Cultverse

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Synonyms: bandom cult verse
See also: Alternate Universe, Flesh Mechanic, Shared Universe
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Cultverse was an AU shared universe in Bandom centered primarily centered around the premise of Pete Wentz being a cult leader. Gabe Saporta also heavily features in fic related to Cultverse, because of a meme in Bandom relating to his basement.[note 1] As of 2017, the master page of fic has been deleted, although the Cultverse Livejournal community still has posts viewable. The account was created on 19 May 2007 and the most recent post was on 29 April 2011.[1]

So CULTVERSE. If you are totally new to bandom, then you may not know about the Cultverse AU. The best way I have described it is as all of bandom seen through some warped fun house mirror and layered with creepiness. That being said, the entire AU is not for everyone. Blanket warning: CULT!!!, violence, death, dub-con, non-con, mind games, your favorite bandom people being in a cult, group sex, minors engaging in sex with adults, torture.[2]

History

Thanks to Strikethrough and Boldthrough, information on Livejournal-era fandom can be quite hard to come by and a huge chunk of it has been lost to the ether of the internet, making the complete history of Cultverse spotty at best. However, Wayback Machine viewing of queenofhell's now defunct Livejournal[3] reveals that Cultverse began in the comments section of a January 2007 post by gigantic that reads:

joyfulseeker: (6:42) AND THEN HE MADE PATRICK SING IT.

gigantic (Autoreply): gigantic: (6:42) okay. i'm just gonna say it. the fact that Pete is a pedo and wrote lyrics about being a "preacher sweating in the pews" and how when he's "home alone he just can't stop himself" and named it Fame < Infamy is SO INAPPROPRIATELY APPROPRIATE.
gigantic: (7:19) Dude, yeah. Re: what you said earlier: it's like the story of Pete Wentz's sketchy affinity for teenagers as told by Patrick Stump.
joyfulseeker: Which is, wow, TOTALLY CREEPY in that context.
gigantic: YEAH
joyfulseeker: But, hey, Patrick's the one who chooses them to go into the songs.
joyfulseeker: Every single time, I'm just brought back to, "Wow, they must have such a WEIRD relationship."
gigantic: True.
gigantic: Patrick obviously has, uh, what is it? Is it Stockholm Syndrome?

joyfulseeker: HAHHHH YES.[4]

The comments contained[note 2] some of the first fic set in a universe that would come to be known as "Cultverse"[4] but the first "proper" fic in Cultverse is It's Like the Pied Piper (Only It's a Little Bit More Like a Cult) by queenofhell. That fic was initially posted with the following statement in the header:

Feel free to write more in this universe if you so choose--I'll read it, I just don't want crazy Pete Wentz in my own head anymore.[3]

From there it can be assumed that queenofhell created the Cultverse livejournal community after several months of the AU growing in popularity. The introduction to the story it's not a fashion statement (it's a fucking deathwish) backs up this assertion with the following explanation:

So, once upon a time, way back in the olden days of popslash, kel and lise wrote a story about Justin Timberlake and his scary cult called flesh mechanic: not an AU. It creeped the hell out of people and became an instant classic in the fandom.

A couple of years later, many of the people who had originally been into popslash were lured over to the eyeliner-covered, girl-jean-draped emo bandom. One day, gigantic made a post about Patrick Stump's obvious Stockholm Syndrome, and the inevitable comparisons to flesh mechanic were made. And then queenofhell decided to write a snippet. Just one little snippet, about Pete indoctrinating Ryan Ross into his cult, and then it turned into a full-length story called It's Like the Pied Piper (Only It's a Little Bit More Like a Cult). And then that turned into several stories, and then a bunch of other people started writing stories, and now here we are.

The cultverse as it was is both a collaborative universe, and also a bunch of people writing their own stories within a shared concept. There is no real canon--people may be inspired by other people's stories, or reference events in other people's stories, or they might not. Events that happened in one person's stories may not have necessarily happened in someone else's; or, since this is about a bunch of cults, you can look at it with the idea that nobody is telling the full story, and everyone is hiding something from someone. If you want to read the stories chronologically in the order they were posted, you can go through the entries listed in the cultverse community page[note 3] on livejournal. In the masterlist, stories are listed by author; authors are listed in the order they started writing in the cultverse.

My own cultverse stories were mostly lost when I deleted my old lj; I've since found a few on an old hard drive and will be reposting slowly.

However, not much about the community itself is still available on the internet thanks to the migration from Livejournal to Tumblr in the 2010s. The only available Wayback Machine capture of the Cultverse livejournal community while it was still active is from December 2007 and contains a mod post from queenofhell that reads:

Once again, it took me forever to update the Cultverse Masterlist, but I finally did. Along with the stories that are posted in this community, I also added linzeems Hand of God: Five Things That Never Happened to Patrick Stump.[note 4] One of the five things is cultverse, but I'm not going to tell you which one because you should read all of them. *g*

Under 'References' I also added the link to the Q&A; thread.[note 5] I know new people join or stumble upon the cultverse occasionally, so if you have any questions, that post is still open. Hope I can assuage your confusion.

As always, thanks for continuing to play in this crazy sandbox with me. We now have 61 stories by 26 authors--lets see if we can get to 100 by next December![5]

This mod post is a testament to the popularity and scope of Cultverse at its height, but the rest of Cultverse history is sadly lost, including the masterpost of Cultverse fic and the official cultverse writing policy. There are extant works available on AO3, but a significant chunk of what was written for it is now lost and current fandom culture means that works in the vein of Cultverse are unlikely to be reposted, even to AO3. A tweet from mondegreened in 2018 says:

the ao3 is so important and we fuckin need to protect people from being bullied into deleting their works bc i just went digging and found out most of Cultverse has been lost to lj's bullshit and the sands of time and i'm... so sad[6]

Surviving Works

  • By magdalyna
    • Molotov Cocktails and Drum Beats, Pete/Patrick, Pete/Joe - "Andy reflects on the events in his life leading to starting a cult with Pete Wentz"
    • Practice Makes Perfect, Pete/Patrick, Pete/Mikey, Pete/Gabe - "Andy has rules for his universe"
    • Audiophile, Pete/Jon/Brendon, Panic GSF - "Jon makes sense of the world through sound and photographs"
    • Snakes and Tiny Glass, Pete/Patrick, Gabe/William, Gabe/Patrick - "Gabe in the beginning."
    • Papercuts, Pete/Travie, William/Travie, Gabe/Travie - "Travis contemplates belief."
    • Shifting Opinions - "Andy finds a new way of dealing with life's little mishaps."
  • By magdalyna and joker_and_thief
    • We Set the Wrong Course, Pete/Ryan, Pete/Patrick, Panic GSF, William/Gabe/Travie - "Ryan wants to make Pete proud."

Notes and References

Notes

  1. The "Gabe Saporta's Basement" meme primarily centers around the fact that Cobra Starship has a song called "It's Warmer In The Basement" about, well. "[L]oving a girl so much that you tie her up and lock her in your basement, so you don’t have to share her with the rest of the world," in Gabe's own words.
  2. The deletion of a Livejournal account also deletes all comments the account made, regardless of where they were made.
  3. Link now defunct. It led to the official masterlist.
  4. Link now defunct. It led to a work which no longer exists.
  5. Link now defunct. The editor has no idea what it led to.

References

  1. Cultverse Livejournal Community Profile. Accessed 13 Nov 2019.
  2. STORY TIME SUNDAY: WE'LL DROWN OURSELVES IN MISERY TONIGHT by wishfulclicking on bandom-recs, July 13 2008
  3. 3.0 3.1 queenofhell on Livejournal. Accessed 13 Nov 2019.
  4. 4.0 4.1 suspense and brain-busting. Posted 24 Jan 2007. Accessed 13 Nov 2019.
  5. Cultverse captured by the Wayback Machine on 28 Dec 2007. Accessed 13 Nov 2019.
  6. Tweet from @mondegreened. Posted 19 Sept 2018. Accessed 13 Nov 2019.