Slashcast Metachat: Horror: The Dark Side of Fanworks & Fandom

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Interviews by Fans
Title: Slashcast Metachat: Horror: The Dark Side of Fanworks & Fandom
Interviewer: charlotteschaos (Char)
Interviewee: amanuensis1 (Amy) and son_of_darkness (Kyle)
Date(s): June 17, 2006
Medium: online transcript, podcast
Fandom(s): Harry Potter
External Links: online transcript; WebCite
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Slashcast Metachat: Horror: The Dark Side of Fanworks & Fandom is a chat with amanuensis1 and son_of_darkness. charlotteschaos is the interviewer.

"Our discussion today is about the dark side of fandom. The sort of fic and art that explores the darker side of human nature and sexuality."

It is a podcast at Slashcast and includes an online transcript.

For more in this series, see Slashcast Interview Series.


Amy: Well, you know, there's a number of things that fall in that category. Horror is probably one of the most obvious ones. Violence, and it can be, you know, things that end in death, although it doesn't always have to be, there's a lot of general fic stuff. When I write, most of it is, you know, kind of non-consensual sexual things. That's- when I write, that's a lot of it.
Kye: [why I read or create it]: I don't really know. I guess it's just kind of a- in some ways it's kind of a morbid fascination, the same way that you watch shows on shark attacks, or whatever. You know, it's kind of- it's like, "Wow, that's quite strange and freaky and disturbing and really cool, and I can't stop watching." I guess it's the same kind of for dark fic as well, except usually with dark fic there's something else in it other than the disturbing kind of side. There's usually kind of a side that's really exciting as well.
Amy: I hate to sit here and say, "Well you know, dark fic is more meaningful and dark fic is- it lends itself to a huge psychology." You know, I'm just sitting back, enjoying the ride. So, and you know, I don't like to assume that horror or dark fic is more meaningful just because it might be more serious because, you know, how many horror films have won academy awards? Dean Koontz isn't getting the Notable Book of the Year award - they're not. People are looking at that - and I mean, this might sound kind of contradictory, but horror is fluff to some effect, for some people. And when I say fluff, I mean we think of fluff as something that makes you happy and light and all that, but fluff can also just mean something not to be taken too seriously and I look at the horror section of the bookstore and say, "Oh it's, you know, it's not as meaningful." So, I think it appeals on maybe a more a lurid basis, but it's not necessarily more meaningful. I hate to make it sound more meaningful.
Kye: Oh, you see- me, for example, when I write dark fic or - I mean, I can read pretty much any dark fic, whether it's meaningful or whether it's just non-con for the sake of non-con, you know? But when I write it, I try to make it not meaningful, but I try to make it um, I don't know, how do I word this? A bit- I try to give consequences to things that happen. Like if I'm writing a non-con, I'll write it usually from the point of view of the victim and try to make it less eroticized and more real and- I won't- I'm not, like, shoving morals down peoples' throats and saying, "Oh, this is so wrong and blah." But I try and- I just add an element to, an element of consequence that the rapist doesn't, isn't someone to be glorified.
Amy: Even fantasies that are, you know, comfortable fantasies that aren't non-consensual fantasies, sometimes even those are things that you don't necessarily want to make true and you know, doublely so in something non-consensual, but it's like, everything is comfortable and easy, and everyone knows when to stop, you know, when the, ahem, victim or something says, "I wouldn't want someone to do this because that would be wrong, so therefore I have this level of control," because, of course, it's fiction.
Char: I don't really [see a lot of horror in the Harry Potter fandom] either. I don't see enough of what, you know- I would think that the Harry Potter fandom, the verse, would so lend itself to horror. It saddens me in some ways that I don't see a whole lot of, you know, 'cause you've got all these brilliant magical creatures. You've got werewolves and vampires and, you know, all of these very traditional horror sort of beasts that are just commonplace. And there's so much potential for, you know, that kind of creature feature horror or, you know, taking it in a different way. And I don't see a whole lot of it.
Char: Personally - this is my opinion about where slash and the fanfic comes in [in Harry Potter] - it's because there's just like, this whole- they're such asexual beings up until the last book, really. Sort of cute, fluffy, but not necessarily the teenage experience I think most of us really had. Then again, so few of us are stalked by megalomaniacal...
Amy: I kind of think it's there from the beginning. I have said, the thing I liked about the books, even before I was in fandom, you know, when I read through the fourth book - um, I didn't come into the fandom until I was in the- until Goblet of Fire - and I kept saying, "Oh, I love how the books keep getting darker and darker." I said that, but I think the ground work was there from book one. That's my personal opinion; I think it was there at that point. 'Cause I wrote- the very first thing that I wrote in the fandom, I was writing after Goblet of Fire, but my brain set this story after, right after Chamber of Secrets and again, that's only the second book and there's plenty of ground work right there.