Fan Fiction Oral History Project with Elfwreck

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Interviews by Fans
Title: Fan Fiction Oral History Project with Elfwreck
Interviewer: Lisa Cronin
Interviewee: Elfwreck
Date(s): June 2, 2012
Medium: audio, print transcript
Fandom(s):
External Links: Fan Fiction Oral History Project with Elfwreck
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Fan Fiction Oral History Project with Elfwreck was conducted in 2012 by Lisa Cronin and archived at the University of Iowa Libraries.

This interview's medium is audio (length: 1:52:24 ), and it has a written 54-page transcript.

It was part of the series: Fan Fiction Oral History Project also referred to as "a Fiction and Internet Memory Research Project," "the Fiction and Internet Memory Program," and "Fan Fiction and Internet Memory."

The interviews conducted for this project were used for the book by Abigail De Kosnik called Rogue Archives: Digital Cultural Memory and Media Fandom.

Some Topics Discussed

Excerpts

I got involved by my local comic bookstore that had gaming supplies. I got into ElfQuest in '82, '83. And didn't consciously think of it as fandom at the time. Picked up the zine they had, Yearnings, first ElfQuest zine, which I had no idea wasn't officially a part of the ElfQuest universe. Because they were on the shelf with the other ElfQuest stuff. It's three months between issues, I was buying any ElfQuest stuff, and went to BayCon sci-fi convention in '86. It was my first introduction to fandom as a group activity thing.

[ Fail-Fandomanon is] like Fandom Wank, only without the accountability and social grace....

And people have pointed out that it has gotten much more polite, and there is many nifty fannish discussions going on on it. And there are, because they can't happen anywhere else. Unlike Fandom Wank, which has a — at least extensible— policy of "you are not allowed to follow people back to their journals and bitch at them," there is nothing remotely enforceable about that at the anonymous memes. Can't know who said anything.

And there is enough negativity that there's no incentive for people to run Metafandom. People who post controversial stuff, a lot of them have put it under lock, like being raked over the coals with Metafandom. And between that and the shift to more bits of social justice and backlash of social justice, there is nobody who wants to run Metafandom and be the target or the person who collected the wrong info, picked the wrong side to promote or whatever. And a lot of the people who are doing meta, whether they're still doing it or doing it under lock or whatever, don't want it publicized.

I think there's going to be a whole lot of ... more stupid attempts to exploit fanfic and fandom with the "Oh, I have discovered these new collections of eyeballs. I will figure out how to make money off of this! "Like, we're all so dense that none of us have ever considered that there could be money made out of this. They're all so stupid. We have just missed. If you just clicked these buttons and put the script on your site, money will start rolling in . And mostly we don't object to that. The people who made the zines in the '70s and '80s, it was okay if they made a profit. We're okay with the people who host conventions who make money off of it. What we don't want is the destruction of our fannish community at the cost of somebody makes money. So many of the other ones are under the impression that if you just do this little thing, money will starting pouring in some direction or another without disrupting the community. All of the little things you can do to make money move in this community, we have done those. They are working as well as they ever have, better that they used to between the Kickstarter things and the PayPal buttons, there is a whole lot more money moving around in the community, and we don't mind that, but we're not going to put up with, Well, you're not allowed to have this kind of content anymore because that cuts off some of the money. And there's always that impression with especially the media representative types who come in and decide they're going to make money off of it.

[snipped]

"Let's connect the fans with the movie studios, and then there'll be more money involved!" No, we have all the connection with the movie studios that we could ever want.
I wish [fans who remove their fanworks from the net] wouldn't. I can see several reasons for it, some of which I think of as more reasonable and valid than others. I understand that they aren't always in a position to be able to say why their reasons are valid and whatever. "I'm going to work for a corporation that has a morals clause in their hiring thing, and I don't want them to ever see this, and I don't want to tell anybody that I'm going to work for a corporation with a morals clause, because that makes it more likely that they will find this." I'm glad that those stories often still bounce around in the various ... I guess the word is "darknet," below the search engine level. I am most disappointed with the ones that vanished, because the authors didn't care about the fandom anymore and didn't think there was enough interest to arrange for anyone to keep hosting those fics or that site. Where they would be perfectly happy if it's around, but they can't be bothered to tell anyone that. Those are the ones I would like to find and get in touch with and arrange for their stories to still be available. There's a lot of zine authors who are in that category, that "I wrote this story for a paper zine in 1986, and it was 4,000 words long, and several, two, three dozen people loved it! You care about it now? Sure, do whatever with it!" In the zine scanning community, we've run across several of those. We've run across the, "Oh my God, you cannot possibly post my stuff anywhere on the web." But we also run across authors who are, "Somebody still cares about that? Sure, have fun with it! Post it somewhere!"

References