|Trope · Genre|
|Related:||Sharing a Bed, Roommates AU, Locked in a Room|
|Tropes · Slash Tropes · Tropes by Fandom|
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Quarantine fics often focus on characters quarantined together as a result of exposure to a dangerous substance or due to a health emergency. This trope had appeared before 2020, but in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, quarantine fics saw a massive rise in popularity.
It is often a trope used to bring together two characters who are not in a relationship or living together, but end up cohabiting due to quarantine measures. These works are often an amalgamation of, or contain elements of classic fic tropes; such as, Trapped Together, Roommates AU and Sharing a Bed.
This trope can often be found in Science Fiction fandoms for example Star Trek:TOS or The X-Files, since the characters often deal with alien lifeforms and/or the risk of being exposed to infectious spores or plagues. Other, sexier variations include quarantining due to sex pollen exposure or characters being in heat.
Fanfic as a Coping Mechanism
Quarantine Fics had never been considered controversial because very few of them related to real life quarantines. In March 2020, there was much discussion about whether or not it was appropriate to write such fics and why some people chose to write/read them in the midst of a pandemic.
Actually, quarantine fics in a sense go all the way back to Boccaccio’s “Decameron,” which concerns a group of people hidden away in a villa from the ravages of the Black Death in the 14th century and telling stories to pass the time.
[Anonymous:] would u ever write a covid au?
No, nothing could appeal to me less than a Covid AU. I get why some people are into the quarantine idea but there are a million better ways to do the “unexpectedly stuck with one another” angle and I cannot romanticise that disease like I’m KJ Apa or something.
anonymous Tumblr ask to ghostofbambifanfiction, 2020
[Anonymous:] This kind of feels like dropping a live bomb in your inbox, sorry, but can I ask why someone writing a fic about tragedies or recent events are so reviled? [...]
I don’t know if people have forgotten, but we had this same w.ank 1 year ago when the first COVID+quarantine fics started popping up too. People in real life were dying, and some were writing current, present tragedy into the background to get their OTP together.
Inappropriate? Insensitive? Callous? Offensive? Sure, why not. It can be all that and more. But I don’t think there’s anything even remotely shocking about it, let alone inherently bad, and the risk of calling a certain work of fiction racist or exploitative or anything else is that, as usual, you’re (general you) not so subtly implying we should check the ID and trauma history of every author in order to make sure we’re not actually targeting the same we’re allegedly trying to protect, as separating fiction Done Right from fiction Done Wrong is notoriously impossible.
anonymous Tumblr ask to fiction-is-not-reality2, April 2021
- Lovely – A Little Problem (1991), a gen Star Trek: TOS novel by Brenda Kelsey
- Antidote (1998), a fandom classic X-Files story by Karen Rasch and Rachel Howard
- Lucky or smart (2008) by Kass, a SGA story which is the earliest work on AO3 to use the tag (as of Sept 2021)
- Three and a Half Days by prairiecrow (2012), a Star Trek: Deep Space Nine story
- The Itchy and Scratchy Show (2012) by sabinelagrande, a sex pollen XM:FC story
- Fever by Blue_Sunshine (2019), a Star Wars story posted with the tags WARNING: pandemic and Written before COVID
Some of the quarantine works produced during COVID dealt with the epidemic directly, while some used different reasons as the cause for the characters quarantining.
- Several chapters of The Magicians fic series The one with the dog by portraitofemmy deal with the characters quarantining together.
- Quarantine by Soloveyko, a Eurovision RPF story posted in March 2020: With a Coronavirus quarantine and potential killer robots on the loose, one thing was for sure. The 2020 Eurovision Song Contest certainly wasn't going to be boring.
- Isolated by CarmillaCarmine (2021), a Sherlock story: Due to an ongoing pandemic, John and Sherlock find themselves isolated at 221B.
- Quarantined by BirdOfHermes (2020), a MCU, Loki/Reader story: After returning from a mission, you and Loki are unfortunately quarantined together for 48 hours to make sure you're not both carriers for a deadly alien virus.
- Quarantine by Celine_Lister (2020), a Gentleman Jack story: The coronavirus quarantine AU exactly 0 people asked for. Anne was "just passing" when she called on Miss Walker and was exposed to COVID-19. The Anne(s) are stuck together for the next two weeks.
Fans also compiled quarantine-themed reclists and fic prompts:
- Wolfstar Quarantine Fics by wolfstarlibrarian (Harry Potter, Remus/Sirius)
- AFTG quarantine recs by aftgficrecs (All For The Game)
- quarantine fic recs by the5sosfanfiction (5 Seconds of Summer)
- Quarantine prompts by piraparka, for example: 4. “Why don’t you go back to your own house before we get stuck together for a month.” and 11. “Hey I need to ask you a favor… so you know my massage class? It’s online now and I need a body to massage. Will you help me out?”
- Lock Down Fest, a mini fest on Tumblr, Mar 2020.
Archives & Fannish Links
- AO3 'Quarantine' tag
- Wattpad 'Quarantine' tag
- Fics in the Time of Coronavirus, a collection on Ao3, active since March 2020.
- Special Episode 15: Tropefest: Trapped Together a Fansplaining episode, March 2020.
- Contagion Page on the Mulder's Creek Fan Fiction Archive, featuring X-Files fanworks dealing with illnesses as well as threat of Epidemics & Pandemics
- Coronavirus is starting to show up in fan fiction, placing iconic characters in quarantine by Palmer Haasch for Insider.com, published March 17, 2020.
- Quarantine Fics by Amanda Hudgins at Unwinnable.com, August 10, 2020.
- ^ Comment on Reddit thread Quarantine fics are now a genre, and I can't stop laughing in /r/fanfiction by Bolt_DMC, March 16 2020.
- ^ would u ever write a covid au anonymous Tumblr ask to ghostofbambifanfiction, 2020, accessed Sept 15, 2021
- ^ This kind of feels like dropping a live bomb in your inbox [Dead link] anonymous Tumblr ask to fiction-is-not-reality2, April 2021 accessed Sept 15, 2021