Hello and welcome to This Week in Fandom, the OTW’s roundup of things that are happening! As with last week’s TWIF we are offering a slight variation on our regular format, with a lot of people still at home and much of the entertainment world still on hold. But fear not, despite the hard times everyone is experiencing, we’ve sought out some good things happening around the globe. Have you encountered any exciting fandom ideas or initiatives? Let us know in the comments and we might feature them in a future TWIF!
First, it’s clear that fans under movement restrictions, currently in place around the world, are in many cases turning to fanworks for entertainment. AO3 traffic saw a spike from 262 million views in the first week of March to 298 million in the final week, enough of a difference that we’re having to make a few changes to some users’ experience in order to maintain an optimal experience for everyone. But it’s not just fanwork consumption that’s been affected. As Aja Romano observed this week in an article for Vox, fan creators are already making the best of these exceptional circumstances by creating something new: the quarantine trope.
imagine being quarantined with your enemy… and you have to share a bed… and you slowly grow closer… and end up being… lovers
— 𝔏𝔲𝔠𝔦𝔞🕊️ (@eyretartt) March 14, 2020
As you can see, the quarantine (or self-isolation) trope offers a topical adaptation of the legendary fandom favourite, And They Were Roommates (Oh My God, They Were Roommates). What better way to flatten the curve, and make the best of a stressful situation, than staying home and spending some quality time developing your own variant on the theme? Or, as we say, improvise. Adapt. Overcome. We got this. Leave it to the fans to transform and create in a time of crisis.
If you’re interested in the other ways that fan creators have responded to the COVID-19 crisis, articles on the subject have already begun to pop up online. Gavia Baker-Whitelaw at the Daily Dot has an interesting article on the ways in which current events, like this one, translate into fan communities; and Palmer Haasch at Business Insider offers a similar, shorter piece which includes a conversation with a fan creator about her motivations.