Hello and welcome to This Week in Fandom, the OTW’s roundup of things that are happening! As we start to get into the rhythm of life at home, we’ve managed to pull together a fairly tasty update for you with some highlights from around the web. First up, did you see John Krasinski’s Some Good News this week, and the surprise he organised for 9-year-old Hamilton fan Aubrey? As Krasinski says, ‘If you can’t get to Hamilton, bring Hamilton to you.’ Have you seen any other good celeb home broadcasts this week? Feel free to share them in the comments!
On Tor.com this week, Ryan Britt talks to Star Trek: Picard showrunner Michael Chabon (warning: the article contains some spoilers) about his decision to make himself approachable to fans, regularly taking questions via Instagram in a move which effectively cuts out the media middleman. As Britt identifies, Chabon isn’t the only creator taking a similar tack: Lauren Schmidt Hissrich, of The Witcher, and Rafe Judkins of the new Wheel of Time TV series also take conspicuous pleasure in engaging directly with the fandoms for their respective shows. ‘I did it to connect to the people who love it. That was the motivation’, Chabon says. We’re definitely always happy to see people make time and space for fans, although we’re not totally sure this is quite the ‘brave new trend’ that Britt suggests. Joss Whedon was notorious for haunting Buffy fan spaces back in the day!
Next up, GeekDad has an interview with urban fantasy and comic book writer Seanan McGuire (who also publishes science fiction as Mira Grant), which devotes a good deal of space to McGuire’s history in fandom and specifically her involvement with fanfiction. McGuire and interviewer Sean Z talk about fanfic’s cultural status, the gender dynamics at play in its creation and consumption, and the ways in which writing fic has helped to shape McGuire’s professional career (‘I feel like fanfic is a great school of hard knocks’). They also discuss the platforms where fic writing has taken place over the years (‘I miss Livejournal’) and how it feels to have people writing fanfiction of your work. ‘The first time one of my fandoms was listed as an option for Yuletide, I literally cried’, McGuire says.
Over at Vulture, Maria Elena Fernandez asked the writers of iconic television shows what they’d include in a ‘coronavirus’ episode, if they were able to write one. The result is (effectively) 37 miniature fanworks: scripts, outlines, excerpts and even a video from Jane the Virgin‘s Rogelia De La Vega.
If you’re interested in how Leslie Knope, Liz Lemon, Jack Bauer or Selina Meyer might handle the crisis, click on through; and if you’re not convinced by the semi-official story, you know what to do!
Meanwhile, Insider takes a deep dive into ‘Fix Your Attitude’, a Kylo Ren/reader fic which first appeared on AO3, Wattpad and Tumblr back in 2016 but which seems to have taken on a new lease of life on TikTok in 2020. Journalist Palmer Haasch interviews the fic’s creator, ‘Anna L’, about what it’s like to have a fic go viral, in an article which also includes plenty of TikTok clips and even links to an original song that one enthusiast created about Anna’s work.
As the article points out, not all of the commentary has been glowing with praise (one reader called it ‘The “My Immortal” for our generation), but for Anna, this comes with the territory. Ultimately, she concludes that any engagement is worth having. ‘I think this [going viral] is the type of response most writers, especially fanfic writers, only ever dream of’, she says.
One last snippet of news before we finish: did you see that Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl is going to be adapted as a manga? Rowell posted the news on her Twitter this week. She promises more content, not only about Cath, but also about Simon and Baz, the fictional characters who are the subject of Cath’s fanworks within the story and who later spawned Rowell’s own novels Carry On and Wayward Son.