This Week in Fandom

This Week in Fandom, Volume 142

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.

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.

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OTW Guest Post

OTW Guest Post: Betts

From time to time, the OTW will be hosting guest posts on our OTW News accounts. These guests will be providing an outside perspective on the OTW or aspects of fandom where our projects may have a presence. The posts express each author’s personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OTW or constitute OTW policy. We welcome suggestions from fans for future guest posts, which can be left as a comment here or by contacting us directly.

Beth Weeks (Betts) received her MFA from Miami University, where she currently teaches creative writing and composition. Her work has been published in Rivet Journal, Midwestern Gothic, and Quarter After Eight. You can find her on Twitter and Tumblr. Today, Betts talks about how she became a fanfic writer.

How did you first find out about fandom and fanworks?

I was 11 the first time I found fanfiction. It was a small Geocities archive for the show Dark Angel. I opened up an explicit fic, though, and immediately panicked, vowing not to go searching for Max/Alec content anymore. I was 23 when fanfic found me again. There were only six episodes of BBC Sherlock at the time, and Post-Reichenbach fics were flourishing. I had a Tumblr already; it had been introduced to me by a friend who said it was the “motherlode of lesbians and cats.”

I stumbled across a rec to EmmaGrant01’s “A Cure for Boredom,” then a WIP, and I thought, I too am bored. I found myself many hours later, nose to screen, huddled in a blanket burrito, occasionally rolling around saying “oh my god.” When I finally glanced away from the fic, it was dark outside and I’d forgotten to eat. I’d read thousands of books, but fanfic seemed unlike any of them. It took my favorite elements of narrative, gutted all the stuff I didn’t care about (plot) and beefed up all the stuff I did (character). Fanfic was risky and urgent and earnest — everything I thought good writing should be.

Later, I traveled around South America and New Zealand, and whenever I got homesick and couldn’t manage to sleep, I’d pull up a Johnlock fic and curl up in my hostel bunk, among dozens of other snoring backpackers, so I could feel connected to something again. Fanfiction became a piece of home I carried with me. No matter where I was, there was somewhere I knew I belonged.

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This Week In Fandom, Volume 140

Hello and welcome to This Week in Fandom, the OTW’s roundup of things that are happening! It’s been a strange week for many of us but some things remain reassuringly constant: as Jessica Mason observed in The Mary Sue, Supernatural has a gif for this. Season 5 episode ‘The End’, which aired in 2009, featured a postapocalyptic world in which prophet Chuck Shurley advised Dean to ‘Hoard toilet paper… like it’s made of gold’. Time for a rewatch?

We might be stuck rewatching old episodes of our favourite shows for a little while; like many other movie and television productions across the world, production came to a halt this week on the current (and final) season of Supernatural with just two episodes left to film. Producer Jim Michaels tweeted a reassuring message to fans:

As well as production delays, the Covid-19 situation has seen the postponement of numerous festivals, conventions, and movie releases. As well as the new James Bond film, No Time To Die, which has been delayed until November, Disney is holding off on the live-action Mulan, and X-Men movie The New Mutants, which has already seen a series of delays, had its April release date cancelled.

On the other hand, some studios have opted to hurry forward the release of some titles to streaming: Birds of Prey, the Harley Quinn movie that’s still showing in some theatres, will be digitally available from March 24. And new forms of entertainment have been springing up into the void that the others have left! Twitter is hosting Covideo Parties, art clubs and bedtime stories for bored children (or just those who like to be read to sleep). Culture adapts pretty quickly, it seems! Read More