I’ve been meaning to write something about SHADOW UNIT for absolutely ages — about SHADOW UNIT itself, but also about the attitude expressed in the following comment found in a BoingBoing thread about SHADOW UNIT:
Instead of reading/watching something awesome and fanning over it, we see the fandom first. The fandom then defines and expresses the original material it’s about–the show that doesn’t actually exist.
The origin of SHADOW UNIT is in Elizabeth Bear encouraging a few friends to produce fan fiction "to reconnect with writing for pleasure," and Emma Bull winding up generating a whole new tv show idea, getting her friends involved and forming a writing staff for a notional tv show that doesn’t actually exist. They write the "episodes" as long short stories, structure them as seasons and run them on shadowunit.org. (The site isn’t resolving properly for me tonight, I hope it is for you.)
I want to get to "notional tv shows" later in the week. But something about that quote, from that anonymous BB commenter, still bugs me, 18 months after I first read it. Possibly the use of the word "fanning." Possibly the slightly possessive tone of the quote. Possibly the sense of approval, communicating the idea that the commenter feels this to be, finally, the right way around. That the fandom gets to define the material. The sort of entitlement that leads to JK Rowling firebombing your house. I’m probably reading too much into it.
Anyway. Go and look at SHADOW UNIT, they’ve got new stuff up.