Growing up, I thought I didn’t fit in. As an adult, I’m pretty sure that is not uncommon. No one really fits in, we are unique individuals and until we learn how to empathize and adjust to each other, we will float along, banging into each other, but not necessarily connecting. Some of us can do this so quickly and naturally, it seems like magic. Others, not so much…

I was probably 10 when I discovered Tolkien. How? I honestly can’t remember, but it ignited such a love of reading that it probably scared my parents. After all, I was the youngest of 5, and this was not how the other kids spent time. I read anything I could find, as long as it was fiction and fantastic. Out of desperation, my Mom prevailed on one of her friends, and i was inducted into a book club. So there I was, younger than anyone else in the group by a good 8 years, but in a way, fitting in better than I did at school.

So Tolkien told tales of Middle Earth, and was followed by C. S. Lewis and Mars (Out of the Silent Planet), and Madeleine L’Engle. Did I mention it was Mom’s friend from Church? There was a theme, and still, these were wondrous books to a boy of ten. I went on to meet a farmboy named Luke, both in movies and books, Conan, King Arthur and The Book of Three. Buck Rogers and Battlestar Galactica (original series) were the choice a weekly appointment. Of course, Star Trek (Also original series), in syndication, whenever it was on… Can you guess my age yet?  Down the path I went. Still, I wanted more, there was never enough, and the library knew me on site.

But the final event that put me, unalterably, in to the universe of the Fantastic was when my good friend loaned me  The Color of Magic, by Sir Terry Pratchett. There was no going back. Pratchett led to Douglas Adams, and the Science Fiction Book Club provided me with Dragonriders. Wow. How can anyone turn from that? It was and is… glorious.


This genre, Science Fiction and Fantasy, can offer us everything!  There is nothing that you can imagine that cannot be, and isn’t that the point? We live the lives of great warriors, powerful mages, strong princesses and cowardly kings. We see men and women in powered armor fighting for their lives, against aliens or man. We listen to Roy Batty tell of attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. Of watching c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser  Gate. All those moments,lost in time, like tears in the rain. But they aren’t lost, are they?  We see humanity at both it’s best and worst, offered through the lens of fiction.

Do we, as a group of fans, agree on everything? No, we are unique individuals, and our tastes reflect everything that is unique in us, everything we have seen, everything we have experienced. But surely, we can look at each other and at least see kindred spirits. I can look over at the Twilight fan, shake my head, chuckle a bit, and go back to reading Ringo, or Correia. I may not agree with the choice, but I am glad they have the choice and glad they made the choice. I am ecstatic that Hogwarts and Sparkly Vampires brought so many new fans into the fold, because, if anything, it magnifies that chance of a Science Fiction or Fantasy book being made into a GOOD movie, one that respects the source material (I’m looking at you, Starship Trooper, and I am not amused) and has the budget to make it amazing. Who could have ever said, 20 years ago, that Peter Jackson would show us Middle Earth in such a way that I believe that J.R.R. himself would say, “That is beautiful.” . Still, even Peter can misstep…


What a wonderful world we live in. I embrace my fanishness. I glory in being able to sit down with a good book, either a new one, or an old friend that I’m visiting again, and read. I love being able to put  Firefly into the DVD player and rejoin Mal and Zoey. I love that they cast Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man. All of these things are of fandom, and so much more! And thank goodness for the internet, that allows all of us like minded (and semi-like minded) to meet and debate and push and pull and provide the spark that inspires the authors, the cartoonist, the directors, the comic publishers, and all the rest, that provide us such a multifaceted universe, full of the fantastic, the magical, the brave and craven, the costly victory and the glorious defeat. It is all there, we just have to reach out and take it.