Crack

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Trope · Genre
Synonyms: crack! (as in crack!fic, crack!vid)
Related: Crossover, Alternate Universe, badfic
See Also:
Tropes · Slash Tropes · Tropes by Fandom
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Contents

Needs Citation: This article needs more citations. See Fanlore:Citation for more information on why.

Examples Wanted: Editors are encouraged to add more examples or a wider variety of examples.

"Crack" has two main meanings in a fandom context, both playing off the slang for crack cocaine:

One, (possibly the original use?), that a thing, generally a text, is highly addictive, such as the recs in the Crack Van lj community. A common slogan in older anime fandom, emblazoned on t-shirts and bumperstickers[1], was "Anime: Crack is Cheaper," referring to both the addictiveness of anime, and the expense of obtaining it on VHS.[2]

Two, crack can describe fiction (canon or fanwork) with a fundamentally ludicrous premise, or otherwise including a plethora of unbelievable, incredible, or just plain silly elements - that is, implying the author/artist must have been on drugs to produce something so insane. It may be used in a compound noun (e.g. "crackfic"), or as an adjective ("a crack pairing."[3])

These two meanings may be meant simultaneously, e.g. "DC Comics is delicious crack."

Crackfic

"Crackfic" is a term for a story which takes a ridiculous premise as its starting point, such as casting all the canon characters as My Little Ponies. It may or may not deal with this premise in a serious way.

Negative or Neutral Term?

Discussion has arisen within fandom about whether the label "crackfic" can be pejorative. Some claim that initially it was always meant derogatory:

Initally, Crack!fic was short for "oh, god. That's aweful. the writer must be on crack to have beagles be in their story or have blair shot/stabbed/raped/require a liver transplant/etc or think that wings were a good idea." It was derogatory, and there was nothing positive in it. The story was self-indugent codswollop, with no basis in reality or canon, and there was do doubt about that.[4]

Some argue that such a label gives the writer permission to take the topic and/or writing less seriously, thus producing substandard fiction. (Need example) Other believe that crack simply refers to the inherent silliness of the topic, and those who write crack can do so with just as much skill as any "serious" writer (without going into deep discussion here about just what, indeed, "serious" writing constitutes).

Defining It

Depending on the fandom, certain tropes or plot twists may or may not be considered "crack." A fandom like DC Comics - which features clones, shapeshifters, angels, mermaids, space aliens and an island of magical lesbian separatists all happily coexisting in one canon - has a higher standard for crack than a fandom like Due South. In turn, Due South's quirky, offbeat tone and occasional moments of magical realism lends itself better to stories with fanciful premises than a source with an emphasis on strict realism, like Law & Order or The Wire. Several DC Comics fans made this point by taking the wtf_27 challenge, and finding examples for every "crackfic" prompt (such as bodyswap or wingfic) in mainstream canon.[5]

Some fandoms are known for crack above and beyond that in canon; e.g. Stargate: Atlantis has a reputation for producing crackfic.

Examples of Crack in Fanworks

(need more!)

Crackfic Tropes

These tropes may be considered crack, depending on the canon and the fan:

Fanfic

Fanvids

Fanart

livejournal communities

External Links

References

  1. Such goods are not sold so much anymore, but see this wallet (accessed 2/12/2009)
  2. TV Tropes: Crack is Cheaper (accessed 2/12/2009)
  3. Which Crack Pairing Are You? quiz (accessed 2/12/2009)
  4. wickedwords. Comment on Cereta's post Crackfic. What is that, exactly? Posted 5 October 2005. (accessed 12 February 2009)
  5. Chevauchee, Untitled Livejournal Entry, 08 May, 2006, (Accessed 18 October, 2008)
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