Saturday, August 08, 2009

Dale Speirs, Calgary AL ,Canada

Challenger #29 is on hand, many thanks. Rose-Marie's article on the game Quidditch reminded me of another game-that-never-was, Mad magazine's famous "23-man Squamish" from back in the 1960s. The rules of that game were ridiculously complicated, with strange and undefined playing implements and player positions. One or two college teams were started up to play it, but for some reason it never became a professional sport.

Warren Buff mentioned the attempt by a Las Vegas fan to declare his tiny little segment of fanzine fandom to be Core Fandom. I have never agreed to this idea because both zinedom and fandom are reticulated networks, neither of which has a genuine centre. Zinedom is a network of nodes where each zine is a node and had a unique mailing list, usually overlapping with other zines but not exactly. SF fans, even back in the 1930s or 1950s, had different connections with other fans, again many in common but not exactly. Your zine is at a node with other SF zines both paper and electronic. My zine shares some of the same connections on the Papernet but not your connections on the Internet, just as you do not get the mail-art zines I do, and they do not trade for SF fanzines.

In like manner, there is no Core Fandom and never has been. The 1950s SF clubs in Britain or Canada may have known about the American clubs but did not consider them as the centre. Canadian fandom in particular, despite the efforts of the late Chester Cuthbert (1912-2009), never had a centre, but was only ever a network of cities with just the thinnest vertices connecting them. The term I use for fandom today is Atomized Fandom. Not only are fans disconnected in time and space, but even within the same city the Firefly crowd has nothing to say to the gray-haired Trekkies. If it isn't Sailor Moon or Ranma 1 / 2, the anime fans don't want to know about it. Things fall apart, and the centre did not hold.

My feeling on the question of fandom's generations ... Each of us is brought into the SF community by enjoyment of the aspect of the genre current when we discover sensawunda. So science fiction for me resonates of the comics, of Andre Norton, Forbidden Planet, Philip K. Dick, The Twilight Zone, Poul Anderson and Analog. Fandom for me naturally involved meeting people who shared my love of such stuff. Older fans recall the pulps and Captain Future and their ghetto days in fanzining and see trufandom as enjoying that. Fans getting into the genre now would treasure Harry Potter, gaming and the slew of video SF, the second incarnation of Battlestar Galactica and Stargate and so forth -- and fandom for them would mean celebrating those loves. Like seeks like; it's only natural.

As people delve more deeply into the community of fandom, they encounter its history and the stuff that brought earlier generations into the fold. If they want to get the most of fandom, they'll learn to appreciate those things as well -- much as music aficionados who love rock learn to understand jazz.

But it's fatuous to expect people to embrace the whole picture from Jump Street. Fatuous, unfair, and as I found when I joined fanzine fandom, ugly.

The divisions you speak of are normal, inevitable, and tolerable. I feel we must let people follow their loves, and I would hope fans of whatever generation would show humor and tolerance and enjoy one another's fannishness even if the source of that affection isn't the same as theirs. In other words, I can enjoy cute kids running around in homemade Stargate uniforms and can hope they'll learn to understand why I prefer fanzines to blogs Likewise, I can enjoy reading Warhoon ... and have the right to expect that my right to my fandom is respected.

Science fiction is the ultimate Big Tent. .No one has the singular and unique right to call himself a fan and others phonies. No one. As for "Core Fandom", it's just a name. Like I say, I think the movie was a complete waste of Hilary Swank.


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