Talk:Alternate Universe

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Placeholder: meta/discussion about AUs (new section?):

This one takes a firmer pov than mine (it'd be hard not to) - Also there's one on DW by wistfuljane I think that looks at the issue from an anime/manga pov. --facetofcathy 16:35, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
Thanks! I think the discussion on that post was really interesting too. Apparently fandom has *a lot to say* about AUs. Sadly I am proving to be hopeless at turning this stuff into actual fanlore content, I mostly just hover around waiting for someone to make a grammatical error or fail to wikilink something so I can swoop in and fix it, argh. --MegR 16:47, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
MegR, as a grammatical error-maker and not-fabulous wikilinker, I'm grateful... ;-) I, too, am not so good at insightful content; recording facts is my forte. --Mrs. Potato Head 16:57, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
Ha! You do in an hour more than I do in a week! What will you do when you run out of zines? --MegR 20:22, 27 March 2010 (UTC)


Just posted a major revision, which was prompted when I went trolling through the "pages wanted" listings and happened across the phrase canon AU. What happened was that I decided, after looking at the 9 links (mostly to Merlin fandom with a side of SG:A), that I wasn't sure "canon AU" needed its own page...but when I looked at the AU page here, I did want to incorporate a definition of "canon AU" over here. As a result, I rearranged the existing content substantially in an effort to start with the general and move toward the specific. I managed to keep almost all of the existing examples (and added a couple of others), but dropped the Sliders reference as of marginal relevance.

I have not attempted to add significant depth to the introductory content; mostly, my additions have been limited to some of the specific examples and to brief discussions of "canon AU" and "reboot". (If there's a way to point those 9 references to "canon AU" to this page, should we do that, or does that want its own page after all? I note that the now-obsolete SG:A awards project seems to have used the phrase slightly differently than the Merlin folk do.) Meanwhile, comments and further refinements are, of course, welcomed. --djonn 10:57, 6 May 2011 (UTC)

For what it's worth, I intend to make pages for Canon Era and Canon AU, both glossary terms in Merlin fandom. Merlin fandom uses the term Canon AU differently than other fandoms (if they use it at all) because there it's short for Canon Era AU (as opposed to Modern AU). --Doro 11:29, 6 May 2011 (UTC)

More proposed subtypes

I would suggest adding a few AU subtypes, but tbh I have no idea how common they are outside of SGA fandom and how exactly to name them: Sentinel AUs (many of them based on the fanon idea of "bonding" between Sentinels and Guides), superpower AUs (the opposite of mundane AUs, kind of, but it's probably hard to define - what about Harry Potter fusions etc.), and I think BDSM AUs could get their own page. --Tiyire 21:16, 6 October 2011 (UTC)

I've never heard of Sentinel AUs; it sounds like it might be a fandom-specific trope? What exactly do you mean by BDSM AUs? Sounds intriguing! Agree with adding superpower AUs, although a lot of examples are at least inspired by superpowered fandoms (Buffy, HP, comics...). Espresso Addict 22:07, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
BDSM AU: There some info at Take_Clothes_Off_As_Directed#Influence and a mention on the BDSM article, but it definitely deserves its own page! --æþel 02:24, 7 October 2011 (UTC)
I added a link to BDSM AU on the BDSM page. Sentinel AUs: I know of several in SGA and and a few in Sherlock fandom and just found a few more in other fandoms on the AO3. I think that's good enough for its own page. Is Sentinel AU clear enough? I would include Harry Potter and other fusions under Superpower AU and then explain on the page. Is the name okay?--Tiyire 10:39, 7 October 2011 (UTC)
Or what about AUs in which suddenly magic exists? I don't know how common they are, or if they could go under Superpower AU, too. --Tiyire 20:59, 7 October 2011 (UTC)
You get some Highlander AUs in Forever Knight fandom. Typically, one of the mortal characters in the series turns out to be one of them. Usually it's Don Schanke, who was killed off at the start of Season Three. It's simultaneously a way to bring him back, and a way to make him as immortal as Nick Knight. (I've also seen a werewolf AU of him, again associated with bringing him back.) --Greer Watson 22:38, 7 October 2011 (UTC)
I am not convinced about the need for a page on Sentinel AUs; surely they are just fusions with the tv show The Sentinel? We could probably add a bit on that page - and/or on the Fusion page - about its relative popularity for fusions but it's not a distinct phenomenon, is it? Same goes for Harry Potter and Highlander fusions. I also would not class magic as a superpower; if someone described a story to me as a Superpowers AU, I would expect comic-book powers, not Hogwarts. --MegR 22:56, 7 October 2011 (UTC)
It depends on what you consider a distinct phenomenon. I agree about the Highlander and Harry Potter fusions (maybe mention the Highlander AUs on the Forever Knight page, if they're popular?), but what makes Sentinel fusions stand out for me is that they only use distinct parts/tropes of the show, the main one of which isn't even canon (Sentinel and Guide soulbonding, mostly, and sometimes spirit animals), and that they have become so common that they're increasingly often written by people who have never seen The Sentinel. But you're right, there are other very popular fusion fandoms with similar properties. Maybe the Fusion page could be expanded with sections for very popular fandoms for such AUs (The Sentinel, His Dark Materials, Harry Potter, X-Men, maybe Highlander etc.), but on the Fusion talk page others were against that. So: write about the fusions on the fandom pages and link from the Fusion page? --Tiyire 08:24, 8 October 2011 (UTC)
Unhelpfully, I still think the Fusion page is the best place for talking about popular fusion fandoms. I assume the objection you meant on the talk page was "I'm a bit...apprehensive? about separating out fusion by fandom stead of by type of theme." ? which was three years ago so it might be worth revisiting. --MegR 17:20, 9 October 2011 (UTC)
I'm thinking about adding a section "Popular Fusion Fandoms" to the Fusion page, with examples and a bit about what makes them popular/convenient to use. And if a particular Fusion fandom can be talked about in more detail, with fanwork examples etc. (like Sentinel fusions), link to that section on the fandom page. --Tiyire 19:21, 9 October 2011 (UTC)
I think that would be great. I am also making a note to myself to try and add to the Fanon page next time I am bored at work (that is virtually the only time I do any significant editing ;)) as what you were saying about the TS fusions mostly using fanon is really interesting and might be worth adding there too. --MegR 13:31, 10 October 2011 (UTC)
Also also! I think I might go with Superpowers as the name, and leave off the AU, because see Werewolf, Vampire, Western etc; these kinds of pages tend to cover canon instances as well as AUs. --MegR 23:09, 7 October 2011 (UTC)
Good idea, because many Superpower AUs are inspired by other fandoms anyway. But I would still link from the AU subtypes page. --Tiyire 08:28, 8 October 2011 (UTC)
For what it's worth, I think the page names for the examples you mention above should be Werewolf AU and Vampire AU. The wiki isn't about canon information so writing about how werewolfs and vampires are used in different canons would be off topic anyway.--Doro 10:36, 8 October 2011 (UTC)
I disagree. For example there have been Vampire and Werewolf Big Bangs, which allowed both canon & au fandoms, and the Western page lists a bunch of zines that seem to treat "Westerns" as a sort of uber-fandom. And there may well be other, fannish, uses of the tropes which we are not aware of. I'm also not sure I even agree that "writing about how werewolfs and vampires are used in different canons" *is* necessarily off topic - I could see there being fannish meta on the topic which might want to be linked there. A Superpowers pages could also talk about how fans write stories which use superpowers in different ways than canon - e.g. all the telepathic sex in X-Men First Class fandom - or how they respond to characters getting temporary superpowers in canon, etc. Talking about AUs is not all the pages are or could be used for.--MegR 17:20, 9 October 2011 (UTC)

Characters in fandom AUs?

I would love to have a page about the apparently increasingly popular type of AU where the characters are in fandom, like Pairing: Pendragon/Merlin and several other great stories. Currently it is mentioned in metafic, but imo it could have its own entry (or at least its own category on the metafic page.) But I don't think there's a commonly agreed on name for that type of AU yet, or at least I haven't found it. Thoughts/suggestions? I have seen meta!fic and meta!AU used, but not consistently. --Tiyire 14:38, 23 December 2011 (UTC)

I would say Fandom AU describes it best. --Doro 14:47, 23 December 2011 (UTC)
In theory I agree, but I have never seen that term used anywhere. Idk if that matters.--Tiyire 14:57, 23 December 2011 (UTC)
If there is no common term, going with a descriptive term is something we have done on several pages. For example Gen Bathing. In these cases the page gets the trope cat but not the glossary cat (because it's not a glossary term). --Doro 18:38, 23 December 2011 (UTC)
Also, if you make a Fandom AU page, here is another Merlin example: The Meat Feast - Merlin is a fanartist on LJ and Arthur is the actor who plays the main character in the series Merlin is a fan of. --Doro 18:43, 23 December 2011 (UTC)
Good to know, thanks! And thanks for the example. So if nobody objects I think Fandom AU sounds good and I will work on the page as soon as I get around to it. --Tiyire 22:49, 23 December 2011 (UTC)
I've seen "Fandom AU" used a few places -- is one, and might be a good piece of meta to cite. -- Liviapenn 01:15, 24 December 2011 (UTC)

Alternate Universe 4.

Is the "You may be looking for Star Trek zine Alternate Universe 4." at the head of the page necessary, since the zine name is similar but not the same as this page? –caes (talk) 03:43, 6 February 2019 (UTC)

I think we could remove it, but MPH would probably have a better idea of whether or not people ever refer it Alternate Universe 4 in a way that's likely to be accidentally wikilinked here.
I also wonder if maybe there's space on this page for mention of the zine? Maybe under "Shared Universes"? - Hoopla (talk) 17:42, 11 February 2019 (UTC)

AU Subtypes

The list of AU subtypes is getting really long and it could expand basically into infinity, plus there's only so much categorization we can do. Maybe we can make a Category: AU or... something.... and then only list 5ish of the most popular AUs on this page, and/or discuss the categories we've got the AUs split up into now? - Hoopla (talk) 17:41, 11 February 2019 (UTC)

I actually don't think the list is that long, especially how we have it formatted, but if others want to create a sub-category I am open to that. Would we put as a sub-category of Category:Tropes & Genres? -- Kingstoken (talk) 17:56, 11 February 2019 (UTC)
Maybe part of the reason it feels too long is because it's a list with no commentary/analysis/explanation in the middle of the article, so if it's just going to stay a list it should probably be in "examples" or at least below fan comments... I think a subcat of Category:Tropes & Genres would be best, yeah, and if we have enough pages maybe a "Fusion AU" subcategory because I think that that's definitely a valuable distinction. - Hoopla (talk) 18:08, 11 February 2019 (UTC)

Two paragraphs to expand/explain more

Fans use AUs to stretch themselves creatively and to engage in flights of fancy. They may also serve to promote fandoms with small canons, to present the writer's views regarding canon-related controversies, and/or to provide social commentary related either to the source canon or to some aspect of the AU being presented.

It's generally agreed that the most effective AUs are those in which—even in the most radically changed circumstances—the transplanted characters are clearly recognizable in relation to their canonical counterparts. However, there is much controversy in fandom as to what makes such characters recognizable and precisely when an AU deviates so far from canon that it effectively becomes original fiction—at which point it may no longer be considered "proper" fanfic, and may no longer appeal to fan audiences.[3 ref tags to Alternative Ain't Necessarily Good, How to Construct Alternate Universes That Work as Fanfic, and The AUness of it All]

Currently these paragraphs need... more... but I'm not totally sure what to do with them.

I think especially that the second sentence in the first paragraph needs to be expanded on way more, but I'm not sure how — can anyone think of specific ways that AUs "promote fandoms with small canons" or "present the writer's views regarding canon-related controversies" or "provide social commentary"? We need examples or comments from fans or something on all three of these topics.

Meanwhile, the second paragraph is just probably too general and we should pull quotes from those three pieces of meta, probably?

These paragraphs were in the "Introduction to AUs" section but I got rid of that because the article's intro should really be the intro to AUs. Then I left them at the end of the intro section because I don't know where else to put them, but I suspect they need their own section(s). Maybe something about how and why AUs are written? Thoughts from others? - Hoopla (talk) 00:22, 20 February 2019 (UTC)

Hm. RE: how AUs might promote works in a smaller fandom, I do know that many fic readers will read based on AU trope, irrespective of fandom. So it'd be reasonable to imagine that a popular AU type in a small fandom might be found by more readers, and thus have a wider audience - but in terms of how to cite that, I'm not sure. (Ideally, we'd find posts by fans saying that they'd found their way to a small fandom that was previously unknown by way of searching for a specific type of AU...or posts by authors saying they've written AUs in small fandoms with the purpose of seeing higher traffic. Or maybe you could substantiate that claim if you looked at a sample of small fandoms and were able to determine that the AUs were more popular than the canon works?)
In terms of how AUs address canon-related controversies, that sounds like a potential impact of canon-divergent AUs. (Like, the prevalence of EWE fics in the Harry Potter fandom, although I don't know if dissatisfaction with the epilogue constitutes a "controversy.") I'm not sure about the social commentary bit. The only thing that comes to mind is the prevalence of non-magical/modern AUs in fantasy/etc. fandoms (again, like Harry Potter) where the author explores more diverse representation through the AU setting, but again, I'm not sure if that's what the original editor had in mind. I think this would go well in a section about why AUs are written - we just have to find meta/examples to fill it out.
The second paragraph is getting at something that seems important to me: the relationship to canon that an AU is expected by some fans to have in order to still be "believable." That could probably be a section on its own - fans' attitudes towards "believability," how the AU relates to canon, OOC AUs. I feel like there are tropes around this - sort of like Any Two Guys. I've definitely seen fans complain about AUs that are, to their minds, basically just original romance fic - where you could swap out the characters names for something unrelated to the canon and the story would be exactly the same. This isn't strictly speaking an AU thing, but I feel like I've read criticism that focused on AUs. I'll poke around for some references. - Fandomgeographies (talk) 00:50, 20 February 2019 (UTC)
Could small canons refer to closed canons? I'm thinking of things like Firefly or TSCC, where the shows ended unexpectedly or on a cliffhanger. Many continuation or fix it works then become AUs. There were some massive continuation fics after TSCC ended. So it isn't so much about promoting a fandom, as it is about keeping it going. Also in shipping, I've seen AUs become more common when characters in a popular ship haven't interacted in awhile, or after one of them has died.
The bit about AUs addressing social commentary makes me think of the Buffy vs Edward vid, which made fun of twilight, but it also pointed out toxic masculinity and a lack of strong female characters in YA media. There's also some fans who feel that some ABO fics provide "subversive social commentary on gender identity/gender roles/queer oppression." See A/B/O#Fan Comments. --Auntags (talk) 11:56, 20 February 2019 (UTC)