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Fictionmania is a website dedicated to publishing and archiving transgender fiction. Unlike most such websites, it is free to access. It is open to submissions from any writer, provided the submitted literature "explores gender." As of March 2008, Fictionmania was host to more than 15,000 story files; by Sept 2011, 3,500 more had been added.
The website found its roots in the early 1990s as a free online bulletin board known as the "Sierra Bulletin Board," owned and operated by Fictionmania founder Mindy Rich. By the mid 1990s, the bulletin board had largely been usurped by the newsgroup alt.sex.stories.tg (see alt.sex.stories). By this point, the archive had grown from dozens to a few hundred pieces of fiction.
With the advent of spam in newsgroups, writers of transgender fiction began founding electronic mailing lists and websites to share material while avoiding unwelcome spammers. In 1996, Mindy Rich created the "Maniapages" listserve and expanded the concept from gender transformation stories to any fiction exploring gender. In late 1997, Rich laid the groundwork to transform Maniapages from a listserve into a website, officially launching Fictionmania in February 1998. The number of archived stories quickly exploded from hundreds to thousands.
In December 1999, Rich temporarily shut down Fictionmania due to illness and a frustration with flaming on the website's hyperboard. A number of writers volunteered to take up webmaster duties for her and resurrected Fictionmania, after assuring Rich that the site's operations, policy, and focus would remain largely unchanged. The volunteers (calling themselves the Fictionmania Task Force) have since continued to operate the website free of charge. The Task Force also edits and uploads new submissions.
In 2008, the explicit nature of some content on the site led to its blacklisting by certain filtering systems. There may have been certain ISPs that completely blocked access to Fictionmania because of pornographic content.
On February 10, 2010 Fictionmania's server was disconnected without explanation by its service provider. It, however, returned online on February 12, 2010 with a statement that the story files at the center of a recent controversy had been removed.
The majority of Fictionmania's archives consist of short story fantasies depicting characters being transformed from one sex to the other. Other stories, however, explore cross-dressing or feminization through malice or blackmail. Helen Boyd described a typical plot as involving a man being feminized by his wife or girlfriend, commonly as punishment; the wife then forces the man to go out in public dressed as a woman, sometimes double-dating with his wife/girlfriend and two men, and the stories often end with the cross-dresser giving a blowjob to a man.
Fictionmania also publishes poetry, lyrics, plays, essays, autobiographical pieces, romance, humor, satire, parody, science fiction, horror, etc. A great many stories are also part of shared universes: both fan fiction based on pop culture (TV shows, movies, comic books, etc.) and unique fictional universes invented by Fictionmania authors. Great concern has been raised over pop culture stories violating copyright laws because they are derivative works without authorisation from a copyright owner.
Stories published by the site, are rated for content according to a system similar to the MPAA film rating system. Content on Fictionmania ranges from G-rated to R-rated to X-rated, with some intermediary ratings as well. Some stories have no overt erotic component, e.g. one story about World War II pilots forced to hide in a nunnery and dress up as a nun; the only erotic element in these is the detailed description of female clothing and beauty regimen.
Topics are not limited to fantasy sex change, but can also explore: cross-dressing, real-life sex reassignment surgery, transitioning, androgyny, effeminancy, gender identity, role reversal and atypical gender roles, as well as societal attitudes towards gender roles. Authors may be professional or amateur, but their works must "explore the meaning of gender."