101 Ways To End Up In A Canadian Shack

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Name: 101 Ways To End Up In A Canadian Shack
Date(s): December 2001
Founder: Speranza
Fandom: multifandom
Associated Community:
URL: http://trickster.org/speranza/ShackedUp.html; archive link
Canadian Shack 2011 Collection on AO3
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.
You may be looking for the Panic! at the Disco trope Cabin Fic.

101 Ways To End Up In A Canadian Shack was a short story challenge created by Speranza in December 2001.

It was based on prevalent fanon in Due South fandom, which had Ray Kowalski and Benton Fraser "shacking up" in northern Canada (sometimes, but not always, literally in a shack[1]) after the series finale, Call of the Wild. Usually the shack was isolated, bonus points for being stuck in a blizzard. Thus, the shack challenge was an opportunity for deploying tropes like Huddling for Warmth and Bed Sharing.

Subsequent similar small-ficlet challenges moderated by Cesperanza include the Inappropriate Elf challenge and the Tax Shelters challenge.

Merely a Twinkle in Her Eye

From the author's notes to A Moment of Insight:
There was a moment, during the writing of this story, where I seriously debated retitling my DS page: "Speranza's DS Stories, Or 101 Ways To End Up In A Canadian Shack." Cause face it, that seems to be what I'm doing lately. I still may take that on as a challenge, and Resonant, brilliant woman that she is, has been helping me brainstorm:[2]

The Original Challenge: 2001

As Speranza (much later) explained:

So ten years ago, at the end of 2001, I was hanging around in a chatroom and we were talking about how all Due South stories seemed to end up in a Canadian shack. And then we decided that, really, all fandoms ought to end up in a Canadian shack. And so we started brainstrorming these little ficlets, half kidding, but then the writers in that room told their friends and suddenly everyone was sending me these little Canadian shack ficlets, partly because it became a thing about putting crazy or unlikely pairings and fandoms (not just X Files and Highlander and Quantum Leap but Hannibal and Iron Chef and Moonlighting) into shacks in the middle of the Northwest Territory or whatever. And I got like 100 of them (101 to be exact) in a matter of, like, three days. And I put them all up on my site as 101 Ways To End Up In A Canadian Shack.[3]

The challenge was answered by 30 writers, who wrote 102 stories in 62 different fandoms.[4] The fandoms ranged from Angel to X-Men; the fandom listing offers an interesting glimpse into what was popular, current, and beloved in this particular corner of media fandom in 2001.

The Tenth Anniversary Challenge: 2011

In 2012, after the 10th anniversary of the "Shack Thing," Speranza posted a quick overview of the challenge's original history, and then announced her intent to:

... an anniversary edition. I've opened up an Canadian Shack 2011 collection on the A03 and I'd like to invite you--any of you, all of you! bring your friends! - to come play! Write a short (around 500 words-ish) story putting your fandom/characters/pairing of choice into a Canadian shack! I think it would be particularly fun to get fandoms represented that didn't even exist in 2001, though old favorites are always welcome."[3]

Several of the fan writers who contributed shacks to the original Canadian Shack challenge also contributed to the 10th anniversary edition; as of this writing, the 10th anniversary collection is open to anyone who wants to write their favorite fannish characters (no matter how implausibly) into a shack, or some kind of shack-like structure, in the Canadian wilderness. 101 new vignettes were posted between the launch of the anniversary edition (January 6) and the moment when the collection reached 101 (January 20), but the collection remains open for further submissions.[5]

Fan Response

Most fans who responded to the news of the Canadian Shack anniversary/revival did so with glee. Some who hadn't been in fandom when the original challenge went live rushed to write their own shack stories and join the fun, like nwhepcat who wrote "I totally need to do this because I hadn't even joined fandom in 2001."[6] Serrico quipped "Canadian Shack Fic: a part of our heritage."[7] New shacks were quickly contributed in a variety of fandoms which hadn't been part of the original, among them Sherlock, Shakespeare, Firefly, Twilight, Leverage, and the rebooted Hawaii 5-0. (Of those fandoms, only the works of Shakespeare were around at the time of the original challenge.)

Others took offense, among them staranise ("OMG, can the Canadian Shack meme die please die."[8]). Her response in turn made Fandom Wank.[9] Soon thereafter naraht posted a linkspam of Canadian-shack related links.


  1. ^ Technically, a cabin; in canon Fraser owned one.
  2. ^ A Moment Of Insight, Archived version
  3. ^ a b "Canadian Shack 10th Anniversary Party! Come play!". Archived from the original on 2012-01-07. Retrieved January 6, 2012. 
  4. ^ "101 Ways to End Up in a Canadian Shack". Retrieved January 7, 2012. 
  5. ^ "101! \o/". Retrieved January 21, 2012. 
  6. ^ "comment from nwhepcat". Retrieved January 12, 2012. 
  7. ^ "comment from serrico". Retrieved January 12, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Speaking as someone with an actual Canadian shack". Retrieved January 12, 2012. 
  9. ^ "Someone actually says 'I don't want to appropriate your issues as a Canadian'". Retrieved January 12, 2012.