Serial fiction podcasting and participatory culture: Fan influence and representation in The Adventure Zone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

New media affords significant opportunities for audience feedback and participation, with the power to influence the creation and development of contemporary works of fiction, particularly when these appear in serialized instalments. With access to creators permitted via social media, and with online platforms facilitating the creation and distribution of audience paratexts, fans increasingly have the power to shape the fictional worlds and diversity of the characters found within the series they enjoy. A noteworthy and understudied example is fiction podcasting, an emerging form that draws on conventions of established media such as radio and television. Despite the recent surge in the popularity of podcasts, little scholarly attention has been given to the format, except to discuss it as either a continuation of radio programming or part of a transmedia landscape for texts which are centred in media such as television and film. This article argues that fiction podcasting offers unique affordances for creating serial works of fiction, taking The Adventure Zone as a case study which demonstrates the power of successful participatory culture. The podcast has grown from modest beginnings to acquire a considerable and passionate fan network, has diversified into other media forms, and, though available for free, is financially supporting its creators and raising substantial amounts of money for charities. Crucial in its success is the creators’ cultivation of an inclusive environment for fans, and a constant attempt to feature characters representative of a diversity of gender and sexual identities, particularly those typically excluded from other science fiction worlds. This article argues that The Adventure Zone and the format of fiction podcasting demonstrate a shift in contemporary culture, away from established mass media programming and towards a participatory, transmedia, fan-focused form of storytelling which utilizes the unique advantages of new media technologies in its creation, development, and distribution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-243
Number of pages21
JournalEuropean Journal of Cultural Studies
Volume23
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2020

Keywords

  • fan studies
  • gender
  • new media
  • participation
  • podcasting
  • radio
  • science fiction
  • sexuality
  • web 2.0

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Gender Studies
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts

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