March 2016

That’s Wrong! Homophobia, Slash Art, and Late-Night Television

March 31, 2016 // 2 Comments

There has been a recent and unfortunate trend on late-night talk shows whereby hosts force sexually explicit fanart upon their celebrity guests to embarrass them and to provoke laughter from the audience. Mocking and ridiculing fan works on national television has led fans to restrict access to their works, remove them from the Internet, or in some cases, stop making fanart altogether. An even more insidious side of this trend, however, is the undercurrent of homophobia during these segments, //

Not for Turning by eitoph

March 27, 2016 // 0 Comments

“There’s something about her that projects authority – whether or not someone in her position would traditionally manage a crisis like this doesn’t matter, it’s an unspoken agreement among everyone buzzing around that Mary knows what she’s doing and is unmistakably in charge while they ride out the storm.” In this modern adaptation of Downton Abbey, we’re plunged headfirst into a beleaguered Prime Minister’s office, a host of political //

Creating Non-Canon Characters that People Will Actually Like

March 26, 2016 // 1 Comment

Poorly written non-canon characters (aka OCs or original characters) account for 99% of all the heavy sighs and eye rolls for lovers of fanfiction. Why is this? Usually these characters are used as insufferable know-it-alls or hyper over-powered panacea characters designed to solve all of the canon characters’ problems (aka make any story instantaneously boring). In the worst case, they are the equivalent of fanfiction booty calls, with about as much depth, personality or consistency. Despite //

Played for Laughs: Shaming Fans on Late-Night Talk Shows

March 23, 2016 // 3 Comments

There has been an unfortunate trend in recent years of late-night talk show hosts shoving fan works, particularly slash fanart, into celebrities’ faces. Judging by the clips spanning the international late-night landscape, from The Graham Norton Show to Jimmy Kimmel Live, the purpose of these segments is to shock and appall the celebrity victims and their audiences. Ripped from online fan sites without permission, fan works become the butt of a cruel joke that mocks and ridicules their //

How Writers Can (Better) Deal with Fandom Conflict

March 17, 2016 // 0 Comments

While I would not go so far as to say conflict is essential to fandom, I would say it is inevitable. Fans disagree about things, they always have, they always will, and nothing producers do or say, either in the text or outside of it, will forestall this inevitability. Works of art are open to interpretation, and with that openness comes people disagreeing about everything from who belongs with who romantically to whether or not X character deserves a redemption arc. Moreover, all art is //

Bucky Barnes: Living with a Bionic Limb

March 13, 2016 // 0 Comments

Science in Popular Culture is a column by contributor Jae Bailey. In this column, Jae explores the science and technology of bionic limbs, arc reactors, and Death Stars in popular culture. Welcome back to Part Three of the Science in Popular Culture series! In Part One, I wrote about what it might be like for Iron Man to live with an arc reactor in his chest. This time I’ll focus on what life with a metal limb might be like for Edward Elric from Full Metal Alchemist, Marvel’s //

Fan Activism: Trans Interventions in Fandom and Beyond

March 10, 2016 // 1 Comment

Fanfiction is political, subversive, radical. Writing Harry Potter as a girl, Hermione as black, or Ron as transgender exposes people to narratives written from the perspective of marginalized communities. But is writing fanfiction a type of activism? Fan activism refers to how participation in fandom develops into involvement in fan-led political activities. In a 2012 article entitled “‘Cultural Acupuncture:’ Fan Activism and the Harry Potter Alliance,” scholar Henry Jenkins defines //

The Ethics of Real Person Fiction

March 6, 2016 // 2 Comments

“Here’s my opinion on people writing sexually oriented fanfiction about real people. It’s WRONG, CREEPY, VERY EXTREMELY ICKY, and should be ILLEGAL.” This impassioned statement by Nightrunner author Lynn Flewelling in a 2004 response to fans is a clear indictment of Real Person Fiction or RPF. A lot is made in fan culture about the ethics behind RPF, a branch of fan writing defined by Fanlore as “fanfiction written about actual people, rather than fictional characters.” Both the //

Fanfic Tropes and Clichéd Plots: How to Keep Your Writing Unique

March 1, 2016 // 2 Comments

At some point in our lives we have probably all experienced it: the movie or book you were looking forward to simply didn’t live up to expectations. It was boring, it was predictable—it was cliché. Every step of the journey we knew exactly what was going to happen. It’s not all about predictability, however. If it were so simple no one would ever read a book twice or watch a movie more than once. No one would bother rebooting an old franchise or re-writing Pride and Prejudice. //