Culture

The Trouble With Genderswap

January 31, 2016 // 4 Comments

Genderswap stories proliferate in fandom: from Harriet Potter to Jeanne Picard to Shirley Holmes. The genre gained a foothold during the early 1990s, when queer fanfiction surged in popularity due to its transition from print-based zines to online. One of the most influential genderswap fics is My Fair Jeanne (Ruth Gifford, 1995), a Star Trek: The Next Generation fic in which Captain Picard is transformed into a woman by the alien trickster known as Q. By definition, genderswap fanfiction //

The Bad Guy Always Wins: Why We Romanticize Antagonists

January 26, 2016 // 1 Comment

The first time I fell head over heels for an antagonist was when I read Interview with the Vampire at the wise old age of thirteen. I instantly became enthralled with Lestat in all his robust glory and his snarky, large personality despite him being portrayed as a selfish monster. I’ve always been fascinated by antagonists that don’t quite seem to understand they are the villain in someone else’s story. Eventually as a writer, and as a consumer of media, it became important for me to //

Why Do We Ship Non-Canon Couples?

December 15, 2015 // 5 Comments

As fans, we adore the things our favorite writers create for us. Why then do so many of us blatantly ignore canon and obsess over non-canon couples? There are plenty of canon love stories for us, yet for many of us, most of our attention is focused on the non-canon. According to a census of the most popular shipping tags on Archive Of Our Own, the most popular couple tag on the website in 2014 was Sherlock Holmes and John Watson from the tv show Sherlock, who canonically are a pair of mutual //

The Demise of Fandom on Tumblr

December 2, 2015 // 2 Comments

If you have an account on Tumblr—and if you’re involved with fandom, you probably do—you might have noticed a few unsettling changes: replies are gone, tracked tags are now tracked searches, and there’s more recommended content than curated content on your dash. Who is this person posting about this ship I don’t like? I don’t need to buy shoes. That is the ugliest looking video game I have ever seen in my life! That’s what browsing Tumblr feels like now. And //

Beyond the DSM-V: Representing Mental Illness in Fanfiction

December 1, 2015 // 4 Comments

I read a lot of superhero fanfic, and therefore I read a lot of fic featuring depictions of PTSD and depression. In a Marvel blockbuster, the focus is usually on plot before people. Because of an ensemble cast, there is only enough time to hint at the psychological complexities of an individual character. So we see Tony Stark have a few panic attacks and be really flippant about it. In a scene cut from the first Avengers, we see Steve Rogers engaging in mundane tasks (riding the subway, sitting //

Fanfiction: A Worldwide Phenomenon

November 25, 2015 // 1 Comment

Fanfiction recently hit mainstream media thanks in part to E. L. James and her erotica series, 50 Shades of Grey, which began as a BDSM Twilight spinoff. Among the many conversations held over the last several years, fanfiction legality and legitimacy are issues that have been raised repeatedly. The Wall Street Journal even did an article in 2012 about best-selling authors who began their career with the help of fanfiction. But beyond the USA, fanfiction can also be found in other parts of the //

What Does it Mean When my Kid Ships Something?

November 15, 2015 // 4 Comments

“I ship JohnLock.” If you’re hearing those words, or similar ones, in your house lately, you may be wondering what exactly it means. What is shipping anyway? It’s certainly nothing to panic about. The word, ship, is short for relationship, and when someone ‘ships someone, it just means that they would like to see them hook up. It’s generally intended for fictional characters; my example above relates to the BBC show Sherlock and my belief that John Watson is in love with //

The Public Domain and the Building of a Mythos

November 8, 2015 // 1 Comment

How many shows on the air right now feature a sleuthing modern day protagonist named Sherlock Holmes? How many times have you seen the story of Peter Pan retold in the last year alone? How many literary classics have been “updated” with passages that include anything from limb-rending zombies to bodice-ripping Byronic heroes? How is this possible? Why for the love of God do you have to put up with it? How can you get in on it? It’s the public domain, baby. It’s where //

How Archive of Our Own Revolutionized Fandom

November 1, 2015 // 14 Comments

A brief snapshot of fandom in early 2007: The first Naruto series had wrapped, and Naruto Shippuden had just started airing. Supernatural was wrapping up its second season with a shocking finale in “All Hell Breaks Loose.” Kingdom Hearts II and Final Fantasy XII came out only the year before, and Final Fantasy 7 fandom was back with a vengeance with the release of Advent Children. The world waited breathlessly for the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. And fandom on //

I’m Sorry. My OTP’s Acting Up Again.

October 25, 2015 // 1 Comment

What do the letters OTP mean to you? Does a cute couple pop into your head? How about memorable fanfiction and fanart? Maybe a little bit of both? Not all that surprising. Those of us that frequent fandom communities have a strong awareness of its meaning. We hold a special place in our heart for these letters. One true pairing. Nothing better. Nothing less. That’s our inner motto. We breathe our OTP. It consumes our life. It’s not our own relationship, but it certainly feels close enough. //