Given this suggested definition of science-fiction fandom, I would have to say that I probably don’t belong.  Don’t get me wrong, if I look to my right now at my book shelf I can count over a dozen sci-fi titles, which constitutes around 1/4th of my (admittedly limited) library.  If I look at the DVD shelves above, I see the same trend towards the genre.  I have spent hours reading analyses of Watchmen, searching for opinions on Nobusuke Tagomi  (The Man in the High Castle), and gushing over Mustapha Mond (Brave New World) to my friends, but I have never visited one of those linked pages listed in the journal instructions.  I have never been to a convention nor do I discuss sci-fi on any internet forum.  I think my genre-exposure is too narrow, and my level of participation too private to be considered a ‘true’ sci-fi fan.

There should be no source of shame in sci-fi fandom.  It is simply one of a many, many things people find of interest.  However, ‘everything in moderation’ still pertains.  I would be embarrassed to admit I had spent years of my life converting my pad into a bridge from Star Trek, just as I would be embarrassed to admit that I had spent thousands of dollars on steroids for the sake of a muscle building competition.  Everything in moderation.  Of course, most of us occasionally break that rule throughout life… but hopefully not to the extent represented by my examples.

What does bother me is how members of sci-fi and fantasy fandom sometimes push their passions onto their children.  It is almost natural… they want their children to like what they do, so they buy movies and toys which correspond to their idea of what’s good.  But when parents limit their children’s exposure to a handful of select franchises, it acts practically as an indoctrination into the parent’s fandom.  I think people should be less inculcating when it comes to parenting.  These people remind me of the sports-obsessed parents who constantly hound their children throughout practice and games, and complain when/if their kids are ever benched.  Just be aware of the effects your actions have on those susceptible to them.  That being said, damn straight the SW prequels won’t be allowed in my house, and my child will be seeing The Iron Giant fairly early into their movie-watching career.

Speculative fiction often offers an escape that is more escapey than most escapes (worst sentence ever).  The settings and characters, while usually relatable in some key ways, are also usually wildly different from our own lives.  You can go to a different universe with different physical laws and learn about cultures who’ve sometimes never heard about humanity.  It can take you places.

One Response to “Fandom”

  1. Warren Rochelle says:

    Parents indoctrinate their children, one way or another, all the time. Good post.