We ❤️ Kalagang
What a ride it's been for the fans of globe-spanning sci-fi Netflix series Sense8. In June, Netflix announced that the series had been cancelled, before bowing under fan pressure to commission a two-hour concluding episode which will air next year, prompting co-creator Lana Wachowski to reveal that despite its cancellation she was already writing a new season. Last week, porn website xHamster announced that they wanted to platform the next season if Netflix wouldn't. It's no wonder fans have been trying to conjure up some clarity with their own fanfic.
On a forum back in 2015 when the show first launched it was announced that “Sense8 may be one of the best things to ever happen to fanfiction”. And from an outsiders perspective, perhaps it has been. Before you turn your nose up, there's been some amazing literature to come out of fanfiction, like, uh, 50 Shades of Grey, which started off as fanfic based on the Twilight series. But seriously. I'm estimating that Sense8 is one of the most popular fanfic topics out there at the moment, and not all of the writing is trashy.
“One fanfic follows the cluster as they unite with different clusters around the world, saving it from the war that's been brewing between humans and sensates”
Sense8 follows eight men and women all over the world (from Korea, to America and Kenya) who suddenly find they are connected through their minds, meaning that they're “sensates”, and can visit each other as part of their “cluster”. They quickly become embroiled in a dangerous game of love, emotion and terror, when it's revealed they're being pursued by an evil organisation called BPO whose motives remain kinda unclear. At the end of Season 2, one of the cluster, Wolfgang, has been captured by “Whispers”, the man who heads up the organisation.
From a cursory Google search I found hundreds of pages of Sense8 fanfic. A fair portion of it revolved around what happens after the conclusion of Season 2, with readers and writers alike voraciously seeking an resolution to the cliffhanger ending. Sense8 (The Unofficial Season 3 Fanfiction) on wattpad, for instance, picks up where Season 2 left off and follows the cluster as they unite with different clusters around the world to saving it from the war that's been brewing between humans and sensates. If you've followed the series, this seems like a pretty realistic continuation.
a moment of silence for every sense8 fanfiction writer that has to decide how the fuck to use pronouns when talking about the cluster— cersei lannister (@mikqelq) June 25, 2017
Other fanfics, like Crossing the Atlantic by Nadjanator imagine the torture Wolfgang has to go through before he is rescued; Veracity, by Nightjar_Patronus, also imagines the story of his rescue, but develops a new plot around a woman with a secret who is conspiring to reveal the sensates’ existence to the world. It reads: “BPO had promised them research into their anatomy and immunity from their hunts, and she was blindsided, too eager to find out what made her special to realize the repercussions of a deal with sapiens. She’d convinced all of them to stay on BPO’s side. To hunt, rather than be hunted.”
All of the characters have some kind of romantic attachment and you can find plenty of smutty Sense8 fanfic too. As the series itself shows, the idea of eight pro-LGBT minds being intimately connected leaves rich pickings in terms of sex. Slash fiction (fanfiction depicting sexual and romantic relationships between two characters of the same gender) is also arguably the backbone of the genre, but most popular romantic Sense8 fanfic seems to centre around Wolfgang, a German gangster, and Kala, his Indian lover, who are known by the portmanteau “Kalagang”. The pair were supposed to meet in real life for the first time in Paris before Wolfgang gets captured and some of the fanfic imagines Wolfgang escaping and spending time with Kala there.
Fractured Light from fanfic writer Sera Taíno imagines them making love for the first time in person in Paris: “She reveled in the confounding sensations of having him and being him - of his hand ghosting over her breasts, his tongue swirling over her nipples before his lips descended over them.” Taíno neatly weaves in the fact that the characters are able to mentally embody each other into the sex scene. I'm not going to link you to the really dirty stuff but trust me, it's out there.
“Most popular romantic Sense8 fanfic seems to centre around Wolfgang, a German gangster, and Kala, his Indian lover, who are known by the portmanteau ‘Kalagang’”
Fanfiction is sometimes defined as “the work of amateurs retelling existing stories” and there's certainly amateurish rubbish out there, but surprisingly, most of the stuff I've read has been pretty decent. Its popularity and easy reading is no doubt helped by the fact that the show is written like fanfic itself. With its unusally strong emphasis on long-drawn out character development and love stories over plot, Sense8 is for people who want to get really invested in a character, to find out everything about them, to follow their story and, much like the sensates are able to do, get into their heads in an attempt to understand them.
One writer, VerainnesThoughts on Twitter, has even suggested that if the show is never brought back, it could be officially kept alive by fanfic. “Imagine this: a fanfic, each character written by a great writer. It would feel almost clusterlike,” she wrote. She tells me: “I mean, nothing will replace an actual Season 3, but fanfiction, especially with how much fans LOVE Sense8, may be the only way we get real, full, tried and true closure to Sense8.”
Given what I've read so far, I wouldn't be surprised if someone's already getting started on her idea.