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20 October 2006 @ 09:07 am
 
liz_marcs has posted a link to marenfic's discussion about the slow-down in BtVS (and AtS) fandom lately. Liz also continues the discussion in her journal here. Both raise some interesting and relevent points, not just with regards the SlayerVerse fandoms but to fandom in general.

My first fandom was The X Files, I never wrote fic (or even really read much fic to be honest) and this was pre-Photoshop (actually, it was around the time I got my first computer and only had dial-up access to the big scary 'interweb', yes there was a time I knew next to nothing about computers!) so there was no graphics making or anything like that. I got into 'meta' in a big way though and actually devoted my entire Honours dissertation to the programme. Yes, I am one of those people who are the 'and finally' part of the news bulletins where 'normal' people get to mock these silly students who think they can make something intellectual out of forty-three minutes of television. I focused on post post-modernism (yes, there are two 'post's there deliberately) and gender roles, it was not an easy ride and I came out of it with a 2.1 and a huge desire to never watch the show again. Getting so heavily involved in the meta side of that fandom turned me away from it quicker than any loss of quality in the show itself, because face it - no matter how good some of the episodes were, the quality of that show went downhill fast. I moved away from that fandom and drifted towards another - Star Wars: EU (hence the Mara). I was more web-savvy by this point and did get involved in fic around then (different username and most, if not all, is no longer archived anywhere) and really found that community feeling that I had read so much about during my research at Uni.

Flash forward a few months to the 30th December 1998 (yes, my birthday) and I was sitting on the floor of my mum's living room with nothing to do and on comes this show based on a film I hadn't seen but had mocked mercilously for being a 'star vehicle' for an actor no one cared about (sorry Luke Perry fans...). I watched Buffy purely out of some sense of Schadenfreude and by the time the opening credits rolled I was hooked. I went online, I found Yahoo Groups like SeriousBTVS, I found the (now defunct) BBC Cult TV boards and made a lot of damn good friends there, I became involved. And about... three years later I think, I was even more involved and three of us from the BBC boards decided to start up a site for the show. I had already set up a Yahoo Group for UK viewers which was (and is) mostly populated with BBC posters who found their way over to it, and the new site became a repository for some of the reviews and discussions we had on that board. The site lead to another, and then another, and then I opened up the little graphics programme that came with my second computer (MIcrosoft Picture It! - sucks!) and started making some really bad graphics. I got hold of Photoshop not long after that and started making some worse ones before I figured out how to use the programme. I discovered sites like Map of the Human Heart and devoured everything I could read on there, found sites like I Need a Parrot and read page after page after page of fic, and started to write my own. Joined the forums that kaz814 was running in conjunction with the original INAP and 'Near Her Always' and made more friends there, and when kaz814 had finally had enough of the repeated server crashes that had plagued INAP at that point, I volunteered to take it on, and also to take over the Linoleum Awards - which I renamed the White Knight Awards so that I could include gen stories. Since then I have launched two more Xander-centric sites (Effects of a Troubled Heart and Hand on Heart - both of which are currently offline but will return) and have been working on the prospect of a new site centred around the show.

When Buffy went off the air, I was in two minds. It had become so much a part of my life by that point that I didn't like the prospect of not having those Friday night text message sessions with G and D (and in the final season acrazywench would also text me during the show) - we were all miles away from each other but we were watching together. We were a community. On the other hand I was almost relieved because the show was showing signs of becoming stale and there were starting to be more things I disliked than things I liked. Firefly caught my fandom-oriented attention as well, but it was so short lived that I don't yet miss it the way I miss Buffy. Angel... well, with the direction it seemed to be heading I'm glad it ended when it did. (She said, trying to be nice about it.) Don't get me wrong, I love Angel almost as much as I love BtVS, but it was getting tired.

So the shows ended but fandom didn't stop. I didn't think anything could stop it, and I actually don't think anything will despite how this treatise may sound. Fan produced stories, graphics, vids, 'virtual seasons', RPGs, meta - all of them brought something fresh and exciting to a canon that was already over. Some people in fandom moved away, some stayed 'true' to their original fandom, some (like me) added new fandoms without abandoning the old, and some people came to the fandom fresh after the shows were over.

And now... there is a feeling that fandom is growing stale. As Liz remarks in her post, finding a story that hasn't been told already is getting harder and harder. That's part of the reason I didn't submit anything for the Dark!Xander ficathon. (Although, wouldn't you know it, the day after it was due I had a cracking idea for it while I was washing the dishes...). Vladimir Propp would no doubt say that this is only to be expected, after all there are only so many stories that can be told. But the truth is, I don't think fandom is getting stale. I think it's just taking a breather right now. I know I am. And with the number of nominations going way down this round at WKA it seems that a lot of people are.

There are still stories to tell, there are still people who want to read them.

So here's what I propose. A fic/graphics/vid-athon. No assignments, no specific person to write/design/vid for, no reason to feel bad or neglected if you don't manage to submit anything. A general SlayerVerse-athon where all characters, settings, time periods, pairings, genres, whatever are welcome. Just an expected date and a masterlist.

Would there be enough interest in something like this for me to set one up?

ETA Feel free to link to this post by the way, the more people involved and the wider the variety the better!
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the girl who used to dance on fire and brimstone: willow/xander//embrace (pack) - mewhiskyinmind on October 22nd, 2006 01:44 pm (UTC)
Re: parrot down
Thanks for letting me know! It seems to be okay at the moment, but I've contacted my webhosts since this is starting to be a recurring problem. Can you let me know if you're still not able to get into the site?

Cheers!