Conceived on June 1, 1999 by the freak combination of a creatively-inclined office worker, a broken air-conditioning unit, a windowless office, a chocolate chip brownie, and three or four viewings of Star Wars: Episode I -- The Phantom Menace, The Sith Academy (SA) is a collection of fan fiction based on the Episode I world with Darth Maul as its main character. The first SA story, "Life Lessons at the Sith Academy", was a product of the frustrations brought to a head by the previous conditions, and the stories that followed continued the trend of writing as catharsis for the angry author. The fourth SA fanfic, "Sith Academy--the foul apartment lesson" (by Katherine the Art Chick) marked the involvement of outside authors in the SA, and by then the ball was rolling: Siubhan, our intrepid office worker, was receiving SA submissions from various parts of the world and finding herself in the position of editor to a rapidly-expanding fandom.

While the first several stories focused on similar plotlines of Darth Maul's simple frustration (usually by being ordered to do something humiliating by Darth Sidious in order to "home his rage and hatred") leading to rising fury and finally a cathartic explosion, a milestone in the SA stories, "Life Lessons at the Sith Academy, Part VI" (#29), marked a drastic change in SA canon with the line "Oh shit, he'd slept with Obi-Wan Kenobi." In writing this line, Siubhan "thought people would get a laugh out of it and move on,"* but the idea of Padawan and Sith Apprentice slash fiction was appealing enough to her fandom that a total of nineteen "Adult" rated fanfics were submitted to the site in pursuit of this idea, not to mention the less explicit but certainly slashy writings available in the site's general-viewing area. Not all readers appreciated this shift in tone, as was soon revealed in disappointed e-mails to Siubhan, but she decided to accept a narrower audience base in order to avoid censoring the site.

The SA fandom (in addition to fan fictions) has also produced such things as fan art, Macromedia Shockwave animations, the Sith Academy Drinking Game, the Sith Handbook (which is part of canon and is often referred to in fanfics), and the relatively popular "Sith Lords Kick Ass" T-shirts, for which there have been over 100 orders placed since Siubhan began offering them. Related websites include the Darth Maul Estrogen Brigade and the Yoda Estrogen Brigade, which seem to indicate both that Darth Maul's potential popularity as a character was not capitalized upon by George Lucas nearly as much as it should have been, and that some slashfic writers will write about anything.

Though the SA is still located at Siubhan's website as of this writing, she ceased updating it in 2001, and since then the site has been kept from being lost with donations from her fans.


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