Posts Tagged ‘Journal 9-10’

Journal 9-10

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

As far as fandoms are concerned, I think that many people view them as “weird” or frequently associate the people in them with the word geek. I think that if I was accused of being a member of the Science Fiction fandom I would be offended. I mean, I am a fan but I am in no way a member of the fandom.

When I think of a hardcore fan think more of someone who goes to cons and dressing up – having made costumes that correspond with their favorite show or galaxy. I think of people who cosplay and have Star Trek themed wedding. They know more about these made up worlds then I probably know about my own. One time I watched a special on tv about Star Wars where they talked about the fandom. Some of the ways that people incorporated Star Wars into every part of their life was crazy, in my opinion. Knowing that people could love some fantasy so much is incredible. Here’s a link to a website that has a list of the Top 10 Components of a Star Wars wedding.

I personally don’t think I fall into any of these categories. I don’t subscribe or consider myself a member of any Science Fiction fandom community. The one thing that I would be the biggest fan of would be Harry Potter (yes, I know, very original). And with that I have a sweater I call my Slytherin sweater because it is grey and green. I also have a small tattoo on my wrist. But that’s it, other than going to see the movies in theaters I have not participated in any themed events.

I do understand how these fandoms have come about though. Science fiction/ speculative fiction presents many intriguing worlds that are unlike our own. By pretending to live in these alternate worlds you can escape your own. You can also be someone completely different. Science fiction story lines usually have a hero or characters that people wish they could be more like. Through cosplay and such people can transform themselves into someone they never thought they could be.

Personally, that’s the part I love about reading Speculative Fiction. It transports you to a different world, a refuge from your own life. Being a part of the fandom expands the feeling you get of reading and being a part of another world into a bit of real life.

The internet has clearly helped with this as well. On the internet you can be anyone you want to be, including an alien from outerspace or a warrior princess. They allow people to not always have to meet up in real life, like at cons. This means you can act out your fantasy world at any time.

Journal 9-10: On Fandom

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

I’m not the biggest or most obsessive fan of any particular science fiction author/series/book/film/etc. I’ve never cosplayed, written fan fiction, or created a sci fi website. I don’t regularly keep up with the latest news and books on/of the genre. However, this doesn’t mean that I don’t thoroughly enjoy some science fiction, because I certainly do.

Whenever I’m at a used bookstore I always comb the shelves looking for books by Philip K. Dick. Sure there are reprints of many of his books, but the new versions have cheesy updated covers. I prefer the cheesy old covers. I’ve read five of Dick’s novels and a few of his short stories. I have a few more of his books waiting on my ‘to read’ shelf, but they aren’t at the top of list right now. One of the most obsessive fan-like things I’ve done is look through all the covers of A Scanner Darkly on Dick’s website to see if mine was the most awesome, it is. I have tried to write stories that turned out to be pretty much rip-offs of Dick’s style. One was about a new trend among teenagers called “shocking,” basically people would hook themselves up to a machine that would electrically stimulate the pleasure centers of the brain. So, if I’m a fan of any sci-fi, I’d say I’m a Philip K. Dick fan, although I’ve never seen Blade Runner (which dick was really excited about) I have read the book it’s based on Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

I am a fan of the sci fi cartoon show Futurama, I’ve watched it since it first aired in 1999 and have continued to enjoy it through its cancellation and rebirth. I love the future the series creates. Even though it’s set 1000 years in the future with all kinds of new technologies, it still shows that the universe will never be perfect.

The type of media I’m most obsessive about is music. I own an absurd number of CDs, records, and tapes (yes even tapes) and spend hours finding rare recordings of fringe musicians. I have a lot of favorites in a lot of different genres and am constantly finding new favorites on top of that. I’m not even going to get into how my music is organized on my computer. Sometimes my obsession with music overlaps with science fiction. For example, the progressive metal band Voivod presents a dystopian critique of North American society through their music. Another example is the Nashville Sputnik compilation album, which gathers space-inspired country recordings produced by Jack Blanchard. These songs aren’t as complex as Voivod’s analysis of society, but they are more fun to listen to. One more example is the Black Sabbath song, “Into the Void” from the album Masters of Reality (of which I own four physical copies for some stupid reason). “Into the Void” tells the story of a group of space colonists searching for a new planet because Earth has been wrecked by humanity.

Now, why does sci fi in particular create such passionate and obsessive responses? I think it stems largely from the genre’s emphasis on creating new worlds and realities. Fictional worlds allow the reader to escape from the constraints of this world and engage in the infinite possibilities of new worlds. I think this aspect of sci fi really lets fans exercise their imaginations in an immersive way, thereby creating intense mental investment. Fictional worlds also offer a form of escapism from the dystopia of modern life and allow readers to imagine a different world (which can be better or worse, depending on where the work falls on the utopia-dystopia spectrum.)