This Week in Fandom

This Week in Fandom, Volume 54

Welcome to This Week in Fandom, the OTW’s roundup of things which are happening! Before we start, a shoutout to Fandom‘s blog for the best headline to come out of E3: ‘Super Mario Odyssey’ Shows You Can Teach an Old Hat Magical New Tricks. You can watch the trailer for the game here on Nintendo’s YouTube channel. And while we’re talking trailers, check out new material from Spiderman: Homecoming.

It’s been 20 years since Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was first published. Wow. Mashable published an article about how technology grew along with the series, allowing the fandom to grow and author JK Rowling to engage with it. also published a long article about the anniversary which sums up the series’ impact pretty well:

“What we celebrate on June 26 is more than a bestselling children’s book series, but what it has come to mean and developed into in the twenty years since 1997. The everlasting effects of the magic can be seen all around the muggle world, which will now forever pale in comparison to the wonderful wizarding world created by JK Rowling. Countless Potterheads are still waiting for an owl to fly in through a window with our letters from The Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. We won’t give up!”


OTW Guest Post

OTW Guest Post: Ann McClellan

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.

Ann McClellan is Professor and Chair of English at Plymouth State University where she teaches classes on 19th and 20th century British Literature, film/adaptation studies, and digital literature. Her scholarship interests include Sherlock Holmes and/in popular culture and British women’s campus fiction. Today, Ann talks about her article on Sherlock Holmes fandom in the latest issue of Transformative Works and Cultures.

How did you first become aware of fandom and fanworks?

In a sense, I always ‘knew’ about fandom through my own research and teaching interests in adaptation studies, but no one ever called such texts “fan texts” when I was in school. I’ve long been interested in how ‘authorized’ writers and filmmakers have colonized and transformed canonical texts like The Scarlet Letter, Jane Austen’s novels, and Shakespeare’s plays, but it wasn’t until a friend introduced me to Sherlock when it premiered on PBS in 2010 that I really learned about fan culture and fandom more specifically.

Of course, events like ComicCon had already entered the contemporary zeitgeist by 2010 when Sherlock reached the US, so I was aware of such gatherings, but I had no idea how pervasive and diverse they were until my own explorations in online Sherlock fandom beginning in 2011. I can’t remember the precise reason or prompt, but I began researching Sherlock online and discovered LiveJournal and fan fiction for the first time—in my forties! I instantly became addicted to the serial nature of fan fiction and writers’ ability to immerse me into the show’s world through various ‘fix it’ fics, AU fantasies, slash, and other genres. Soon, this new world of fan fiction became my personal and professional obsession and my previous plan to write a book on Sherlock Holmes in popular culture quickly morphed into a book on Sherlock fan fiction and world building.


This Week in Fandom

This Week in Fandom, Volume 44

Welcome to This Week in Fandom, the OTW’s roundup of things which are happening! Before we start, how’s March Madness going for everyone? Fun times? Bitter defeat? Lots of game day snacks?

There’s been a lot written about race, ethnicity, and culture in fandom lately. YA fantasy author Alwyn Hamilton wrote a personal essay for BizzFeed about how growing up bicultural created a social disconnect that was eventually remedied by books and fandom. Her experience of discovering fandom and opening up through a love of media is one shared by myself and at least a dozen people I know, and the way it helped ease the cultural divide shows the positive impact fandom can have.

I internalised books in a way you only do when you’re first finding things on your own, and you sense that this book was written just for you, and you can’t help but feel that revealing anything about it might potentially be revealing something vulnerable and personal. […] [But Harry Potter] was a universal phenomenon, a cultural touchstone I shared with friends and classmates. […] And if [another girl] wasn’t afraid to admit her love of the Wizarding World, I supposed I could put myself out there too and own it. […] Telling you about a book or movie I love still feels like baring a piece of my soul. The difference is, I’m now good at baring that part of myself.