Xena: Warrior Princess

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Screenshot of The Ultimate Xena Fan Fiction Index
Mailing list and LiveJournal community creation by year compared to other fandoms.
Screen shot of the warriorsoulupdates mailing list.
Number of LiveJournal communities compared to mailing lists created by year from the following fandoms: Andromeda, Charmed, CSI,Gilmore Girls, Harry Potter, Xena, X-Files. Totals are based on years of creation found on those fandom's article pages as of December 15, 2006.


Contents

Introduction

The Xena fandom was one of the earliest large scale f/f fan fiction, saffic fandoms. The fandom took off very quickly after the show's premiere, resulting in a great number of mailing lists and archives, along with a few fanzines although it was more predominantly an on-line fandom. Although Xena/Gabrielle was the largest focus of the fanworks created by the community, there were also strong ship followings for other het, slash, and saffic pairings possible by the large cast of characters in the show's universe.

The Canon

Xena: Warrior Princess was the story of a former warlord, Xena, who has decided to renounce her past and begins to fight for good instead of evil. Joining her in her new battle is Gabrielle, a bard who travels with her to record her adventures, and their relationship becomes the core focus of the show.

The series was a historical fantasy set in a mythological version of Greece that also blended in elements of Oriental, Egyptian and Medieval mythologies. A large cast of recurring characters, from gods to warlords to Amazon queens, populated the show's universe and presented a wide array of enemies and allies to Xena and Gabrielle.

Terminology

Below is a partial list of terms used in the Xena fan fiction community.

  • A Bard is a word applied to fan fiction writers. It's derivation traces back to the 1400's as the creator or storyteller of epic tales or poems. This term was used in the Hercules and Xena fan fiction communities. Its usage predates 2001.
  • C-W/S stands for Conqueror-Warrior/Slave. Stories which C-W/S in the header code or subject heading refer to alternate timelines where Xena forgets, pretends, or becomes is a warlord and goes on to conquer various people or places. This term was used in the Xena and Hercules fandom in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
  • D/S stands for Dominance and submission. This term is used in the Xena fan fiction community. Its usage in that community predates 2001.
  • Xenaverse is the general term for the online fandom community, its websites and members. It is also used by some to refer to the universer where the show is set, including its take on mythological characters and ancient gods, and how it does/doesn't fit in with actual world history.

Timeline

Below is a partial timeline of events that took place in the Xena fandom.

1995 to 2001

  • Xena was in its first run on television from 1995 through 2001.

1995 - 1996

  • On September 4, 1995, the first episode of Xena: Warrior Princess aired, Sins of the Past.
  • The first known online community for Xena fans was an AOL Chatroom started by a 14 year old girl named Laura. This chatroom was first noticed and, subsequently joined, by Steven L. Sears, then Supervising Producer of Xena: Warrior Princess. This became the first interaction of the actual staff of the series with the online fandom. This interaction continued through the life of the series and has continued since the end of the series.
  • Clio's Logomancy Xena site launched in September 1995 after she contacted the series staff for permission to start a website. The site featured image galleries, episode summaries, and historical commentary, and regular contributors included Donald Frozina, Robin Mayhall, and Richard Carter, Jr. The Argo Awards were hosted there "live" from 1997-2001, and the site represented Xena in two Sci Fi Channel online conventions.
  • Kym Taborn launches Whoosh, an online Xena resource page listing articles, interviews, episodic reviews and commentaries. It has expanded to include other Television series of fandom. The term "Whoosh" is taken from a signature sound effect used in the Xena series that accompanied any quick movement, such as the quick turn of a head.
  • On May 13, 1996, the first season episode "Callisto" aired, two of the series popular (if in one case controversial) recurring characters: Callisto and Joxer.
  • On May 31, 1996, Tom's Xena Page opened and became the premiere Xena fan fiction archive of the day. It included the works of Melissa "Missy" Good under the name of Merwolf, who went on to write two episodes of the show in Season 6, Coming Home and Legacy.( Lunacy )
  • On July 24, 1996, the Xena Online Resources site was launched, which became a major site for finding links to various fan pages, fan fiction archives, fan art and more.
  • Between August and October, Alternative (alt) fan fiction became a standard in the Xena fandom.
  • Between August and October, Dax opened her fan fiction archive "Obsessions" which contains alt stories and quickly becomes a favorite site of Xena fans. ( Lunacy )
  • On December 15, 1996, The Australian Xena Information Page (AUSXIP) was launched for Australian Xena Fans. It has become the largest Xena, Lucy Lawless and Renee O'Connor site online and is still active.

1997

1997 to 2002

1998

  • The Xena fan fiction community was at the stage where almost any piece of new fan fiction was considered good by virtue of it being written because of the lack of quantity of new material. (KitzenKat on AIM, April 30, 2005)
  • In February 1998, Sci-Fi Entertainment ran an article on fan fiction. It referenced the Xena fan fiction community. An extract of a relevant section of the article says:
There's also high-volume activity associated with Star Trek (referred to here as a aggregate for all four series, although currently Voyager seems to be leading to the greatest fanfic response ) and Lois and Clark: The New Adventure of Superman. But there are other, too: Star Wars, Babylon 5, Sliders, Xena, Dr. Who, Quantum Leap, Highlander, SeaQuest DSV, Beauty and the Beast - all of these popular science fiction and fantasy series have sites dedicated to the stories and characters of those universes.

1999

2000

  • On January 6, 2000, the Xena mailing list dreamslores was founded. It was dedicated to the Uber fan fiction writer Dreams, aka iNgRiD. [24]
  • Sometime around June of 2000, the site Bad Fanfic! No Biscuit! was created by Siubhan and Joan the English Chick. The site, last updated in January of 2001, introduced or helped further the concept of badfic into a number of additional fan fiction communities, including this one. Unlike some badfic websites or sites which just pointed out badfic, as in of accidental inferior quality, the site had deliberate badfic and explanations as to what was not right with the story, what made the story bad.
  • On July 10, 2000 the Xena mailing list SUJE (Society for the Unification of Joxer Enthusiasts) was founded. It was dedicated to attempting to unite Joxer enthusiasts throughout the fandom, who were quite split between Joxer/Gabrielle shippers and Joxer slash writers (many of whom were also supporters of the Xena/Gabrielle pairing.)[25]

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

Fandom size

December 2006

On December 9, 2006, there were 1,305 stories on FanFiction.Net. There are 6 stories on Mightier than the Sword as of December 9, 2006. [55] There are 69 stories on the Wonderful World of Makebelieve as of December 9, 2006. [56]

December 2007

As of December 26, 2007, xenites had 723 members. [57]

Fandom members

This section needs information added to it.


Kerfluffles

The Joxer and the Subtext Wars

The Joxer wars began for the first major round in the summer of 1998 in the alt.tv.xena newsgroup. There was a strong split between Joxer"philes" and Joxer"phobes" on the list. Some complaints about his presence on the show were related specifically to the actor who played him, Ted Raimi, who was not originally intended for the role (Wallace Shawn was, which would have resulted in a very different character). Others thought his presence distracted from the core characters of Xena and Gabrielle and their relationship--and specifically the Xena/Gabrielle subtext when it was made canon in the episode A Comedy of Eros that Joxer had romantic feelings for Gabrielle.

The Joxer Shields were the first loosely organized group formed to defend the character of Joxer, specifically on alt.tv.xena, although the conflict spread elsewhere.[58]

From at least the second season on, a strong divide grew between Xena/Gabrielle shippers and those who did not support the idea of the sapphic subtext between them. By 1998, there were already mailing lists such as xenaantisubtext for those who were against the subtext, and many flame wars on the subject populated the active alt.tv.xena newsgroup (eventually a separate newsgroup was formed, alt.tv.xena-subtext, for specific discussion of the subtext.) Many shipping and character/relationship "defense" organizations grew out of these battles, such as the Society Against Cruelty to Joxer the Mighty and the facetious Perdicas and Joxer Romantics Society, which was created as a jab at the Gabrielle and Joxer Romantics Society. (See timeline for more information.) Accusations of "homophobia" were often lobbied against Joxer/Gabrielle shippers, which were generally denied by most members of the 'ship.

The situation became even more problematic when slash writers began to be interested in the character of Joxer, the most popular slash pairings being Ares/Joxer and Joxer/Autolycus. Many Joxer slash writers were supportive of the Xena/Gabrielle pairing as well and found themselves in the uncomfortable place of being accused of being homophobic while actively writing slash fan fiction. Joxer/Gabrielle shippers were not often on good terms with the Joxer slash writers, either. Groups such as SUJE and Joxer Enthusiasts Supporting Sapphic Subtext began to appear in an attempt to unite Joxer fans who supported both het and slash ships, and to try to present a more united front to the anti-Joxer forces. (sidewinder)

The Rift Wars

The Rift refers to the betrayal of trust between Xena and Gabrielle in The Dahak arc episodes of seasons three. These episodes and the resulting fallout on the characters' relationship divided fans strongly and much debate about them took place. Some fans took Xena's side, other's took Gabrielle's side, still others disliked the entire storyline feeling that it destroyed the until-then pure love between the characters. This was one of the the points in the show's timeline where fan-fiction writers began diverging significantly from canon, as some did not want to introduce The Rift into their storylines.

Ships

Major ships in this fandom include:

External links

Sources

See Xena bibliography.



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