This Week In Fandom

This Week In Fandom, Volume 136

Hello and welcome to This Week in Fandom, the OTW’s roundup of things that are happening. Have you ever written heartfelt love letters to your crushes, and kept them secret? That’s the plot of To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, which took the internet by storm in 2018, and this week its sequel To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You was released on Valentine’s Day. Did you watch it? Are you going to? Feel free to gush and squee in the comments!


Another new item on Valentine’s Day was the publication of an article by the BBC dealing with the backlash around the Sonic the Hedgehog character design and other fan movements, asking whether “fans are too entitled”. The article tackles issues of resistance and incorporation paradigms, what fans want and what fans need, as well as deconstructing the current social climate within fandoms. For example, it compares fan campaigns such as the one to rewrite the end of the Game of Thrones TV series to other more political and discriminatory movements like the abuse directed at Kelly Marie Tran during The Last Jedi, which ended in Tran leaving social media to shield herself from harassment. Academic Suzanne Scott explains that:

“In my view, the relationship between these incidents and our current political moment is completely symbiotic: in retrospect, these incidents seem like a subcultural sign of things to come, but our culture war isn’t a product of fandom. If anything, this moment in fan culture is evidence of how long these culture wars have been waged, and how deeply they permeate our interactions with society, culture, and each other.”

While many fan campaigns seem justified or understandable, with for example Sonic The Hedgehog smashing the box office with a record-breaking $57 million in its opening weekend after fan backlash prompted a redesign, other sub-movements are rooted in prejudice and it’s clear that fandom isn’t a united community. While most of us were excited to see the all-female Ghostbusters reboot or having a black character, Finn, as a major character in the latest Star Wars franchise, a minority of fans felt entitled to voice their discontent at such diversity — and that’s the kind of fan entitlement we don’t like to see. Read More

This Week in Fandom

This Week In Fandom, Volume 132

Hello and welcome to This Week in Fandom, the OTW’s roundup of things that are happening. It’s Copyright Week and appropriately enough, we have several stories for you that all operate at the intersection between fanfiction and traditional publishing. Buckle up!


First off, an article by Sian Cain for the Guardian on how Fifty Shades of Grey “changed our sex lives”. Focusing on EL James’s native country, the UK, Cain explores the ongoing legacy of James’s trilogy, ‘the runaway bestselling books’ of the 2010s. Cain’s account traces ripple effects across the publishing industry, the BDSM scene, and even the law. She gives space to the criticisms leveled at James’s work by ‘BDSM practitioners and domestic abuse campaigners’ and acknowledges its problematic effects, but she also finds some positive consequences from the international obsession with Grey’s story and sexual behaviors. In any case, it’s a thoroughly-researched insight into what is still online fanfiction’s most famous mainstream success. Read More

This Week In Fandom

This Week In Fandom, Volume 131

Hello and welcome to This Week in Fandom, the OTW’s roundup of things that are happening. Before we start, the Oscar nominations were released yesterday. What do you make of them? Let us know in the comments!


Our ‘OTW in the news’ radar was set off this week by Kaitlyn Tiffany’s charming piece in The Atlantic, ‘The Early Internet, Explained by One Weird Celine Dion Fan Site’. Tiffany interviews Yury Toroptsov, the creator of Celine Dreams, a website which ran from 2001 to 2011 and on which Toroptsov encouraged fellow fans to submit their dreams about Dion for his (public) interpretation. At Celine Dreams’ peak, Toroptsov was a BNF in online Celine Dion fandom; but the piece is more than a portrait of his particular experience. Instead, it takes the website as the jumping-off point for an exploration of online fandom culture’s transient quality. Tiffany mentions the Yahoo Groups closure, points out that Celine Dreams is only available via the Wayback Machine’s limited record, and gives a shoutout to the OTW’s efforts to preserve fan culture. She reminds us that Tumblr, a key fan platform through the 2000s and 2010s, ‘did not start collecting and collating data about fandom’ until 2013. This is important, Tiffany argues, despite the apparent triviality of the subject matter: ‘By itself, a website devoted to (possibly fake) dreams about Celine Dion is perhaps not our most urgent archival task. But in aggregate, fan sites like Toroptsov’s provide a valuable history of the ways web 1.0 users exercised fandom to provide their daily lives with context and color.’ The history of fandom and the history of the internet are closely entwined; we should do what we can to preserve them both. Read More