|Name:||Aja, Aja Romano|
|Alias(es):||vanityfair, bookshop, bnfshavemorefun, ontheside, wayfairer, ningenfucker, topgallant, Darcy |
|Fandoms:||Good Omens, Gilmore Girls, Jane Austen, Kevin Spacey, Harry Potter, Prince of Tennis, Hikaru no Go, Inception|
|URL:||circa 2005 wayfairer LiveJournal;
circa 2013 Bookshop LiveJournal page |
notquiteroyal (fiction and essays)
Aja Romano (short professional and fannish bio)
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
Aja is a blogger and previously primarily a fanfic writer, most notably in the Harry Potter fandom. Being an active and vocal member of fandom, Aja participated and participates in many discussions and has at times been a contentious figure within fandom.
They were formerly a member of the group of Harry Potter BNFs some fans collectively referred to as "The Inner Circle". In the Harry Potter fandom, they co-moderated the mailing list Armchair Slash and was a frequent participator in Veela Inc..
Aja has participated or moderated a number of convention panels and other appearances involving fandom: the current listing is available on their tumblr.
Some Short Bios
She joined the [Harry Potter] fandom a few months before the release of "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire"... While in the fandom, she has served as a Niffler for FictionAlley Park, and as a moderator for the Guns & Handcuffs web site, as well as the Yahoo!Group Draco_101. She owns the the fan fiction list Armchair_Slash and the discussion forums, as well as Nraged, the livejournal community for the discussion of the Nocturne_Alley rpg, of which she is also a member. She is perhaps best known for her opinions on the subject of Trilogy Slash. While not all that fond of the pairing in general, she admits that there is some slight merit to the idea of H/D in Draco Veritas.
A short autobiography (date unknown, sometime after 2010):
Aja (pronounced "Asia") is a writer, reviewer, web content editor, and fangeek. She has freelanced as a theatre/film reviewer, editor, and writer for a decade, as well as working with web design and CMS development firms and projects.As a blogger, Aja's personal interests are primarily centered around fandom, fanfiction, women in pop culture, and progressive politics. Their political posts have been featured on Daily Kos and the Democratic Underground, and their posts on YA literature and fandom have been featured on Jezebel, Boing-Boing, and Salon. Selected works of their fanfiction have been taught in university and high school courses on fandom and fan culture. They have been a guest blogger for a variety of websites, including The Mary Sue, Manga Bookshelf and the Organization for Transformative Works, and have been a panel guest and moderator alongside professional writers and acafen including Henry Jenkins and Holly Black.
An 2004 autobiography is at notquiteroyal.
As per their twitter, Aja uses they/them or she/her pronouns.
- The Inner Circle and interactions with Ivy Blossom and Cassandra Claire
- trying to burn a t-shirt during Strikethrough
- two different mentions of plagiarism, one by them, one of them
- a Prince of Tennis anon-meme wank
- eating your veggies
- an accusation of being bullied by an OTW member
- controversy regarding Hockey RPF
- an article about Andy Blake aka Thanfiction
- being a consultant for Fanfiction Syllabus
- involvement in the Kevin Spacey fandom
- Jeff Mangum/Anne Frank RPF
See below for details
As a Fan
As an H/D shipper, their notable contributions to Harry Potter fandom were the longstanding WIP Love Under Will which was the base of the community Armchair Slash, a player in the RPG Nocturne Alley and creator of its fan community, NrAged, creator of The Eros Affair, an invite-only fic challenge that ran in 2005 and then opened for public contributions, and as co-mod of the original Big Bang challenge, Big Bang, Baby.
In July 2003, Aja made a friends-locked satirical post in diary format about their attempts to beat Ivy Blossom in gaining BNF status in HP fandom and befriending Cassandra Claire. According to Aja, that post was viewed by a third-party who hacked one of the filtered journals which had access to the locked account. The post was then made public without Aja's consent, along with their real full name, which was attached to the post. Ivy Blossom interpreted parts of the clearly tongue-in-cheek post as a death threat, and announced plans to cancel her trip to fan convention Nimbus 2003, which was being held later that month. Much discussion ensued. This and other issues let to some infighting between members of The Inner Circle, a group of BNFs within Harry Potter fandom.
In October 2003 Aja and Cassie Claire had a public falling out over numerous interpersonal tensions. According to Aja, they had already de-friended one another on LJ when they disagreed about whether Aja's story Twelfth Night was plagiarizing Cassie's story A Season in Hell. Cassie accused them of passing around spoilers for future plot points of Claire's Draco Veritas.
In April 2006, Aja announced that they were leaving Harry Potter fandom for the Prince of Tennis. A few months later, Aja hosted an anon-meme, but later deleted it due to concerns that it had become too mean, and also IP addresses of posters could be determined. Some people were unhappy and/or amused about it.
In the wake of Strikethrough in 2007, Aja demonstrated their repudiation of Livejournal by burning a LJ t-shirt on video. However, the t-shirt was robust, and therefore very difficult to ignite. Many viewers were amused. The original video is no longer on YouTube, but the remix edition (using Tom Tom Club's "Genius of Love") is still viewable here. This is thought to be the first Video Flounce. See Burning a T-Shirt. Despite intentions not to post fic to LJ anymore, Aja returned a few months later under the pseudonym ningenfucker to post A Tithe To Hell saying she couldn't format it properly anywhere else.
In July 2009, they accused another Hikaru no Go fan of plagiarism but there was disagreement in fandom about the evidence and whether it supported the plagiarism claim. The accused plagiarist deleted her livejournal and fic and never responded to the accusation.
In January 2010, Aja opined in a post which a nonny described as "flail[ing] and self-flagellat[ing]" about feeling marginalized within slash fandom for appreciating female characters because "I feel like I can't legitimately talk about how much I love certain female characters, because [...], it's seen as just trying to politely include the women for the sake of political correctness."  but then a week later likened writing/valuing female characters to eating one's vegetables and thus creating the fandom phrase "eating your veggies".
Aja volunteered for the Organization for Transformative Works during the OTW 2011 Board Election wank and joined the Development & Membership committee, eventually becoming a co-chair of the Committee. They quit in 2014, a few weeks before the annual October fundraising drive, citing bullying by a Board member. FFA gossiped about it here and discussed wider structural issues in the OTW that would lead to bullying.
In 2017 Aja and earlgreytea68 started a project/series known as Shenanigans Universe. Shenanigans is an experimental original fiction series which consists of multiple works that all feature the same cast of original characters, with all the works being separate stories in various alternate universes. "Basically, we set out to write canon, and we ended up just writing a bunch of fic. For a non-existent canon. There is no canon. The author is dead. Have at it." Aja and earlgreytea68 co-wrote some of the stories and wrote others alone. All the works were published on AO3. The writers invited any fans of the series to write their own works, which would be considered an extension of the Shenanigans universe. The tag "Shenanigans (Original Universe)" used for the series was synned to AO3's Original Work tag.
In May 2020, a later-suspended account brought up a 109-word, M-rated Jeff Mangum/Anne Frank fanfiction Aja had written in 2006. Aja defended the fic in a series of deleted tweets, one of which read in part, "If you don't like my 109-word Jeff Mangum/Anne Frank fic, tell Jeff Mangum to stop writing songs about wanting to fuck AF." The fic, which remains locked on AO3, and Aja's defense of it 14 years later is sometimes cited along other controversies like The Strange Lives of Andrew Blake when an article of hers goes viral.
Timeline of Primary Fandoms:
- 1998 - 1999: Jane Austen, Kevin Spacey RPF
- 2000–present: Harry Potter
- 2005 - 2007: Prince of Tennis
- 2005 - 2009: Hikaru no Go
- 2010–2017: Inception
- 2018: Angels in America/Broadway Actor RPF
- 2020: The Untamed/Mo Dao Zu Shi, The Untamed RPF
- Love Under Will
- Teaching the Indie Kids to Joust Again, Merlin RPF fic
- A Tithe To Hell, Death Note fic
As a Journalist
Aja's professional career as a writer on fan issues has provoked many different reactions from fans, not all of them positive. Aja has frequently been a topic of discussion on anonymous community Fail-Fandomanon: a full run-down can be found at the FFA wiki.
In 2011, Aja began writing for geek feminist website The Mary Sue about fandom and other areas of interest to fans. In 2012, they were hired to write for the Daily Dot as a "fandom reporter." Aja has professional experience as a journalist; however, their Daily Dot position drew more on their previous experience and writing about fandom than their previous professional work. Also in 2012, Aja began a column for Manga Bookshelf and was hired as a rotating columnist for AfterElton's new column on slash fandom, "The Shipping News." In April 2016, Aja co-founded a fandom marketing consulting company, Fanspeak Interactive. In April 2016, they started to work for Vox as a culture reporter.
In December 2012, Aja announced their intention to write an article on Hockey RPF fandom. This was not greeted with enthusiasm by fandom members, who objected both to the wider exposure and to Aja themself. For a full run-down of events see Hockey RPF and the Fourth Wall. The debate reopened in October 2013 when Aja pointed to an article published about hockey fic as an example of why fandom stories should be written by people in fandom.
In February 2015, Aja published an article on notorious fandom member Andy Blake (aka Thanfiction, Amy Player, Victoria Bitter, Jordan Wood, etc.). Many fandom people found the article to be overly sympathetic to Blake, whose checkered past includes documented fraud and theft, as well as brainwashing and abuse of other people. The article and the events that followed provoked a highly negative reaction from the individuals interviewed for the article, and fandom at large.
On 11 March 2015, Vulture.com published an article on fanfiction, It's a Fanmade World. The multipart article included A Fanfiction Syllabus: "Ten classics that cover the history, breadth, and depth of the form, with original custom-designed covers"; Aja Romano is credited as one of the consultants. Many fans criticized the list for being overwhelmingly white, male, and slash-focused. While it was acknowledged that Aja was not the author of the article and did not bear full responsibility for the lack of diversity, Aja's presence as a consultant on the article and as a prominent member of fandom (and reporter thereof) meant that they received a lot of attention following the publication of the article and was a focal point of the discussion that ensued. Aja responded to the criticism here and here
On November 18, 2020, Vox.com posted an article by Aja titled, "Conspiracy theories, explained: Americans are embracing dangerous conspiratorial beliefs, from QAnon to coronavirus denial"
One fan on twitter noted the irony of Aja writing and promoting this article, when they have publicly expressed belief in the Tinhat theory that Wang Yibo & Xiao Zhan, the lead actors in the Chinese web drama The Untamed, are in a secret relationship.
- Dark Harry, as Aja (2002)
- To Fandom, With Love, as Aja (2002)
- OOTP, Harry/Draco, the Damnation of Slytherin, and the right of fans to be upset, as Aja (2003)
- My Letter to J.K. Rowling, as Aja (2003)
- Fandoms I know nothing about as Aja (2003)
- H/D fic, post-OOTP. And how we aren't writing any., as Aja (2004)
- My personal shippers' Manifesto, as Aja (2004)
- On JKR's Latest Interview., as Aja (2004)
- Slash and Gay Rights, as Aja (2004)
- A Reader's Advice on writing good sex. (2004)
- Defining Draco Malfoy., as Aja (2004)
- On Anne Rice, and why we write., as Aja (2004)
- A Reader's Advice on writing good sex., as Aja (2004)
- Fannish spaces, girls, and the culture of silence., as bookshop (May 2010)
- The flip side. ("Pickering, why can't a woman be more like a man?"), as bookshop (January 2010)
- "i know you care for him as much as i do.", as bookshop (January 2010)
- I'm done explaining why fanfic is okay., as bookshop (May 2010)
The Daily Dot: Some Essays/Meta
Aja began writing for The Daily Dot where their position drew more on their previous experience and writing about fandom than their previous professional work.
Years In Review
- The top 10 events that changed fandom in 2012, Archived version These events not only shaped the year in fandom but will continue to impact fans long after 2012. (December 20, 2012)
- The 10 best tales of online drama from 10 years of Fandom_Wank, Archived version (March 11, 2013).
- "Teen Wolf" fans bite Entertainment Weekly, get new poll at After Elton, Archived version After Entertainment Weekly left a popular same-sex Teen Wolf pairing out of a TV relationship poll, gay-focused pop culture website After Elton started a new poll just for same-sex 'ships.. (August 22, 2012)
- Debate about race and relationship pairings bites Teen Wolf fandom, Archived version Online arguments about race in MTV's Teen Wolf have gotten so heated that show creator Jeff Davis deleted his Tumblr, but there may be something else driving all the drama. (August 2, 2012)
- Taylor Swift parody becomes an anthem for Tumblr's slash fans, Archived version "They Are Never Ever Gonna Get Together" goes out to all the fans of fictional male/male couples we're probably not going to see on TV or in the movies any time soon. (October 9, 2012)
- For young women in China, slash fanfiction is a dangerous hobby, Archived version Chinese authorities have arrested at least 20 people for the crime of writing male/male fanfic. (April 18, 2014)
Basic Fan Primers
- How to speak fangirl, Archived version A comprehensive guide to kinds of fanfiction, pairing terms, and other kinds of fanwork. (August 6, 2012)
- A beginner's guide to fandom, Archived version What it is, where to find it, and what's up with making straight men gay? (August 7, 2012).
- A beginner's guide to bandom, Archived version "Bandom" isn't just a term for fans of any band. It usually refers to a group of early-2000s rock groups such as Fall Out Boy, Panic! at the Disco, and My Chemical Romance. (February 11, 2013)
50 Shades of Grey/FanFic Going Pro
- Where to find the good (fanfiction) porn, Archived version As the massive popularity of 50 Shades of Grey has proven, readers need more quality, erotic fiction. Here's where to look. (August 17, 2012)
- Behind "Captive Prince," S.U. Pacat's bestselling work of slave erotica, Archived version The author discusses publishing online, her fanbase, the difference between writing fanfic and original work. (about Captive Prince) (February 15, 2013)
- Sherlock fandom celebrates Red Pants Monday, Archived version How one piece of slash fan art spawned a Tumblr-wide meme. (August 20, 2012)
- WTF is Superwholock?, Archived version In short, it's a complex and creative crossover in fandom that combines the worlds of Supernatural, Doctor Who, and Sherlock. (October 5, 2012)
- Gangnam Style: A beginner’s guide to K-pop fandom, Archived version Don't know the difference between TVXQ and EXO? This comprehensive guide should help. (September 3, 2012)
- Here's the fanart the 'Teen Wolf' production team picked to decorate their own offices, Archived version The post-production team of Teen Wolf shared their office fanart gallery with the rest of us—and enlisted a few Teen Wolf actors to help. (May 21, 2014)
- How 1 question triggered a "Supernatural" fandom meltdown, Archived version Was actor Jensen Ackles suddenly stricken with homophobia? Well, this is fandom, and it's a lot more complicated than that. (May 6, 2013)
- Why fans have high hopes (but low expectations) for 'Supernatural', Archived version Supernatural's success is intrinsically tied to its fandom—so when will it give the fans what they want? (May 19, 2014)
- Yuletide, the Internet's biggest "Secret Santa" fanfiction exchange, turns 10, Archived version Instead of traditional presents, thousands of Yuletide participants give original fanfiction to delight fans of obscure movies, books, historical figures and more. (October 1, 2012)
- Behind the scenes of the Internet's biggest fanfiction exchange, Archived version Moderator elynross opens up about the best and sexiest fanfiction expected this season. (October 3, 2012)
Interactions With TPTB/The Fourth Wall
- Why fans are outraged at Sherlock and Watson reading sexy fanfic, Archived version by Aja Romano (December 16, 2013).
- The crumbling of the fourth wall: Why fandom shouldn't hide anymore - The Fourth Wall is fandom's way of protecting itself from outsider prying eyes, harsh judgments, and possible real-life repercussions. Here's why we need to stop being ashamed and let the public in. (January 8, 2013)
- Amazon and the buyout of fandom culture, Archived version Corporate entities have woken up and smelled the fandom. Now they're all over it. (May 27, 2013)
- How author Lev Grossman bridges fandom and fiction, Archived version How author Lev Grossman bridges fandom and fiction The bestselling author of The Magicians discusses Harry Potter, fandom, and how he tries to turn down the trolls. (July 20, 2012)
- Tumblr fandom is the modern-day sonnet (really), Archived version "Crying!" "Boom, my ovaries!" "I can't even." Whether they realize it or not, innumerable fans on Tumblr are collectively evolving a 700-year-old poetic tradition. (January 15, 2013)
- Why Yahoo can't buy fandom on Tumblr, Archived version (May 24, 2013)
- The case for anonymity in fandom, Archived version The moderator for LiveJournal's Fail Fandom Anon discusses memes, privacy, and fandom wank. (September 13, 2012)
- MTV's Fandom Awards are just asking for a bloodbath, Archived version MTV apparently looked at Superwholock fandom and saw an opportunity for civil war. (June 19, 2014)
- MTV's Fandom Awards are just asking for a bloodbath, Archived version MTV apparently looked at Superwholock fandom and saw an opportunity for civil war. (June 19, 2014) (July 04, 2015)
- Hamilton is fanfic, and its historical critics are totally missing the point - Fans know exactly what Hamilton is about. Why don't historians? (July 04, 2016)
- Aja article at the fail-fandomanon wiki
- Aja article at the Fandom Wank Wiki
- "fun times with aja" tag at fandom_wank
- They mention "Darcy" in Fan Fiction Oral History Project with Bookshop.
- "About". Archived from the original on 2022-06-12.
- A November 2004 autobiography is here
- bookshop. Evernight! + LJ + Whip It. Posted October 9, 2009. (Accessed July 22, 2010.)
- Back in the day, I was a member of the Kevin Spacey fandom. Yes, Kevin Spacey has a fandom., bnfshavemorefun, June 24, 2004
- sulky_rhino. Poll: Harry/Draco Fandom Classics - Results. Posted September 18, 2007. (Accessed July 22, 2010.)
- "Bookshop's Fanlore edits".
- Fandom Wank Wiki; The Very Secret Diary Of Aja, via Wayback: 14 December 2012. (Accessed 17 March 2015)
- Referenced by Aja in 2004 at Back in the day, I was a member of the Kevin Spacey fandom. Yes, Kevin Spacey has a fandom.
- kitty_tahin in fandom_wank: Since there was a request below, the links to the latest HP wank, 08 July 2003. (Accessed 17 March 2015)
- Fandom Wank Wiki. Wherein Cassie's Good Name Is Besmirched via Wayback: 19 December 2012. (Accessed 17 March 2015)
- Aja. Me & CC; or, BNFs do not have more fun, 16 June 2006. (Accessed 17 March 2015)
- Fandom Wank Wiki. You Plagiarist! Only Cassie Can Write Intellislash! - Fandom wank wiki, Archived version (2005-2007) via Wayback: 15 December 2012. (Accessed 17 March 2015)
- Those Damned HP Plagiarists, Archived version October 20, 2003
- narcissam in fandom_wank: The End of the Inner Circle Wank?, 26 April 2006. (Accessed 17 March 2015)
- snacky in fandom_wank: Oh look! It's time for anonymeme wank! Or, "It's about grief.", 23 August 2006. (Accessed 17 March 2015)
- Fandom Wank Wiki. Farewell, Panda Porn..., via Wayback: 06 February 2012. (Accessed 17 March 2015)
- hearsawho. Transcript of the video, 04 August 2007. (Accessed 17 March 2015)
- Fandom Wank Wiki. The T-Shirt is Robust, via Wayback: 05 September 2011. (Accessed 17 March 2015)
- Discussion thread in fandom_wank: Strikethrough Two: Electric Boogaloo - Apologies for trolling but ..., archived, 04 August 2007. (Accessed 17 March 2015)
- A latter-day anon commentator wrote in fail_fandomanon: "I will never get over that. The fact that the t-shirt didn't light on fire at all, that it was horribly planned out in case it did light on fire (just sitting on her couch holding it with her arm??), and then that she still posted the unedited video online. Wow. Amazing." Re: Aja and Andy, 11 March 2015. (Accessed 17 March 2015)
- from a fan in 2014: "Oh my god I forgot about the attempt to burn a shirt. What beautiful fuckery that was." from All this leaving tumblr talk is making me hark back to the LJ days of old, man oh man.
- bookshop. my modus operandi is amalgam, 31 December 2007 (accessed 2 February 2017).
- bookshop. Plagiarism alert!, 28 July 2009. Wayback copy, October 2020. (Accessed 18 March 2015)
- ladyofviolets in fandom_wank: You're a plagiarist becase *I SAY SO*!, 30 July 2009. Wayback copy, April 2015. (Accessed 18 March 2015)
- Nonny in fail_fandomanon: Re: Wank Repository, 12 March 2015. (Accessed 18 March 2015)
- bookshop.The flip side. ("Pickering, why can't a woman be more like a man?"), 13 January 2010. (Accessed 18 March 2015)
- bookshop. 1. Subtext. 2. Fandom misogyny. 3. coverfail., 22 January 2010. (Accessed 18 March 2015)
- Aja Romano on Twitter: "I've just resigned my staffer position with the OTW citing what I feel has been sustained hostility and bullying by a member of the board.", Archived version, 2 Oct 2014
- Bookshop tumblr "About" page
- Introducing: Shenanigans by Aja, earlgreytea68 (2017-08-10)
- October 2021 tweet with a screencap of Aja's deleted tweet (Archived)
- Otaku Journalist. How to turn your fandom interests into a business. Posted April 19, 2016. (Accessed April 20, 2016.)
- "It's Aja! I'm a web culture reporter for Vox, and a writer/editor/fandom consultant." -- Bookshop Tumblr
- fail_fandomanon. Aja v. Hockey Fandom, Round 2 (3? 4?), 10 October 2013. (Accessed 18 March 2015)
- Posted to tumblr on March 12, 2015 with 275 notes as of 11 April 2016. archived
- Posted to tumblr on March 14, 2015 with 19 notes as of 11 April 2016. archived.
- Conspiracy theories, explained Vox.com, 18 Nov 2020 (Accessed Nov 30 2020)
- is this you jesstieI twitter Nov 25, 2020 3:52 PM (Accessed Nov 30, 2020)
- The internet’s most beloved fanfiction site is undergoing a reckoning, Archived version ] Vox.com, 26 Feb 2021 (Accessed Feb 26 2021)