A fanfic explosion (also badfic explosion) happens when a continuum becomes extremely popular in a relatively short amount of time, swamping the PPC with badfic. This usually results in severely overworked agents.
In the departments handling the continuum where the explosion is occurring, agents may be out on missions so constantly that their only chance of getting food or rest occur inside the fics; it is said that during the worst explosions, agents have worked for the PPC for months without ever using their beds.
A fanfic explosion invariably causes a large amount of overflow badfic when the continuum's dedicated DMS and DBS divisions are overwhelmed. Overflow badfic tends to be sent to the DMS and DBS freelance departments and to Floaters, but even these departments can be overwhelmed, and fics can be sent to entirely different departments, sometimes to agents with little or no experience in the continuum or who specialize in some other kind of badfic. On occasion, overflow has even been sent to places like the Department of Author Correspondence or the A/V Division.
Because of badfic overflow, continua which have caused fanfic explosions tend to be known to most PPC agents; nearly every PPC agent, if they stay alive and sane long enough, will probably have the experience of portaling into Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings. PPC training, such as it is, usually includes familiarization with the worst-besieged of the continua. Continua undergoing fanfic explosions are also prone to canon damage.
Fanfic explosions tend to be a bad thing for the sanity of PPC agents; they are partly responsible for the distinct lack of vacations available for PPC agents and part of the reason retirement is so rare.
Continua which have hosted fanfic explosions include:
- Uncle Tom's Cabin, in the latter half of the 1800s and early 1900s, which sparked so many amateur adaptations (usually plays) that the continuum took heavy, permanent damage. (It didn't help that many of these "adaptations" were written by racists, supporters of slavery, and others with a vested interest in deliberately undermining the message of the original series.)
- Sherlock Holmes, in the early 1900s, when detective stories became wildly popular and many Sued Sherlock Holmes clones populated early detective stories.
- Star Trek, in the 1970s, during which fanzines allowed fanfic authors to publish their Star Trek fanfiction, and Paula Smith first gave a name to Mary Sue in the parody fanfic, A Trekkie's Tale.
- Lord of the Rings in the early 2000s, when Tolkien's trilogy was adapted into a movie trilogy and fangirls fell in love with Legolas and Aragorn. This was the era of The Original Series, and when the PPC began to more closely resemble its current state. This explosion has repeated itself with the release of the movie adaptations of The Hobbit, but on a smaller scale - the Pit of Voles has just over five thousand Hobbit fics, as opposed to the fifty thousand recorded for LOTR.
- Harry Potter, from around 2000 until the present. The Harry Potter continuum's extreme popularity and the nature of the secret wizarding world made it a natural target for fanbrats and goodfic writers alike.
- Kingdom Hearts, starting in 2002 and continuing on to the present, with peaks following the release of new titles in the series. Due to a combination of a quirky and appealing storyline and easily shippable characters (not to mention six major titles plus several minor releases in the span of nine years), Kingdom Hearts has a tremendous amount of associated fanfic.
- Pirates of the Caribbean, starting in 2004, peaking in 2005, and settling to a high plateau until very recently. Mostly fueled by the charisma of Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow, and the appearance of Orlando Bloom as Will Turner, fangirls were lovestruck all around the world by this highly-accessible Disney series. Although it has quieted down, it does 'enjoy' spikes whenever a new movie is released. So far, four sequels have been made.
- Twilight, 2005–present, unique in that the continuum itself contains many naturally-occurring Canon Sues. The resulting Mary Sue overload is in the process of causing irreversible damage, and the fact that very few agents can tolerate the continuum doesn't help.
- My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, 2010–present. First conceived of as a children's program, this cartoon show quickly gained a wide Internet fanbase due to it having great animation, well-written storyline which appeals to a wider variety of age groups, and good voice acting. Its popularity spread well outside its intended age bracket. MLP is particularly vulnerable to OOC canons when fanfic is written by those who are more used to teen and adult fandoms.
- Mo Dao Zu Shi / The Untamed, 2019–present. The release of the live-action drama on Netflix made this Chinese Boy's Love (BL) webnovel incredibly popular, especially among fans interested in non-European fantasy and canon LGBT representation. The fact that most of the characters are attractive and powerful is just the cherry on top. While a good portion of MDZS fic is good, badfic in MDZS tends to impose Western (particularly American) culture and values on ancient Chinese characters. Bad Slash also abounds.
- DBS Agent Liu Siyuan is, as of 2021 HST, the only Action Department agent with enough qualifications to handle the MDZS fic explosion. He is not very happy about this, especially since the other qualified agent got himself banned in 2020 HST. He would very much appreciate other people coming to help him, provided they do their research first.