I love doing research. That probably makes me kind of a nerd (more than kind of a nerd). As Rhonda and I have mentioned here a few times, we have started on a new project. While we are not sharing details yet, it is amazing how research can take you to places that you didn’t necessarily expect when you begin. A big part of me really loves that research then becomes more about a journey. One of the rabbit holes of research I have found myself in lately is about fan fiction.
We have talked about fan fiction on here before. For those not in the know, fan fiction is stories or other fictional works written by fans in connection with specific fandoms. Fanfic, for short, happens in a lot of fandoms, especially those that are based on TV shows and movies. Those are works of fiction to begin with so it does not seem that strange that fans would write stories about made up characters and settings. Typically, fanfic for movies and TV shows involve either filling in gaps like missing scenes, future fiction about what might happen after the show/movie ends or alternate universe ones in which characters are placed in different settings or plots from the show. Fan fiction also happens with real life fandoms. There is fanfic about bands, including Duran Duran.
What interests me at this point is not that people write and/or read fan fiction but that a lot of it is what is called “slash” fanfic. What is that? Simple. It is about same-sex relationships, often romantic and/or sexual ones. In the case of Duran Duran, this means that the focus might be on a John and Simon pairing or a Nick and Roger one. This shouldn’t be that surprising since our fan community does get pretty excited about JoSi or those John and Simon interactions on and off stage. We have even talked about JoSi on here as I have to admit that I appreciate JoSi and even DoJo (Dom and John).
So what about this slash fanfic? Now, I am no expert on fanfic as I’m not a writer myself and would not say that I’m much of a fanfic reader. When I have read fanfic, it has typically been about a TV show or movie like when I was into the TV show, Roswell. Then, I read quite a bit but I have not read a lot of Duran Duran ones. Interestingly enough, when I have searched fanfic sites like Archive of One’s Own, there are Duran ones there (172 to be exact!). The vast majority of the most popular ones are slash ones. The combination varies between the band members but it was rare for me to see one based on a band member and a woman. There were some heterosexual ones but not a lot from what I saw. I know that there is a site for Duran Duran fan fiction in which both slash and non-slash fanfic can be found.
Now, from my research I can tell you that slash is not new. It appeared for the first time with Star Trek stories focused on Kirk and Spock. Obviously, those characters were not romantically and sexually connected on the TV show or even in the movies. Yet, fans placed these two characters together. Why? Why do some Duranies love JoSi? Why would fans read and write slash fanfic? Let me be clear. I’m not asking this with any sort of judgement. Again, I’m a big fan of the JoSi. I have read some slash fanfic when it has come to shows I have liked. I know what some of the fandom experts think. I have done my research. Yet, I wonder what people who do write and read fanfic would say. I know that the gut instinct is to say that it is hot, which I get. But why? What makes it hot? It has to be more than both guys (in this case) are hot.
Let me go a little further with this question. Does it have a greater appeal than heterosexual fanfic? If so, why? Is that true for all fanfic or just the Duran ones? If you write or read slash fanfic, do you notice differences between slash and non-slash? How are the men described? How are the women? What are their relationships with each other like? Are these same sex relationships different than the straight ones in fanfic? How do these stories compare with what you see/know in real life? Are they realistic? Totally different or something in between?
On that note, I’m off to continue my research. I’ll be anxious to see if the Duranie fanfic writers and readers match the experts or not.