Phones in Fanworks
|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:
- 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
With the advent of cell phones came texting.
- Many Sherlock (BBC) fanfics employ the canonical use of Sherlock's remark, "I prefer to text."
- Also in BBC Sherlock fandom, the fanfic A Finger Slip in which John and Sherlock "meet" when John accidentally sends a text to the wrong number became incredibly popular (spawning a webseries adaptation) and inspiring a number of spin-offs in different fandoms that make use of the "wrong number" trope. Examples include Your Call Cannot Be Completed As Dialed (Supernatural) and The Strange Little Man in My Phone (Cabin Pressure).
- Professional Wrestling manager Paul E. Dangerously used cell phones as weapons as part of his original "The Psycho Yuppie" gimmick in the 1980s
Development and Tropes
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.