The online fannish experience. Never mind all my angsting over readership, popularity, being remembered and recognized, or the occasional oh-my-god-am-I-a-good-author-or-not
panic attack, please don't doubt this for a moment: every single reader, every comment or bit of feedback that I receive is precious to me. Every single person I get to interact with online, whether it's in a deeply philosophical discussion or just to exchange a tiny random little fact, is precious to me. I may be writing primarily because I love to write, but I'm posting
because I love the interaction and the company, and I'm grateful for every friend and/or acquaintance I've made here. Don't you doubt it. 2.
Babylon 5(*), for tempting me back into the fannish fold as an adult, about a decade after having (supposedly) grown out of it sometime in my late teenage years. Turns out I hadn't grown out of it at all. On the contrary, my love for certain fandoms and characters is much deeper now than back when I was still a teen crushing on Captain Kirk. *g* I love the kind of shared fannish experience that isn't just about squeeing over a show (even though it can, and should, be that too!) but also about bringing one's personal thoughts and opinions to a fandom, trying to make sense of it and enhance it and turn it into something personal, something that can be a lot more than, to quote the famous William Shatner sketch
, "just a TV show."
(*) Most specifically, Peter Jurasik, Stephen Furst and the late Andreas Katsulas, for bringing to life their characters in a way that made me absolutely, unconditionally and fully, fall in love with them. Without them, I might never have had the impulse to come back to fandom at all. 3.
BBC 2, for having aired the original Star Trek back when I was thirteen or so, which was what turned me into a sci-fi fan in the first place. Much as I've grown attached to the online experience, I'm also grateful for having been a fan in the days before the internet and DVDs, when all there was were magazines and VCR, and people still had pen pals, and the only way I ever got to buy Star Trek novels was by traveling to London and paying a visit to the Forbidden Planet. Not because those days were so much better, but because to have known a time where every scrap of fannish material you found, be it as small as a newspaper cutting, was a squee-worthy discovery, only makes me appreciate fandom in the internet age that much more!4.
Conventions. Specifically, living within a 300-kilometer radius of mainland Europe's best (as far as I know) and, these days, only, large sci-fi convention, being FedCon
in Germany. It may be less spectacular than the USA's mega-cons, which I've never had the chance to go to, but it's friendly and atmospheric, and they always have a number of great guests. For instance, I saw Leonard Nimoy there, and Nichelle Nichols, and Brent Spiner and Robert Picardo and Kate Mulgrew; right after the BSG finale they had E.J. Olmos, Michael Hogan and James Callis, and the year right before that Mary McDonnell. My biggest frustration is still that they had a heap of Babylon 5 guests just a year before I discovered the show: there was Stephen Furst, and Julie Caitlin Brown, and Bruce Boxleitner and Peter Jurasik did a joint panel there, for heaven's sake, and I didn't even knew who the guys
were! I was like: why is the audience going wild for a guy who played a middle-aged alien with a ridiculous hairdo? Gah, how ignorant I was... :) 5.
In terms of specific fannish experiences to be grateful for: having lived though the Harry Potter
rage first-hand. I'm not going to claim they were the best novels I've ever written or the best movies I've ever seen, but it was
the most memorable fannish phenomenon I've been part of so far, and I loved every moment of it. I loved buying the books the moment they came out and then reading until the sun came up; I loved seeing the movies as they were being made, with all the long waits in between, and all those young actors growing up throughout them; and I loved how it all ended last year, not with a whimper but a bang. I wouldn't want have missed it for the world.