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

OTW Guest Post

OTW Guest Post: Briony

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.

Briony is a vidder from the UK who has been editing fanvids for more than 12 years. Her work can be found on YouTube. Today, Briony talks about her experience creating fanworks.

How did you first find out about fandom and fanworks?

Like many, I have always been very fannish for as long as I can remember. As a child I committed intensely and wholeheartedly to any given media text that captured my attention. I was also very creative and would often create de facto fanart. It wasn’t until I was in my early teens that I serendipitously discovered Real Fandom. I was trying to find a scene from Titanic (one of the first texts I engaged with in an intensely fannish way as a child) on YouTube and I was instead presented with a fanvid.

I was completely enthralled. I loved the synthesis between image and sound and the way that the vidder had reworked the footage to highlight salient aspects of the text. The creator of the vid mentioned a popular Titanic fansite in their description that hosted a range of clips available for download. I soon headed to the fansite, downloaded all the footage I could find on there, and almost immediately began editing what would become my first ever fanvid. This soon introduced me to the world of fan forums, fan sites, mailing lists, and the like.

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