John "The Gneech" Robey (the_gneech) wrote,
John "The Gneech" Robey

Long Ago in a Fandom Far, Far Away

laurie_robey and I just spent the morning combing through and putting aside for disposal years worth of Starlog and similar magazines, dating as far back as the late 1970s. It was a surreal trip through time, watching everything become slicker, more sophisticated-- and more popular.

I realize it makes me sound like a crotchety old grandpa to say "Kids these days just don't understand!" but in this case at least, it is literally true-- if all of your fandom experiences have come since the advent of the internet as a force of popular culture, you literally can't know what it was like to be a fan in those days, because you've always been able to find a website, or a chat room, or a message board about your particular passions. Even the ones that aren't necessarily busy, at least exist.

In 1981, something like Starlog was a lifeline, a message in a bottle from somewhere in the vast unknown that out there, even if you never saw them in person, there was somebody out there who liked the stuff you liked, somebody who might, in theory, get you, in a way that people around you just plain didn't.

In that world of scarcity, is it any wonder that fandom was, well, so damn fannish? Whenever we got the tiniest morsel, that rare gem, something that didn't suck, it was like unto manna from heaven!

Now, for fandom purposes anyway, we live in a post-scarcity world. SFX shows have exactly the same budget as a regular cop drama, because all of the sets and locations are CGI anyhow. Costumes and development aside, it doesn't cost any more to put a Law and Order actor in "a New York alley" than it does to put Matt Smith on Gallifrey-- so fantasy/supernatural and/or SF shows are proliferating to the point of oversaturation. Hollywood keeps throwing badly-written fantasy spectacle after badly-written fantasy spectacle at us, scratching their heads as to why they don't all go Star Wars-level frenzy, and so on.

Having been on both sides of that particular dividing line, I constantly find myself boggling at the strange new world we live in. And, I gotta admit, I'm excited to see what comes up next-- but I don't want to forget that emotional desert island I once lived on, because I don't want to take the current embarrassment of riches for granted.

-The Gneech
Tags: deep thoughts, fantasy, moments, movies
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