Monday, March 23, 2015

A FANifesto

"We hear that you want to redefine fandom."

Apparently, it has become a thing out on the web to stigmatize anyone "normal."

"Normal" in this case is odd, because this version of normal casts so wide a net that, for the first time in my life, even I come under it.

Basically, if you are a straight white male who does not read "important" science fiction, by the "right" authors, you are not a true science fiction fan.

Oh reeeeeaaaally?

Wait for it ...

Wait for it ...




*Pant* *Pant* *Pant* *Pant*


As I was saying, this is an idea that is devoid of serious content and thought. It makes one wonder what the author was smoking at the time that this particular proclamation was made.

And thus, the Fanifesto was born. I caught on through Brad Torgersen, and thus, a statement on being a fan.

Am I a hetero-normative white male with delusions of not being a complete and utter psychopath? Occasionally that last part, but for the most part, yes. I am Catholic, and believe what the Church teaches. And if you're going to tell me what my own Church teaches, I respectfully tell you to go perform an anatomically impossible act upon yourself and let me continue.

Pretty much anybody one who reads genre fiction and enjoys it probably has more than enough creds to qualify as a fan. I, and my family, have now and will always spend money on those things we enjoy. If you try to sell me a message instead of a story, you will not sell me.

You may purchase yourself a tire iron to the head, but I will not purchase your work.

Star Trek IV sold me on time travel and culture shock, and giving a Vulcan nerve pinch to a punk playing loud music on a bus -- it did not necessarily sell me on save the whales.

No one, not even God Himself, could convince me that a message in a novel is more important than the story. No one, not even a fleet of angels, could convince me that "X-character is a confused transgendered bisexual teenager, and therefore THIS BOOK IS IMPORTANT AND YOU ARE A HORRIBLE PERSON IF YOU DO NOT READ IT, LOVE IT, AND SPREAD IT TO YOUR FRIENDS."

Screw you. Even CS Lewis emphasized the value of reading a good book over reading an "IMPORTANT" book.

Laurell K Hamilton convinced me to stop reading her long ago, mostly by having a bisexual sextet between vampires and were-furries that lasted for a hundred pages. Do not try to tell me your smut is "important" because you have "a message," and her smut is less so.  There is no difference between your smut, and that of 50 Shades of Grey. I have more respect for EL James and her work of pure sewer scum, as she is just trying to make an honest buck by pandering to the lowest common denominator, not trying to pass off deviancy as "art."

Putting in a message and then screaming ASK ME WHAT IT MEANS! ASK ME WHAT IT MEANS! isn't "art." It's bull****.

Thank you, but I have been forced at gunpoint to read all of the angsty teenage message novels they dig up in high school. They weren't fun then. They aren't fun now. They are not edifying.

What is edifying, you ask? Something that builds you up, adds something to your life. It will entertain you. It will inform you. It will do something positive.

Message fiction is just as edifying as 50 Shades of Grey. In fact, it's less so.  A lot of people can get entertainment from 50 Shades of Grey. They can laugh at the bad writing. They can see people reading it in funny voices on YouTube. 50 Shades of Grey has been more important and better for me and the state of my soul than all of the Social Justice Warrior propaganda I was ever forced to read in high school.

Do I read only science fiction?  Nope. I’m interested in philosophy, and military history, and terrorism, and espionage, and technology of weapons ... and the tech of espionage.

I will read Science Fiction, Fantasy, Adventure, Mystery, romance novels, Nora Roberts (as JD Robb), Kenyon, Sparks, Sanda, Ava Armstrong ....

If you try to tell me that I am not a fan of science fiction because I am a fan of Roberts, you are just an idiot. Her work as JD Robb are all speculative fiction police procedurals.

So there.

I don't know anyone who has ever read one genre exclusively.  But I'm certain that the SF and Fantasy I read would make these people's heads explode.

I have read almost everything that Terry Goodkind has ever written, but I'm behind in my backlog. When I was 14, I read about hunting a monster in the The Museum (of natural history, NYC) called The Relic. I read Lord of the Rings when I was 10. I read Narnia when I was 12. My family wrote up a series outline when I was 13 that smashed together Star Wars, Star Trek, and Babylon 5, and we called it simply Sci-fi World.  When I was 16, I started on the fan fiction that would spiral out to become my writing career.

I was a chubby nerd from grammar school, through high school, and being a nerd was tolerated by the time I was in college. It wasn't cool then.  I was a geek before it was cool.

I guess that makes me a conservative Catholic hipster. Because I'm awesome enough to pull that off without being a douchebag.

I did not then, or do now, belong to fan clubs, or groups, or play well with others.

Heck, the only reason my fellow church members can pick me out of a lineup is because I'm one of the few people in church who sing, and I do it loud enough to to go war with Sister Hiedi of the Alps who plays the guitar and sings off-key.

I read John Ringo, and Timothy Zahn, and Larry Correia, and all of the other banned books on the list of your local Social Justice Warrior's reading circle.

For that matter, who the bleep are they to tell me that I'm reading the "wrong" books?

I am now, and will forever be, a fan.

I was going to Star Trek conventions before I knew the alphabet.

I once read The Once and Future King for light reading in sixth grade.

The first time I saw a flip phone, I thought "Captain Kirk got there first."

I grew up back when outing yourself as a fan of Star Trek was cause for being assaulted.

I have never had to pass a fan knowledge or political litmus test...mainly because fan knowledge would get me beaten up on the school yard.

When I grew up, Father's Day was celebrated with The Empire Strikes Back, and I understood the reasoning perfectly. There's a reason that joke is in It Was Only on Stun!

I still believe that Starbuck is only played by Face from the A-Team, and the newer version sucks because it tried wwwaaayyy too hard to be grim and gritty.

I grew up watching reruns of Adam West as Batman, and knew that the term "grim and gritty" was stolen from that tv show.

I laugh (partially in terror) at the thought of Joker with a lightsaber... And you might be a fan if you get that joke.

I know that Wrath of Khan was both the best Star Trek film ever, while also being a cross between Moby Dick and Run Silent, Run Deep.

I never understood women's lib, because Diana Rigg, as Emma Peel, kicked ass, back when The Avengers had nothing to do with Marvel.

I became a fan because Xena had a glint in her eye right before she wiped the floor with everyone.

My idea of feminism was Commander Susan Ivanova, Buffy, and Honor Harrington.

Patrick MacGoohan showed me that he was not a number, he was a free man.

Captain Sheridan showed me that nukes can solve almost anything.

Timothy Zhan showed me just how even more badass the Star Wars universe could be.

We are fans because we want to boldly go where no one had gone before. We're going to “Make it so” because Professor X said we could.

Because Orson Scott Card showed how children can influence the galaxy and Larry Niven brought us the Halo games.

Because hobbits kill dragons, drive off kaiju spiders, and defeat servants of the devil by destroying Wagner's ring.

Because J. Michael Straczynski taught me to never surrender dreams.

I am a fan because science fiction really is magic, the magic of the human heart, focused and made manifest by technology, and limited only by our imagination.

And if you try to tell me different, I will force choke you.

Go ahead. Tell me I'm not a fan.
I dare you.


  1. SJWs make being a fan of anything (fiction, music, video games, LIFE ITSELF) feel like being in high school again.

    And why in the world would anyone want that?

  2. If it's going to be high school again...

    Damn the torpedoes, I'm asking Laura P. to the junior prom.


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