In March of 2020 Archive of Our Own, known colloquially as AO3 to those who frequent the fanfiction site, began to buckle under an unprecedented amount of traffic. Moving from 262 million weekly page views to 298 million in just two weeks, this sudden uptick put severe strain on the database servers, demanding a quick response and, a month later, the inclusion of new code to manage the influx of visitors (“Emergency Measures Affecting Works”). This uptick was not seen just in fans who read on the archive, but in those who posted there as well. March of 2019 averaged about 3,000 works added to the archive every day but, a year later, that number had increased to over 4,000 works a day (Çam). Though perhaps boggling to anyone unfamiliar with the archive, this increase in traffic made perfect sense to fans across the world: everyone was stuck in quarantine and fanfiction was booming.
For me, the increasingly common texts from friends saying something along the lines of, “I’ve read 20k of fic in the last three days 😅” was a great reassurance. As a lover and a scholar of the form, I understood immediately the benefit fic could provide to my loved ones. During a time when stress levels were high and energy levels low, consuming stories that dealt with characters and events that a reader was already familiar with—already loved—was an easy-going form of escapism. Rather than passively consuming media, fans who frequent fic archives turn their hobby active, be it through writing fic themselves, leaving comments, crafting fanart, or simply discussing the work with virtual friends. With many having lost jobs or otherwise finding themselves struggling with how to spend their time while remaining inside the house, hobbies, particularly creative hobbies like writing and drawing, became a major part of maintaining one’s mental health (Donohue). Similarly, engagement with fanfiction provides a connection with a large, vibrant community of like-minded individuals. Given the isolation of quarantining, the ability to make friends online was, and remains, a must.
Over the course of the last year and a half, I’ve also benefited massively from fanfiction and have assisted in fic’s growing popularity. However, unlike my friends, that engagement didn’t occur spontaneously in a fit of Covid-induced boredom. While mask mandates were implemented and my school moved to fulltime, online learning, I was neck-deep in the final revision of my dissertation: Today Your Barista Is: Genre Characteristics in the Coffee Shop Alternate Universe. I was already living and breathing fanfiction when Covid hit, which put me in the unique position to take note of not just a new, developing genre—Quarantine Fics—but also the ways in which that genre has begun to influence other genres with an established history—such as the Coffee Shop AU.
Throughout my dissertation, I describe Coffee Shop AUs as one of modern fic’s most popular genres, arguing that in as much as we can define something as nebulous as popularity, the Coffee Shop AU fits those parameters (McCain, 17). Recent research, conducted by AO3 themselves in an effort to assist “students, scholars, and people interested in fandom stats” reveals an unsurprising, but before now unproven change in genre preferences across the last decade (“Selective Data Dump for Fan Statisticians”). As shown in an interactive graph by tumblr user Autocartograph—a “Data engineer by day” whose work revolves around “pan-fandom analysis”—there has been a marked increase in the use of the “Fluff” tag since 2008 (AutoCartograph, AutoCartograph 2021). Whereas before it didn’t even make the top ten most common tags used (coming in at #16), by 2011 it was the 8th most common tag on AO3, 5th by 2012, 2nd by 2013, before finally taking the top spot about halfway through 2014, where it has maintained that position for the last six years. In fact, the popularity of “Fluff” has continued to increase at an exponential rate, averaging over 250,000 more uses in 2020 than the second most popular tag, “Angst.” In addition to “Fluff’s” increase in popularity, “Hurt/Comfort” has become ubiquitous since the early 2000s and “Romance,” “Humor,” “Fluff and Angst,” and “Alternate Universe” have all likewise entered the top ten tags. These trends are notable given that all of these tags are staples of Coffee Shop AUs, tags one expects to see attached to such fics. Though none of the above data references the genre specifically—Coffee Shop AUs are popular, but not so popular that they beat out much broader tag trends—this research helps support the long-held belief that comforting, casual, fluffy fics are taking over most fandom spaces.
Really though, is that any surprise? Turn on the news and you’ll find a deluge of global crises, from wars to unemployment; mental health struggles to climate change. Covid is just the latest in a long line of international challenges and the result, many fans believe, is an increase in escapist-based entertainment. Why would you read an angst-fest of your favorite characters dying while you’re already dealing with the very real threat of loved ones falling to the pandemic? Why would you want to see stories of found families struggling when we’re all dealing with that on a day-to-day basis? It seems a bit contradictory to expect fans to be drawn to anything other than the fluffiest fics possible, at least at the moment.
Of course, the reality is that people often turn towards horror, tragedy, drama, and other cathartic forms of literature during times of hardship, to say nothing of the personal benefits writing such stories may provide, allowing authors to purge themselves of intense emotions. Alongside that connection to a community and providing that escapism, fic can be the means by which some fans work through their Covid-related anxieties, rather than simply ignoring them through distraction. As the pandemic reached its peak and then settled into a long-term battle, rather than the challenge we hoped to quickly beat, fic likewise began to reflect a more nuanced examination of these topics. Rather than simply burying them under a small mountain of feel-good storytelling, fans began to actively grapple with these horrors, using their favorite fictional characters as the tool to do so.
“Two weeks ago, I felt kind of weird about seeing quarantine fics and coronavirus tags on ao3. now, I just think do what you gotta do to cope,” writes the blogger of AO3 Comment of the Day, a popular tumblr where fic writers submit positive comments they’ve received on their work as a means of both celebrating the kindness of the community and promoting the fic in question. The blogger goes on to say:
You need to read about your otp as roommates stuck inside until they finally break and confess to each other do it. you need to write angst about a character tragically dying? do it. you need to write about your faves as doctors or nurses or delivery drivers or grocery clerks or any of the other amazing people we all rely on every day? do it
Writing fic can be stress relief. reading it can be cathartic. do what you need to do to get through the day. cope however you need to ❤ (Ao3commentoftheday).
The reiteration of “need” here is important. What everyone needs to get through these hard times will differ and thus it’s significant that a popular blog—one explicitly connected to fic and AO3 (the blogger is a volunteer for the Organization of Transformative Works)—has taken the time to remind the community that any form of coping is okay. Even if, like they were at the start, it feels a little “weird.” This post accumulated over 5,000 notes, with reblogs mentioning everything from plot bunnies people have about Covid-related plots, to confessions about wanting to try their hand at some kind of cathartic fic, but just not having the energy. Though this post alone is certainly only one small reassurance across the entire, online landscape, by the end of 2020 so-called Quarantine Fics were appearing across countless fandoms, taking that escapist form and using it as a coping mechanism too. The desire to read fics that wouldn’t touch Covid topics (or anything else angsty) with a ten-foot pole still exists of course, but now, so does the desire to turn these horrifying situations into something that’s, if not happy, at least optimistic. And romantic. After all, quarantining is, at its core, a perfect trope for forcing two, romantically inclined characters to spend a lot of time together, a trend that goes all the way back to the Star Trek fandom of the 1960’s where Cave Stories—Kirk and Spock become stranded on a hostile, alien planet, forced to seek shelter in a small cave together—flourished. Now, we see such isolation tropes in all manner of modern fan culture, such as @mattsukkar’s iconic Vine, “Oh my god, they were roommates.” If caves and assigned roommates served us well, why not quarantining too?
Thus, there are a growing number of fics that seek to balance the desire for fluff with the realities of the pandemic. One example of this balance exists in an emerging subgenre. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to call it a hybrid genre: the combination of Quarantine Fics with the Coffee Shop AU. It’s a phenomenon that I was only able to touch on in my dissertation, a passing observation I hoped to research at a later date:
Writing about the worst of Covid, from everyday difficulties to the systematic repercussions, gives writers and their audiences a sense of control. By having fans manage Covid in a fic, fans can vicariously feel like they’re managing it in real life too and, like in Coffee Shop AUs that imagine a world without homophobia inhibiting romantic relations, it provides fans with a safe space to grapple with various emotions. One 17-year-old by the name of Krystal admits that when she wrote her Fire Emblem Quarantine Fic about the difficulties of buying toilet paper and menstrual pads, “my anger kind of spilled over into the fic” (Haasch). (McCain 211).
Here, I would like to begin highlighting some of the commonalties emerging in this hybrid genre by providing a cursory reading of three fics from three different fandoms: MsCaptainWinchester’s Deadpool and Spiderman fic Masks Not Optional, ElsieIvy’s Batman fic But If You Close Your Eyes, and EmorySkywalker’s Star Wars fic Will You Be My Quarantine? I identified all three as hybrid fics due to the authors’ choice to use AO3’s “Alternate Universe – Coffee Shops & Cafés” tag, as well as the new “Covid-19” tag.
What’s first worth noting about these fics is how they market themselves to the rest of the community. Fandom, more-so than mainstream entertainment, is concerned with the mental health of readers and ensuring that they aren’t blindsided by potentially triggering material. Coffee Shop AUs, given their fluffy, rom-com tendencies, imply a measure of safety when reading that the topic of Covid absolutely does not. Thus, authors have been careful to not only use the “Covid-19” tag as a warning, but to mention quarantining, the pandemic, or related topics in the summary itself, despite the fact that it can take the story several paragraphs—or nearly an entire chapter in the case of Will You Be My Quarantine? —to reveal that Covid is influencing this story. Given the nature of the subject matter and the ways in which it seemingly contrasts much of what fans look for in a Coffee Shop AU, now is not the time for surprises. Paradoxically though, by being upfront about the inclusion of difficult topics, authors have the chance to reassure their readers that the material is treated somewhat more lightly than one might except. This is still the feel-good, romance-focused fic you’re looking for.
“Basically a café in Quarantine AU… They bond in a socially distant kind of way,” writes ElsieIvy, letting their readers know that the focus is still on these characters bonding, just at a pandemic approved six feet. Similarly, MsCaptainWinchester keeps things light while still emphasizing the importance of social distancing with, “Peter just wanted to get his coffee and grade papers—outside, and properly distanced from others. He definitely didn’t expect to find Deadpool in his favorite café, holding a guy at katana-point for not wearing a mask.” EmorySkywalker’s summary starts out a little darker, but they’re careful to cue the reader in to the inevitable, happy ending: “When the Covid-19 pandemic hits, Rose finds herself in a very bad situation—without a job and a place to stay. Fortunately, in the coffee shop she works there is a knight in shiny armor to save her.” Just in case the spoiler that another character, Armitage Hux, will “save her” isn’t enough, EmorySkywalker adds the author’s note that “for some reason” they love lockdown fanfics and, since they’ve read all that’s already been published in the Star Wars fandom, they wrote their own “in case this is your jam, too! 🙂 Stay safe, y’all!” There’s an overt acknowledgement here that the blending of these genres—or the existence of Quarantine Fics in general—won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, so only engage if that’s “your jam.” Other authors take this one step further, outright stating the triggering material in their notes rather than merely hinting at it in the tags, or couching it in personal preference:
Just a quick note! this is set in present day and covid-19 is talked about in depth. no one is personally affected by the virus, it just explores what it might be like to fall in love during the pandemic. if you look towards fic as a way to escape from the reality of our world today, no worries! but this fic may not be for you (Graydar).
As these summaries demonstrate, authors are concerned with providing the wholesome, romantic story that readers come to a Coffee Shop AU for while also acknowledging the realities of Covid and the impact it might have on a romance; treating that topic seriously without turning the fic into something that’s overly angsty. Thus, these fics are filled with Covid-specific details that are tailored to both the tone of the genre and the fandom in question. “I just went shopping yesterday. Stocked up on whatever was left on the shelves,” Tim says in But If You Close Your Eyes, a seemingly innocuous, domestic statement unless you know to read it through that Covid lens. The shelves aren’t bare due to any normal shortages, but because panic buying occurred at the start of lockdown. While Tim manages shopping, Peter Parker encounters Deadpool wearing three masks while at a café: his normal red and black mask, a Bea Arthur Halloween mask, and a cloth The Golden Girls mask. Far from being any random Covid reference, these choices likewise help to reinforce who Deadpool is as a character, firmly re-establishing his personality in an efficient (and funny) way. Anyone familiar with his comics knows of his obsession with The Golden Girls, Bea Arthur’s work in particular, and his entire gig is solving problems in chaotic, morally gray, seemingly insane ways. So, it makes perfect sense that Deadpool would implement such a ridiculous line of thinking: people need to wear cloth or surgical masks while out in public. Thus, he needs to wear one too, despite already wearing a costume. His costume covers his ears, which means that using the elastic on his cloth mask isn’t possible, unless he puts on a Halloween mask that comes with makeshift ears of its own. Problem solved! A small detail to be sure, but it does triple duty of referencing Covid, doing so in a light-hearted manner, and helping to keep Deadpool in character—a crucial staple of any well-written fic.
Far from simply referencing Covid in an offhand manner though, MsCaptainWinchester also uses pandemic precautions as the driving force of their fic’s conflict, answering the question: What do these precautions look like when superimposed over a standard café visit? As the fic’s title says, masks are not optional in this environment. Peter walks in on Deadpool holding a man at sword point, all because the man had ventured outside without his mask. The story is filled with their playful banter about health codes and when the cure, so to speak, becomes more dangerous than the disease:
“I’m not arguing that this jerk shouldn’t wear a mask.” [Peter said.] “It’s selfish not to. But do you think wielding a katana might be a health code violation, too?”
“It’s been sanitized.”
“And when you use it to cut his head off like you seem to want to do?”
Peter eventually gets Deadpool to back down, the merc with a mouth taking a parting shot at the man as he leaves, saying that he’d better get out before his now soiled pants drip on the floor. Rather disgusting, of course, but also comical and strangely reassuring. Such scenes allow authors to use fic as a vehicle for their political beliefs, sending the message that if both Spiderman and Deadpool—spanning the range of classic hero and antihero—think that masking up is important enough to threaten someone over… well, it must be pretty important then, huh? It’s a comfort for the reader too, imagining scenarios where these real-life horrors exist, but they’re quickly dealt with thanks to the quick, and sometimes extreme, actions of our favorite characters. This comfort then bleeds seamlessly into the more traditional, feel-good nature of the Coffee Shop AU. Crisis averted, Deadpool and Peter sit down, the conflict changing to the personal when Peter realizes that he’s revealed his secret identity by being overly familiar with Deadpool while out of costume. The fic ends with them concerned only with how their relationship might develop now over drinks and a bit of flirting:
“Did I break you?” [Peter] asked, winking.
“You’re just so… pretty.”
Peter felt his cheeks heat up and had to duck his eyes away to try to stop the blush from happening.
However, Masks Not Optional is able to first crack down hard on anti-maskers by virtue of making the offender a bland, nameless, otherwise unimportant OC (original character). For most other fics though, this effect is particularly difficult to achieve given the emotional attachment readers already have with the canon. Fanfiction, by its very nature, focuses on characters the reader knows well and feels some kinship with—the emotions that push them towards branching out and consuming fan content in the first place. Intense interest in characters and their relationships, sometimes referred to as an obsession, is the heart of fandom, going all the way back to fic and fanzine’s precursor, where fans expressed their devotion to sci-fi series through the letter column of Amazing Stories (Grahm 132). Though the creation of OCs is an honored, fandom tradition, they tend to take on a secondary importance in the form of background/side characters, or serve the specific function of being the reader’s self-insert. The makeup of the coffee shop setting—a community of just a few employees that work in close contact with one another—all but demands a focus on canonical characters. If this fic is tackling a small cast with intimate problems, rather than a sprawling epic, then the reader is likely most interested in seeing that emotional work done with recognizable characters, not new ones whose personality, conflicts, and relationships all need to be established within the span of this traditionally short oneshot.
What this means then is that other Coffee Shop-Quarantine hybrids treat Covid related mistakes more sympathetically than other, non-fandom works might, simply because those hardships are attached to characters the reader already cares deeply about. For example, 2020 saw a massive increase in unemployment, 14.7% by mid-March in the U.S., the highest since the Great Depression (Soucheray). It’s only natural then that the art we create reflects the grief, anxiety, frustration, and even fury many are currently grappling with. Yet But If You Close Your Eyes has Tim Drake responding to his own furloughing with a great deal of grace, saying, “No, it totally makes sense. No worries… I get it. It’s fine. Really,” when Dick informs him that he’s indefinitely on leave. If Dick had been an original character in another genre, ElsieIvy might have been harder on him, emphasizing Tim’s financial struggles over the supposed hardship of letting an employee go. Instead, a lot of attention is paid to Dick’s compassion: he reassures Tim that he’s not technically fired, they still intend to cover his health insurance, and both acknowledge that with Tim’s “immune system being weird” there’s a silver lining to not coming in and making coffee for strangers. The takeaway is not that an evil employer screwed a favorite character over because, in order to maintain the close-knit family vibes expected of a Coffee Shop AU, both characters in this interaction need to be favorites. So, authors adapt, refusing to settle on an easy answer about whether characters like Dick are wholly responsible for this situation, or merely a victim of circumstance like Tim. “I talked to Dick. He’s such an asshole. Are you okay?” ElsieIvy has Jason say over the phone, only to immediately follow that up with, “It’s still bullshit though. I mean, unless you wanted to be unemployed for a bit. Dickie said you have some health thing…”
The “health thing” Tim is grappling with is never specified, but then, it doesn’t need to be. Plenty of fans will be dealing with their own “health things”—chronic illnesses, weak immune systems, mental heal struggles, etc.—so by keeping it vague, ElsieIvy likewise keeps the fic relatable to the largest readership possible. From there, the story moves from these ethical questions of responsibility and the difficulties of health problems during a pandemic into the inevitable, comforting ending. Tim’s quarantining results in Jason asking him to keep him company over the phone while delivering takeout, given that there’s not much else for him to do while stuck in the house. Like in Masks Not Optional, the reader is treated to some quiet bonding between the two that, as ElsieIvy says in their author’s note, can be taken as either platonic or pre-slash, depending on your preference. Far from limiting how writers craft meet-cutes and eventual romances, the isolation of quarantining has simply been re-imagined as another vehicle for pining. “It was fine though. Tim was used to being alone. He’d always been alone. Nothing had even really changed.” This line could just as easily come from a Coffee Shop AU posted two years ago, where Tim sits alone at a table in an otherwise crowded café, his jealousy at others’ connections proceeding his relationship with Jason. Forced isolation provides as much opportunity for the character to be proven wrong by their friend and/or love interest as self-imposed isolation. Same trends; new, politically conscious coat of paint.
Notably though, the quarantining aspect of a Quarantine AU is what most separates that genre from the Coffee Shop AU. A writer can incorporate anti-mask drama into a coffee shop setting, grapple with the difficulty of leaving the coffee shop for a short period, and otherwise sneak Covid-related struggles into this set structure: what happens when the shop runs out of flavors or supplies? If a co-worker you have a crush on refuses to get vaccinated? The options are, while not limitless, still largely untouched as the genre slowly develops. However, actually quarantining the characters for any significant length of time breaks away from the Coffee Shop AU in an arguably defined way. After all, these fics are, shockingly, meant to take place in a coffee shop, the setting helping to forward the characters’ developing relationship and adding to the reader’s immersion. Unless something slightly more apocalyptic than a pandemic were to occur, no one is going to quarantine in their place of employment. Is it still a Coffee Shop AU then if the characters indefinitely leave the coffee shop? A year and a half ago I would have argued strongly that it’s not, that the setting is simply too integral a part of the genre to remove from the story, but these hybrid fics are pushing that boundary in unexpected ways. EmorySkywalker’s Will You Be My Quarantine? is just such a fic, a work in progress that, depending on how it develops, may well test our understanding of both genres. Published in April of 2021, the first two chapters of Will You Be My Quarantine? are the most reflective of a traditional Coffee Shop AU, showing barista Rose becoming interested in returning customer Hux, taking note of his habits, bonding with him over kind gestures involving food (tea, specifically), and suffering the indignation of miscommunication. Indeed, if you were to bypass the paratextual elements like title and tagging, there’s nothing to suggest a Covid connection until halfway through Chapter One when Rose makes an off-hand comment about being worried because “her parents moved back to Vietnam and they were in the endangered age group.” Chapter Two, however, leans more heavily towards the Quarantine genre. It establishes Rose’s sudden firing as the pandemic surges, the loss of her apartment when she can’t pay rent, and Hux’s unexpected offer that she moves into his guest room. Sadly, for the sake of this analysis, that’s where the story currently ends. Five months after the last update, readers (lovingly and patiently) await Chapter Three not just to see how the Hux/Rose relationship develops, but also how EmorySkywalker will manage the—presumed—move from a Coffee Shop AU fic with a throwaway mention of Covid, to a predominantly Quarantine Fic that has left the coffee shop setting behind. As one reader commented, “Loved how you created the setting for the “and they quarantined together!” implying that a Quarantine Fic is the end-goal destination (Lenuca).
Is the Coffee Shop AU destined to merely become a precursor for Quarantine Fics then, providing a familiar foundation for fans to play with, expanding into something entirely new? It’s unlikely, but the longer the pandemic goes on, the more fanfiction is likely to continue reflecting these social concerns. I personally doubt the Coffee Shop AU, as we know it now, will disappear anytime soon, but we may see more and more fics that reconsider the escapist elements of the genre. In a world where social distancing remains a staple, the fantasy is no longer meeting someone in a crowded shop that you work at, or visit daily. Rather, that can come across as quite frightening. Instead, the fantasy is turning the current horror, Covid, into something romantic and unexpectedly comforting. Instead of taking the risk of going out, what if you got to quarantine with the person you had a crush on? An undetermined length of time that you must both spend together, relying on one another, all while taking an action that helps keep you and others safe? And if that decision to quarantine happens to come about because, pre-Covid, you were already flirting in a coffee shop?
Well, that’s just the best of both worlds.
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AutoCartograph. “AO3 Freeform Tags Over Time.” Flourish, June 27 2021, https://public.flourish.studio/story/875813/.
AutoCartograph. Tumblr, https://autocartograph.tumblr.com/.
Çam, Deniz. “In a Lonely Lockdown, With Books Slow to Come, Fanfiction Booms.” Forbes, 21 April 2020, https://www.forbes.com/sites/denizcam/2020/04/21/in-a-lonelylockdown-with-books-slow-to-come-fanfiction-booms/#ef08aea46cb3.)
Donohue, John. “The Big Impact of a Small Hobby.” The New York Times, 25 March 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/01/well/mind/coronavirus-health-benefits-drawing-art-hobbies.html.
ElsieIvy. “But if You Close Your Eyes.” Archive of Our Own, 18 May 2020, https://archiveofourown.org/works/24251689.
“Emergency Measures Affecting Works.” Archive of Our Own, 31 March 2020, https://archiveofourown.org/admin_posts/15379.
EmorySkywalker. “Will You Be My Quarantine?” Archive of Our Own, April 7 2021, https://archiveofourown.org/works/30532485/chapters/75302667.
Grahm, Anissa. “A New Kind of Pandering: Supernatural and the World of Fanfiction” in Fan CULTure: Essays on Participatory Fandom in the 21st Century, edited by Kristin Barton and Jonathan Malcolm Lampley, McFarland, 2014.
Graydar. “Closer Than Before.” Archive of Our Own, August 15 2020, https://archiveofourown.org/works/25910806.
Haasch, Palmer. “Coronavirus is Starting to Show Up in Fan Fiction, Placing Iconic Characters in Quarantine.” Insider, 17 March 2020, https://www.insider.com/coronavirus-fan-fiction-quarantine-social-distancing-shippingescapism-ao3-2020-3
Lenuca. “Loved how you created…” On Will You Be My Quarantine? By EmorySkywalker, Archive of Our Own, 14 April 2021, https://archiveofourown.org/comments/415407278.
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McCain, Katharine. Today Your Barista Is: Genre Characteristics in the Coffee Shop Alternate Universe. The Ohio State University, Doctoral Dissertation. OhioLink: Electronic Theses and Dissertations Center, 2020, http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=osu1595512930155036.
MsCaptainWinchester. “Masks Not Optional.” Archive of Our Own, August 5 2020, https://archiveofourown.org/works/25720315.
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Soucheray, Stephanie. “US Job Losses Due to COVID-19 Highest Since Great Depression.” CIDRAP: Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, 8 May 2020, https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2020/05/us-job-losses-due-covid-19-highest-great-depression.
Katharine McCain is a graduate of Georgetown University where she received her Master’s in English and The Ohio State University where she received her PhD in Television and Media Studies. Her work focuses on modern fan culture, specifically fanfiction and the various transformative works that flourish on blogging websites like Tumblr. Recently, she has published articles on Guy Fieri and celebrity fandom in The Food Network Recipe: Essays on Cooking, Celebrity, and Competition, the fannish nature of King’s novel The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon in Children and Childhood in the Works of Stephen King, and the cultural impact of Eliezer Yudkowsky’s fic Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality in Prequels, Coquels and Sequels in Contemporary Anglophone Fiction. Katharine’s work can also be found at katharinemccain.com where she maintains a casual, fan-focused blog.