Been reading about who can be a fan of Science Fiction, at least according to some one called File770. Now let me be clear, my first clear memory of reading Science Fiction is back in 1959 when at age ten I discovered RAH and Science Fiction in the guise of “Rocket Ship Galileo”, and I have not stopped reading science fiction since that time. (for you that may be, like me, somewhat deficient in math skills, that means that I am now sixty five years of age and have been reading genre fiction for fifty five years.) Now, I have absolutely no idea of how old File770 is, but my suspicion is I’ve been reading for a bit longer than he has existed, not that it means anything, wisdom does not necessarily come with age. But I digress, we were discussing what makes a fan.
I propose that anyone who reads genre fiction consistently and with relish (specifically SF or Fantasy in this case) probably has enough interest in the subject matter to be called a fan. I spend my money to support those authors I, personally, deem to be of worth. One of the fastest ways for me not to read any author is for them to attempt to sell me the bill of goods that the message of a speculative fiction work is more important than the narrative, that the sexual or political proclivities of characters mean more than their ability to engage me, well, sorry SJWs, not on my reading list. I can probably count the number of angst riddled message novels I have read in my lifetime that were not forced upon me by teachers and professors on one hand and not use all the fingers on one hand. They do not interest me because I read for two things, information and entertainment.
I’m interested in military history and military aviation, so a great deal of my non-fiction reads are in those subject matter areas. To read for entertainment, I’m all over the place, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Adventure, Mystery, I even read romance novels, big fan of Jane Ann Krentz and her other guises as Amanda Quick and Jane Castle. Like Norah Roberts too, and many others. I’m an eclectic reader, but does that make me less of an SF fan than someone who reads SF exclusively. Apparently File770 and his crew think so. I never have read one genre exclusively, but I have read far more SF and Fantasy than anything else over the years. (I’ve read virtually every novel and short story Louis L’Amour ever wrote and enjoyed every moment of it) I’ve also read every original Robert Howard Conan story I could get my hands on, as well as the Kull stories and Solomon Kane. (most of those originally prior to my twelfth birthday the first time I read them) Somewhere in there I discovered ERB’s Mars novels, and the Venus Novels, read all of them. Throw in some H. Rider Haggard too, just to round out the Victorian Era in fiction.
I don’t read much short fiction, but I’ve read Laumer and Dickson in that form, along with others. I was a chubby geek in Middle and High School, college too, and spent way more time reading and watching Science Fiction movies than any other recreation form. But I was a loner, did not and do not belong to clubs, organized religion or veterans groups, never have, never will. Oh, I’m a registered Baen Barfly, but of course SJW’s cringe at the thought of anyone who would admit to that. I only discovered cons a couple of years ago when I went to Liberty Con for the first time, so I’ve only attended two conventions, so obviously again, according to File770, not active enough to be a fan by his definition. I believe him to be mistaken.
I have read SF for fifty five years now. I have seen I don’t know how many Science Fiction films, and I have absolutely no idea of how many dollars I have spent on paper back, hard cover and e-books in that time frame, but enough to show I’m sure that I am a fan, at least of those authors I enjoy, the ones who write for story, not message, the ones I can dive in to and for a few hours be somewhere else than inside my own life. I want drama and angst, I’ve got family to provide that, or hell, I can turn on the news if I want to raise my blood pressure some more. I’m not now, nor ever will be a fan according to File770, but everyone else I know thinks I’m one, so I’m not going to concern myself with his sanctimonious view of what a fan is and consider to feel like I am one, because I am the only one who can make that decision about that, not some narrow minded little twit who thinks his is the only way to be a fan. In the end, I don’t recall the last time I read a book that was a Hugo winner, but I read a lot of Baen, pariah to the SJWs, but with authors who can make a living writing, which seems to upset SJWs because they all seem to be starving because of the drivel they try to pass off as main stream SF.