The consensus is that this 30 second commercial of fanservice won’t be anything more than that, but Tumblr and most of the teenage girls in China and Japan are doing their level best to make producer Kyoto Animation change its mind. Ten days after the commercial advertising the studio’s animation style debuted, the “swimming anime” tag on Tumblr is still going strong.
So have you ever shipped a commercial? Let us know in comments!
The Trouble with FanFiction.net
Our editor pointed us towards this 2011 study of FanFiction.net, which offered statistical analysis of the site activity as a quantifiable look at wider fandom patterns. Their most controversial (and cited) takeaways: that fan fiction readers/writers are three quarters female and the average age is 15.8!
We here at The Shipping News have a lot of qualms about using FF.net to generalize about larger fandom trends. One of the biggest reasons is that historically many, many fans have tended to “graduate” from FF.net. Sure, it might be the first thing that comes up when you Google “fic” + “your favorite show or book,” but it’s long been an accepted fact in many, many corners of fandom that as a community it’s difficult to engage with, and as an archive it’s, well, inconsistent.
There’s a reason that the generally accepted nickname for FF.Net is the “Pit of Voles” or “The Site That Must Not Be Named.” FF.net tends to be a stepping stone on the way to greener pastures with less spelling and grammatical errors. It’s very difficult to find quality fic there, so for many fans, posting to LiveJournal or Dreamwidth communities, the Archive of Our Own (AO3), or a private fandom-only archive like Twilighted or Fiction Alley (for Harry Potter fans) is a better alternative.
It’s also not a great source to go to for slash fandom. Don’t get me wrong, slash fandom is all over Fanfiction.net, but there's a great deal more het than there is at AdultFanFiction.net or AO3. A secondary consideration that isn't in this article is that FF.net not infrequently does huge site-wide purges of mature content without warning, so it gets hard to judge how much content is actually there. In 2006, for example, it deleted “My Immortal,” which was arguably the most popular “badfic” of all time, from its servers without warning. And last year, for example, FF.net purged thousands of fics without notifying users in advance--most of it slash.
FF.net is the most visible source of fan fiction to those outside fandom. Pretty much since its creation in the late 90’s, it’s been the first search engine result for people looking for fanfiction. Because of this, outsiders to fandom see FF.net as largely synonymous with fanfiction and fandom itself--which is an obvious problem. The majority of research and surveys that look at fan fiction archives (those not focused on specific livejournal communities) usually focus on FF.net, and rarely take other archives into consideration.
Right now the fastest-growing pan-fandom archive is far and away the AO3 (and that's with a months-long waiting list). In many ways, AO3 is slash-centric--it was created by a core group of long-time members of slash and Livejournal-based fandom. Apart from FF.net, many of the heterocentric communities in fandom tend to be squirreled away on private fandom archive--like Twilighted, for example, or the Derbyshire Writers Guild for lovers of Jane Austen fanfiction. But slashers, especially those in English-language media fandoms, tend to move around fandoms more quickly. They tend to frequent multi-fandom archives/communities, and at the moment AO3 is getting a large cross-section of the community.
At the same time, more and more Tumblr users are posting fic there, and many are evolving the hybrid of fic+image that Tumblr does so well. And let’s not forget Movellas, Figment, and Wattpad, which are all free sites for posting original fiction--except they also allow and encourage fanfiction. It’s possible that if you’re not a Directioner or a Belieber, you don’t know that Wattpad exists; but astonishingly, it’s generating hundreds of thousands of fics, many with MILLIONS of views and thousands upon thousands of comments. Most of these fics are self-insert Mary Sue fics with members of One Direction, but some are Larry Stylinson, and slash fiction is allowed there as long as it obeys the ratings limit.
So next time you go to look for fanfiction, don’t just assume FF.net is your only option! Ask a fan near you, or better yet, use a social bookmarking site like Pinboard or Delicious to show you where fans are saving the *good* fics.
Here’s a hint: from the current “popular” links on Pinboard for its fandom community, none are archived at FF.net.
Pairing of the Week: John Reese/Harold Finch, Person of Interest
If you glanced at that Pinboard link above you might have noticed a bunch of fics from the Person of Interest fandom. This is a burgeoning newcomer ship that seems to have spread from a few key well-known members of slash fandom. Here’s a newbie’s guide to getting into the episodes, and the most recent episode of Slash Report featured the fandom along with a host of fic recs.
So what’s made this fandom the latest trend? Probably a combination of the natives of slash fandom getting restless and itchy for a new show to ship, and the unusual traits of this particular show. While it’s a crime drama (sort of), it’s also a science fiction dystopia that uses a modern setting to explore concepts of Big Brother and artificial intelligence. John Reese, played by Jim Caviezel (better known as Jesus in that dreadful Mel Gibson torture porn movie) is a down-and-out ex-spy, defeated and depressed until the science fiction genius Finch gives him a new purpose. Now in its second season, the show has been on the slash fandom radar for a while now--and has produced some interesting, totally NOT Work-safe, results.
Person of Interest is not a ‘typical’ slash fandom show. There’s no real subtext or queerbaiting/slashwink/whatever you want to call it between John and Finch. But as a friend getting into the show pointed out to me recently, it’s clear that they’re the most important thing in each other’s lives, and that they genuinely care about each other in a way that transcends what we think of as “slashy.”
Where do we sign up?
Featured Fic: Bruce/Tony, and what you get when you pair Hulk sex with an engineering genius
Over on our Tumblr page, byjinder asked: “I love The Shipping News and eagerly await new posts. Can you feature the Stanner pairing sometime? I love Stony but Tony Stark/Bruce Banner is what really got me into Avengers fandom.”
Your wish is our command, byjinder!
Much like Bruce himself, Bruce/Tony is the admitted underdog of the Avengers fandom, despite the fact that at the end of Avengers, he and Tony literally drive off into the sunset together. Hello! Granted, there are some, er, hindrances to the potential coupling of these two superheroes, but if it didn’t stop the Smallville fandom from writing tons of Clark/Lex angst over Clark’s super strength during sex, then why should a little hulking out hold the Avengers fandom back?
That’s the idea behind one of the most brilliant and enjoyable fics we’ve read in a while: Thingswithwings’ Stark, A.E., and Banner, R. Bruce. (2013). "Biodosimetric Tools for Measuring Induced Isomeric Transition in Inverted Paired States." International Journal of Radiation Biology 89.9, 43-85.
Yes, that is the actual title. And this is the actual summary: "And so," Tony concludes triumphantly, "you owe it to science, to yourself, and to the people of New York City to have tons of hot awesome monster sex with me."
How awesome is this fic? For starters, Tony and Pepper are together but have an open relationship in which they both just want a hot Latin lovah every once in a while, and Tony very correctly takes one look at Bruce and is like I AM HITTING THAT. The problem, of course? Bruce is kind of, um, oversized. Except that for Bruce, this isn’t a problem at all--more like a magnificent opportunity for them to have sex in every position possible in order to test out prophylactic strength in hulk-sized condoms. FOR SCIENCE. This is just as awesome as it sounds. Did we mention this fic has over a thousand kudos at AO3? That’s a lot of endorsements.
While we’re at it, why don’t you guys rec us your favorite Bruce/Tony fics? We can’t get enough!
Parting GIFs: A Little Innuendo
Sometimes the best thing about Tumblr is that it can supply 800 different fandoms with fuel for their imagination, all in one great GIF.
So which slash ship does this .gif set sailing for you? Let us know in comments!
For now, this is Aja, signing off on this week’s Shipping News!