Even though I’m a Baby Boomer, I don’t come close to having been in science-fiction fandom since Unk was carving cave pictures about the last cave man on Earth hearing a knock at the door.
There is a rich history of fandom, and if you are interested, you can find many stories about that at Fanlore.
I’m not here to talk about the good old days. If you ask me, the good old days for science-fiction and fantasy fans are now. The mainstreaming of fandom has resulted in me being able to have a very full fannish life.
Musicians like Garfunkel and Oats, Paul and Storm, and Jonathan Coulton can make money at what used to be a musical form you only heard in the filk rooms during late hours at conventions. It’s cool that there are bands such as Abney Park, Sci-Fried, Emerald Rose, and the one I give first prize for nifty names, Here Come the Mummies.
I love what tech has done for me. Do you think I write checks. print pages for an amateur press association, or read paper books regularly? Oh, heck no!
I have low vision, and it used to be super annoying to go to the library and try to find large-print science-fiction books. The people who published large-print books didn’t seem to think that anyone with low vision would be interested in those weirdo books with the rocket ship on the spine.
Here’s a pet peeve which is fortunately a thing of the past. The Science Fiction Book Club and the Large Print Book Club were owned by the same company. And yet, they did not publish any science-fiction books in large print. Augh! That one just about made me pull my hair out. It was so stupid! It was only rivaled by the fact that the payment invoices for the Large Print Book Club were in small print!
Now, I can read just about any book I want in large print on my Kindle. Even more awesome, I can do what a friend of mine calls “ear read” lots of books.
To be fair, I was able to get books on tape from the National Library for the Blind and I ear read quite a few classic science-fiction and fantasy novels. But getting newer books was pretty difficult.
The availability of audio books is a great boon to visually impaired people and people who cannot hold a book to read.
Podcasts are another audio goodie that is available to most fans. I’ve been a guest on a couple of podcasts and that was fun. Those were informational podcasts, but there are many other kinds — and you can find evidence of that by doing an online search.
I’ve been a little late to the party when it comes to keeping up with the fannish Joneses. It was only recently that I started listening to “Welcome to Night Vale.” At first, I didn’t think it was better than sliced bread and all, that but it grows on you. Yes, rather like a fungus, it grows on you.
As of this writing, I’m up to episode 54. Not only do I get entertainment, but Night Vale is helping me get fit. I do time on my exercise bike while I listen. Once I’ve caught up to current episodes, I’ll have to find something else to add to the schedule. I listen to music too, but I like mixing it up.
We who love television have got it good these days.
Syfy has cut back on the wrestling and is showing a lot more stuff for us fans. I’m enjoying the current Friday night line-up. There are three hours in a row that keep me in my comfy chair. My favorite is “Defiance,” but I’ve been hooked on that since it started, so it has an edge. I like “Killjoys” and “Dark Matter” as well and hope we get future seasons of each.
TNT’s “Falling Skies” has wrapped and “Penny Dreadful” is done for this year. But come the fall season, we will be wishing we could clone ourselves to watch the good stuff that is opposite the other good stuff. We get all the superheroes that we had last year and we also get “Supergirl.”
Not all the movies this year have been wonderful, but “The Avengers: Age of Ultron” was great and I enjoyed “Ant-Man” because it had a lighter touch, and sometimes you need less rather than more angst.
Last but not least, there are many, many conventions to attend. If you had the money and the time, I think you could go to a convention every weekend of the year.
As I do not have the money and do like spending time with friends and family as well as going to conventions, I attend just a few each year. Usually, it’s a couple of small local ones and then one big one. This year, my big one is Dragon-Con. I’d never been before, so it was definitely an adventure.
With that, I leave you to contemplate all the fannish goodness that is just waiting for you to give it a big ol’ hug.