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RPF Fandom
Name(s): U2
Scope/Focus: fanfiction written about the rock group U2
Date(s): late 1980s to present
See also:
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

U2 is a well known musical rock group that has a minor presence in RPF fandom. Its members are Bono, The Edge, Larry Mullen, and Adam Clayton.

U2 Fandom

The vast majority of U2 fandom fits within the traditional music fan model - fans are interested in the band and its music, attending concerts and collecting their CDs or MP3s. Photos of the band and their music videos are traded and shared. Some fan art and photomanips are produced. Fanzines tend to focus on the band, the music and tour dates.

Much smaller is the interactive media style fandom that writes fanfiction, creates fan art, and engages in cosplay or role-playing. With the band popularity increasing in the 1980s and reaching its height in the mid 1990s, there certainly were fans reading and writing fanfiction; however little information is available on these activities. Notable exceptions are the Luminous Times Universe written and published in the late 1980s. Negative attitudes towards RPF at the time ensured that most of the fanfiction activity reminded hidden.

Some fans found U2 fanfic fandom by reading fanfiction years before, others wandered in via popslash fandom, and a few stumbled across the concept of fanfiction - and U2 fanfic - by accident.

Fan fiction reappeared online in the early 2000s, with many fans reporting that their entry came via the Music Fan Fiction Category on FanFiction.Net. Unfortunately, FF.Net eliminated the Music category in September 2002, scattering fan writers.[1] A few writers migrated to the U2Interfernece forum, however slash fan fiction was banned from that site.[2] The Love Is Blindness archive was set up to accommodate all pairings and a few fans created Livejournal communities and Yahoo Groups mailing lists.

Like most RPF, U2 fanfic writers often used lengthy disclaimers when posting their fanworks:

"Well, think of the old days on ff.net (if you're familiar). Remember the endless, elaborate disclaimers on the fanfics? "This is fake, I don't know the band, etc. etc. etc."? Those disclaimers were there in case someone charged that the works were misrepresenting the individuals."[3]


In terms of slash fan fiction, the main pairing seems to be Bono/The Edge, followed by Adam/Larry. Many of the gen stories have an element of Mary Sue to them. Another character that appears in fan fiction is Bono's on stage MacPhisto persona - a devil horned rocker who wore gold lame suits and platform shoes.

Fan Comments


...is there music that invites, evokes or inspires slash? M. Fae e-mailed me recently about U2's album ACHTUNG BABY saying that "I know it's supposed to be about all sorts of things, but I personally found it made the most sense when seen as a description of things between Bono and Edge (the lead singer and guitarist in U2)." I think her outlook on the album is a particularly slash outlook. She heard the music and the lyrics and combined them with her predilection for "men swooning over other equally attractive men" and voila, a slash soundtrack. The album is emotional, angry and bitter and about the Edge's divorce. But it can also be interpreted as two close friends, Edge & Bono, trying to find some sort of footing in the turmoil of their lives. It was slash to me the first time I heard it (and that's probably why I got so addicted to it). It's very easy to interpret it in that light, more so than most albums. So, you could say this is slash music. [4]


.....a couple of years ago one of my very best former students, who reminds me so much of all of you, mentioned that she wrote X-Files fan fiction and gave me a link to one of her stories on ff.net. Her work was marvelous. Later she got more into Farscape, a show I've never seen...I started to visit previously forbidden sites, such as U2.com, which in the past [using my old computer] had sneered at me for even attempting to view its contents. I was reading posts in the zootopia Bono folder (shocker). Some of those enthusiastic but pure-as-the-driven-snow posters were complaining about ff.net and some of the sick, sick things that were being written about the band, especially Bono and Edge. One slightly more openminded soul, whose name I have forgotten but to whom I owe a lot, provided a link, saying, "Yeah, but this one's pretty hot."

It was Sleight of Hand by leelah, one of my favorite stories by her and in my opinion the fanfic against which all other fanfics must be judged. I even remember the date I stumbled upon it: January 15, 2002. It really made a huge impact on me. I read about one fourth of the surprisingly vast number of U2 fanfics that were up there at the time, and kind of got a feel for the spectrum of writers, which ranged from bad to spectactular. I was still thinking about leelah's work a couple of weeks later, long after the rest of the stories there had faded from my memory. I recall telling still-kind-of-boyfriend Joel that I had read this story about hands, just "two people" holding hands, and it was one of the most erotic things I'd ever read in my life.[5]

Well, I'd been involved in Star Wars slash for a good long while (x-wing pilots in particular, belonged to a mailing list or two), and in my general curiosity, went poking around ff.n outside of the 'movies' category. "Hey, bands," I thought. But after reading a few in different subcategories, I decided that Real People Slash was bad and wrong and people shouldn't be writing about famous people's private lives. So back to Star Wars.

Then I saw U2 in Milwaukee (5/9/01) and had a really hard time not slashing Bono and Edge during "In A Little While" out on the tip of the heart. I kept having to remind myself that it was an invasion of their privacy that I didn't want anything to do with. You can guess how long that lasted. A few days after I got back, I was devouring all the U2 slash I could find, mostly on ff.n. I don't remember the first story I read, or even the first authors (though I'm sure it must have been Sunny, Caz, Anna, and some others). Was a little discouraged to find that the vast majority of the slash content was B/E [Bono/Edge]. I couldn't figure out why Adam and Larry were being largely ignored.

Didn't try my hand at writing it until November/December '01. The first story I wrote is A/L...[6]

Way back in 1995, I was a member of The X-Files message board. I posted all the time, talking about my theories, my reactions, my desire for a relationship between Mulder and Scully.... Anyhow, I made some friends there, some of which were really into fanfiction. I'd never heard of it before, and never really bothered to check it out, until someone sent me a link to a really great story. After than, I read X-Files fanfic all the time. It was an addiction. [Years later] I'd lost the address to the site where I used to read X-Files fic, so I did a search for "Fan Fiction". And guess what came up: FanFiction.net. I'd never been there, so I clicked on the link. The first thing that caught my eye was Music Groups. I was thinking, "I wonder if there are any U2 stories... that would be so cool" as I clicked on the link. I scrolled down on the page, clicked on U2, and spent about 6 hours catching up on something I didn't even know I'd been missing.

At first, I was a little uncomfortable reading slash, but after reading some really, really good fics, I was in love. I wish I could remember the first story I read that made me think: "yeah... this is hot!" but I can't. But the point of it all is: I found U2 Slash by accident, and I'm glad I did. [7]

When I was a kid (1970s/80s) I read everything. And I was a big Trekkie.

There were these great paperback compilations called "The Best of Trek." Lots of articles and original fanfiction and parodies. James Blish. Vonda McIntyre. Diane Duane. And others. And some of the stories ... they weren't slash per se, but they did border. That's for damned sure.

People were writing ST slash back then, I later learned. It just wasn't widely distributed...

Gotta remember, the Great Star Trek Novel machine hadn't really taken off yet.

Twenty-five years later I'm reading the stuff on an actual freakin' WEB. How Trek is THAT.

Anyway, I find that I'm not interested in the straight stuff. Spock/Uhura? *yawn.* Kirk/Spock? *yowzah.* Why that is, I do not know. I started a K/S story that was ... well, it wasn't that great, but it got me started.

Then we got new computers at work and we lost all our bookmarks even though they TOLD us we wouldn't. I couldn't find the Star Trek site where I used to read the stuff. I looked and looked and kept finding ff.net in the meantime.

Yeah, I'd been there before. I'd pretty much dismissed it because the Trek section just wasn't very good, dammit, and the other categories struck me as pointless or boring or juvenile or whatever.

Then I happened across the U2 pages.

Then I read a million stories and got all excited.

Then Edge started flicking the back of my ear. "It's true," he said. "I DO want Bono. What are you going to do about it?"

Then I wrote most of Aurora Borealis, and finally when it was well underway but not nearly finished, I got the nerve to post it.

I had many reservations about posting real-people-fic. Do I think this is ethical? No. Do I think it's nice? Not really. Do I think it's libel? Hell yeah. Do I do it anyway? ... sure.

Mostly because, hey, so many other people are doing it, how much trouble can I really get into?

I thought I'd write one story and that it would be B/E [Bono/Edge] and that would be the end of it. Then I thought I might write more but who's interested in those other pairings? Then Adam started nibbling on my ear and ... it was all over with me. I transformed into the A/E [Adam/Edge] nut I am today. [8]

I used to be a hardcore NSync fan (*hangs head*) and I first discovered fanfiction through that sometime around June 2000. At first all I could find were Mary Sues and I read more of those than any human being should ever be subjected to until finally stumbling across a site called Puppies in a Box and falling in love with slash. Because... touchy boy love! Whee!

For some reason I never had any impulse to write NSync slash at all. Possibly because my obsession with them died a very quick death on Sept. 11 and I couldn't bring myself to even think about reading fanfiction again for quite a while.

Then, I saw the Nov. 13, 2001 Elevation show in Los Angeles and two things happened. One - Bono turned me into a U2-obsessed freak halfway through Please and two - I nearly pissed myself at the Bono/Edge slashiness during UTEOTW. So, a few days after the show, I got to thinking that if NSync had slash fanfiction, maybe U2 did as well and went on a hunt.

I did the google thing, and came across Lacy's site and Sunny's site and those were the first bits of U2 slash I ever read. I was immediately in love. This had to have been around December of 2001, I imagine. I also already had a livejournal account by this time and had friended both Lacy and Sunny, though I can't remember whether or not I realized they were the people I'd been reading. At one point, I do remember Lacy mentioning the U2Bubblegum list over at yahoo and I jumped on that and that's how my experience widened. I can't remember when I discovered ff.n, exactly.

I started writing over Christmas break of 2001. And my first story was B/E [Bono/Edge] as for a long time I was a major B/E enthusiast and read very very little anything else. [9]

I stumbled upon U2 slash about a year ago while lurking in one of the Yahoo groups dedicated to one of the band members. Someone had written a fic and posted a link, which led me to ff.net. I'd never even heard of fan fic, let alone U2 fic, so out of curiosity I clicked on the link.

That particular story turned out to be dreadful and it almost succeeded in turning me off real people fic for good, but I couldn't resist reading some of the other stories, especially when I saw the sheer number of them.

The sometime homo-erotic nature of B and E's relationship hadn't escaped me and had always intrigued me, but I was still taken aback when I came across stories that bypassed subtle innuendo and went straight for the hot gay sex. It didn't take long for me to get over my initial shock though, and before you could say "bookmark", I was hooked on U2 slash.

Being more than a little partial to the band's rhythm section however, I was surprised and disappointed by the dearth of A/L [Adam/Larry] fics. The first good A/L piece I remember reading (and which solidified A and L's status as my OTP) was Claire's "To Decline and Fall in Rome." [10]

...ever since fifth grade, I was madly, tremendously obsessed with X-files. I knew of the existence of xfiles slash, I had read one Mulder/Krycek, but I thought it was far too unrealistic. And I do hope that most people who remember xfiles would agree...it's not the most plausible pairing to write.

I mainly read fanfics off of people's personal sites. Then, one of my friends wrote a fic for.. what was it.. American Summer, or something, a tv show that was canceled after half a season. And it was on fanfiction.net, which I had never been to. While I was there, thinking "wow, a repository of all kinds of fanfic.. definitely cool", I saw the Music category, and immediately went to U2, because I was just beginning to really love their music.

The first fic I read was Sleight of Hand by Leelah, and it remains the best fic I have ever read. As Kelly said, all other fics shall be judged to its grandeur.

Then, I read everything else leelah had ever written, and loved it all. I also loved the idea of Bono and Edge, because I could see it happening. It seemed natural to me; it still does.

After all of Leelah's fics, I read the first two chapters of U3, which had just recently been posted. I actually liked them, too, and it was set.. I started checking ff.net every other day for new fic. [11]

Since I was about 10 or 11, I've imagined alternate realities in my head. Kinda like the Mary Sue thing except the new person I created to interact with whoever was never me. Someone would catch my fancy and I'd create a reality that incorporated a female I would envision. I would keep the same fixation for a few months until I had worn out the whole lifeline. Nothing was ever written down, I didn't want anyone to think I was nuts. I did however write a lot of non-fiction for about 10-12 years before I got too "busy" to do it anymore. Writing was one of those things I missed doing and always meant to go back to.

I've been a fan of U2 for 21 years and occasionally throughout the years, one of them would pop into my mind but never in a slash sense.

Fall of 2000, I got internet access at work and did a search for U2. One of the sites I came across was WhereTheSiteHasNoName. Along with the U-Toons (wish there were more), there's a little fan fiction area with Amazing Adventures of Electric Erogenous Edge. Not slashy, just funny. I came across a few other sites with a fan fic or 2 on them but I found the slashy stuff repulsive. "As if" was my response. Over the last 2 years, I've seen links & stories but once I read enough to discover it was slashy, I'd stop reading.

Then, about a week before the Great FF Purge, I finally came across the site and started reading. Initially, I was looking for some of the humorous but not totally stupid stuff. Then I read Into the Rose Garden by Hyacinth. It was so beautifully written, I couldn't stop reading it. From that moment on, it was a mad rush to wade through everything there before it disappeared. I discovered that I liked Slash as long as it was well-written.

After FF, I googled for U2 slash with not much luck until I threw in one name I knew: water_hyacinth.

After joining here, it occurred to me there was really nothing wrong with indulging in my love for band, writing and slash all at once. Finally, people who wouldn't think I was weird. [12]

I've been into fic for over seven years now.

I began with Star Wars, actually, back in middle school. That lasted a few months; by then I had moved on to fic based on the TV series Gargoyles. (some of you may remember it; it was the last truly good series for television that Disney ever did, and they ended it at an unforgivable place, and sent it off to ABC to die. bastards.)

Then came: The X-Files. That changed everything. Because suddenly I was reading: SMUT.

Mulder/Scully goodness. Yesssssss. Because dammit, they're hot together.

I discovered slash through XF. I'd known of Mulder/Krycek fics floating around, but had never really cared for the idea. Then, about two years ago, I stumbled upon a fic (forget the name) [13] wherein Mulder has an affair with a very likable male OC; the story itself had flaws, but the sex was amazingly well-written. It came advertised to me by one of my favorite XF authors (Karen Rasch), as "slash for people who don't like slash". And indeed it was. Set me on the path to corruption, anyway.

Then summer came, XF took its 4 1/2 month break, the obsession cooled, and I had to find something to do in the meantime. And guess what slid into its place.

I discovered this world, simply, by stumbling on ff.net that summer(don't remember how), and just checking to see if they had a U2 section.

Up until that point I'd only read silly, fluffy stuff; imagine my surprise when I came across: (fanfare) NAT'S FICS!

Yes, it's all her fault. God bless her twisted little soul.

Of course, she wasn't the only one. There was one by Twi (who doesn't seem to write in this fandom anymore, and makes me very sad), one by Melle, and Desire by Edgette, which I recall cringing at when I first looked at it, not so much for the explicitness of it, as for the sheer not-goodness of it.

However, to her credit, she was one of the very first to post really explicit B/E [Bono/Edge] sex, and as far as I know, the first to attempt anything that long. And I must respect her for that, dude.

Anyway, I read a couple of Nat's, three, in fact; After The Flood, Faerie Dust, and Salvation, which I think were the only ones of hers posted at that time.

At first, my reaction was shock and faint distaste. I mean, I'd heard of serious RPF before, but had only encountered bad examples (RPF|David/Gillian fic). As for RPS, to me it was an entirely new thing. But, as with everything strange and affecting to me, I couldn't look away. I read all of them through, (except Desire. tried. couldn't. sorry.) and there was something titillating about the concept of Bono and Edge... like THAT together. Something... arousing, even?


Anyway, one thing led to another, and soon I was (guiltily, in those early days) hooked.[14]

Notable Fanworks

Fan Fiction




  • We'll Shine Like Stars (1989) is an integration of media fan fiction that includes a transcript of an interview with Bono (page 95 from Propaganda issue No. 9, 1989) and song lyrics to six U2 songs

Fan Art


  • Love Is Blindness (link) – founded in September 2002 after FanFiction.net removed music fiction category from their site
  • fandomination.net – multifandom fanfic archive (now offline)
  • u2-fanfiction.com – founded some time before 2005, accepted all genres and had, as of 2006 approximately 200 stories (now offline)
  • U2 works on AO3


Mailing Lists

  • U2Bubblegum – started Aug 2001
  • biggoldshoe (archive link) – a small mailing list that was started December 2002 to feature fanfiction "devoted to Bono's warring alter egos": Bono and MacPhisto
  • U2Fanfiction (archive link) – started Feb 2002, hosting U2 fanfiction, including slash, dormant as of 2013


  • u2interference – a general forum with a webzine founded in the 1990s, this website has a small fan fiction section. No slash permitted. (link)

Livejournal Communities

  • U2Slash (link) – started Sept 2002, still active as of October 2013
  • U2Fic (link) – non slash fan fiction, started November 2002, inactive as of October 2013
  • Burning Down Love (link) non slash fan fiction community, started March 2010, still active as of March 2013
  • Wild Thoughts (link) – an all genre fanfiction community, started March 2004, inactive as of October 2013




  1. ^ Wtf??? post at the u2interference forum on 09-12-2002
  2. ^ What is unacceptable in PLEBA? (and the rest of the forum): "Posting about the band's "private parts" in any way will not be allowed. Any threads about the bands private parts, subtle or not, may be closed, and the author may receive a warning via pm or email." (Accessed 11 Apr 2015)
  3. ^ Abdicate or Mediate dated 10-6-2004
  4. ^ from Strange Bedfellows APA #5 (May 1994)
  5. ^ comment in "How I discovered U2 slash" post at u2slash dated November 21, 2002; reference link, Archived version.
  6. ^ comment in "How I discovered U2 slash" post at u2slash dated November 21, 2002; reference link.
  7. ^ comment in "How I discovered U2 slash" post at u2slash dated November 21, 2002; reference link.
  8. ^ comment in "How I discovered U2 slash" post at u2slash dated November 21, 2002; reference link.
  9. ^ comment in "How I discovered U2 slash" post at u2slash dated November 21, 2002; reference link.
  10. ^ comment in "How I discovered U2 slash" post at u2slash dated November 21, 2002; reference link.
  11. ^ comment in "How I discovered U2 slash" post at u2slash dated November 21, 2002; reference link.
  12. ^ comment in "How I discovered U2 slash" post at u2slash dated November 23, 2002; reference link.
  13. ^ This story may be Pleasant Dreams.
  14. ^ comment in "How I discovered U2 slash" post at u2slash dated November 23, 2002; reference link.
  15. ^ reference link; reference link; reference link.
  16. ^ reference link; reference link; reference link.