arduinna: a tarot-card version of Linus from Peanuts, carrying a lamp as The Hermit (Default)
[personal profile] kass asked me to talk about my first fannish love, and I've been mullling that over since she mentioned it. I'm not entirely sure how to define it.

It could be Lord of the Rings; I read it for the first time when I was 12, and wow. It was an annual re-read for me for years; I learned some Elvish; I memorized some of the poetry. It sparked my interest in Nordic legend and myth, and shoved me full-tilt into the SFF side of genre. ("It's just a phase," my parents thought. "She'll grow out of it." Hahahahaaaa not so much...)

Or it could be ST:TOS, which I watched in reruns starting god knows when, and bonded with my soon-to-be sister-in-law over when I was 13-14. I could recognize episodes from the first few seconds; I bought the novelizations and the fotonovels and the tie-ins as soon as they started appearing. I discovered my embarrassment squick through Plato's Children when Spock was forced to behave ridiculously; I started down the path of seeing humanity as a whole and being totally confused by nationalism. I found the Star Trek Concordance at the library and read it cover to cover, marveling at the stories about the first Star Trek conventions in New York and wishing I was brave enough to go to a con. (It really did have that little moving wheel on the cover, too – so cool!) TOS zines were the first I ever bought, and were my introduction to slash. ♥ No other ST series ever worked for me as well as the original.

It could be Star Wars, which came out when I was 12 and oh my GOD was I the right age for that. I wanted as much as I could get and then some; I saw it many times in the theater that summer and dozens of times in the theater over the next year or two. When my family got cable for the first time a few years later, I got up at 6am to watch it on HBO. (Dad: "... haven't you seen this before? Why are you awake?" me: "shhhhh!!!!!") I wanted the novelizations and the calendars and the t-shirts (... I still have the t-shirt *kof*) (... and the novelizations). I dressed up my dolls and stuffed animals as Star Wars characters. (You haven't lived till you've turned a stuffed skunk into a stormtrooper with careful application of tissues and scotch tape.)

It could be Battlestar Galactica (the original). This is the first canon for which I consciously made up stories, mostly about how Apollo and Starbuck were meant to be together, or how one of them needed to rescue the other, so that makes it a first as well. I hadn't quite gotten all the way to slash on my own yet, but I was right there on the verge.

Or it could be Forever Knight, which I watched religiously no matter how hard it was to find, and taped regularly (first show I ever taped for keeping!), and went looking online to see if anyone else watched it, too, when I first got online. I've talked about my early FK days here before – hah, actually, because Kass asked about it a few years ago. <3 That was what pushed me from being in SF fandom proper to being in media fandom, and man, I loved it. I loved the people, the energy, the creativity, the fan theories, the riffs and in-jokes, all of it. It was the first time I'd interacted with people who were writing fanfic, and it made me think that this was something I could maybe do? It wasn't the first fandom I wrote fic in (hah, I checked this time – usually I get this wrong and say FK was the first), but it was the second, and I made some really strong connections with people in that fandom.

So, uh. My first fannish love was sort of ... everything? Heh.
arduinna: a tarot-card version of Linus from Peanuts, carrying a lamp as The Hermit (Default)
I'm sorting out a bookcase today, the one that has my media tie-ins. I've purged a lot of them over the years; fanfic gives me more of what I want. But I used to buy anything I could find for any show I loved, and I've hung on to a bunch, especially Star Trek books.

I used to buy a lot of Star Trek books. Some of these I'd forgotten I have; the only way to fit everything is to have doubled rows of books, and the titles in the back rows tend to fade. But today I'm looking at everything, and wow. Seriously, I'd forgotten.

Before VCRs, in most cases your only hope of knowing what happened in an episode was to actually watch it live as it aired, whether first run or rerun/syndication. But for some shows, you could buy books.

James Blish wrote adaptations of (almost) every episode; they weren't perfect, as they were written off scripts rather than final episode transcripts, and they were short stories rather than being particularly fleshed out, but. You could have the episodes in your hands!

I bought as many of the original paperbacks as I could find used, when I discovered these, but I couldn't get my hands on all of them. I was buying in the mid-80s, and there just wasn't much available; used bookstores weren't quite in vogue yet, and I could only get to one con a year with their fabulous dealers' rooms full of rows and rows and rows of used and new SFF. Then the Science Fiction Book Club offered four hardcover volume "Star Trek Readers", which collected all of Blish's adaptations, and I bought those, too. So now I have doubles of almost all of it, and still can't bring myself to purge any of them. *g* What if one day there are no more reruns or DVDs or blu-rays or downloads or anything!!

Blish wasn't the only one writing; a few years after him, Alan Dean Foster wrote adaptations of the animated series, which I also got my hands on, to my delight, as I'd never seen the animated show. Again, I don't have them all, but at least I had something.

And I bought behind-the-scenes books, and making-of books, and anything else I could. (Anyone else have "Chekov's Enterprise"?)

And then I discovered a couple copies of a treasure trove I'd had no idea existed: in the late '70s, Ballantine started publishing "fotonovels". I wound up with copies of Metamorphosis and Day of the Dove.

Metamorphosis front cover )

back cover )

They used comic book layout, with multiple panels per page in various combinations to carry you through the story, using tricks like outlining specific people in a white panel border to show that they're in a different place (like talking over communicators), or that a conversation was cutting back and forth on screen, so the still picture would have both face-on shots together. Although someone appears to have decided that that looked silly, because by book #10, they were no longer doing that - so it's less cheesy looking, but also a bit less fun. *g* Some photos spread seamlessly across a two-page spread (which, wow, has to have been a BITCH to print -- there are no whitespace margins in these books, they're pure photos).

interior pages )

I didn't want to break the spine on the book to get a sample of one of the two-page photos, but they're there.

The front of each book has a short cast list, including guest stars, and a two-page interview with one of the guest stars.

The back of the books have a helpful glossary to explain the terms in the book, from basic ST stuff like "communicators" and "phasers" to episode specifics like the disease one of the characters had, the planets involved in the ep, etc. Plus there's a quiz at the end, to see how much you were paying attention! (Answers on the very final page, so you didn't have to wait till the next book came out to see how you did.) And there would be a teaser photo from the next fotonovel, with a descriptive blurb. They packed a lot into these little books.

I'd completely forgotten about these, but man, now I remember how over the moon I was when I found them way back when. It was like being able to watch the episode any time I wanted!!

Even with VCRs available not long after, these were still fabulous for a long time, because a VCR was only useful if you had episodes to record - and the money to buy enough tapes to record more than a few episodes of anything. A single VHS cassette cost as much as ~10 fotonovels.

I kinda wish the trend of making these had started about five years earlier than it did, just to see how widespread it might have become before it got completely overshadowed by VCR tech.

(Seriously, these are so cool.) (How do I not have a TOS icon?)

October 2017

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