STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING RIGHT now and read this article by Patton Oswalt about how instant access to everything has brought about the Death of the Fannish Underground. Oswalt speaks to and for those whose fannish identity was built up layer by carefully wrought layer, recalling when one person could consume an entire year’s output of fantastic and science fictional media (and still have room for more). It’s all, he says, in the effort:

The Lord of the Rings used to be ours and only ours simply because of the sheer goddamn thickness of the books. Twenty years later, the entire cast and crew would be trooping onstage at the Oscars to collect their statuettes, and replicas of the One Ring would be sold as bling.

The topsoil has been scraped away, forever, in 2010. In fact, it’s been dug up, thrown into the air, and allowed to rain down and coat everyone in a thin gray-brown mist called the Internet.

More tragic historian than off-my-lawn ranter, Oswalt perfectly captures the sweaty essence of 80s fandom — and makes me wish I’d written it first. I’m not sure I agree with his conclusions, but I do feel a bit sad for kids who’ll never have the fun that we had(1). Something thrilling there is in being part of something secret that yields unexpected connections in unlooked-for places…

– “Wake Up, Geek Culture — Time To Die” by Patton Oswalt
– “Hey Fanboy!” (Fannish posts on Metaphorager.Net)

(1) (On the other hand, they’re probably having some sort of fun that I can’t, so it all works out.)

1 comment for “Where Have All The Fandoms Gone?

  1. Alana Dill
    2019.02.02 at 2158

    Observing younger fans on twitter – some of whom I’ve become friends with – I have to conclude that once again it’s not better or worse, it’s just different. They/we can share fan art and fan fiction and theories and OMFG moments with blinding speed, recommend the next thing, warn people off the Shannara series, etc.

    If, at 3 am on a hot August night in 1973 I could have tweeted, “OMFG wait STRIDER is the FUCKING KING? a;sdlkfj;aoiaoie!” I would have been a very happy human being. And some troll would have tweeted back, “No shit, Sherlock!” and 14 people would have tweeted back, “Welcome, young hobbit” or variants thereof.

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