OTW Guest Post

OTW Guest Post: Una McCormack

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.

Una McCormack is a New York Times bestselling author specialising in TV tie-in fiction, a lecturer in creative writing, and an academic who has written on subjects such as Blake’s 7 fandom and Tolkien fanfiction. In 2017, she was a judge for the Clarke Award, given each year to the best science fiction novel published in the UK. Today, Una talks with us about a life spent in fandom.

How did you first get into fandom and fanworks?

My first exposure to fandom was at a very young age: my (much) older sibling was a fan of the 1970s BBC science fiction programme Blake’s 7, and went to several conventions when it was still on air (circa 1979). I was seven or eight at the time. My sibling brought back a pile of zines, which I have to this day. I loved reading these stories: it really blew my mind that these characters that I loved could continue having adventures off-screen. I started drawing my own comics, stick-man cartoons based on Blake’s 7. This turned into fiction when I was about 16 or 17. There was some pretty heartfelt poetry at the time too.

I got online in the early 90s (I met my other half through a university Doctor Who bulletin board, but that’s another story…), and from around the mid-90s I was very involved in online discussion and fanfiction groups, particularly Blake’s 7, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and, later, Tolkien fanfiction groups. I got onto LiveJournal in the early 2000s. So I feel like fandom has always been a part of my life, in one way or another, for nearly 40 years now.

(more…)

Banner by James Baxter with a calendar icon and the text This Week in Fandom on a white background

This Week in Fandom, Volume 91

Welcome to This Week in Fandom, the OTW’s roundup of things which are happening! Before we start, have you liked the OTW’s Facebook page? If you enjoy the stories in TWIF, you’ll enjoy and sometimes recognize the stories we share on Facebook, too!


Two such stories are a recent article from The Guardian and an article from The Straits Times, both of which include interviews with Naomi Novik, a novelist and one of the OTW’s founders. Novik, who just published Spinning Silver, her latest novel, spoke at length in the interviews about her love for fanfiction. (more…)

This Week in Fandom banner by Deven Wilson

This Week in Fandom, Volume 86

Welcome to This Week in Fandom, the OTW’s roundup of things which are happening! Before we start, just a reminder for all Check, Please! fans to send us your questions for Ngozi Ukazu. You have until June 22nd to use our contact form (put “Ngozi Ukazu Guest Post” in the subject line) for your questions.


Apologies for last week’s mini-hiatus. Here’s the biggest story from then, in case you missed it.

Star Wars fans were recently in the spotlight due to actress Kelly Marie Tran deleting all of her Instagram posts after “months of harassment,” according to an article from E! Online. Fellow Star Wars actress Daisy Ridley also left Instagram in 2017 after being harassed. It’s part of what some people are calling a larger pattern of “toxic fandom,” which Wired presents in an interesting way:

The new versions come to seem like aggressive critiques of the older work and by extension an existential attack on people who love it. In their minds, critiques of monochrome casting become criticism of people who liked those prior versions—critiques of them—landing at the exact moment they lose perceived centrality in a story they thought they owned.

(more…)