Episode 10×05 or “It’s a Matter of Interpretation”
I came to the 200th episode of Supernatural from a week-long hiatus in which I had written for five straight days, or approximately 120 hours.
What was I writing? Fan fiction.
The irony is not lost on me that I completed my final major revisions of my 35,000 word DCBB fic a few hours before the episode “Fan Fiction” premiered. To say that I was a bit emotionally fraught would be to say that Alistair was ‘just a bit misunderstood.’
The 200th episode has been described as a “love letter to fans” so, without further ado, allow me to meta some meta.
A (Very) Brief Synopsis
Dean’s jonesing for a case. He seemingly pulls one out of thin air and convinces Sam to help him investigate the disappearance of a drama teacher at an all-girls high school. The school is putting on a play: Supernatural the Musical, a “transformative work” penned by a high school girl as an homage to Carver Edlund’s works.
Sam and Dean are not thrilled.
Turns out the goddess of epic poetry, Calliope, has a taste for the supernatural and wants to devour the writer of the play. So the show must go on, and Sam and Dean must kill a goddess to protect the girls.
Reinventing Sherlock Holmes: The Transmedia Co-Construction by and for Fan Communities
The adventures of Sherlock Holmes continue to fascinate audiences, regardless of the fact that the author of the original text, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, has been dead for 84 years. Doyle penned a total of 4 novels and 56 short stories containing the beloved Holmes over a period of 40 years, the 8-year long “Great Hiatus” between The Final Problem (1893) and The Hounds of Baskerville (1901) notwithstanding. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the protagonist Sherlock Holmes is “’the most-portrayed movie character’, with more than 70 actors having played the part in at least 200 films” (Fox 1). In the last ten years, there have been numerous movies, books, and television series’ devoted to reinventing Sherlock Holmes, each one aimed at helping audiences find value in the historical character while simultaneously attempting to entice newer, younger consumers to participate in fan communities based on said character. For purposes of this “Transformative Fandom” series, I will take this concept a step further. According to the Archive of Our Own website for transformative fan works, there are currently a total of (I’ve updated this number 4 times in 1 week) 59,761 texts, pictures, videos and podfics uploaded and tagged with the term “Sherlock Holmes”. The characters of Holmes and Watson, as created by Doyle, are in the public domain, which means anyone can use them without permission, the caveat being that works only include the specific qualities of these characters as defined by the author in his texts published before 1923. For writers, artists and filmmakers, this means commercial adaptations can be made (mostly) without fear of copyright infringement, as long as the features of the characters are explicitly early canon or, conversely, unique. The Consulting Detective has enamored readers for over a hundred years, but with only 60 original stories written by Doyle, fans take it upon themselves to explore, in detail, the universe surrounding Sherlock, while others enjoy filling in the blanks of our beloved character’s existence with imagined cases, love interests and encounters that Doyle never anticipated. While neither community is necessarily exclusive or superior, both have specific goals and characteristics that assist in the co-creation of Sherlock Holmes via multiple media sources.
A few months ago, the Collectiva Diva and I sat down and had a long discussion on what it means to be in a fandom. For us and others like us, a fandom is a safe place–a space where interests, theories, and ideas are expressed, validated, and transformed. For others, “fandom” is the margin into which society pushes those of us who take books/films/television/video games/comics “too seriously.” If you are in a fandom (and let’s face it, if you’ve been reading our blog, you are), you’ve inevitably faced fandom shaming at some point or other.
But why should we be ashamed? Fandoms are another means by which we express our identities, a line on our personality resume. Throughout the next seven weeks, the Collectiva Diva and I will be discussing a variety of fandoms and key issues surrounding them. You may know us as fangirls afficionados, but the Diva and I will be putting on our academic caps and using our graduate degrees for good in this series of posts as we discuss what it means to be a fan, the power of fandom, and why we should never be ashamed of any of it.
The FF Word: Blurred Lines in Criticism and Copyright of Fan Fiction
Fan fiction holds a tenuous (and sometimes volatile) relationship with the canon on which it is written. Pieces written by fans have occasionally been dismissed by society at large as “copyright infringement” or “unoriginal” or, as it pertains to certain types of fan fiction, “vulgar.” The truth is that fan fiction can be all of these things or none of them. A loose definition of fan fiction is any fictional piece written by a fan using setting/plot/characters/etc. from a text authored by someone else. This definition, although workable in a day-to-day context, is unsuitable for a comprehensive guide to the history and legal issues surrounding fan works for the following reasons: 1) many well-known texts have sources in older works, such as J.R.R. Tolkien’s incorporation of elements commonly seen in Norse mythology and legends in his Middle-earth histories; 2) the very act of reading is an implied collaboration between reader and writer to tell a story–the writer provides a description of the protagonist, but the reader interprets that description and creates his or her own mental image for it. This brings us to two questions: Who defines the text? And who owns it?
In short: is it the author who gives the story its meaning, or is it the reader?
Although I have a distinct preference for fluff and smut, I tend to enjoy a good End!Verse Destiel fic. Sure, there’s angst but with dark times comes super sexy smut, which keeps me returning to 2014 for more. “The End” S05xE04 has to be one of my favorite episodes of Supernatural EVER, and so I naturally went to the Collectress to help me find End!Verse fics.
Boy, was that a mistake.
Her angst scale and mine just do not match up, plus she claims not to enjoy (Read? Like? She’s very covert when it comes to fanfic) End!Verse. WHAAAT?! NOOOOOO!! Sigh…so, dear Collectors, I took it upon myself to read a crap ton of angsty smut and then put together a top ten End!Verse fic rec list that won’t make you want to roll up into a little ball of sadness with a pint of mint chocolate chip ice cream for a month. Porn is a real motivator.
This is my favorite End!Verse fic ever. Seriously. Every time I read it, I wish it were longer. The story starts off super hot, with 2014!Dean, 2009!Dean and 2014!Cas getting super kinky and then it goes all emotions and deep truths. Cas has walls up and 2009!Dean is determined to break them down before returning to his own time.
Author’s Summary: They’d never talked about sex in the year they’d known each other. Well, that wasn’t quite correct: Sherlock had never said a word about sex; John had bemoaned his personal dearth of it on many occasions.
My Thoughts: The most infamous fic in the Johnlock fandom, and I only read it because of the recommendation by the Collectiva Diva, Queen of Smut. The chemistry between John and Sherlock is practically tangible, but I really only have one thing to say about this one: Cinnamon.
I hope you dirty birdies are at home or on the incognito page of your work computer, because some of these fics will make you feel all wibbley-wobbley inside and the artwork is lovely! Since I started watching Doctor Who and reading fanfic around the same time, this ship pairing happens to be my het OTP and the first ship I ever boarded. I love the chemistry between River and Eleven, mostly because River is a sexpot and the Doctor looks like he could use a good wank every once in a while. Oh myyyyyyyy…