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Tropes and genres
Synonym(s)Dark AU
Related tropes/genresApocafic, Cult AU, Deathfic, Demon AU, Hitman AU, Hurt/Comfort, Mafia AU, Mindfuck, Mirror Universe, Rapefic, Serial Killer AU, Shockfic, Slavefic, Torture
See alsoDead Dove: Do Not Eat, Get 'em, Suicide in Fanworks, Tissue Warning, whump
Related articles on Fanlore.

Darkfic is fan fiction that deals with intentionally disturbing material, such as physical and emotional violence. The main characters may be the victims of the violence, the perpetrators, or both. The mood and atmosphere are characterized by a shift away from optimism, toward despair or hopelessness, or even a sort of gleeful exploration of the disturbing. Darkfics do not usually have happy endings.

When it involves a pairing, darkfic may be enemyslash or involve partner betrayal.

Darkfic may be characterized as canon-corrective in the sense that the popular media usually dealt with by fan fiction do not usually explore images of intense violence and broody introspection, or if they do, all is forgotten by the time the next episode or issue comes around. There is no 42-Minute Reset in darkfic.

Occasionally there are canonical alternate universes that lend themselves particularly well to darkfic, such as the Star Trek Mirror Universe or the DC Comics parallel world Earth-3; stories set in these universes often become very popular with darkfic writers and fanartists, as they can explore extremely dark situations and characterizations without becoming OOC.

In recent years some smaller segments of the online fan community have attempted to limit or even eliminate fan fiction that focuses on dark themes. See "Your Vagina is a Bigot; My Vagina is a Saint" and "I See A Lot Of Posts Going Around (Suppressing Women's Sexuality)". Often the stated reason is to protect abuse survivors from seeing or reading fanfic that might trigger their trauma. Others worry that teenagers might read darkfic and attempt to emulate it or come to believe that what they're reading is normal behavior. These campaigns usually run afoul of real life victims who may find cathartic release in writing or consuming darkfic. These abuse survivors are sometimes told that they need to process their trauma privately and in a more acceptable manner.[1]

The targets of these attacks sometimes lack context and they are confused why they are being harassed: See "sadly, fanlore does not explain what is provoking young anon to behave this way.", Archived version

In 2016 one fan pointed out that:

"....most fanwank I’ve seen about dark fic or writing noncon or underage characters has in the past been limited to certain corners and I’ve never seen that kind of attitude given much credence by a larger fan community, but if that needs to be said, I’m saying it. Nobody gets to tell other people what they can and can’t write. No, not even if you are personally an abuse survivor. You don’t get to tell other people how to deal with their own issues or force them to behave in what you personally deem to be an “appropriate” manner for an abuse survivor. [2]


Example Fanworks


  • Dark Fantasies, a multimedia zine with the subtitle, "Not for the Faint of Heart."
  • Black Cover, a controversial Beauty & The Beast zine derided as "sick and weird" by many at the time
  • Dark Fire, a Star Trek: TOS K/S zine with stories that revel in the dark fire within us all


See the following artists:

See also fanworks tagged Dark at the AO3.

Meta & Further Reading