The newly translated Sailor Moon and Sailor V manga hit shelves tomorrow! (Or have already hit shelves, in a few stores that didn't care about the release dates, but oh well.) I'm planning to hit up a midnight release party in Boston, and feeling nostalgic already.
Sailor Moon was the first fandom where I seriously read fanfic, and I do mean seriously. I remember methodically going through every single SM link on the Anime Web Turnpike, one by one, and reading everything I could get my hands on. Terrible summary? No problem. Pairing I couldn't buy? I don't think there were any. Original character that would get dismissed by the discerning modern eye as a Mary Sue? Have at it. Which sounds dismissive, but it's how I found a ton of amazing stuff that still holds up ten years later.
90% of fics at the time were posted as text files, all on personal websites and individually-run archives. I saved favorites to my hard drive, and uploaded a bunch of them to a Tripod site of my own -- for some reason it didn't occur to my twelve-year-old self to ask the authors, or think of this as a breach of etiquette. The fic I wrote myself tended not to get uploaded anywhere, which is probably a blessing, as it was mostly epics with ensemble teams of interchangeable OCs. Sometimes I daydream about doing a proper rewrite of the one that had actual potential (the attack of a Chaos-avatar on the Re system, about fifty years before the fall of the Silver Millennium, in which the quest to awaken the local senshi and defeat the enemy slowly transforms into a quest to gather as many survivors as they can and get them the hell out of Dodge).
After I finished the Anipike list, there was a time when I didn't read much new material. When I got back to fic-reading, it was in different fandoms, and the rise of LJ and ff.net had changed everything in the meantime. The direct feedback mechanisms (besides "email the author") helped me reframe fics as the products of individual, dynamic users, rather than impersonal sheets of HTML floating in webspace; the ability to +mem or +fav individual posts made saving seem redundant. It was years later before the authorial deletion of some of those favorite fics got me back to saving things again.
And I'm reading SM again, though I'm out of practice searching for fic that isn't on LJ/DW (where SM fandom never really parked), and there's no way I'm ever going to sit down and process all 30,000 Sailor Moon fics on ff.net. There are smaller archives, either SM-specific or with a limited selection of other fandoms, that have been great to sit down and meander through. Here's the current state of my SM bookmarks
(all with copies safely backed up to my hard drive). Most recently updated last night, when I laughed so hard at Kitty Quest
that I sprayed toothpaste all over my computer screen.
In between browsing the new, I've been sorting through the old: going through that saved-for-ten-years cache of fics and Googling individual lines, trying to find an active version online somewhere. Some have moved to ff.net. Others are still available as free-floating text files. Still others no longer exist anywhere online except...my old Tripod site. Eheh. I'd delete them if I remembered the password (or the account name, for that matter); as-is, all I can do is avoid linking to them, and hope the site is obscure enough not to be noticed.
The manga release is in ten hours. If you're feeling half as nostalgic as I am by now, share your own fandom memories here.