OTW Fannews: Uncovering fandom

  • The Washington Post Reader Express met with fans, including some OTW staffers, at last month’s Awesome Con in D.C., then wrote about the “Unforbidden Love” expressed in fanfiction. “Fan fiction is like methadone to a heroin addict, offering a come-down from the high of the original creation. It’s a rebound relationship, filling the gaping hole left when a favorite series ends (or starts to suck).” Although the AO3 is mentioned as a fanfic resource, the article incorrectly states that people must sign up for an account to read its content, rather than to publish content on the site. A bonus for readers? Slashy fanart created for the article.
  • More perplexed is the post from the point of view of a bemused mother discovering fanfiction through her kids. “Someone asked me what genres Diana has been reading, and I had to acknowledge that lately it’s been a whole lot of fan fiction (does that even get called a genre, really?). If I am lucky, the person asking is even older or more out of it than I am, and says, ‘Wha?’ and I get to act like I have any idea of what I’m talking about.” She then cites some positive points about “kids reading fan fiction (or watching people read it on YouTube? Which is apparently a Thing?).”
  • Nebraska Educational Telecommunications did an interview with Tanya Cochran, associate professor of English at Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska about bronies and fandom. “So what is the difference between a person who simply enjoys a book series, a musical album, a television show, or a video game and a person who considers herself or himself a fan? The answer is actually quite complex, but on the surface, the main difference is the amount of time and emotional investment one devotes to engagement with and extension of the central narrative.” She points out that to study fan culture is to study narrative power and social assumptions. “Ultimately, Brony fandom by its very existence invites us to practice the disciplines of listening and of avoiding, in Nigerian author Chimamanda Adichie’s words, ‘the danger of a single story.’ It is for reasons like these that I fell in love with studying fandom and exploring my own fan identity and practices. In essence, all fandoms have much to tell us about what it means to be human.”

What do you think exploring fandoms can teach people? 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.