Journal 9-10

I am not what one would call a “good” science fiction fan. At my best, I am what you might call an “okay” or “sub-par” science fiction fan. You will not see my bookshelves lined with books like Dune or The Dispossessed. But hey, you might find my Netflix history filled with Buffy or Doctor Who! I outgrew my love of science fiction books and comics in elementary school and moved onto books that I enjoyed more, which was (and is) typically fiction. And while I myself am not the most dedicated of fans, I would not be ashamed to be one. In fact, I took this class to discover if I was secretly a member of the sf fandom, but alas, no. However, this doesn’t mean that I don’t understand why one might be ashamed of being one. It is no secret that people who are passionate about science fiction tend to be a bit… odd. Admit it, who do you think of when you picture someone who is very, very into science fiction? Not Angeline Jolie, I’m betting. Probably the person you are imagining is a bit of an outsider, someone who can recite every line of Lord of the Rings without pause and will avidly (and angrily) explain to you the difference between Star Wars and Start Trek when you accidently say the wrong one.
But who’s to say this is a bad thing? To me, this seems a lot more like someone who has found their passion and has embraced it instead of trying to be what they are not. Maybe science fiction is something that they grew up with, or it gives them sort of escape from our own boring reality, or engages their imagination… the list goes on. Perhaps they are just attracted to the “type” of fandom that the genre of science fiction usually has anyway, and identify with the people. But for a moment, I want to examine this “escape from reality” idea a little more closely. What could possibly make a person or world feel smaller and more irrelevant than stories about the universe? When you are unsatisfied or depressed about life, I feel like it would help to belittle it by imagining that you, and all the people and things you hate, don’t matter. Maybe you want to replace our world with the relief of another. Maybe you identify with the hero in your story, and feel his (or her) losses and gains just as much as you do your own, which gives you hope. Or you know, maybe you think that space and aliens are just cool (which is valid too). It’s hard to conclude in a few sentences why science fiction creates such loyalty and enthusiasm, but if I had to think of one blanket explanation it would be that science fiction is “different” and “different” people tend to embrace it whole-heartedly because of that.
But who is a science fiction fan? That’s hard to define as well. As I said earlier, there might be a set picture in your head of what this person looks like, but it could really be anyone. Who knows? Maybe Angie really does look forward to curling up with the next Dune book at the end of the day. I think that ultimately, you just have to love, or at least enjoy, the genre- the books, movies, shows, games and/or comics. You don’t have to count down all year to Comicon or spend twenty hours a day talking about it. Just like it, and be semi-knowledgeable about it. In the end though, there is no denying that science fiction is, and most likely will always be, a popular genre- due in large part to its dedicated fans, whoever they might end up being.

One Response to “Journal 9-10”

  1. Warren Rochelle says:

    Good commentary. There are a wide range of fans–from the “geek” to the “normal-looking.” Whatever those terms mean.