Here are some resources for anyone who wants to read up on fandom history, including outlines, old fan fiction, and certain famous drama. Made especially for all the teenagers out there who believe that tumblr created the concept of fandom.
T H E B E G I N N I N G S ( P R E - 1 9 9 0 F A N D O M )
Precursors to Fan Fiction
There have been several works that could most definitely be considered the beginnings of fan fiction, and most of them are quite surprising.
- The Brontë siblings spent much of their child to young adulthood writing short stories and novels telling the fantasy adventures of Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington. (x)
Despite the buzz around Star Trek being the first, the origin of the modern idea of “fandom” can be traced all the way back to 1887 with the creation of Arthur Conan Doyle’s world famous detective. As well as some of the first ever fan fiction.
- Here’s a video detailing how Holmes started fanfiction. (x)
- A blog post about the changes in Sherlock Holmes fandom over time. (x)
- "The Adventure of the Two Collaborators" a fanfiction by the creator of Peter Pan. (x)
Now we’re at the big one. The real big fandom creator. The Original Series didn’t have a big audience during it’s original run, but those who did watch it were deeply invested in it. This means conventions, mailing groups, fan magazines, and fanfiction presses.
- Spockanalia, the first ever fanzine, appeared in September 1967. Celebrating fan art and even fan fiction. The zine ran from 67’-70’, and published five issues. (x) (x) (x)
- The first fan convention occurred in March of 1969. The “Star Trek Con” did not have celebrity guests but did have “slide shows of ‘Trek’ aliens, skits and a fan panel to discuss ‘The Star Trek Phenomenon.’” (x)
- "Star Trek Lives!" was the first large scale con and it was in 1970. They expected 500 people, they had to turn down people when there was 3000. (x)
- Kirk/Spock is the first official slash ever, and was largely circulated due to fanzines. (x) (x) (x)
E A R L Y D A Y S O F T H E I N T E R N E T ( T H E 1 9 9 0 ’ S )
In 1995, Geocities was born. If you haven’t heard of Geocities(due to it’s death in 2009), it was a Web hosting service, separated into ‘neighborhoods’ named after real cities for what they were famous for. Here, many fandoms shared fan fiction. Back in the day, fandoms had to create their own private spaces. This made fandoms on the internet smaller and less accessible than fanzine operated ones.
1998 brought fanfiction.net into existence to compete with the hundreds of independent, fandom-oriented fanfiction archives. More democratization, although fanfiction was marketed on how many reviews one had.
E A R L Y 2 0 0 0 ’ S T O N O W
The Cassie Clare Controversy
You might recognize Cassandra Clare from the YA series The Mortal Instruments, but in the early 2000s people remember her a bit differently. As a Harry Potter fan fiction writer who caused a big old controversy.
- The Draco Trilogy is a Draco-centric epic written and posted by Cassandra Claire over a period of six years. It was quite popular, and was one of the longest Harry Potter fics out there. (x)
- People noticed however, that she lifted scenes and dialog straight from other fiction, causing an uproar and Cassie to be banned from fanfiction.net. (x)
Around this time, forums come around. People rapidly gained and lost power, causing quick turnover in these parts of fandom. (x)
In 2007, tumblr is created, however it doesn’t really become popular until 2010 and due to the death of Geocities and other popular websites for fandom and it’s less strict guidelines, it becomes a major fandom stronghold.
- Tumblr and fandom (x)