So, I’m Not Cool Enough to be a Fan?

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.


About Bob

Born in 1949 in Colfax, Washington. Attended grades 1-12 there, spent one year at Spokane Falls Community College, then 3 at Eastern Washington. Graduated from there with a degree in Anthropology. Married my wonderful wife in 1970, joined the US Air Force in 1971 and spent 20 years as an aircraft mechanic. Along the way had two great children, a boy then a girl, 4 grand kids and two step grands. After I retired from active duty I finally found myself a public library manager, and now after doing that for 18 years I find myself finally retired for good and all.
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11 Responses to So, I’m Not Cool Enough to be a Fan?

  1. Foxfier says:

    ….if you’re claiming to be a fan because it makes you cool, ur doing it worng, d00d.

    Folks who do geeky stuff to be cool are generally called “hipsters.”

    Fans, geeks– we do it because it’s enjoyable. For love. (Yes, even when I was nine and I read Salamadastron until it fell apart, or cried over the Masterharper’s death– those were healthy emotions, and when I was done mourning I felt better, and it enriched my life.)

    You’re about my folks’ age– so you got to live through that first wash of Tolkien’s writing being appreciated, like my mom. Did you read it when it first came out?

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  3. Bob says:

    I read LOTR fairly early on, I believe in about 1966 or so, which is, I’m sure, into the realm of ancient history for someone of your age. I totally agree, we are fans because we read, and at no point in my life no one, not even my wife of 44 plus years (also a fan) has ever called me cool. Thanks for reading my blog, by the way, much appreciated.

  4. Cpt. Carnage says:

    Well, don’t let the fact that File 770 says nothing of the sort to slow you down.

    Post is here:

    It says that everybody is welcome and nobody has the right to say someone else is not a fan.

    • Bob says:

      Then we must have read different posts, because the one I read made it clear that a fan could only be one by reading the “correct authors”, attending numerous cons and being the member of SF Clubs.

  5. Guess says:

    Im lost. When did file770 attack you and say you were not a fan? I dont see it.

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    • Bob says:

      I found and read the original, and that is exactly what it appeared to me File770 was saying. Of course, I could have misread it too, if t_he last 65 years have shown me anything its that I am not infallible. The food for though portion here is the fact that what I see as the contretemps between the sort of generalized fans who prefers their imaginative fiction (I include here SF of all flavors, Fantasy, Alternate History also falls into this, in my opinion as well as some Mystery) to put plot and character development ahead of message. Message fiction, of any ilk, bores the daylights out of me, and so I don’t read literary novels, for instance. I support with my money those authors who can engage me with a good story that immerses me without being ridden with angst and political correctness as the primary goal. I don’t care about a characters sexual proclivities, political leanings or view of global warming if the story is good, and the character helps move the plot along. Write a novel where that’s all there is, I’m not buying it. It boils down to, in the eyes of folks like File770 an us verse them scenario. I don’t much care ultimately what happens to the Hugo awards, they have never been a meaningful measure of what I choose to read in the SF field. But please, do not denigrate myself or others because our criteria of what constitutes a read worthy book is different from yours.

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    • Bob says:

      I happen to know personally number of the Sad Puppy supporters and authors. and yeah, some of them are conservatives, but all are not. What rankles most of us is the total disregard for fandom at large (i.e. those of us who do not consider World Con the only Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention in the world and think stories should be about something more than simply social commentary. I have no problem with gay, trans-sexual, etc. characters, but for heavens sake write a novel or short story around them, then maybe fans will actually buy the books. My limited budget for books does not stretch to items that are “socially significant” without plot or structure. I had to read “literature” in college, I can now read what I like. As noted, most of what has passed for Hugo winning writing over the past few years has not met my standards as a fan, while most of the authors on the Sad Puppies slate do interest me, write novels/stories that are worthy of my time and money. And the fact of the whining, grating mewling of the SJWs who are afraid of Sad Puppies and what it may do to their influence in the “genre”, is, honestly, quite satisfying to my ear.

  8. wheels says:

    I found Rocket Ship Galileo in the school library when I was 7, which would put it in 1960 or 1961. I was aware of conventions in the mid-1970s, but never attended until the 1981 Worldcon. I’ve attended my local convention most years since, and gone to several Worldcons and other conventions. I was a member of the local SF group for a number of years. My personal library, a significant portion of which is SF or fantasy, is currently between two and three thousand books (after giving hundreds to my daughter). I’ve always considered myself a fan, if not as “into it” as a number of my friends and acquaintances.

    Some years ago, about the time I realized I didn’t care for most of the work up for Hugo consideration, I dropped out of the local fan group because, among other reasons, I felt unwelcome. Not because of personal issues with others in the group, but because politics intruded.

    It wasn’t so much that people tried deliberately to drive out anyone who wasn’t of the Left, or who didn’t celebrate fatness or homosexuality or any of the other “causes” (at least, I don’t think it was deliberate). It was that those attitudes were presumed, in a “well, of course anyone intelligent believes this” manner.

    I remember well someone in the dealer’s room of the local con some years ago, showing off a painting of a tree that dominated a small island that he had picked up in the art auction, saying, “… and here’s the branch we’re going to hang Bush on after the revolution.”

    I remember volunteering to take a side in a “point … counterpoint” argument with a few simple rules like, “no interrupting the other person during their presentation,” and following them when my “opponent” spoke, but being unable to complete a sentence myself, because my points couldn’t be allowed to go unchallenged.

    I remember attending many convention panel discussions on ostensibly non-political issues that included gratuitous digs against Republicans, Christians, and other targets of the Left.

    Little things like that. I’m still a fan, I’m just not their sort of fan. I supported SP2 by buying a LonCon membership and voting (in those categories where I managed to read/review everything), and I’ll probably do the same with SP3, although I haven’t yet. I don’t remember if my votes aligned with the SP2 slate or not, and I don’t care. I doubt I’ll vote in the Novel category, because I don’t expect to be able to read it all in time. Same for Dramatic Presentation, because I don’t watch much television or go to movies anymore. Shorter fiction and art, sure.

    Sorry for the long comment. I originally meant to say, “me, too” for Rocket Ship Galileo about 55 years ago, and it got away from me. I won’t use Pascal’s excuse about not having time to make it shorter.

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