Subreality Cafe

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Title: Subreality Café
Creator: Kielle
Date(s): c. 1997-2008
Medium: shared universe, fanfiction, metafiction
Fandom: multifandom
External Links: (Image's fic archive) (via WBM),
Subreality Central, Image 1
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

The Subreality Café was a shared universe where characters--original and canon--took time off and interacted with one another, and their authors. A Subreality Café message board was hosted by CFAN, where many comic fic writers were "regulars." The universe was originally created by Kielle, but spread widely, with 198 authors archived at Subreality Central.

Q: "Subreality Hopscotch." What started that? Just from that one story, there's an entire new world.

Kielle: Well, it dates back to high school again, actually, it dates back to Kitarra. <laugh> It's all her fault. We [created] a universe together, lots of characters. She tended to abuse her characters, and as a joke, I wrote a little story about all her characters getting together and complain[ing] about her.

Q: Sort of like a revenge fic.

Kielle: Yeah, and that idea stuck with me. Later, I was working on CFAN and I was doing the "stories by character" page. I just finished Wolverine, and I just got this crazy idea, what if Wolverine knew he was [in] a story? What would he think about being in all these stories? I wrote it as a joke, what if Wolverine remembered [being in] all these stories, and didn't like it? I did that, and it sort of went from there. Someone else came up with the idea of having him stopping off in a bar; they didn't name it though. I checked it. I was already thinking about an idea like that and I thought, "I'd better write fast before he [Bones] did it." So I named it [the Subreality Café] and I wrote a story… the round robins started on a regular round robin board on FicWorld. A lot of people started writing Subreality Café Round Robins; there were so many of them that the regulars got pissed and [kicked them out]. [1]

The story that kicked it all off - "Subreality Hopscotch" - was posted by Kielle on ACFF on December 5, 1996. It was shortly followed by a sequel by Bones (mentioned above), called "Subreality Strip Poker" on January 7, 1997. The concept was simple - between the real world and the imagined world there exists a borderland where anything can happen. And in this borderland, there is the Subreality Cafe, a meeting place where the Real and the Imagined can meet up and have a couple of drinks.[2]

From this initial set up, the concept caught on among comics ficwriters and spawned a expanding number of stories with their own identifier, [SC], on ACFF and OTL. A specific mailing list was also created by Farli for the posting of stories. And as the stories increased, so did the "geography" of Subreality, until it was a world of its own.

The first Subreality archive was set up by Image in July 11, 1997, and was taken over by KIelle and later, Farli on Kielle's server as Subreality Central. The concept outlived ACFF, OTL and the Subreality Cafe Livejournal [3], and while its centralised presence has gone, new stories have appeared on both FanFiction.Net[4] and AO3[5].

Subpages for Subreality Cafe:

Notable Works

Recommended Reading

[Note: These selections were made by Kielle when she was the archivist at Subreality Central]

Please Explain Subreality To Me!

Huh? No, What Really Happened?

What Were The First SC Stories?

Why Do We Do This?

The Fine Art Of Tormenting Newbies

The Horrors Of Writer's Block

Behind The SCRR Scenes

On The Care And Feeding Of One's Muse

What's All This About Mary Sue...?


Main Archive

Subreality Central

Other Archives

Lori's X-Men Archive


Shifting Sands

Fonts of Wisdom

Alternate Timelines (X-Force Archive)

McDragon's Lair

Other Sites of Note

Subreality Times - archived copies of the "newspaper" written by Paradoqz


Related Concepts, Fandoms, Terms, Fanworks
See also Subreality Central, Kielle,