arduinna: a tarot-card version of Linus from Peanuts, carrying a lamp as The Hermit (Default)
[personal profile] arduinna
(still taking questions/suggestions, if you want me to talk about anything in particular - mixing up my responses to those with other stuff as I go)

[personal profile] princessofgeeks asked me to talk about my fannish history, which I touched on a bit in yesterday's post. Usually when I talk about it, I stick to my media-fandom past, but really it goes back earlier than that. This is also going to riff a bit off [personal profile] gwyn's post about her first viewing of Star Wars, and how that changed her life, because I basically just went flaily when I saw that and was all "yes, that! That's what it was like!" With the Starlog and the not having any information and the game-changing-ness of it all!

So here I am, flailing. :)

Things are SO different now for SF fans; I never would have believed that there would be so much SFF available, both in print and in visual media, that I would have to pick and choose what I wanted to consume because there was no way to keep up with it all.

When I was in jr high/high school, it was pretty much possible to keep up with everything that got published in the genre, if you were a fast enough reader. Not just novels; all the magazines, too. And not just the short-story mags (Asimov's, and Analog, and Astounding, and Fantasy & Science Fiction...), but things like Starlog and Omni (♥ Omni ♥) and Fangoria. (I started working a paper route and babysitting at 12, and along with taking out as many things from the library as they'd let me, all my money went to reading material, basically.)

For a lot of that time, "fandom" was something magical and amazing that happened over there somewhere, for other, luckier people. I knew about cons from seeing ads in the back of the magazines, and from reading things like the Star Trek Concordance and similar things, but I couldn't imagine being part of that, much though I wanted to be.

Then in 1980, when I was 15, WorldCon came back to Boston as NorEascon III, and the Sunday paper had a bit about it. My parents showed me the article and I drank it all in, then went off to my room to read a book because these things were not for me. My dad knocked on my door a few minutes later and offered to give me $50 and a ride in to the hotel where it was being held, so I could get a day pass and have a few hours to explore.

!!!!! Z.O.M.G. !!!!!

So in I went, and wandered around wide-eyed and amazed. I'd already missed three and a half days of the con, but I didn't care; this was the best thing ever. I don't think I went to any panels, but I walked around and listened to hall conversations and looked at people's costumes and wallowed in the Hucksters' Room and bought some stuff, including a NorEascon III beer mug that I still have.

Worldcon is a trippy, trippy first con to attend, let me tell you. *g* A few months later, I went to my first Boskone, this time for all three days (although for some reason my parents didn't want 15-y-o me staying at the hotel so I had to be driven in and out...), and I was hooked. I could only afford one con per year, but I went every year without fail. I loved all of it: the filking, the in-jokes, the merchandise (SO MANY BOOKS *swooooon*), the costumes, the conversations, the con suite, the people.

The hucksters' room at Boskone is where I discovered Elfquest; I was chatting with one of the dealers and he talked it up, and I went home and sent in a subscription (that was when they were theoretically coming out every three months, during the initial run of the initial quest). I filled in the massive holes in my book collection, bought BSG and Doctor Who and Star Trek merchandise, bought waaaay too many glossy 8x10 photographs (with the circles and the arrows and the paragraphs on the back... wait, no) of pretty pretty actors. I picked up the SF-con speaking cadence.

SF fandom at the time was very much book-based; people watched (all of the) SF movies and shows, but that was just entertainment. Real ("real") fandom was reading and writing books, reading and writing for zines (not media fanzines, though!), making and selling SFF art, costuming (we weren't calling it cosplay back then), talking about science, etc etc. Star Wars had been creating an influx of new fans to con-going fandom and there were some cranky rumblings about media fans versus trufen.

So there I was - a book fan, sure! I fit right in at SF cons! But also I really liked all those movies and tv shows everyone was looking down on. :( But I was at teenager who thought I'd found my people, and I relegated tv shows to being just something I did on my own, and focused on the stuff everyone else liked as my social activity.

And it really was social; I made friends that I saw every year, and I introduced family and friends to cons if I thought they might like them, and I even bought the Fandom Directory most years, and made some penpal friends I kept for years and years.

So it was okay! These were my people, this was my thing, all was well. I just kept reading comics and watching tv shows and movies off in a corner on my own. Then in the mid-80s someone brought fanzines -- fanfic fanzines -- to Boskone, selling them out of their room. I poked around the room and discovered a box of zines labelled Star Trek K/S, and when the dealer told me what the slash meant, I handed over my food money for the weekend and took as many as that would buy. *g*

Alas, my roommate for that con had also been to the zine room and flipped through some gen zines, and was dismissive of the whole idea when I mentioned I'd been there, so I figured I would just keep my little stash of slash to myself. I spent most of the next decade still in SF fandom, still with that tiny handful of slash zines, and still not talking to anyone about any of it.

Then I got online and plugged "forever knight" into what passed for a search engine at the time (I'm pretty sure this was pre-Alta Vista; I can't for the life of me remember how I did the search now, but I remember Alta Vista coming along later and being blown away by what an amazing search engine it was).

And then I realized that I'd finally *really* found my people. *beams* And here I still am, more than 20 years later. ♥

(no subject)

Date: 2017-01-09 06:06 am (UTC)
sdwolfpup: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sdwolfpup
STARLOG AND OMNI. Oh man that brings me BACK. I have such vivid memories of both of those magazines. Though Starlog I admittedly mostly just cut up for the pictures of Data. hee.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-01-09 07:57 am (UTC)
torch: legs of a pinup girl, red high heels (Default)
From: [personal profile] torch
I'm amused (yes, yes, easily entertained, I know) that my first reaction to this post was to google "search engines before altavista" and then I got distracted from the easy search for difficult searches by thinking about Archie and gopher and... It's amazing that any of us ever found anything. :)

(no subject)

Date: 2017-01-09 01:32 pm (UTC)
james: life is dumb and I want to sleep (Default)
From: [personal profile] james
I feel like I should say something meaningful and all that, because hey! FK and old fans from way back when! But I'm crampy and grumpy and want to be in bed, so I'll just say Hey! *waves*

(no subject)

Date: 2017-01-09 01:41 pm (UTC)
princessofgeeks: (Default)
From: [personal profile] princessofgeeks
This is so wonderful. Thank you so much. I too remember that amazing feeling of going to the con and saying 'THERE you all are. Thank goodness.'

(no subject)

Date: 2017-01-09 02:57 pm (UTC)
dorinda: Skywise and Cutter, bare to the waist, and with an arm around each other, look out at the viewer. (Cutter_Skywise_bare)
From: [personal profile] dorinda
Ohgod I looooved Omni. My big brother had a subscription and I read the hell out of it. I hung onto one particular issue up until very recently...I might still have it in one of the boxes I still haven't unpacked, actually. (/o\) It was because of a poem that ran in it, called "Saul's Death", by Joe Haldeman.

Found a link to the poem in Google Books here. Highly recommended.

I was absolutely struck by it. For one thing, as I'm sure you'll notice, the intense bond between Saul and the narrator, their love for each other, the way "the bond we felt was stronger than mere blood". And also, the way the story is told so deftly, little details painting a much larger picture. And then, the surprise at the end.

Plus, I think this was the first time I had seriously read (and fallen in love with) a sestina (well, two sestinas). It was amazing. No rhymes, but clear structure from the shifting pattern of the end words. It felt like a puzzle. I remember trying a few sestinas of my own, though I no longer remember what they were about.

...you know, I wonder if someday I might try asking for "Saul's Death" as a Yuletide fandom? It's so short to read, yet so evocative...it might make a nice quickie fandom, the way people often make sure to ask for a commercial or music video to provide something with short and available source just in case.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-01-09 06:38 pm (UTC)
the_shoshanna: Merlin, reclining (for the history)
From: [personal profile] the_shoshanna
Oh, wow. A lot of what you say here resonates for me, although I wasn't quite as proto-fannish as you (I mostly hung out in the sf section of Wordsworth, compulsively shelf-reading), but -- if memory serves, I was at NorEascon III too! If you saw someone cosplaying Leela from Doctor Who, that was me. (With a Tom Baker-lookalike boyfriend as the Doctor, except my guy was taller...)

(no subject)

Date: 2017-01-09 09:03 pm (UTC)
gwyn: (spuffy band kathyh)
From: [personal profile] gwyn
Oh, I love this!! ALL the memories!!

OMNI WAS SO GOOD. Out of all the SF and mystery and stuff mags that my dad subscribed to, Omni was by far my favorite. That was kind of what I always thought of as the ne plus ultra of well run magazines, which I aspired to do once I got into the editing fields. (I used to devour Omni and this newspaper my dad got called the National Observer, best paper ever.)

I love thinking of little proto-you wandering around among all the adults and gathering smut.

Thank god for Worldcons, because without them, I'd never have known that there were actually people out there who'd seen the Professionals--none of the zine addresses I wrote to from the ones I found on a free table at a con worked, my letters got mailed back as forwarding order expired, but it gave me hope that one day I might find out, and eventually I did! Our people!

Was the pre-Alta Vista gopher? I can't remember back that far either.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-01-15 09:33 pm (UTC)
tinny: (Default)
From: [personal profile] tinny
Fandom is such a wonderful thing. <3

(although those really old fandoms can get a bit cranky and condescending when it comes to what constitutes *real* fandom, which is kinda hilarious but bearable as long as you stay well enough away from them)

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