Journal 9-10: Proudly a fan

Am I a fan?

I think that to be a fan, one should enjoy something sufficiently that it creates a certain degree of excitement in the person enjoying. Being a fan may include such additional traits and activities as cosplaying, writing and reading fanfiction, purchasing associated merchandise, and otherwise attempting to immerse oneself in the world of which one is a fan. Databases such as SciFan.com compile books, authors, and series for the sci-fi reader to make it easier to find science fiction he or she will enjoy. This tells a great deal about the role of the fan and the importance of fans in the success of the genre.

Nothing creative that requires monetary investment from the public can exist without a certain number of fans. For instance, the recent Hunger Games film cost $80 million. One stipulation of continuing the franchise for Lionsgate was that the film had to bring in at least $100 million. This influx of money depended exclusively on fans, as they are the ones spending their money to see the movie. The domestic total of Hunger Games was $356.9 million at its fourth weekend. Clearly, the fans pulled through.

In that alone, fans had the power to see future Hunger Games films produced or, conversely, to tank the film and destroy its chances of success. Fans are integral to the success of a franchise, and their influence should not be underestimated.

Gamer fans have the potential to be worse, I think. Books and films are captivating and easy to immerse oneself into, but not to the level of some of the best-made video games of our time. For instance, some of my friends have found themselves sucked deeply into games such as Skyrim and Mass Effect. They spend most of their spare time in the world of the game rather than engaging with the world around them. Books provide this escape to an extent, but a book is much more finite than a game. Both sets of fans, however, seek similar things: escape, a different world, to stretch their imaginations, to name a few.

Science fiction and fantasy create entire new worlds for readers to inhabit, worlds they may not be able to imagine on their own. In these worlds the possibilities are different. The limits are different. We are fascinated by the differences and the similarities we can use to anchor ourselves. We love the ability these genres give us to access the unknown, that which we could never fully realize on our own. Fantasy and science fiction alike provide escape from worries, problems, trivial things we can’t get away from within our world. They give us an outlet. Fans have an investment in these worlds because they’ve become so dear to them. They often become safe havens. When a film version doesn’t do justice to a novel, fans lash out in anger at the disparity. They cry that it’s not right, that it’s not true to the book. Something they’ve taken as their own, as dear to them, has been meddled with. It is similar to the anger people experience when a valued childhood retreat is torn down or changed in a way deemed negative.

Fans take something someone else has created and make it their own. They love it and cherish it and find solace in it. All of us are fans of something, whether it be a book, a film, a series, or a game. Science fiction, fantasy, and indeed any kind of artistic expression requiring money could not exist without fans save in the heads of the creators.

– Julie Allbeck

One Response to “Journal 9-10: Proudly a fan”

  1. Warren Rochelle says:

    No fans, no stories?