OTW Fannews: Who’s Fandoming Now?

Several people are silhouetted against a sky fading after sunset, posing as though dancing.  Text in front of them reads 'OTW Fannews: Who's Fandoming Now?'

  • South Africa’s Daily Maverick provided an overview of fandom with some definitions. “You cannot be a part of fandom if you love something but do not interact with fellow fans. Fandom is less a kingdom of fanatics and more a kinship of one…Imagine this happening; a group of fans sit down, someone says I really thought x should have been y and almost everyone agrees on the fact. Not that big a deal, right? Now imagine that they do that same thing on the internet. Suddenly the scope of people who are meaningfully discussing and often reach consensus numbers in the thousands, tens of thousands, sometimes much more than that. That alone is a powerful thing; hard for the original creator of a book or TV show to ignore, but it is not the only powerful thing about fandom.”
  • As each year passes, it seems most people take part in fandom in some way, however unlikely. It’s also increasingly seen as a professional outlet. ABS CBN News featured live erotica readings in the Philippines that included fanfic creations, though these at least were created by the performers. ” The writers dream up their concoctions in various formats: monologues, radio plays, fan fiction, interactive games. They draw inspiration from everywhere: history, art, science, comic books, movies. Once a draft is ready, it’s submitted to a core group of writers who conduct an informal workshop, offering comments and and revision, until there’s a general consensus that the work is ready.”
  • The Daily Beast focused on print erotica, interviewing a writer selling U.S. president fanfic on Amazon. “‘I wanted to write something that had never been done, but then I thought, ‘Oh, this is a really interesting idea,’’ he said, before adding that in fact, presidential erotica has sort of been done. ‘There was some [erotica] that involved sex with four presidents, but they were all consecutive. No one had sex with William Howard Taft (1909-1913) but also Richard Nixon.” No mention was made of Historical RPF fanworks.
  • As a conversation between Neil Gaiman and Kazuo Ishiguro at The New Statesman pointed out, commercializing fanwork is hardly new. “I love the fact that, you know, in the early versions of King Lear, the story had a happy ending. Shakespeare turned it into a tragedy, and through the 18th and 19th centuries they kept trying to give it a happy ending again. But people kept going back to the one that Shakespeare created. You could definitely view Shakespeare as fan fiction, in his own way. I’ve only ever written, as far as I know, one book that did the thing that happens when people online get hold of it and start writing their own fiction, which was Good Omens, which I did with Terry Pratchett. It’s a 100,000-word book; there’s probably a million words of fiction out there by now, written by people who were inspired by characters in the book.” (Gaiman is mistaken about the limits of his success, though).

Make sure your own favorite fanworks don’t get forgotten: write about them 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 Fannews post, and inclusion of a link doesn’t mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.