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.
imagine being quarantined with your enemy… and you have to share a bed… and you slowly grow closer… and end up being… lovers
— 𝔏𝔲𝔠𝔦𝔞🕊️ (@eyretartt) March 14, 2020
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.
Meanwhile, there was some good news this week for fans of the BBC series Killing Eve: the third season will be released two weeks early, on April 12 in the US and April 13 in the UK. A new trailer dropped last weekend, hinting that the relationship between Eve and Villanelle is reaching crisis point. Watch the trailer (warning for mild spoilers) below:
As we observed last week, Killing Eve is the exception rather than the rule, and in the last few weeks, a good many movie and TV releases have been suspended or postponed. Fortunately, fans have taken the matter in their own hands and created a variety of challenges, streams, and other events to create their own entertainment. Over at The Rec Center, a weekly newsletter of fandom recs, Elizabeth and Gavia have been recommending some of these: including ebp-brain (or earlybloomingparentheses on AO3), who has started a fic fest, Fic Journal of the Plague Year. It is open to any fic written during the period of the coronavirus situation, and requests writers to include commentary in the endnote explaining how the fic was affected by the crisis. Elsewhere, the Con-solation community on Dreamwidth is offering a platform for fans to premiere vids that were due to be aired at conventions that have now been cancelled or postponed.
And that’s it for today, folks! As we’ve seen, the sense of community that comes from online fandom is a meaningful source of support for many people during these hard times. If you have additional content recommendations or if you know of any online events that have been set up, please do not hesitate to leave a comment and spread the cheer! We will be keeping an eye out for more initiatives to feature in next week’s newsletter.