The Sterek Book

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Fanwork
Title: The Sterek Book
Creator: qhuinn and sinyhale
Date(s): 2013
Medium: print book, pdf download
Fandom: Teen Wolf
External Links: The Sterek Book FAQ[1]; Downloadable copy.[2]
cover by sinyhale
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The Sterek Book is a print book edited by Derek/Stiles fans qhuinn and sinyhale. It was made to give to Tyler Hoechlin at the Wolfs Bane convention in the first weekend in September 2013. The book contains art by qhuinn, sinyhale, and 39[3] other fan artists, along with general information about shipping and why fans ship Sterek. After the convention, the book was made available as a pdf download.

Reportedly, Tyler was pleased with the gift.[4] A video of his reaction to receiving the book may or may not be posted on Youtube.[citation needed] The actor allowed photos of himself to be taken showing him smiling and holding copies of the book:

"Tyler Hoechlin asked for this photo. We weren’t allowed to have our bags or cellphones, so I had to get up because he wanted us to tweet about it. HE LOVED IT GUYS! He kept flipping the book and looking at the pictures and kept saying “omg this is amazing”. Then he said he had to read it in private because it looked awesome. He asked for a copy to Dylan and when he went to shake everyone’s hands, he told qhuinn and I that he was totally giving the copy to Dylan.[5]

Shortly afterwards, another actor was given a copy of the book which he received with similar enthusiasm.[6] However, a year later Tyler Hoechlin refused to sign a copy of the book saying he could no longer sign Sterek material.[7] See "The 2014 Controversy" below.

In July 2014, the Sterek Campaign, a charitable effort put together by Sterek fans, used sales of the Sterek Book to raise funds for the Ali Forney Center, a New York organization that to combats homelessness for LGBTQ youth by providing shelter, food and counseling services.[8] 341 copies were sold raising $1,000 for charity.[9]

The book was also the subject of an August 2014 tweet by Orlando Jones an actor on the TV show Sleepy Hollow who often interacts directly with fans. His tweet said that he was reading the book, which prompted one fan to write:"If you don’t think that Orlando Jones is the best thing to happen to fandom, I urge you to reconsider."[10]

The 2013 Controversy

Many fans liked the book once it was available[11], but it generated some controversy, partly due to longstanding concerns over breaking the fourth wall.[12] In some parts of fandom it has long been considered inappropriate to give fanworks to actors or otherwise alert TPTB to the existence of fan activities, especially slash and sexually explicit material. In one well-known case in the early 2000s, a fan showed (without permission) The Theban Band's photomanip of Merry and Pippin to the actors who played them; the actors appeared to laugh it off, but many fans were displeased.

Unlike the photo manips by The Theban Band, and other similar fanworks, The Sterek Book did not contain any sexual material; this did not stop speculation made by fans before it was made available:

Rumor said it was a book with NC17 fanart. Rumor said it was a book of NSFW manips (they went into detail of said manips and boy, let me just tell you, I wish my Photoshop skills were that good). Rumor said it was a book of smut fanfic. And I wonder, who are these people and why is their first thought PORN when someone says “A Sterek book for Hoechlin”? The conclusions some of them reached reflects much more on the way they think than on our intentions.[3]

One of the more positive responses to the book:

A Tumblr post expressing appreciation for the book. Source: [powerofhumanlove http://powerofhumanlove.tumblr.com/post/61941635933].

Additional comments in support of the book can be found here.[13]

Fans were also concerned that the art had been used without permission (it wasn't).[3][12]

However, a few fans objected on entirely different grounds: that Sterek as portrayed in the book was not canon-compliant. See imma be honest[14] and Giving Hoechlin a book about Sterek doesn’t make sense to me.[15]

For additional comments, see also TRUE ALPHA - #6 - you'll never see us coming, Archived version

The 2014 Controversy

In July 2014, the Sterek Book was presented to Tyler Hoechlin to sign at a Creation Con convention in Chicago. The actor refused, saying he would no longer be signing Sterek-themed items. This was repeated the next day when he refused to sign a T-shirt that had the word "Sterek" on it. Many fans felt betrayed, confused, and hurt by the actor's reactions and the convention policies.

As one writer explained:
"Sterek fans have long had a vested interest in making their ship known to the creators and actors of Teen Wolf. For one thing, it's an interaction that the show has encouraged on numerous fronts, both by filming Sterek-y extras to get out the vote for the Teen Choice Awards and other events, and by openly welcoming Sterek and other non-canonical ships as part of what makes Sterek fandom unique. There's even a piece of Sterek fanart hanging in the Teen Wolf fanart gallery, in the hallways of the show's production studio. ....When the organizers of the Sterek Campaign created the Sterek Book last year, they were able to get copies of it autographed without problem at various cons. Ironically, the book, which was originally gifted to Tyler Hoechlin and other cast members as a token of appreciation, is no longer allowed inside the cons at which Hoechlin is a guest."[16]

Some fans responded negatively against those who were offering Sterek-themed material to the actors, resurrecting a long-standing debate over the need for self-policing to prevent slash from entering creator spaces.

A July 2014 article, titled "Tyler Hoechlin, Sterek, Conventions and The Fourth Wall", gathered a few sample tweets:
Shipping questions and art/objects for signing often makes the actors uncomfortable. And they are allowed to be uncomfortable. It also makes the FANS uncomfortable. Many people don’t ship anything. Most people in the audience don’t want to have that stuff brought up” – deanplease “I’m a fan that keeps to myself and twitter about sterek, I don’t flaunt it in peoples faces and ask about it at cons and stuff” – @howlstiel"[17]
A few fans blamed the Sterek Book for causing the ban against Sterek material at actor events. The publishers of the book disagreed with this interpretation, saying the book had been positively received multiple times by both the studio and the actors:
"MTV got a copy of it even before we printed the first book. In fact, when MTV got the book they printed their own copy, because they loved it so much. Reason why when we met Jeff last year he told us that he had already seen a copy of it. MTV knew about us giving the book to Hoechlin and we got green light to do it. And to whoever has seen or read the book, its content has nothing to make anyone uncomfortable. To quote Hoechlin when he got the book last year: “Omg, omg, omg. This is amazing! Someone needs to tweet this!”"[18]
Still, many fans believe that the continued insistence by some of maintaining the illusion of the Fourth Wall in the face of increased interactions between content creators and fans only harms both groups and fosters ongoing misunderstandings:
"Due to the growing ease of communication between fans and producers there seems to be an assumption within some groups that actors and creators and even official social media have a more comprehensive understanding of fandom than is likely considering their relatively limited exposure.......this attitude also creates the illusion of understanding between fans and producers. Some fans assume that because they know the definition of the word “slash” that they understand the practice on a fandom level, which is just not realistic. They really only have limited access to fan practices and the majority of their knowledge still comes from non-fandom sources that are not known for being particularly flattering. This is where fandom’s insistence on maintaining the illusion of the fourth wall becomes particularly problematic. Fandom’s blanket self-censorship doesn’t work because there are always those willing to talk about shipping anyway. Besides, it’s not like it’s actually hidden. Most fan practices take place in public forums that are accessible to anyone with an Internet connection. Those involved in production, including actors, are often only exposed to the stuff their friends send as a joke or the things journalists use to make them uncomfortable and of course their interactions with the few shameless people that are willing to face the wrath of the fandom (usually because they don’t care what fandom thinks)."[19]

References

  1. because i'm happy ♫, Archived version
  2. because i'm happy ♫, Archived version
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 qhuinn. August 29, 2013 Tumblr post; reference link.
  4. sinyhale. September 4, 2013 Tumblr post.
  5. because i'm happy ♫, Archived version: "...then Dylan saw the book and shouted “Sterek book!!” and went straight to sign on the cover."
  6. Fluent in Feels, The most amazing thing happened to me today at..., Archived version
  7. Tyler Hoechlin, Sterek, Conventions and The Fourth Wall, Archived version
  8. By Shippers, for Shippers, Archived version
  9. By Shippers, for Shippers, Archived version
  10. GREENBERG SAYS, Archived version
  11. For example, see ca-mi-lla's September 20, 2013 Tumblr post, You people are amazing! Or: My reaction to the Sterek book; reference link.
  12. 12.0 12.1 See a collection of tumblr links at the wank report dated August 31, 2013; reference link.
  13. reference link.
  14. reference link.
  15. reference link.
  16. Some 'Teen Wolf' conventions are banning Sterek-related materials, Archived version by Aja Romano at The Daily Dot, 6 July 2014.
  17. Tyler Hoechlin, Sterek, Conventions and The Fourth Wall, Archived version
  18. because i'm happy ♫, Archived version
  19. Tyler Hoechlin, Sterek, Conventions and The Fourth Wall, Archived version