Fan wank

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Fan wank (sometimes written fanwank) has several possible meanings, dependent to a degree on context:

  • When a writer is approached by a fan with a question about a discrepancy in his work, he may choose to give a fan wank, a made-up explanation for the discrepancy, even though the writer had no reason for the discrepancy when it was written. Joss Whedon, for example, has explained the absence of a 'third Slayer' following Buffy's Season 5 death by saying that following her brief Season 1 death the Slayer 'line' now passed through Faith, via Kendra. This may be the case but there is little in text to support it and some to flatly contradict it.
  • Fans may come up with their own explantion, either of inconsistencies or to explain away plot points they do not like even if there is a mundane off-screen explanation. For example a fan might try to explain the failure of the Initiative to assist at the end of Buffy Season 7 by saying they were wiped out on an overseas mission (when the truth is that either the writers didn't want it or Marc Blucas was unavailable). Good fan wank sticks as closely as is reasonably possible to a show's canon. Poor fan wank will show little regard for canon, or will treat as canon that which is in fact pure conjecture.
  • Collections of memorabilia and merchandising are sometimes described as fan wank.