The Fanfiction Universe: Some Statistical Approaches

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Title: The Fanfiction Universe: Some Statistical Approaches
Commentator: Mary Ellen Curtin
Date(s): 2000
Medium: paper, print, online
Fandom: meta
External Links: online here
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The Fanfiction Universe: Some Statistical Approaches is a paper presented by Mary Ellen Curtin at the Carnegie Mellon conference One Hundred Years of Mass Culture: Beyond Good and Evil.

It was cited in Jae's essay Young, Female, Single…? A Study of Demographics and Writing-/Reading-Habits of Fanfiction Writers and Readers.


"Fan fiction, stories produced by fans using characters and situations from mass culture, began among Star Trek fans in the mid-1960s; by 1990 it had grown enough to be the subject of several academic studies, of which Henry Jenkins' Textual Poachers is the best......

....One question that always comes up is: how many fanfic stories are there?

Other common questions include: how many people are doing this? Are we talking about a few nutcases, or is this some kind of mass movement? Which sources (TV shows, movies, comics, etc.) generate the most fanfic? And how much of it is that weird slash stuff?

These are all good questions, and at present they cannot be definitively answered. But it's possible to gather some preliminary statistics, to get a feeling for the shape of the fanfic landscape even if we cannot yet hope to fully map it."