Not Based on a True Story

From Fanlore
Jump to: navigation, search
Title: Not Based on a True Story
Author(s): Isilya
Date(s): 2004
Length: 4,300 words
Genre: Metafic, Fandom AU, slash
Fandom: 'N Sync, RPF
External Links: at Don We Now Our Gay Apparel

Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Not Based on a True Story is a Popslash metafic by Isilya, written for the 2004 Don We Now Our Gay Apparel gift exchange fest. It is a Fandom AU told in second person by Justin Timberlake, in which the 'N Sync members are in the Backstreet Boys slash fandom. It is very meta, a story written by a slasher about a much-slashed real person who is writing a Fandom AU story about another much-slashed Popslash group.


Nick is not a snob, but AJ is a fanboi with an i. It's maybe something to do with the endless song lyrics AJ posts in his journal, the quizzes, the anime smilies. It's maybe something more to do with his webcam, with the Yahoo! mailing list for updates and discussion. Nick and Howie started reccing AJ everywhere for fun one day, as a kind of April Fool's joke even though it was September at the time. AJ's stories were terrible, epic and instantly popular. Howie called him in the middle of the night in fits of laughter, saying AJ had emailed him to say thank you so much for the recs. Nick laughed, but felt shitty when AJ won three fanfic awards.

(from This Must Be Pop by JRT)

Recs and Reviews

  • "A brilliant meta-narrative that requires no knowledge of the characters. This one is all about fandom, about its intensity and the way we crush on each other with sudden shared passion and then fade out of each other's lives. It's about writing and creating and how that meshes with our real lives. It's really an awesome story. Highly recommended." [1]
  • "By placing boy band celebrities in the role of 'us', the story evokes several analogies.... [T]he relationship between *NSYNC's band members ... is sketched onto the relationship of slashers within the story and -- by extension -- onto the readers. ... Readers are invited to move beyond the boundaries of the fictional text by seeing fictional interactions mirrored in actual fannish ones." [2]
  • "So, this one blew my fucking MIND. Popslash AU in which... AU!Justin Timberlake is a popslasher trying to write a Howie/Nick fic where Howie&Nick are slashers, except he keeps writing in his own issues about former fandom mentor AU!JC. It's like meta fic wrapped inside meta, inside meta, with slash." [3]
  • "I am not surprised to see such a clever story as Isilya's Not Based On A True Story coming out of popslash, given how clever popslash tends to be (this is the fandom of Flesh Mechanic and the style of detached somewhat sardonic omniscient POV, after all). But if you've ever been a fanfic writer, you want to read this and see how it resonates with your own experience. In addition to the things it says about relationships between fans and between writers and readers, friends and friends-of lists, there's a line about being two-thirds through a story and needing to distract yourself with LJ and Penny Arcade because you just can't stand to look at the words anymore, and well -- I've been there." [4]


  1. livejournal post by cupidsbow in rec_room, May. 29th, 2007. archived.
  2. Kristen Busse, from My Life Is a WIP on My LJ in Fan Fiction and Fan Communities in the Age of the Internet
  3. comment by silviakundera in a livejournal post by seperis, 2010-04-27
  4. livejournal post by field_reports, Dec. 28th, 2004. archived.