The Media Fanzine Collection is comprised of numerous pre-Internet fan-produced publications that document their involvement in a particular fandom. Fandoms are based around media productions such as movies (i.e. the Star Wars film series) or television shows (i.e. Star Trek in its various iterations). Although traditionally most media fandoms involve productions from the science fiction and fantasy genres, there are numerous exceptions.
The majority of the contents in this collection consists of fan fiction. Fan fiction is the name given to literary or artistic productions created by fans about the characters, settings and events of the media universe in which they are interested. A substantial portion of the fanworks in the Media Fanzine Collection is identified as "slash”. "Slash" refers to fanworks that feature same-sex relationships and are sometimes (though not always) sexually explicit. In slash, sexual identity, sexuality and/or romance are often the centers of the story, rather than the conventional adventures featured in more traditional fanworks.
A small portion of the collection consists of "het" material. "Het", like slash, refers to fanworks featuring sexual or romantic content, but with opposite-sex relationships.
Slash and het items are identified as such on the item folder. If an item is not identified as slash or het, it is to be assumed that the item is “gen” (containing no sexual or romantic content. Both slash and het items have been specifically identified because of their importance as highly visible fan fiction subcultures. (s) indicates slash material. (h) indicates het material.
Fanzines are organized alphabetically by fandom name, and thereunder by title. The term “Multimedia” refers to anthologies of material from different fandoms. The term “Crossover” refers to stories in which characters from one or more media universes interact with those from another. (For example, a story in which Mal Reynolds' ship Serenity passed through a wormhole and encountered Captain James T. Kirk's U.S.S. Enterprise would be a Firefly/Star Trek crossover.)
The October 2016 Addendum includes several "friend books", tiny zines used by pre-teens and teens in the 1970s and 1980s as a way of finding other like-minded fans in the pre-Internet era. Some "friend books" were sized small enough to fit into an international envelope (2-3 inches), and consisted of no more than a few pages. The covers were pages cut from magazines or advertisement and were stapled or taped into a booklet shape. Many were multi-fandom, but some focused on single fandoms like Star Wars. Fans would write their name and address, and list their interests. The book would then passed along to the next fan. When the booklet was filled it was to be mailed back to the original fan. Often times questions were asked (ex: Who is your favorite Star Wars character?)
There are several additional items, including materials from genre conventions, ads and flyers, professional publications that relate to various fandoms, and various items of printed realia. The Christina Pilz February 2024 Addendum contains a number of fanzine advertisements and documentation devoted to fanzine and fanfic productions.
Sub-Series 1 of the Georgia Barnes Addendum contains maps of the Star Trek universe, and has therefore been filed with other items in the Maps Of Imaginary Places Collection.
The collection also contains non-print materials. There are a significant number of fanvids in the collection (and the fandoms for those vids are noted in the finding aid). There are also several DVDs that contain recordings of fanfiction podcasts, from a number of different fandoms.
On Star Trek
Since 1966 there have been 5 non-animated television iterations of the television franchise Star Trek. Each one has its own dedicated fandom (although certainly many Trekkers are fans of multiple series), and each one has a generally accepted denotation. Those denotations are used in this collection, as follows:
Star Trek [TOS] refers to the original series(1966-1969).
Star Trek [TNG] refers to Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-1994).
Star Trek [DS9] refers to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993-1999).
Star Trek [VGR] refers to Star Trek: Voyager (1995-2001).
Star Trek [ENT] refers to Star Trek: Enterprise (2001-2005).
On The Professionals Circuit Archive:
There are several boxes of fanfiction from The Professionals Circuit Archive. The Circuit Archive is a singular form of fannish creative association, that for The Professionals fans actually predates the creation of more typical zines. In a standard fanzine distribution, a fan or group of fans will write, edit and publish a fanzine, and the publication will be printed and made available for sale. With The Professionals fandom, things began much more informally. Fans would place their stories 'on the circuit'. That is, they would write their stories and then produce photocopies; the copies would then be circulated among one another via standard mail. In time, certain fans began collecting copies together into 'circuit libraries'. Interested fans could become members of these informal lending libraries, and would receive titles on request, which they could read and /or photocopy and then return to the library. Although, in time, The Professionals fans began producing zines in the same ways that other fans did, much of the fanfiction remained (and remains) on the circuit.
By the late 1980s, two large circuit libraries were in place: one in Great Britain, and another in the United States. They enjoyed considerable overlap in their contents, but because of geographical distance and the informality of circuit distribution did not duplicate each other. In the early 1990s, as zines started entering the electronic era, fans began working to convert the vast number of paper stories into an electronic format that would encourage and increase access (as well as help preserve the much-used paper originals). In 1996, the Circuit Archive went online and continues to periodically increase its contents with new stories. The Circuit Archive, sprung from humble beginnings, now holds more than 1000 individual stories, which form the backbone of The Professionals creative fandom.
To quote Morgan Dawn, "the circuit library in the Professionals fandom is a unique tradition of women writing and sharing fan fiction (often anonymously) without going through the editorial and fanzine publication process. In many ways, it is the precursor to the fan fiction on the Internet where people would read a story, photo-copy it and send it on to someone else, and then write a response story, copy that and mail it on in an endless flow...and because The Professionals was a UK show, you have the unique situation where this communication was crossing both cultural and geographic barriers." Stories in these folders include both gen and slash.