Slashcast Metachat: Reading, Writing, Reacting: Horror in Fandom

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Interviews by Fans
Title: Slashcast Metachat: Reading, Writing, Reacting: Horror in Fandom
Interviewer: elanorofcastile (Elanor)
Interviewee: kriken (Kriken), xtinethepirate (Xtine), and Tashilover (Tashi; she is a write-in and doesn't speak)
Date(s): October 2, 2012
Medium: online transcript, podcast
Fandom(s): various: Sherlock, Teen Wolf, Supernatural, others
External Links: online transcript; WebCite
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.


Reading, Writing, Reacting: Horror in Fandom is a chat with kriken, xtinethepirate, and Tashilover. elanorofcastile is the interviewer.

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

For more in this series, see Slashcast Interview Series.


Xtine: Hello, I am Xtine, my livejournal/ handle is xtinethepirate. Fandom wise I have previously been active in terms of art and fic in Star Wars and Supernatural, currently I am mostly a lurker in Sherlock fandoms of all sorts, although I have thrown my hat in the ring a little bit in terms of fic and art for those. Er, yeah, and so that’s me.
Kriken: And this is Kriken, primarily in terms of this month’s theme my biggest fandom would be Teen Wolf, very obvious why that’s part of this particular discussion. I also, in the past, was a very big member of the Buffy fandom. I am a reader primarily, I also do some beta work, and I love to squee all over the place. [laughter]
Xtine: I probably [laughs] I don’t know if I have a good answer to [the question of, is it fun to read how different people interpret a character’s personality based on how they would react to these types of situations] because my general answer is to that is that I don’t seek it out. I actively avoid it, [laughs] in most contexts. But when I do come across a good piece and I just am compelled to read it because I’ve enjoyed that person’s other works or because I see there are a lot of comments on it sometimes I have to construct elaborate framing narratives to make everything okay again. There’s this wonderful, horrible, horrible fic in the Sherlock fandom posted on one of the fic memes called The Spirit Child by velvet_mace. And it’s just. I can’t even describe it to do it justice, it’s just the single most terrifying thing I have ever read and it completely perverts the relationship between John and Sherlock into something that’s sickening and horrifying and you just can’t look away and. Ugh. I mean I was having nightmares about this fic, and like thinking it over and I couldn’t get it out of my head until I decided to construct this elaborate sort of framing narrative for the fic and make it a modern AU of the canonical The Devil’s Foot story where basically Sherlock decides the best way to find out if the residue that he found in someone’s lamp was really the poison that killed people by making them insane was to try it out himself, with John. Basically they go on this big trip and almost die. I decided this had to be a modern AU and really John was just hallucinating the whole thing, it was really okay, none of it had happened. It might defeat the purpose of horror, but that’s the best way I find for me to deal with it.
Xtine: I think that for me the ones that really got under my skin have been the, like, the crossover fics like Lilyankh’s The Slenderman Case Files for Sherlock, or Velvet_mace’s The Spirit Child, or even - I don’t know how to pronounce her name properly - Chi-Chi-Chimera maybe, - on The Most Dangerous Game in which Sherlock is a serial killer. I think those ones get under my skin more and bother me more because, even though I, when I say they’re – they’re not expected, even though, you know, I read the description and I know what to expect from it, they aren’t central to the show as a whole and how it stands. Whereas I found that when I was in Supernatural I wouldn’t really qualify it as being horror or terror even when they came across really scary stuff because that was canon, for me. So I didn’t really experience it in the same way as I do when I find like those urban legends crossed with something that doesn’t usually deal with the scary or the supernatural in that respect.
Xtine: Um, for me I don’t think I really have an approach of that nature. In fact I’m sort of the opposite. I mean, I get into the fandom that I’m in and then if I find a well written fic that might lead me into other things, for instance The Baker Street Record, which I have actually yet to read, but I have looked it over and it looks pretty awesome and it’s a canonical Holmes fic that crosses it with House of Leaves. Wanting to read and understand that fic is the reason I went out and bought House of Leaves [laughter] to read. So I find that well written fic in my primary fandom will lead me to secondary fandoms, versus secondary fandoms making me want to read a primary fandom fic more.

Elanor: I think for me, yeah, it’s more that within the fandom I have tropes that I will always read. Like in Sherlock I will definitely always go for serial killers. NCIS I always will go for serial killer!Tony, that one yes, 100% of the time I will read that fic no matter how good or bad it is. And, er, also, like the dystopian future or the apocalypse, any sort of thing like that. I also enjoy, obviously as I’m in Teen Wolf too, you know, creature fic. Whether someone is magically turned into a werewolf or not, or something like that. And I know that Tashi had said that she definitely goes for dystopian future as well, especially because “things where it involves the character going into the future, like the Croatoan 2014 episode in Supernatural, it’s scary to know that you fucked up so bad that everyone in the future is suffering because of you.”

So, while we’d said that we had, you know, different things that we will tend to read based on different criteria, is there anything that makes you kind of push your limits because you know that in this circumstance it’ll be okay? Do you ever find your squicks being bent in more horror/terror kind of a scenario instead of something more straight-up sensual? Like for my example is – and of course I can’t remember it and I can’t find it [laughter] – but I read Dean and Zombie! Castiel, Castiel was kept in a, I think it was Cas, it might have been Sam, I’m not 100% sure, but the person who was a zombie was not Dean and they were kept in, like, a cage in the back, or in the basement or something and he, like, he cared for them and he loved them and … yeah [laughter] there was definitely Dean/Zombie!person sex. And, you know, I was okay with it because it was framed within knowing that it was this bad, horrible things had happened, and so there were zombies, and that’s why instead of it just being straight up-
Kriken: My squicks when it comes particularly to horror and/or terror, I don’t cross those boundaries a whole lot, my biggest one that I’m not very good at reading is major character death. Those, I just can’t get past it sometimes unless it’s the type where they come back as something else. People can still classify it as character death because still have to work that through that emotional component, when it happens, even if you know that something is going to happen again later, you still have to go through that whole emotional toil part. And it’s very rare that I will actually click on one of those with the exception of knowing that the person the person who is writing this or dealing with it has dealt with other things in a, in a good way and so you have some level of trust.
Xtine: Well before we watched, like mainlined American Horror Story definitely was like the middle of the afternoon and bright and sunshiny. I find that I have more of that response to movies than fanfiction, with fanfiction I only need, like, fluffy happy backup if I’m reading something really angsty and well done angst. Like Alone on the Water is that the name of that Sherlock fic where he has a brain tumour and he dies at the end? That one it actually leave me actually sobbing into Kleenex every time, then I need something happy making. But with the exception of velvet_mace’s fic I usually can just go ‘oh that was really creepy and horrible, interesting’ and move on with my day. [laughter] And it doesn’t really get under my skin to the same extent. But movies, videos yeah, I usually need it to be daylight lots of lights turned on.