Fanfiction

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Fanfiction is a work of fiction written by fans about a book, film, television show, or other type of source material. It is unofficial and non-canon. Fanfiction is one of the most popular types of fanwork.

Due to the popularity of slash and femslash ships among many fanfiction readers and writers, fanfiction archives such as An Archive of Our Own and Fanfiction.net are de facto repositories for an enormous body of LGBT literature, written both by fans who identify as LGBT+ and by fans who identify as straight and cisgender. For example, An Archive of Our Own hosts over 1 million works tagged as m/m slash[1] and over 150,000 works tagged as femslash[2].

Lev Grossman's 2011 article on Harry Potter fanfiction (and fanfiction in general) describes part of the appeal of fanfiction for queer fans and other minorities thus:

[T]he fanfiction scene is hyperdiverse. You'll find every race, nationality, ethnicity, language, religion, age and sexual orientation represented there, both as writers and as characters. For people who don't recognize themselves in the media they watch, it's a way of taking those media into their own hands and correcting the picture. "For me, fanfic is partially a political act," says "XT." "MGM is too cowardly to put a gay man in one of their multimillion-dollar blockbusters? And somehow want me to be content with the occasional subtext crumb from the table? Why should I?"[3]

Elizabeth Minkel discusses a similar point in her 2014 article "Why it doesn’t matter what Benedict Cumberbatch thinks of Sherlock fan fiction"

[T]he vast majority of what we watch is from the male perspective – authored, directed, and filmed by men, and mostly straight white men at that. Fan fiction gives women and other marginalised groups the chance to subvert that perspective, to fracture a story and recast it in her own way. [...] It often feels as if there isn’t much space for difference in the dominant cultural narratives; in fandom, by design, there’s space for all.[4]

Related reading

References

  1. http://archiveofourown.org/tags/M*s*M/works
  2. http://archiveofourown.org/tags/F*s*F/works
  3. http://content.time.com/time/arts/article/0,8599,2081784,00.html
  4. http://www.newstatesman.com/culture/2014/10/why-it-doesn-t-matter-what-benedict-cumberbatch-thinks-sherlock-fan-fiction


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