Phones in Fanworks

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Fandom: Pan-fandom
Dates: early 20th century-present
See also: Telephones and Fandom

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Over the years, phones have been frequently used as central themes and devices in fanworks as they became more ubiquitous in the modern world.


Landline telephones at first rarely appeared as a central theme in most fanworks. Their use was casual, a background element of the modern age, much like cars, TV and radio (ex: see the Lovett phone image from Perestroika above).

A number of fanworks made the telephone their focus:

Sonny Crockett makes a call in Phone Sex, artist is KOZ
from Spockanalia #3 (1968), artist is Alicia Austin for Visit to a Weird Planet
  • The Phone Booth is slash Starsky and Hutch anthology pass-around theme zine from the early to mid 1980s.
  • The Miami Vice zine Phone Sex (1995)
  • The John & Rodney Show, a Stargate Atlantis vid by lim. This surrealist video collage includes images of rotary phones, sock puppets, and repeating cut-outs of John Sheppard and Rodney McKay on the phone, from a brief scene in season three depicting the period when the main characters were temporarily exiled from Atlantis and were given jobs at different military bases. In the scene, Rodney is talking to John on his cell phone while John plays with a toy airplane; the vid presents this as a series of many, many phone calls from Rodney, in which John becomes increasingly reluctant to pick up. Created for a phone call challenge on sga flashfic. (2006)
  • Vibrate, a QAF vid. (The video begins with the phone call from 501 in their separation in terms of distance and later shows the scene again in the middle of the last chorus with extra meaning with other clips around it highlighting Brian's need to bring Justin closer to him. The vidder closely follows the lyrics and is sometimes a little too literal in clip choices that distract from the central point of the vid. However the metaphor of a phone call and reaching out to the other person have a separation (such as a breakup) is shown throughout the vid and strengthens the message of the vid.) (2007)
  • "Reach Out and Touch Someone" by Jeanne DeVore - a title that plays on a popular ad slogan for a telephone company: Peter Caine's dad finally gets a telephone (Kung Fu: The Legend Continues)
  • Fifty Five Cents by Alexis Rogers is one of the first Starsky & Hutch stories published online -- "Another dime. Five, five, five. How can all the numbers in L.A. be five, five, five? Hutch did not answer. Twenty rings. Shit, Hutch, this is ridiculous. He hung up. Waited for his dime. The machine ate it."
  • Telephone, 24 vid by jarrow. "Jack Bauer really just wants CTU to stop calling him, okay." Features various cell phones and push-button land-line phones. (2012)

More Example Fanworks

Cell Phones

With the advent of cell phones came texting.

Avengers fandom example of the popular Texts From Last Night Meme on Tumblr: these graphic combine an appropriate fandom-specific screencap with a real text message quoted on the Texts from Last Night website.

Development and Tropes

As of February 9, 2019, there are 13,156 fanworks in the "Texting" tag on Archive of Our Own[1], 9,055 works in the "Phone Calls & Telephones" tag[2], and 5,988 works in the "Phone Sex" tag.[3]

Text Fic

texting AUs, in which two characters - who have usually not previously met in the story - begin texting each other, often as a result of a wrong number, are extremely popular. This type of get together fic is entirely centered around the presence of cell phones in the story, and many texting AUs are even written entirely in dialogue, formatted as texts.[4]

Phone Sex


  1. ^ "Texting" tag on Archive of Our Own. Accessed on February 9, 2019.
  2. ^ "Phone Calls & Telephones" tag on Archive of Our Own. Accessed on February 9, 2019.
  3. ^ "Phone Sex" tag on Archive of Our Own. Accessed on February 9, 2019.
  4. ^ One popular example of this is Text Talk, a Harry Potter fic by merlywhirls.