Desert Island (fan activity)

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Desert Island is one fannish shorthand description of an activity where fans ask each other which fanworks "they would take if they were to be stranded on a desert island." In other words, it is the device a fan uses to pick beloved stories and other fannish favorites.

Often this list is for a specified number of selections such as five, ten or twenty. This stipulation is overrun as fans tweak the "rules" and counted series of fics as one work and other fudging. Some fans cheerfully announce off the bat that they are not following the rules. [need example]

The game is not fannish in origin. The same game was played on the long-running British radio program Desert Island Discs starting in 1942; this program might be the origin of the game's general popularity in the wider mundane culture.

Examples of Use

  • "This is my Due South desert island fic." [1]
  • "There will be squeeing and music vids and arguments about which ten BSOs you would take to a desert island..." [2]
  • ""Desert Island S&H" was a sort of questionnaire, which each of us filled in with answers to such posers as "Which episode *must* you have, when you're stranded on the desert island?" [3]
  • ""This is IT. You know that "If I could have only one..." question? Well, this is the 'zine I would choose if I were stranded on a desert island." [4]
  • "Which Simon would you want to be stranded with on a desert island with?" -- on fan answers: "Which Simon to have on a desert island, eh? Well, whichever one you pick, you'd end up with the other one, too, arriving eventually to rescue him, because nothing would keep these guys apart for long. Before I jump to the obvious choice (for me) of Rick, AJ has some pluses on his side. He's a terrific cook, and could probably think up ways of spicing up the basic coconut-fish-and-banana diet... That's assuming, of course, that there's something to eat and drink on this island, as the guestion was not "Which Simon would you want to slowly starve to death with?" Though, if food grew scarce, AJ has a lot more meat on him if one's thoughts turn to cannibalism. He is also very well educated and could probably carry on interesting conversations to pass the time." [5]
  • "Next up for our Desert Island Pros - the stories and zines you just couldn't do without on your idyllic desert island." [6]
  • "If I were stranded on a desert island and could only have ten K/S stories to read, what would they be? So for what it's worth, this month, in alphabetical order, they are: Cave of The Heart - Gayle F, Chimera - Susan K. James, Coaes the Rain - Sharon St. James, Courts of Honor - Syn Ferguson, Dark Dream Revisited - Mary Lowe, Rumor Has It - Devery Helm, Take Hone This Traveled Heart - Judi, The Price - Syn Ferguson,Til Only the Stars Remained - Delia Van Hise, Those Who Favor Fire - Lezlie Shell. [7]
  • Close Quarters Desert Island Episode/Zine/Fic - Professionals: "One of the panels at Close Quarters was a discussion of our favorite (and/or) desert island fic/zine/episode of Pros; ie what we would take if we knew we would be stranded on a desert island with a solar-paneled dvd player."[8]


  1. ^ writes a fan as she recommends a Due South story at Due South author profiles] (2010)
  2. ^ a fan describes a slashbash Temaris (2007)
  3. ^ an activity at Zedcon in 2001
  4. ^ from a fan recommending the zine Changes at the Sentinel Slash Library (2008)
  5. ^ from Simon and Simon Investigations #5 (March 1987)
  6. ^ Discovered in a Letterbox's later issues have a regular section where fans picked the five zines they'd take with them to a desert island.
  7. ^ from The LOC Connection #29
  8. ^ Close Quarters Desert Island Episode/Zine/Fic dated July 18, 2009; reference link.