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In fandom, hiatus is generally used to refer to a long gap between episodes of a television show, such as the gap between television seasons, or to the wait between books in a series. During a hiatus, fanworks often focus on speculative ways that plot threads left hanging can be resolved; this is especially true if the last episode or book ended with a cliffhanger. Futurefic extending past the current end of canon is common during a hiatus despite the likelihood that it will be Jossed by the next round of new canon.
It may be more difficult than usual to avoid spoilers during the hiatus between television seasons, due to the long period of time in which rumors and publicity information about the next season can spread. Fans may also use a hiatus to explore other fandoms, contributing to fandom drift.
"The Great Hiatus," or "the Hiatus," is the name given by Sherlock Holmes fans to the time of Holmes's disappearance from 1891 to 1894, in between "The Adventure of the Final Problem" and "The Adventure of the Empty House."
"Hellatus" is term used to refer to the periods of time during which the show, Supernatural, isn't airing. It originated between seasons 3 and 4, during which a main character, Dean Winchester was actively in hell. The first Hellatus also corresponded with the Writer's Guild of America Strike, which led to longer show breaks than normal and a shorter Season 3.