It had to be said.
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I must confess, even speaking as a younger fan (too young, in fact, to participate in much of hms_stfu's best wankery) and one who was often somewhat minimally involved with the fandom, that this news fills me with a certain vague and dissatisfied despair. While said community was hardly the only outlet for fannish musings--actually, as sheer numbers go, I believe it was somewhat peripheral--its last gasp was symptomatic of a larger problem. Namely, the HP fandom is hemmorhaging fen.
I realize that this rant has been done before. (Indeed, looking back at my old and thankfully-forgotten Sailor Moon fansite, I can't help but note that it's been done before by me. Ironically, the post in which I swore I'd never drop the fandom was the last post on the site. Ah, youthful naivete...) Nonetheless, it does seem to be the case that the best-known writers/artists/communities of the fandom are dropping out or being discredited one by one: first HP-Lexicon, then fanartists like Makani (who seems to have moved on), and now hms_stfu. (Of course, you may well be snickering at my youthful naivete and muttering about Eliza Diawna Snape or Cassie Claire, both of whom were active much earlier...)As satisfying as it would be to blame some other young-adult literary sensation, I don't think we can point fingers and shriek at the Twihards or the...(What the hell do Percy Jackson/Hunger Games/et cetera fans call themselves?) Dredging up fanfiction.net profiles on which fans claim to have
Primarily, I'm pretty sure that it's because canon is closing. Supposedly (though I didn't experience this firsthand, and I'd be happy to be corrected), fan activity was at its peak during the 3-year summer between GoF and OoTP, during which period popular characters hadn't yet died off in droves (see: Sirius, Dumbledore), new fen were entering at a rapid rate due to media exposure, and hints about the next book were dropping like cannonballs in a pirate movie. Now, while movie 8 remains in the pipeline, everyone knows what'll happen, and some of the fun of discovery is gone. Moreover, it's been a damnably long time, and questions of Snape's allegiance have been pretty well played out. Everyone knows these arguments.
So what are we remaining fen to do?
Well--we make things interesting. Write unusual fics. (I'm as guilty as anyone of contributing to the romance glut, but I do enjoy some gen and political machinations--and the question isn't one of romance per se as it is of trite plots and overused pairings.) Ask questions that haven't previously been asked. Extrapolate. Have fun with the damn thing. There will be those who don't enjoy our stories, and that's OK. There will be those who have genuinely moved on, and that's fine and dandy. There will be those who think I'm making this argument up as I go along, and I sympathize with them most of all. But for all those of us who want to recapture the thrill of discovery, I have a challenge: create. Don't wait for someone to write what you want to see. Don't whine about how all the good fic is gone. Write the damn stories.
Now I'm off to disregard my own advice and write the tritest story known to man, which I'll inevitably abandon in two days.