structure of the show, in tandem with internet discussion, essentially created the model for TV fandom today." Technology played an important role: "Babylon 5 was also one of the first TV shows to market itself through grassroots internet outreach, assuming (correctly) that science fiction fans were hanging out online. This was back in the days of Genie and Usenet, but a lot early internet jargon found its footing here. For example, those who didn’t post on the forums were called “lurkers” and at one point, [Babylon 5 creator] JMS, left the forums for a time because of too much “flaming.” He triumphantly returned, of course, after a basic moderation system was sussed out. At the time, all of this stuff was brand new."
    • Speaking of fannish history, the MediaWest Con blog hosted a piece on fanzine archives citing several collections including "The University of Iowa Special Collections (aka the Fanzine Archives). This is the largest media fan collection currently in place. They have jointly partnered with the Organization For Transformative Works...which helps fans donate zines, flyers, convention program guides, fanvids, audio and video recordings etc. The OTW has an active outreach program called Open Doors with a volunteer assigned to facilitate donations. The University may be able to help pay for shipping. They can also handle large collections and, if needed, may be able to help arrange for someone to box and ship the zines."

    If you're a music fan, a Babylon 5 fan, or have been a fanzine contributor, why not 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 roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Honoring fanworks

    By Claudia Rebaza on Monday, 29 October 2012 - 6:59pm
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    • Fan films tend to be a particularly difficult and time consuming type of fanwork given their collaborative nature, whether they are animated or live action. At least for some gamers though, the best sort of fanwork is that which creates new games, though having projects shut down after so much time and effort are always a concern. Perhaps this was why the site EuroGamer had to clarify an earlier story that suggested Microsoft was barring fanworks from utilizing Halo content. "The majority of everything the community makes currently is fine, as long as they are not basically running a big Halo-based business or using Halo as if the IP was its own property. That isn't a change to our policy, simply a clarification and update of the dry legal language, and as we've mentioned, even that 'new' language was actually updated months ago. We don't have squads of lawyers waiting in the wings to go after folks making machinima, or showing off their skills in Halo."
    • Discussions such as these, which focus on content owner permission, tend to crop up with other fanworks as well, such as this take on a brand designer's house sigils for Game of Thrones. "Crescenzi's finished product, which comprises some 42 crests on a poster, is undeniably beautiful. However, he is selling them as prints, which somewhat alters the project from being a labor of love to a vehicle for profit. That makes us very curious to see GoT author Martin's take on them, as he is famously prickly about fan fiction, particularly where it concerns profit."
    • Yet fans, too, can be concerned about focusing on creators, even when discussing other fanworks, such as this one on podfic vs. written fanfiction. As one fan quoted by the Daily Dot stated "'I wonder how the fic author feels about the fact that the podfic is apparently oh so special and famous (with the fic itself being apparently unimportant compared to the reader's performance)'.” Meanwhile, "Fans of podfic, feeling battered by arguments likening them to unoriginal plagiarists and bad cover artists, rallied with a podfic appreciation meme, where appreciative readers and other podficcers could praise podficcers in comments. "
    • Another often unappreciated fan creation, albeit usually outside of fandom, is slash. At least one site though, After Elton, decided that it should be celebrated. "We were blown away by the internet explosion that was the Ultimate Slash Madness Tourney, and it occurred to us that a regular weekly column on the subject of slash might be a great fit for AfterElton. The name for such a column was easy: The Shipping News. The only catch was who to write it?...Even after reluctantly eliminating a dozen impressive submissions, we we're [sic] still left with five great people we wanted to work with. The happy solution we came up with was a weekly column penned by a rotating roster of slash experts." And the appreciation wasn't only by the AE site. As one of their contributors noted in the inaugural column, "Can we just take a moment to appreciate how many celebrities pimped their show's fave pairings in the AfterElton Ultimate Slash Madness Tourney? In addition to Misha Collins, Colton Haynes and the rest, we had John Barrowman and David Hewlett urging their fanbases to vote. Gone are the days when fans were on one side of canon and creators, producers, and actors were on the other."
    • At least one fanwork that definitely got a place of honor recently was the AO3, which has had its kudos icon memorialized on a user's skin. Consider us chuffed!

    If you're a slash lover, a fan film maker, a gamer, or have your own OTW-related tattoos, why not put together an entry 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 roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • Do you love zines?

    By Claudia Rebaza on Friday, 26 October 2012 - 3:14pm
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    Those who enjoy fanzines, or who were part of Star Trek fandom in its early years, may enjoy the following story, and even want to lend a hand!

    Steven H. Wilson is an author and has worked for DC Comics and Starlog Magazine. He's also the founder of the Farpoint convention, and his award-winning audio science fiction series, The Arbiter Chronicles, can be heard on his weekly podcast. In a recent post he discussed his early days in fandom, and how important a particular Trek fanzine was in his life.

    Contact was founded by two sisters in 1975. Bev Volker and Nancy Kippax were active members of the Trek fandom, running conventions and editing various zines. Stephen discusses how he met both of them, and what followed from there, both personally and professionally. He also issues an invitation to others who remember the two sisters and their work, both of whom passed away in the past decade:

    "So I've finally brought ContactZine.com to life this week. Right now it's just a few blog entries and a couple of scans of the first issue of their zine. It's a work in progress. As the weeks go by, I want to add more scans, to get the stories formatted so they can be read in HTML and put into true eBook formats, and to add the memories of all of those who still remember Bev, Nancy, Contact, and those times gone by.

    Check it out, if you're interested, and, if you feel moved to help, let me know! I could sure use someone to help me edit. None of these zines were produced using computers. The stories exist now only as xerox copies or typewritten drafts. They must be scanned and OCR'd, and that means the electronic versions are pretty error-ridden and need to be proofed and corrected prior to re-publication.

    Above all, if you were part of Contact, as a writer, artist, friend or reader, I hope you'll post some memories at ContactZine.com"

  • OTW Fannews: Legal and Technology

    By Claudia Rebaza on Monday, 22 October 2012 - 8:09pm
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    • Publishers Weekly reported on a panel at the Frankfurt Book Fair that focused on technology and fanfiction. Publisher Anna von Veh discussed various aspects of fan fiction including"'beta readers,' those that offer feedback and response on writing placed online 'to be commented on by others and improved.' She particularly noted the disclaimers placed on fan fiction by its creators to make sure the derivation of the properties is acknowledged and she likened it to 'a performance, an art more like theater, where you take a script and do other things to it; these properties are a starting point.'" Representatives from Wattpad also discussed the popularity of fanfic on their site. "Wattpad has released new online tools that allow its members to write on their phones, 'for a generation that lives online, through their phones, writing is part of their entertainment, it’s a hobby and with fragmented times, when the inspiration comes you can write, right on the spot.' Now 30% of Wattpad’s uploads come from iOS devices."
    • Although it's not clear that fanfic content was discussed in Frankfurt, those at the Ada Initiative were concerned about what can occur at technology conferences when discussions of porn take place. "A brief explanation of why pornography and sex are off-putting to women and LGBTQ people of any gender: Most pornography shown in this situation assumes that the audience is male and heterosexual, and sends the message that everyone who is not a heterosexual man is not the intended audience. Also, shifting people’s minds towards sex often triggers people to view women as sexual objects, in a context in which women want to be treated as humans with a shared interest. But showing pornography and talking about sex in public are not necessarily a “women not wanted” sign. Women are using open tech/culture to create erotica by and for women, and to have open discussions about sexuality in general." The post cited the OTW's Archive of Our Own as "designed and created by a majority women community, and hosts erotic fan fiction written by women among many other fan works."
    • Speaking of the archive, in a post about fanfiction, blogger A. Nolen makes three mistaken assertions about the A03. In the first Nolen lumps together the OTW with Wikipedia as co-creators of the AO3, and secondly proposes that the invite system was instituted to create exclusivity for the site (rather than to maintain the site's stability during unpredictable surges in use). The most troubling assertion suggests that the OTW's purpose for the archive is to create marketable works from its content. The Archive is noncommercial, as are the fanworks posted thereon, and the Archive doesn’t claim any “development” rights, whatever those are. As our Terms of Service explain, “The OTW does not claim any ownership or copyright in your Content. Repeat: we do not own your content. Nothing in this agreement changes that in any way. Running the Archive, however, requires us to make copies, and backup copies, on servers that may be located anywhere around the world.”

    If you're a fanfiction writer, or have your own conference experiences to share, why not do 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 roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Fandom Celebrations

    By Claudia Rebaza on Saturday, 20 October 2012 - 6:59pm
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    • At least some fans are getting a chance to be in their own hall of fame. Through a popular vote various sports fans competed to be in the inaugural group. "The mission of the Hall of Fans is to discover, elevate, and celebrate greatness in sports fandom. 'Greatness' can be defined by a number of attributes: loyalty, passion, impact, just to name a few. At its core, the Hall of Fans honors those who have gone above and beyond in their careers as fans...On September 5, 2012, we announced our first-ever inductees, Emily Pitek, Captain Dee-Fense, and The Green Men. A ceremony was held to honor them in Bristol, [Connecticut] on September 19."
    • While few fans will get an inauguration of their own, more fans are able to put their own fannish stories before an audience. As Katrina Andrea Manlapus writes in a Filipino news site, The Sun Star, "Being a fan girl made my life colorful. It made me gain new friends and new purpose in life. Some may not understand us why we are like this. But I hope that society will try to look deeper to why we are like this. A fan girl does not only become a fan because of the beautiful and handsome faces of our favorite actors. We became fans because of the things that they did for us and how they changed our lives."
    • A fandom's effect can also last many years. In a piece in The Washington Post, Suzi Parker wrote about that although "Duran Duran has never been a political band" it has still served as a "political unifier among Gen-X women." For some who grew up with the band, learning more about their views began to inform their own. "Fans discovered that Le Bon often tweeted about many political issues that led to them to investigating the troubles of Julian Assange or more recently, the drama around Russian punk rockers Pussy Riot." The debates then move to fan forums "where the conversation often turns on any day from John Taylor’s hair dye in the 1980s to political topics such as home schooling, Mitt Romney, the war on women and gay rights. A debate can often ensue before someone throws out a white flag – usually in the form of a Duran Duran music video or a random question about the band. At shows, fans from various socio-economic backgrounds and political persuasions come together. For two hours, politics evaporate even if a raging debate about Obama and Romney has just occurred at the venue’s bar."
    • Other long term effects are more domestic as more than a few people meet and marry fellow fans. But probably most impressive is when they come together to create a new life for their fandoms. "Half Life fans will have an opportunity to relive (or play for the first time, as it were) Valve's original 1998 title Half Life, albeit reborn and modified using the company's Source engine. The ambitious third-party project is called Black Mesa (previously known as Black Mesa: Source) and it's been in development for eight years."

    If you're a gaming fan, a music fan, a sports fan, or just a fan of your fannish spouse, why not memorialize those experiences 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 roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Fandom and Society

    By Claudia Rebaza on Friday, 19 October 2012 - 4:25pm
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    • A U.S. state senate candidate who is a gamer has had her hobby used against her. "In an unusual press release issued Thursday, the Maine GOP attacked Lachowicz for a “bizarre double life” in which she’s a devotee of the hugely popular online role-playing game World of Warcraft. In the game, she’s “Santiaga,” an "orc assassination rogue" with green skin, fangs, a Mohawk and pointy ears." However "Lachowicz has a master’s degree in social work and runs the school-based programs for a statewide mental health center. She’s the former Democratic Party chairwoman for her town and has served as vice chairwoman of the county" party." But the opposition party thinks that it's what she does in her time off that matters. "Maine GOP party spokesman David Sorenson said. 'Certainly the fact that she spends so much time on a video game says something about her work ethic and, again, her immaturity.'"
    • In nearby Connecticut a library has banned furries, but at least some of them think the library had its reasons. "'I can certainly see how [library officials] might be leery of allowing anyone in a costume to simply walk in and run about,' says Samuel Conway, head of Anthrocon, the biggest furry convention organization in the country. It's the potential attraction of children to folks dressed up like fuzzy Disney animal creatures that has librarians worried." Instead, another furry suggests that "any fursuiter who wants to appear at a library should probably meet library officials in advance, provide identification and ask for permission."
    • TheForce.Net wrote about a Miami TV station which covered a Star Wars con by focusing on the "Celebration VI photo gallery [and] proceeded to insult and demean the Star Wars fan community through the use of mean spirited captions that seemed to step over the line into full-blown cyber-bullying." The community refused to allow it, insisting through numerous challenges that the station both take down its feature and apologize to the individuals targeted. "Local10 eventually removed the post but also started removing social networking posts by Star Wars fans (especially on Facebook) that brought light to their ill-thought-out photo gallery. Then there was a sarcastic Local10 Facebook apology that just fueled the fire some more." Eventually, however, the fans prevailed. As the apology post noted their action got an international response -- "They lit up our phones, filled our Facebook page and inboxes."
    • Meanwhile The Total Fangirl podcast puts a spotlight on raising geek kids. "Your kids might be into less mainstream things because you're a geeky parent or because they happened to gravitate toward fantasy or science fiction all on their own. Either way, it can leave them feeling like no one 'gets them.'" The podcast discusses challenges, and how parents can help their kids feel like they're not weird and find a place where they belong. (No transcript available)

    If you have things to say about cyberbullying, discrimination against fans, or multigenerational fandom families, why not check out 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 roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Women in Fandom

    By Claudia Rebaza on Thursday, 11 October 2012 - 2:45pm
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    • The media has apparently decided that there are women in fandom -- a lot of them even! One of the latest features to announce this information appeared in Time Magazine, which unfortunately focused more on how their presence is controversial rather than how their contributions are awesome. But it did counter the idea that female fandom is a novel occurrence. "Karen Healey suggests that “many fandoms have been primarily female (often white, middle-class, straight, cisgendered women — but again, not exclusively) spaces for a very long time, often co-existing beside primary male fandoms for the exact same media. Women in the ’80s were trading stories and arguing about the plot arcs of Star Trek and Dr. Who, much as they do now.” That’s a point that writer and editor Rachel Edidin agrees with. “Modern fan culture has always been female-driven,” she says. “The ferocity with which people engage and identify with fictional media and build subcultures around it seems to develop in inverse proportion to their social power. There’s a case to be made for the intensity of women and girls’ engagement in fandom — especially narrative and/or direct-engagement fandom like fan fiction or cosplay — as a cultural underclass co-opting a dominant narrative in which they’re overwhelmingly underrepresented as both creators and characters.”
    • Features about female majority fandoms do seem to be multiplying. Writing for Grantland, reporter Sam Lansky discussed his experiences with K-Pop fandom. "The term “idol” correlates with the tendency toward celebrity apotheosis worldwide, but in the States, it’s rare to find anyone other than Ryan Seacrest use it to describe a pop star, since I don’t know that American fans care as much about idolatry so much as they care about themselves. Consider the instances of stalking, hacking, and B&Es targeting celebrities in the Western world...All of these aims are ultimately selfish ones, crassly commercial or materialistic. For the sasaeng fans, the business of deifying K-pop stars serves no indirect function: The lawless obsession isn’t a means to an end, it’s an end itself."
    • Meanwhile at The Awl, Rachel Monroe takes a look from the inside rather than the outside at celebrity fandoms. "The crush was a private thing that happened in my room, but it was also a shared activity between friends...Our crushes weren't about anything as simple as attainability, or kissing. You couldn't take Paul McCartney to the homecoming dance; the very idea was absurd, because the homecoming dance was an absurd nothing, especially when compared with the immensity and violence of our feelings. My mom should've understood. At the Beatles' 1966 concert in Chicago, she'd had to slap my Aunt Martha hard to get her to stop from screaming herself into a faint. From the teenyboppers to the Beliebers, teenage girls have been mocked for their crushes, but that scorn is just a shoddy mask for the anxiety these crushes inspire."
    • In writing about the strategy of promoting fantasy sports to its fans, FOXSports writer Reid Forgrave suggests women respond to fandoms differently. "The NFL knows what it’s doing here. Its embrace of fantasy football...gives fans a sense of control over this sport where many of us are priced out of attending more than a game or two a year." And “[o]nce you were able to create a competition within a competition, you brought those niche audiences to your television to watch your product,” said Ryan Fowler, the FOXSports.com fantasy editor. “That’s where it changed, where you were able to get women to see what the guys liked about it.”"
    • Women are also making gains in being recognized on the professional side. The Mary Sue noticed that half the Hugo Award winners were women this past year, including the winners for best fan artist and best fancast.

    If you have things to say about female fandom, why not write something for 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 roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews for 7 October 2012

    By Claudia Rebaza on Sunday, 7 October 2012 - 4:32pm
    Message type:

    Here's a roundup of fanfiction stories that might be of interest to fans:

    • Two writers recently were concerned about our interests in imaginary (or at least imaginary to us) relationships. In The Guardian columnist Eva Wiseman noted the thin line between fanfic and gossip reporting and asked "As fan fiction goes mainstream, isn't it time to recognise how important daydreaming about the stars has become in our day-to-day lives?" Meanwhile at xo jane Kate Conway is concerned that being addicted to relationships as depicted in fanfic is causing her real-life problems. "A lot of this is my age, too. I’m still pretty young and I recognize that I’m definitely still pretty immature. That sort of long-lasting, across-the-universe, sci-fi-style love is the stuff of legends, and in your late teens and early twenties, isn’t that what everyone believes they’ll be? The mortal trappings of ordinary relationship problems can seem so dull by comparison."
    • Media scholar Henry Jenkins hosted a four-part interview with the authors of the new book Fandom at the Crossroads: Celebration, Shame and Fan/Producer Relationships which included a discussion of hurt/comfort fanfic. Explaining why their approach included observations at fan conventions, author Kathy Larsen stated "One of the things that’s missed goes back to the idea of fan shame. You see it enacted at fan conventions where the actors are present – fans policing other fans, voicing their disapproval when certain fan practices are mentioned to actors. The fan fiction questions, for instance, are almost always booed. At one convention we attended someone had posted rules of behavior in the women’s room on all the stall doors. Fans want to get close, but they also want that gaze to work in only one direction for the most part. This isn’t something you’ll necessarily see if you’re only looking at fan interactions with other fans – or even fan reaction to fan/producer encounters posted online."
    • Certainly any shame about writing fanfiction is diminishing as one author after another is quite publicly drawn from the fan ranks to get big publishing contracts. Teen writer Abigail Gibbs felt it was the way to go. "Writing via the website meant her work was shaped by her fans and Abigail says there are huge advantages to writing in this way. 'It allows you to build a fan base and to prove that your book is marketable and that it will sell and for me it's sped things up massively,' she said. 'It went from the deal to publication in two months, so yes, it’s definitely changed publishing for the better.'" Something she didn't mention arose in both an interview with NPR's three-minute fiction winner and an interview with E.L. James. "James talks about what happens when a hobby becomes a juggernaut and there's no way to get back to what was personal and fun, writing freely. 'It's really upsetting,' she says. 'I miss it enormously, and I don't know if I'll ever be able to do it again.'" Contest winner Carrie MacKillop, gave this advice to new contest participants: "I knew that there were already over 6,000 people that had entered. And I didn't think anyone would actually read my story. And I really wrote it from the heart with the idea that no one would read it. And that was a really effective thing for me to just go for it."

    If you write from the heart, whether or not anyone reads your work, why not write something for 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 roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

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