It’s that time again when the Convention Center’s doors are now closed, and thousands of happy, smiling con attendees have spent a fun-filled weekend attending panels, playing new games, meeting awesome people and buying all the things.
Our last official event of the day was our traditional closing celebration, with a brief speech from GeekGirlCon co-founder Jennifer K. Stuller, who acknowledged the things that GeekGirlCon has done in its five years. “Our atmosphere is joyous and celebratory,” she noted. But Stuller also recognized that it could not have been done without the thousands of GeekGirlCon staff, vendors, panelists, attendees and other supporters. “You and I are part of this community… and I want to thank you all for being a part of us.”
Nope, definitely not obsessed about anything in my life. There’s not a television show, a book series, a movie universe, or anything else in my everyday life. Certainly not ice cream or Trader Joe’s Joe-Joe cookies.
Truthfully…I do have one fairly all-encompassing obsession. It’s something I’ve been into since college, which means pretty much since the beginning of Internet popularity (as I’m older than I look!). It’s safe to say this is my longest running obsession.
For those who don’t know, fanfiction is stories written by fans of a show, movie, book, or video game using the characters from that show, movie, book, or video game. Fans don’t make money with their writing, which is why it doesn’t infringe on copyrighted material that belongs to the authors or creators. You can find fanfiction of all different kinds on the Internet. Here’s a small sample of television shows from one of the fanfiction sites I spend a lot of time on, Fanfiction.net:
The links will take you to the pages of fanfiction written for that show. The numbers beside each title are the number of pieces of fanfiction. Glee has over 105,000 stories written for it! Links for the most popular movies, their numbers included again, are here:
I don’t know how I got started reading fanfiction; I know that I started writing fanfiction one semester when I was avoiding studying for exams. The story I wrote, which was based on the television series Highlander, was handwritten in the space of several notebooks and at least 100 sheets of loose leaf paper in a binder. I don’t remember specifically what it was about, other than immortals, but I can tell you where it is: the clear tub with the green lid, currently under my bed. There are also random stories I have written for various fandoms on different sites on the Internet.
My favorite types of fanfiction are the ones which are well written, with a clearly defined background, a good plot, and characters I know written the way they would act in their respective shows. Much of the fanfiction on the Internet is, truthfully, awful. If the grammar is bad, I usually can’t read it.
I suppose, since I’m confessing, I should tell you the fandoms I tend to read. I know it started with Highlander, but I’ve come a very long way since then. At the moment, I’m fairly embroiled in the Marvel Studios world of Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor.
This includes all of the movies made at this point; covers the main characters, some of the supporting characters, and sometimes original characters. I’ve also spent a lot of time reading fanfiction for Stargate (the movie, SG-1, Atlantis, and Universe), StarTrek (all of the series, as well as all of the movies), Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Supernatural, Doctor Who, and The West Wing–among many others. I also enjoy a well done crossover: Harry, Ron, and Hermione running around with Colonel O’Neill and SG-1 can be pretty fun as well.
It’s fun to see where the characters I’m familiar with go from author to author.
I love reading just about anything fiction; using characters I know and extending storylines is a bonus.
Most of the stories written are less than 10,000 words, so they’re not a huge time investment.
I can read them on my phone on a break from work, on a bus, waiting for an appointment, or anywhere else I can get an Internet connection.
Why should YOU read fanfiction?
If you are easily addicted, you probably shouldn’t.
If you want to know where to find the good stuff, start at Fanfiction.net. They have a huge variety, including crossovers you would never think are possible. A smaller site with a lot of quality writing is Archive of Our Own, and it is where I’m finding most of the Captain America fiction.
Hi everyone! Meet Anna Zola Miller, who serves on the Open Doors Committee of the Organization for Transformative Works. For those of you not familiar with Open Doors, they are an organization dedicated to preserving fanworks, especially those that run the risk of being lost. Check out some of their collections, which range from website to posters and fanfiction preservation. Anna was kind enough to answer a few questions about Open Doors and share what she’s currently geeking out about.
What has been the most rewarding part of the Open Doors Project?
Open Doors has given me a much better sense of the history and continuity of fandom. The online archives we’re importing to AO3 tend to be about ten years old, and of course fanzines have been around since the 1960’s. Media fandom has been around for going on half a century, now–it’s a well-established, coherent subculture, and at this point we have enough history that we need to take better care of it. Being involved with Open Doors has been a way for me to learn about that history and take an active part in preserving it.
What are some challenges that you have faced?
One of the major challenges in Open Doors is the tension between the philosophy of preservation and the culture of fandom. When we did our first automated archive import, there was a lot of controversy over whether we were moving fans’ work without permission, and whether that violated fan culture’s etiquette. As I see it, the preference some people have expressed for letting old archives disappear and old fanworks with them, rather than moving to the AO3, is a product of the shame and silence that surrounds fandom. I think we should assert our rights as fan creators to do and preserve what we see as culturally interesting and valuable transformative work, even as we attempt to protect people’s identity in situations where fandom can be a sensitive subject. A major part of that is ensuring that current fans are aware that they are not alone; they are part of a legitimate culture that has been around for a long time. And as a history geek, the thought of old fanworks disappearing makes me really sad.
Tell us about your favorite archived piece.
There’s a Starsky and Hutch fanzine that was archived in the Fan Culture Preservation Project a while ago, called Scales of Justice. I’ve never even seen Starsky and Hutch, but the zine is full of art and it’s so ridiculously gorgeous that I love it anyway. You can see some of the art on its Fanlore page.
What are you geeky about right now?
I’ve just started watching Battlestar Galactica so basically everything is robots. It’s an amazing show, and I already want to cosplay Starbuck. I’ve also been geeking out about all the Shakespeare in the Park that’s going on this summer. I’ve seen five different productions of Twelfth Night but the one Wooden O is doing currently is pretty near my favorite.
What was your favorite part about GeekGirlCon ‘12?
The con was excellent; the Jane Espenson panel was probably my favorite, but I also got a lot out of the Fans, Creators, and Social Justice panel. And Nerdlesque. And everything else. 😀
Check out Anna’s blog to read more about her experience at GeekGirlCon 2012!
Now reader, let’s hear from you! What’s your favorite kind of fanwork?