1999

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1999 and a of a number of important events were happening in various fan fiction communities. Some of the more influential incidents and fandoms of note this year include things in the Star Wars community, the Babylon 5 community, the Buffy: The Vampire Slayer community and the Lord of the Rings community.


Star Wars: The Phantom Menace was released in theaters and almost immediately, the slash started. The Masters_Apprentice mailing list was founded by sidewinder almost immediately following her having viewed the movie and after some discussion on a Xena/Hercules oriented mailing list. This community immediately attracted a number of big name fans from a variety of fan fiction communities. Initially, this caused some feelings of unrest and resentment that Star Wars was stealing fans. Later in the year, as the community attracted more fen, some of the community members started to write chan, that is fan fiction featuring minors engaging in sex acts with other minors or with an adult. This was a flight away from crap, flight to quality move as slash was beginning to become more mainstream and more accepted on a broader scale in the fan fiction community.


The Babylon 5 fan fiction community started to wane, fading from glory. Several of the bigger mailing lists, b5creative, unrestb5, jdstorybook and the b5teens, had volume drop off in terms of total number of submissions, amount of feedback and frequency of updates. The community was hemorrhaging members as they left, frequently citing disillusionment with the canonical text as the primary reason for leaving, rather than issues with members of the community. It would take until 2005 before this community began to pick up volume again.


The Buffy: The Vampire Slayer community reached a critical mass this year shortly after the airing of the episode “Hush.” This year the community also suffered under the “We are big. We have attention from the producers.” What this meant was that several sites, fan fiction and general Buffy sites, received cease and desist letters. The community responded by forming organizations such as BuffyBringers to act as a fan lobbying movement to protect fan rights as producers of fannish materials.


While people had been writing Lord of the Rings fan fiction for many years, it took till 1999 before it would begin to arrive with force and with slash on the Internet. Several important events happened in this community this year. “Letters over the Sea,” one of the first pieces of slash published to the Internet and one of the more influential stories in the Lord of the Rings slash community, was published. It featured the Sam/Frodo pairing and was written by Gytha and Prembone. In September, two important things were created in this fannish community: Least Expected, the first Lord of the Rings slash archive, and tolkien_slash were founded.


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