The Least Expected Archive is Coming to the AO3

Least Expected, a J.R.R. Tolkien slash fanfiction archive, is being imported to the Archive of Our Own (AO3).

In this post:

Background explanation

In order to preserve the fannish history of Tolkien fandom as best as possible, the Least Expected archive will be recovered from storage and preserved as a collection on the Archive of Our Own. Least Expected was the first Tolkien fanfiction archive that welcomed slash fanfic, and was associated with the email list tolkien_slash ( It was active from September 1999 through February 2002, and many of the stories in its archive don’t exist anywhere else.

Open Doors will be working with Amy Fortuna to import Least Expected into a separate, searchable collection on the Archive of Our Own.

We will begin importing works from Least Expected to the AO3 after April.

What does this mean for creators who have/had work(s) on Least Expected?

We will send an import notification to the e-mail address we have for each creator. We’ll do our best to check for an existing copy of any works before importing. If we find a copy already on the AO3, we will invite it to the collection instead of importing it. All works archived on behalf of a creator will include their name in the byline or the summary of the work.

All imported works will be set to be viewable only by logged-in AO3 users. Once you claim your works, you can make them publicly-viewable if you choose. After 30 days, all unclaimed imported works will be made visible to all visitors.

Please contact Open Doors with your Least Expected pseud(s) and e-mail address(es), if:

  1. You’d like us to import your works, but you need the notification sent to a different email address than you used on the original archive.
  2. You already have an AO3 account and have imported your works already yourself.
  3. You’d like to import your works yourself (including if you don’t have an AO3 account yet).
  4. You would NOT like your works moved to the AO3.
  5. You are happy for us to preserve your works on the AO3, but would like us to remove your name.
  6. If you have any other questions we can help you with.

Please include the name of the archive in the subject heading of your email. If you’ve posted the works elsewhere, or have an easy way to verify that they’re yours, that’s great. If you don’t, we will work with the moderator to confirm your claims.

Please see the Open Doors Website for instructions on:

If you still have questions…

If you have further questions, visit the Open Doors FAQ, contact the Open Doors committee, or leave a comment on this post and we’ll respond as soon as we can.

We’d also love it if fans could help us preserve the story of Least Expected on Fanlore. If you’re new to wiki editing, no worries! Check out the new visitor portal, or ask Fanlore for tips.

We’re excited to be able to help preserve Least Expected!

– The Open Doors team and Amy Fortuna

Open Doors

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