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This Week in Fandom, Volume 22

The Hugo Awards announced its winners this weekend, and it was bad news for the asinine ‘Puppy’ movement, which encourages Hugo voters to select works that do not feature progressive messages and that are not written by women or people of colour. The coveted Best Novel prize was awarded to N.K. Jemisin, a Black woman, for The Fifth Season. The book takes place on a planet plagued by an occasional season of nightmarish climate change and is available on Amazon and through other book retailers. Add it to your reading list and let us know what you think!

Looking for something for a younger audience? YA books have some of the largest and most passionate fandoms around, so it makes sense that Hannah Moskowitz and Kat Helgeson would write a YA book about fandom. Gena/Finn tells the story of two young women who meet through online fandom and influence each other’s lives. The book explores issues that will be familiar for most of us, including the difficulties with being a ‘closeted’ fan.

How do you feel about the increasing number of commercial works focused on fans and fandom? Are we being represented or exploited? Keep in mind that most writers who focus on fandom are themselves fans—Helgeson refers to herself as a fangirl and mentions a preoccupation with fictional people.

If you’d rather read about real fan history, the incomparable Flourish Klink investigated the many uses of the term ‘ship’ this week.

The term “ship” came from a particular pairing—at least according to fannish legend. X-files fans who wanted to see Mulder and Scully get together (and were therefore into MSR, the Mulder/Scully Relationship) were deemed “relationshippers,” eventually shortened to r’shippers or shippers.

Last but not least, BioWare made the unpopular announcement last week that it would discontinue its gaming forums, which allowed users to converse with the production teams behind games like Mass Effect and Dragon Age. The forums have hosted some amount of toxicity in the past, particularly in response to social justice themes in Dragon Age: Inquisition, but they also provided a place for gamers to report and discuss bugs, connect with other users, and directly influence the media they love. Was closing the forum a mistake? Tell us in the comments!

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