Nobody Expects the Fannish Inquisition! By Christopher M. Chupik

*As a veteran Volunteer in exchange student organizations, libraries and the like, and an habitue of Austen fan groups, I DID.  But Chris is young.*

Nobody Expects the Fannish Inquisition!

By Christopher M. Chupik

 

While I had been watching SF and Fantasy stuff since I was a wee Canadian lad, I made my jump into the larger world of fandom the late ‘80s when I went to my first Star Trek convention. It was just a small, local affair with no guests, a few people in costumes and The Voyage Home playing on the VCR. For some reason, there was an entire fanzine dedicated to Tribbles. I think I still have it somewhere in my files. In later years, I went to ConVersion, a Calgary-based con which is now sadly defunct. I was there mostly to meet authors, sit on panels, buy books, meet with my friends and party hard on Saturday night. I have been content to leave the actual running of said events to others.

So, I find it fascinating, in a train-wreck sort of way, when fandom goes wrong.

Fans of the rebooted Battlestar Galactica may recall a certain uber-troll (who shall remain nameless for the safety of this blog) who got himself banned from every single forum he ever posted at with his crazed ranting about the NBC-Universal conspiracy to suppress the Original Galactica and his over-the-top hate of everybody connected to the remake. I have it on good authority he is still ranting, in blogs and message boards where he is the only poster and only commenter.

To say that some people took the J. J. Abrams Trek reboots badly is an understatement. I’ve been rants, name-calling, boycotts, death-threats, etc. There is one anti-Abrams page on Facebook which strictly prohibits anyone pro-reboot from posting there because only “real Star Trek fans” are allowed. Anybody ejected from the group is declared to be “working for Bad Robot” (Abram’s production company).

But whatever you thought of the rebooted Trek, one thing that I noticed was how it revealed just how many Trekkies there really were. Friends and coworkers who had I never suspected of being fans of the franchise suddenly revealed themselves. It was quite a revelation, especially if all you had seen of Trek fandom the past few years was the increasingly small, insular online communities comprised of the same people who had been complaining about everything new since the late ‘80s.

It’s sad to see Trekkies becoming snobs. You would think that a group who has endured mockery for decades would be a little more sensitive to this kind of behavior. Who are we to set ourselves up above our fellow fans like this? This is, however, increasingly a problem with fandom as a whole, with geeks behaving exactly like the elitist snobs who once looked down on them.

To understand the divide, we need to understand that there are two broad categories of fans.

First, there are the regular fans. Maybe they’ve watched/read all the episodes/books of a particular series, maybe not, it’s no big deal. They might go to a few cons, maybe volunteer for a few panels, or even sit on a con committee. More than anything, fandom is fun for them. Let’s call them the Casuals. Most fans are varying degrees of Casual.

Then there are the True Believers, a much smaller faction. They will wage bitter flame-wars over the minutia of imaginary canons. Fandom is not merely a way of life, it is the One True Way, before which all others are inferior. So much of their self-image and worth are wrapped up in fandom that they measure their worth by how much power they’ve amassed over a message board, blog, or con. And no, I don’t mean everybody who runs such things, obviously. I know a lot of people involved heavily in fandom who don’t let it go to their heads.

Eventually, even the thing they claim to revere so much can’t measure up to the idealized idol they’ve constructed in their minds. Fun? Trek isn’t supposed to be fun, it’s supposed to be deep and serious! Those stupid Casuals can’t appreciate how super-serious it is and therefore cannot be true fans!

Fortunately, most fandoms are not ruled by True Believers. Those that are retreat inwards on themselves, becomingly increasingly paranoid and insular, attracting no new members and alienating many of the older ones. Dissenters don’t merely have differing opinions, they’re The Enemy, agents of hostile powers who have defiled the holy relics. Infidels must be expelled. Safe spaces must be created.

Where have I heard this before? It sounds so familiar . . .

Of all the hateful things said about Sad Puppies and its supporters, perhaps the worst of all is the notion that we’re “interlopers” and an “outside force”. As a digression, I find it amusing that we’re also accused of being gatekeepers. Somehow, Sad Puppies are both the watchers on the walls and the barbarians at the gates. How we manage this amazing feat of bilocation is unclear.

Oh, the rote incantations of “racist/sexist/homophobic are bad, but I’ve come to realize they’re just the Left’s knee-jerk response to anyone who disagrees with them, spouted regardless of the race, gender or sexual orientation of the person they are denouncing. At best, they are background noise. At worst, they trivialize real bigotry by conflating mere differences of opinion with expressions of legitimately ugly viewpoints.

Hey, how did I get up on this soapbox?

Ahem.

It doesn’t matter if we’ve been part of fandom since the ‘80s, or the ‘70s or even earlier. We aren’t the True Believers. We don’t know the secret handshakes and haven’t been initiated into the Sacred Mysteries of Fandom. A streak of disheartening elitism was exposed in the hysterical reaction to Sad Puppies. Even among those who did not engage in the mudslinging there was an air of condescension. Who let these Puppies in, anyhow?

While it was disheartening to see I am glad the masks slipped and revealed their true faces. Personally, I can’t imagine why anyone would want to lord it over fandom. But human nature ensures that there will always be people who crave to be masters of their own tiny domains. They may talk about defending the noble traditions of fandom, but what they’re really defending is their own power.

We Sad Puppies jokingly refer to ourselves as “wrongfans”, but there are no wrongfans. Not even the crazed trolls or the elitist Trekkies or even the people who chortled at the display of A-holery at the 2015 Hugos. We all belong to the big, dysfunctional family known as fandom. There’s a lot of Odds in fandom, and for many of them — myself included — fandom was a place they found where they could be themselves and let their geek flag fly. So when we hear a bunch of older fans saying that we don’t really belong or never belonged to begin with, it hurts.

I know who I am. I know where I belong. And it’s here, in fandom, where I’ve always been, where I always will be, in spite of the efforts of a few to make me feel like an invader.

Ultimately, the ones who are most hurt by such words are the ones who speak them. Fanaticism is not the way to make friends and influence people. And then there is the vastness of the community to consider. Last year, when the outrage over Sad Puppies 3 was beginning to get nasty, I went to a convention with 100,000 attendees, approximately ten times the number of people who attended WorldCon. I suspect most of those would be Casuals. I also suspect that if I asked them about the Hugo Awards, most wouldn’t know anything about the Sad Puppy controversy. Quite a few probably wouldn’t even know what the Hugos were. Fandom is just too big to be completely controlled by any one faction. David Gerrold may think he’s a big shot, but to most people — and most Casuals — he’s just the guy who wrote that Tribble episode which inspired that fanzine I bought back in my youth. Certainly, that is how I try to remember him, and not as the man who libeled my friends and turned the Hugo ceremony into a travesty.

The Casuals won’t notice or care when the old order rages against the new. They’re too busy enjoying what they love.

And that is the worst punishment I can conceive of for those who have set themselves up as the Fannish Inquisition.

237 responses to “Nobody Expects the Fannish Inquisition! By Christopher M. Chupik

  1. Christopher M. Chupik

    Er, that should be Sad Puppies 3. 4 hadn’t even come out when I wrote this.

    • which is okay. They’re nasty over 4 too. Timeless, really. 😀

    • I don’t think it’s changed much.

      • Kate, bless her heart, bent over backwards in an attempt to address even the most tenuously valid criticisms against the SP3 effort, ant made SP4 a purely open democratically selected suggested reading list.
        Didn’t make a damn bit of difference. Puppy kickers still chimed in with the same knee jerk accusations and name calling.
        Easy to understand once you think on it. A suggested reading list is obviously a slate, but 1500 orchestrated no award votes is just a grass roots response to wrong fans attempts to steal their award.
        Meh. The Hugos died there at the awards ceremony at the 2015 WorldCon, and those ever so clever asterisk consolation awards were nothing more than the nails in its coffin.
        The Hugos are dead, long live the Dragon!

  2. For some reason, there was an entire fanzine dedicated to Tribbles.

    Because Tribbles are kawaii!

    Some forty years ago someone gave of us a pair (!) of ‘Tribbles’ (stuffed) as a wedding present…

    I don’t try to comprehend everything in pop culture, particularly what can inspire a fandom.

    • The Tribble Fanzine was probably started by David Gerrold’s Mother.

    • My husband got me a toy tribble. It’s battery operated and, as advertised, is supposed to purr when you pet it.

      The sensors seem to be a little less sensitive than advertised. It doesn’t purr if you pet it. It purrs if you thwack it.

      I think we got a callused and/or masochistic tribble.

      • Nobody knows
        the tribbles I’ve seen:
        Nobody knows my sorrow:
        Nobody knows the tribbles I’ve seen:
        Glory hallelujah!

  3. I plan on continuing to proudly be a wrongfan having wrongfun.

  4. I was going to Worldcons before anyone heard of GRRM. (Or do you now call him “George Two Middle Initials”?) But he says I am not a real fan.

  5. I put a hole in the gas tank of my LTD flying over the railroad tracks to get home after high school to watch Trek reruns, but by this definition, I’m pretty sure I’m casual.

  6. Christopher M. Chupik
  7. Yep, I had an email exchange last year with one of the Hugo committee, who told me point blank I was NOT a Truefan, because I hadn’t spent decades working at cons and ‘paying my dues’… So fifty years of reading SF ‘only’ makes me a wrongfan. 🙂 Move over Cedar, I need a seat on that couch! 🙂

    • Even among folks who run cons, there is a wrong side of the tracks. Sub-units that run specialty functions are often looked down on and treated as second-class citizens (may not be given the same perks as other conslaves, etc).

      • This I do not understand. I help with an anime convention. People who run specialty functions well are to be prized and treasured. They are rare creatures

    • Christopher M. Chupik

      Ah, but you were not initiated into the Seventh Degree by the Secret Masters of Fandom, so the Inner Mysteries will be forever denied to you.

    • richardmcenroe

      You wrongfans don’t get a couch! Wrongfans get a wooden plank bench! Unsanded! (Be fair: you ARE a splinter movement…)

      • Oh, ow! That could be bad. Fortunately I have a wool cloak for padding…

        • Given the skills assembled around here our wooden bench would wind up more comfortable than the TrueFen’s purchased couch.

          • Probably cheaper, too– I’ve got some ideas for working with the “cedar fence planking” that would give it a much better spring than springs, and those go for like 70c when on sale.

            • Oh, please share if you can (probably not here)…I’m always interested in ideas like that.

              Actually, I got tasked with a wood job sometime in the next month or so I need to start planning.

              • Variation on how a mattress is held up, but closer together– the boards are VERY springy.

                I don’t have the money to experiment.

    • I’m sort of ordinary with words. Spending years helping to produce cons doesn’t make you a fan, it makes you … a producer!

    • Plenty of people who have spent years running simon-pure literary sf conventions are also counted as wrongfans. Amazingly.

    • My mom is on her…. sixth? Seventh?… set of Tolkien’s books; the first one she wore out before graduating high school, by putting them in the pocket of her jeans as she ran around doing farm and ranch work.

      I know the history of Middle Earth better than that of Europe. (Which isn’t saying much, but eh.)

      And she says that any organizer who pulls stuff like that is a silly stuffed shirt who is trying to make up for something– not that you should tell them that.
      In all seriousness, really shouldn’t tell them that; it’s needlessly unkind to someone who is trying to deal with a problem.
      They could be a normal loser who just tears stuff up– instead they’re channeling what could be destroying a lot of stuff into something useful, like “organizing conventions.” Yes, their behavior will wear on people who have to deal with them.
      But they do a lot of good, too.
      Kind of like That Church Lady who can’t go more than five sentences without talking about Jesus, and not in a constructive way– look at their works. BESIDES being obnoxious.

  8. I have been content to leave the actual running of said events to others.

    You display a certain sensibility in this.

    • Christopher M. Chupik

      Nothing I have witnessed has made me change my mind about this.

      • There is good reason I tend to lurk at the periphery of things. And, oddly, I often get invited in. One group told me and $HOUSEMATE outright that if we lived significantly closer to them, we’d have been drafted long ago.

      • Having run a retreat for three years it is a pain in the ass but there is unique pleasure on a Thursday in April standing in front of a room full of people and say, “Welcome to Submissive Journey Weekend” that I will miss (and that my predecessor admitted to me this past weekend she misses after three years).

        • ….Dang it, HerbN, how can you give me a set-up like that while also being someone I respect enough not to make jokes which I fear would be ignorant and/or pain-inducing?!?

          It’s close to a serious subject, so I can’t even simply talk about how my mother (who organized far, FAR too many things) claims it’s only for those who really enjoy pain.

          *sigh* This is my dance-around-the-edge of a possible rudeness post; I hope it doesn’t hit you wrong.

          • Not at all…hell, if I supply a straight line go for it. Ignorant jokes can still be funny and often spark useful conversation while pain (or at least groan) inducing is the specialty of my girlfriend. I cannot keep up with her and her puns.

            As for your mom’s opinion is that her informed one from being around it or her uninformed one from not? Oh, wait, she meant organizing is for those who like pain , not the other thing.

            As for hitting me wrong that happens from time to time but some of us do really enjoy pain and don’t mind the occasional wrap as long as most of the strikes are in the sweet spot. Plus, I have a rep for being impossible to mark 😉

            And I think that’s got to be a week’s worth of double and triple entendre.

        • William O. B'Livion

          I think that what the Foxifier is saying is PHRASING HerbN, PHRASING.

          Unless there is a deliberate connection between “pain in the ass” and “Submissive”.

          • I was kind of going on the “sub”/”masochist” conflation, but… kinda, yeah.

            I *FREQUENTLY* wonder if I have some kind of a suppressed masochism streak, all things considered.

          • Just with bonus “I care about you, I don’t want to cause you pain, and I know I don’t know enough to be sure what I’m stepping on isn’t your toes” to HerbN.

          • Unless there is a deliberate connection between “pain in the ass” and “Submissive”.

            Bad in the days when it was hard to connect and you often had to look for partners in vanilla settings it was an old saw that people interested in receiving in a very comfortable spot (not the back of a Volkswagon) were good candidates to ask to experiment with submission.

            In his excellent intro Jay Wiseman suggested that wasn’t as useful made what I consider a better suggestion.

        • Dammit my tongue’s bleeding

      • Stephen J.

        I used to work for an event management company and helped to run professional conventions. Never once did I ever have any intent to join an SF con com, for the simple reason that I could not possibly see how anyone could *enjoy* said events while running them.

        • It is a different kind of enjoy but it is there. I may be doing something for a con next year and I’ll enjoy it making the con better if I do (although it will all be pre-con so it won’t interfere at the event).

          • Tread carefully, there is a well know saying among con workers — Warning: Once you are staff you are shafted. 😉

          • I will help out from time to time (unofficially since I will not freelance) and have run panels but not one of the guys running around aflame.

            Last one was some grunt work, con book story and panel.

        • I used to counsel the people trying to run wargaming conventions that if you were organizing and running the event, you could not take part in the event. Your attention had to be on the event itself, not on the wargame you wished to play. If you want to play, have someone else take over the organizational role while you’re doing so. The same thing applies for any participatory event–you can be both an administrator and a participant; choose one or the other.

  9. Correction: Sasquan had over 10 thousand members, but warm-body on-site attendance was about 5200.

    • Christopher M. Chupik

      Thank you. I found conflicting numbers when researching this.

    • Randy Wilde

      but warm-body on-site attendance was about 5200.

      How many sparkly vampires, zombies, and other cold-body on-site types?

  10. Reality Observer

    The biggest fights, I think, come when something is based on the same things as an old favorite (of some) – but is still completely different. I happen to like the old BSG far better than the new one; the darkness of the new one is just offputting to me. But that would have been the case for me even if they had started with a “new” concept (no such thing, really) and developed it the same way.

    I see, in my limited experience true, far less rancor between the fans of the various STTV series – none of them tried to “remake” the original; they simply went to different places and times. (The arguments over inconsistencies between them, or internally, can be fascinating, or those over which is the “best” – but there are no obvious “silos” out there.)

    • I never got the chance to even review the rebooted Galactica. Someone strapped the camera to a basketball, gave it to a basketball player with cerebral palsy, and turned the wiggly-jiggly effects on the console up to “11.”

      I was able to watch pieces of about three episodes of Firefly, though. They only cranked the wiggly-jiggly up to “9.5” or so.

  11. As yet another Wrongfan, reading SF starting in ’55, and thus reading the previous 40 years of SF in our local library. I’ve been privileged to participate in WorldCon Costuming, sell books at many conventions, enjoy and help to teach Regency dancing at cons, Game and help to run Blue rooms and Hospitality suites. Nonetheless, as an avowed Sad Puppy, I find I’m a WrongFan. I’ll wear that badge proudly.

  12. Pingback: David Gerrold’s Unrepentant ASStericks | The Arts Mechanical

  13. You know, I’m not a WrongFan at all, as I repudiate the designation of “fan” in its entirety. I’ve been an avid reader of SF for over 50 years and have over the years been a long-term subscriber to Analog, Galaxy, Worlds of If, F&SF, and Asimovs (although the only one I still subscribe to is Analog). What I haven’t been is someone who obsesses over niggling details in order to establish my position in some ultimately meaningless pecking order. I am if anything a representative of the vast majority of SF enjoyers, someone who looks at the TruFans and says, “what a bunch of douches!”

  14. Another Casual fan, here. Have all of the original Blake’s 7 on VHS, and eccentric collections of … well, science fiction writers that l like. But yes – it’s supposed to be fun, a diversion, a bit of an escape …

    The ruckus with the Truefans and the Puppies reminds me of the remark about academic feuds – that they are so vicious because the stakes are so small.

    • Well, you *gotta* use small stakes for those tiny little psychic vampires, using the big ones just makes ’em go *squish* and then regenerate…

      Oh. You mean the other kind of stakes… My bad. *grin*

  15. I don’t much are for the Abrams reboots of Star Trek. I saw one of them, thought that the Kirk portrayed was a brash youngster who had no control of himself and didn’t belong in command of a starship, and vowed not to see another one. Although I was never a True Believer, I can now consider myself an official Old Fart who saw a few of the first run broadcasts. I have watched in disgust as political correctness has increasingly infected Hollywierd over they years, with a corresponding increase in flashy special effects at the expense of decent characterization and story. But that’s insufficient excuse to go hating on those who actually like the movies and have no idea what they are missing.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      Nod.

      YMMV is almost always the proper way to go.

      My opinion of the reboot?

      They may be fun watches but they aren’t Star Trek. [Grin]

    • LastRedoubt

      Yah.

      My issue with the reboot is less the “gonzo action movie” aspect than the really stupid character choices regarding who they allow near the bridge of a starship…. Almost Marty-Stu in the “joins, goes through basic, and is Soooooo awesome ends up in charge”

      • Having the main character hanging from his fingertips in a movie is tolerable. Twice is bad. But the third time in the same movie? I’m about ready to go stomp on his fingers and let him fall.

        • My big problem is the teeny tiny size of the universe. The time required to travel between two points is determined by the plot. Oh, and I want my instant interstellar cell phone.

          • Oh, I think you’re mistaking the warp engines as operating on known physical principles. No, they operate according to the Required Plot Device understanding of causality/quantum mechanics/relativity/bafflegab…

          • Randy Wilde

            Oh, and I want my instant interstellar cell phone.

            You understand the reason the Federation has no money is because it was all spent paying for a three-minute call on one of those things, right?

        • If you do it twice, let alone three times, you need to explain it– like, maybe Vathara’s Embers style, where it indicates Major Plot Point.

          Because the whole point of “by your finger-tips” is that it’s strange.

      • My only quibble with you is in the word “almost.”

    • Star Trek? I liked the original show. At first I watched Next Generation and Deep Space Nine with some interest. But they kept on going and going — going nowhere I cared to go. I stopped watching. Voyager just didn’t catch. And Enterprise? I know it existed. I enjoyed slightly less than half of the original movies, saw the first of the reboot and have stayed home since.

      I can wade in and argue the relationship between Squire Trelane and Q — but that is largely because I like the fun of a good argument that carries with it no serious implications. But I am not a particular Star Trek fan — which is proved by my assertion that there are no serious implications in said relationship.

      Now Galaxy Quest I adore.

      And being a malcontent I do have a soft spot for Firefly.

      • The only thing I liked about Voyager was the Doctor.

        • Mmmmm . . . Jeri Ryan . . .

        • Eh. I wanted to like the Doctor, because it was obvious that Picardo was by far the best actor on the show. However, the Doctor annoyed me because it seemed to me that they never really thought about his nature, what exactly he was, and how and why he would grow. He always struck me as a snarky version of Data; amusing, but not really what I thought the character should have been.

          I think the moment that best summed up my objections to the Doctor was one episode where he was malfunctioning, they summoned up a hologram of Dr. Zimmerman to fix him, and the Zimmerman holo wanted to know, “Why is a piece of medical software learning to sing opera?” I always thought that was a good question. Why WOULD a piece of medical software be interested in opera? I don’t take it for granted that he wouldn’t, but it seems to me that there should be some reason for the program to want to grow in that direction, and it didn’t seem like the writers had really given it any thought.

          And I suppose there I’ve proven my “takes it way too seriously” credentials : – )

          • Randy Wilde

            I don’t take it for granted that he wouldn’t, but it seems to me that there should be some reason for the program to want to grow in that direction, and it didn’t seem like the writers had really given it any thought.

            IIRC, he reprogrammed himself with various interests in order to be able to relate better with the crew, since he was functioning as more than just a supplemental resource.

            • Ah, but then the questions are just starting.

              Why would a hologramic medical program think that it needed to be able to relate to its patients?

              Why did it conclude that an activity such as singing opera would make it more relatable?

              • My favorite Voyager episode was when the doctor was convinced HE was real and EVERYONE ELSE was a hologram and they were still in the Alpha Quadrant. I soooooo wanted that to be true – but then it turned out the doctor was going crazy and I lost all interest in the show.

                • I lost interest in Voyager after the episode where they found a way to get back to Earth that could rescue the entire crew, and no one seemed to notice (something about an infinite warp drive, and rapid forced evolution, which got reversed via some handwavy medical treatment). I shouted at the TV, “you can all go home now, you’ve succeeded! Show’s over!” But they were too stupid to understand the obvious.

              • I don’t remember the opera singing, but there’s a simple explanation as to why he would think it advisable to be able to relate to his patients: He was told frequently that he was too abrupt and abrasive. Once the fact of being in a long term situation, rather than the temporary status he was intended for, finally was integrated into his programming, he could be expected to begin considering whether his manner was good or bad for his patients, since he was being told so often how annoying he was.

                An adaptable program like that would be expected to ignore such things for a time, until the weight of repetition added up in his memory log and began being considered as not likely being an outlying opinion, but a common one. Psychological data would indicate that such a thing was bad for most patients in a long-term situation, so he would begin altering his approach to dealing with people.

                • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                  Well, IMO the Real Problem with the Emergency Doctor Program is that “He” came across as a true AI Like Data not like a very advanced Expert System.

                  If the Federation could create AIs with the capability of the Emergency Doctor Program, why didn’t we see more of them and why was Data seen as so special?

                  While you could argue that the special part of Data was that his “brain” fit into a human-sized body while beings like the Emergency Doctor Program required “hardware” that couldn’t fit into a human-sized body, there’s still the question of why the Enterprise or Voyager didn’t have a True AI able to run the starship?

                  Remember “Rommie”, the AI of the Andromeda Ascendant in the TV series Andromeda?

                  • Oh, that’s been a large complaint of mine even back into TNG. Given that there had already been a couple of sentient AIs created back during TOS (the ship’s computer after an update, when it became in love with the captain; M5 with the wargames), I didn’t understand why there weren’t fully-functioning AIs on all the starships. Even if those two examples were less than successful, given another 78 years, surely the bugs could have been ironed out.

                  • Patrick Chester

                    Remember “Rommie”, the AI of the Andromeda Ascendant in the TV series Andromeda?

                    One of my favorite characters of that series.

              • Randy Wilde

                Why would a hologramic medical program think that it needed to be able to relate to its patients?

                Criticism of its bedside manner.

                Why did it conclude that an activity such as singing opera would make it more relatable?

                Random number generators can be a pain in the backside. 🙂

    • Don’t Like the Star trek Reboot. I did like the original Star Trek and the spin-off series, but then there was Babylon 5 (in my opinion better than ST) and Far scape (loved it),

      • Exactly my take – I liked DS9 – but then Babylon 5 was so much better – I even got my wife to watch them (it was so easy for her – I had all the DVDs) and we went through them at 4 or so a night. 🙂

        Those of us who followed Babylon 5 on the TV for first runs I think deserve some kind of medal – different time slots, heck different networks!

        It is a crime that Farscape lasted, what, a season or two? While Castle has gone for much longer. Sigh.

        • Farscape had four seasons and the “Peacekeeper Wars” movie that finished the series. That’s one I picked up on DVD when I found it for a halfway decent price. But occasionally, I find myself looking over at the blu-ray set…

  16. I went to my first Trek con in 1974 at age three. I’ve worked at several cons, usually in Security errrr Fan Relations. Go head, tell me I haven’t paid my dues.

    Also… regarding JJTrek I knew the fannish inquisition was coming (and had heard the term already, btw) even before my ex roomate the Trek Geek started going on and on and on and on about it on facebook…

    • richardmcenroe

      My first TrekCon was working security the NY con at the Commodore in 72. First one Leonard and Shatner both turned up. 2,500 expected, 25,000 showed up. If you watch the movie Zulu and sit right up close to the screen you’ll get a bit of the effect. I think it might even have inspired John Ringo’s Posleen.

  17. Arlan Andrews, Sr.

    Imagine how I felt, as one who had been a fan since about 1950, a pro in SFWA since about 1980, with dozens of published SF stories in ANALOG and elsewhere, having once had GRRM and Paris as a dinner guest in 1985, with other SF notables at a function sponsored by the National Laboratory where I was working in New Mexico, and acquainted with him at cons since about 1990, to be subjected to the Puppy-kicking hysteria fanned on by GRRM and others, culminating in the asterisk treacle I watched live streamed from Sasquan. Glad I was not there, as a Hugo nominee. I would not have been as gracious as other victims. Good luck to them this year; I won’t even watch the livestream this time.

    • That dinner was 1995, not 1985.

    • When the other victims included L. Jagi Lamplighter (who was there to accept for some others), saying “not as gracious” is….well, not as light as vacuum?

      Jokes aside, I’m sorry for your insult.

  18. MadRocketSci

    Speaking of Star Trek, is there any written sci-fi out there that really fills the need of *exploration* as a plot device? (Well, there are the written Star Trek novels, of course). Any other settings out there that are more about exploring a mostly unknown universe?

    I remember Larry Niven’s books and Poul Anderson’s fondly for that reason: Their protagonists go interesting places and meet interesting people for reasons that don’t always involve bombing the crap out of them. Not saying that I haven’t enjoyed mil-sci-fi,but a solid diet of one kind of thing gets a little monotonous.

    • madrocketsci

      Oh, and Andre Norton too!

    • The original Star Trek was at least partly modeled on the old Westerns. “Wagon Train” to the stars, was how I heard it put. However, when the expansion of Western Civilization at the expense of native peoples became a cause for condemnation (which is rich in irony when it comes from Los Angeles!) and bold explorers began to become synonymous with rapacious bloodthirsty exploiters, the exploration theme began to fall out of favor.

      The thrill of exploration fades a little bit when the universe is seen to populated by dim red dwarf stars surrounded by lots of tiny frozen rockballs and the odd Vulcan hell, with human-friendly places few and far between.

      • Free-range Oyster

        Nitpick: ST was sold as wagon trains to the stars, because Westerns were a popular thing at the time, and the studios were more likely to buy that. What it was more closely based on was Horatio Hornblower: the heroic captain far from home.

        • Which is going to be IMHO the working model for any sort of FTL connected universe….

    • Probably arguably, but Cherryh’s Foreigner series sort of fits into this. As does Michael Z Williamson’s “Contact with Chaos” from his Freehold series.

    • Chuck Gannon’s Caine Riordan series, although it has fairly significant combat sequences, also has aspects of exploration that are integral to the plots.

    • richardmcenroe

      Pull Anderson’s Polesotechnic League.

    • There’s quite a bit of the explorer meme in the Liaden ‘verse, what with the Scouts and all.

    • Some of the stories in the Isaac’s Universe books would probably fit the bill. Mostly they deal with humans trying to interact with and understand the other Alien races.

  19. Imagine the cover blurb: “By Hugo Award Winner “.
    Unfortunately, to the CHORFs, having the award implied more money for their book sales, so naturally the Hugos are no longer a fan award, but a marketing gimmick. Now, the question is not is this a good author, but will this worthless drek of an author’s sales be increased enough to offset buying the ballot?

    • Heard at a book sale in Seattle:
      “No, hon, you can’t have that book: see that emblem on the front? It says it’s won a hugo. And it’s new. You won’t like it.”

      Said to a fairly small child. I couldn’t tell what percentage of those around wanted to cheer, and how many were in the “HOW DARE YOU SAY NO ABOUT A BOOK!” stage.

      • On the one hand, I understand the “Never say no about a book” mentality. Let kids explore the written word in order to become enthusiastic readers.

        On the other hand, letting kids read recent Hugo winners seems like a good way to turn them off reading for life.

        • I understand the impulse.

          I just categorically reject it for MY KIDS.

        • Robin Munn

          But if you tell them, “I’m pretty sure you won’t like it; I recommend this other one, but I’ll let you decide whether to read it or not,” then you’ve got them. They pick up the one that you recommended against, hate it, then try the one you recommended and like it… well, you’ve made your point far better than if you’ve forbidden them to read it.

          Now, that’s with older kids, the ones who are mentally ready for whatever bad stuff might be in that book. With younger kids, I’d go with forbidding them to read stuff that might harm them. Not forever: once they’re old enough, loosen the restrictions, though keep the advice. But for young kids… there ARE some books out there that a young child should NOT read until he/she is more mature.

      • When The Daughter was very young we made editorial choices made on her behalf regarding what reading material we would provide for her. As she was a voracious reader of wide interests we always had to say no anyway — to tell her she had to choose a book or two from the pile she desired. We tried to convey that a gold sticker on the cover declaring it a winner of a Nebula, Carnegie, Hugo, or whatever did not necessarily translate as desirable reading. Our purpose was to teach her how to make reasonable choices for herself, because we knew that part of our job is to prepare her for when she would be on her own.

        The Daughter read Pullman, and liked The Golden Compass, the first book in his His Dark Materials series. Then she complained vociferously, at length and often that in the subsequent books Pullman had broken his universes. She was a bit irate, expressing a sense of betrayal by the author. She concluded it weakened his arguments; it was counterproductive to his intentions. I was pleased to know she was showing signs of discernment.

        • The Daughter is wise. Golden Compass was pretty good, in spite of the not-terribly-subtle anti-religion message. Subtle Knife was preachy, annoying, and left me with no desire to read the third book in the series.

      • Huzzah! The message is getting out about message fiction!

  20. I’m a fan of the new Galactica over the old (it jumped the shark after electing Baltar President) because Glen A. Larson is a hack, and the original BG really wasn’t very good even if I *did* love it as a kid. I intensely dislike Nu-Trek because J. J. Abrams is a hack, and his ST stories aren’t very good. He mined the well of STII too much, and shoved square pegs into the round holes he found himself in order to “get the band (back) together”, so to speak.

    It doesn’t help that he threw away *all* canon except for the few TOS characters. That felt like a *huge* “screw you” to the fans, casual or not.

    • Reality Observer

      And (on BG) I am on the opposite side…

      Quick question (anyone else can join in, if they wish) – every other fan, as opposed to fanatic, that I talk to about BG acknowledges that the new one had far better production values, plotting depth, character development, etc. Our differences have been whether we like “dark” fiction or not.

      (Another one – everyone I’ve ever asked also agrees that the resuscitation was just about the most horrible thing to ever be released upon the unsuspecting SF public… I liken it to seeing an old friend that had been turned into a mindless zombie.)

      • Bjorn Hasseler

        I prefer the original BSG. As soon as the new one announced that they were making Starbuck and Boomer women, I wondered why they simply didn’t use Athena, Cassiopeia, and Sheba to their full potential. And then there was the “who will the next character to turn out to actually be a Cylon?” I saw the original as essentially hopeful, even though they were in a tough place. The reboot, not so much. Better production aesthetics don’t matter to me compared to that.

        • That’s just the mindset again. They didn’t want to make their female characters as competent as the male ones, they wanted them to *be* the male characters.

          Same thing with the “gender-bender comic reboot” thing a few years ago. Thor? They rebooted him as a woman. Yay! Grrrl Pwrrr!

          What it looked like to me as the absolute minimum effort they could put forth; rather than creating a strong new female character, they emasculated a down-at-the-heels male one with low sales figures.

          • Patrick Chester

            Worse: The Thor series already has a badassed female character.

            Sif.

            • Christopher M. Chupik

              Who has been in the movies, too. You’d think Marvel would have promoted her and given her a series, but no.

              • Patrick Chester

                It’s almost as if they weren’t looking for a nifty female character and instead wanted to destroy a well-loved male character and have him replaced by a female character and pretend it was being enlightened.

          • “They didn’t want to make their female characters as competent as the male ones, they wanted them to *be* the male characters.”

            Because they wanted to co-opt the existing audience rather than take the time to build their own.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        I watched the original BSG and sort of enjoyed the early episodes but dropped out after I thought the episodes were getting silly.

        I sort of enjoyed the “Discovers Earth” movie but it had too many “oh come on now” factors.

        I disliked the “space scouts” thing they did but the “What happened to Starbuck” was interesting.

        For various reasons, I never got into the re-boot and I’m glad that I didn’t try to watch the final episode of it.

        Note, as a concept I liked what the re-boot did with Adama as the Military Leader with a Political/Civilian Leader of the refugee fleet.

        • Reality Observer

          I kind of forced myself to watch the final one. I was seriously disappointed. The “Adam and Eve” bit has been done so much better…

        • The same thing happened to the original Battlestar Galactica as happened to Lost in Space – it started out as a serious adult show, but the networks thought of SF as “kid stuff” and kept ordering things dumbed down for ever-younger market demographics. Most of the developing story arcs – not B5 style, but story arcs were unusual then – got truncated or recast into single episodes, heavily slanted to the “younger audience.”

      • I enjoyed the mini-series and the first few seasons of the new BSG. The fact that the XO was shown in charge of damage control so the captain could fight the ship in the mini-series alone was worth the price of admission.

        I consider the very first episode, 33, to be the single best military sci-fi story ever. Watching it I felt like I did the few times we went to GQ and I wasn’t sure if it was real or a drill (especially the one time it was BS Missile on a boomer) and it still does now after dozens of viewings.

        Want a feeling for submarine life in terms of being on the edge and ready to fight? Only Das Boot competes IMHO.

        • Reality Observer

          Hum? From what I remember, the XO, Colonel Tigh (Terry Carter) was pretty much in charge of damage control in the original… At least I think he was in the one major damage episode, with the fire on the flight deck.

          But the memory could be spotty, it’s been quite a while – subject to correction, here.

          • Randy Wilde

            At least I think he was in the one major damage episode, with the fire on the flight deck.

            Adama was out of commission in that episode, so Tigh was in command.

            I actually liked that episode more because it had Boomer away from Apollo and Starbuck. Of the three of them, he’s the one I’d want watching my back in combat.

        • Joe Wooten

          Agreed!! That was an excellent episode, the best one of the whole series.

      • Randy Wilde

        every other fan, as opposed to fanatic, that I talk to about BG acknowledges that the new one had far better production values, plotting depth, character development, etc.

        Better hair, too.

        I’ll watch both series, but I prefer the original. As far as the reasoning… does “the reboot has a tendency to make me wish the Cylons succeeded” count as “dark fiction”?

    • SheSellsSeashells

      I loved, loved, loved the first episode of the reboot. And the second; liked the third. After a couple more I realized I had developed a subconscious “I can see this plot coming; they are going to do the worst possible thing to each character because GRIMDARK” vibe. I quit watching shortly thereafter.

      • Reality Observer

        Yes, I think I got about that far myself. Then, like you, it just got darker week by week. Caught a few in other seasons, and that didn’t seem to change at all (unless I was unlucky).

        Like I said elsewhere, though, that is a matter of my taste – it was well produced and had a lot more depth to it than the original (well, a lot more time to develop that, too). Probably why DS9 is my least favorite of the STTV series. Well, the live series – I just about threw something at the TV when the “Puppeteer” episode of the animated one showed. (Good thing I resisted; I was, have to look up air date, yes, thirteen at the time…)

    • Overall I enjoyed the new BSG better than the old. When I first heard they turned Starbuck and Boomer into women my first thought was ‘great, more SJW BS.’ But they did it fairly well. The middle section with everyone in prison camps and then the trial was ‘meh’, but for the most part I liked it. The original BSG was also entertaining the first season, not so much after they arrived on Earth.

      As for the ST reboot: it was an entertaining popcorn movie for the first one, the second one was also worth sitting through. But neither of them are worth owning and rewatching fanatically like I’ve done with some of the original movies and episodes.

      • Reality Observer

        Really, there was only one season of the original BSG. The other one (Galactica 1980) is what I call the “resurrected zombie” of the original.

    • Watched all of the old Galactica, have yet to see any of the new, but I lean heavily on the soundtrack (thanks JY!) for creepy, menacing, lurking evil, “don’t go around that corner. No, I’m serious, do not go around the—!!!!!” music.

  21. Bjorn Hasseler

    c4c

  22. I never got beyond the fringes of Fandom…the only fannish con I go to is Frolicon and that is not for the cosplay or geek aspects but the adult ones. I did Boscon once and a few local comic conventions.

    Having watched the Puppy Kickers, if they are fandom I am glad that is the limit of what I did. From what I’ve seen of FANDOM I don’t want to be associated with them. Hell, I’d rather be associated with swingers.

  23. The horror for the core fandom of yore is that they won. SFF went mainstream. But along the way it decided it didn’t need the obnoxious geeks anymore. Oops.

    • Reality Observer

      They also abandoned “mainstream.” The criteria for any of these awards is now “approved” and “literary.” (They don’t even have to be science fiction or actual fantasy…).

      The “and” is vital, there. (Also the fact that “literary” now apparently embraces “gratuitously offensive” as well.)

      • Baron von Cut-n-Paste

        But only offensive towards the right (wrong) people.

        • Reality Observer

          Eh, just plain offensive was fine (so long as it was not against the “right” people). I have in mind that graphic novel one – “Sex Crimes” or some such… (That one took brain bleach, believe me; one reason I decided not to vote this year, as I was obligated to actually wade through all of last year’s that I could get my hands on.)

      • Epater le bourgeoise has been a literary battle cry since the 19th Century.

        • I’d love to see the lit’rary sci-fi and fantasy folks try to, oh, really shock people. Like say walking a lobster on a leash. Or correcting someone and pointing out that no, using the “wrong” pronoun is NOT the same thing as physical abuse.

        • Reality Observer

          Thank you for the new word! Fairly obvious from the context, but I could dredge up no cognate for it (knowing only the tiny bit of HS French I helped the kids with, I fall back on Latin).

          Whew! There is no cognate, apparently. The memory cells are still mostly charged…

        • And it’s a very bourgeois statement itself since it let’s the bourgeoisie define your thoughts and actions

      • It occurs to me, as a conceit, that they ARE into fantasy: The fantastic belief that literary BMNYP’s (Brick & Mortar New York Publishers) continue, and will continue, to be economically important, and as a result powerful.
        The irony is that IF they actually read widely in the genre they purport to write and publish, they’d know that a sufficient swarm of LACs can take down the largest battle-cruiser.
        Yet, they pursue their losing war…

  24. “I don’t really belong to your group? – Well, I didn’t move. So what you’re saying is you don’t belong to mine… and I can easily live with that. ‘Bye.”

  25. Fanaticism is not the way to make friends and influence people.

    The Puppy Kickers don’t have any interest in making friends with or influencing the Puppies. They seek to drive us out. That’s the whole of their agenda.

    Good people seek to turn their enemies into friends, or at least tolerable and tolerant neighbors. Bad people seek to destroy their enemies. It’s a distinction worth keeping in mind.

  26. Here’s another happy casual fan. Who has the energy to be a TruFan? I’d rather be outside enjoying the mountains.

  27. First, there are the regular fans. Maybe they’ve watched/read all the episodes/books of a particular series, maybe not, it’s no big deal.
    Then there are the True Believers, a much smaller faction. They will wage bitter flame-wars over the minutia of imaginary canons.

    I can’t agree with your division; if I were to split it in two, it would be “joyful” and “other.”

    You can have casuals and True Believers– the guy who on Galaxy Quest answered the (literal) call to save the day– who take what they know and love it, enjoy what it is. They can both be quite nasty if you kick their sandcastle.

    Then you have folks who seem to mostly enjoy it as a means to an end. The ones that stick out most are promoting a view they like, and the most annoying ones are just finding a big hammer to slam on those they don’t. (Probably because I’m one of those who rejects the new trek movies, I run into a lot of these– the teller is how they respond to my husband’s view that the movies were good, and enjoyable, but just not Trek.)

    • The more general tell:
      does their main involvement in the fandom consist of “you are doing it wrong”– frequently without any support?
      Do they effortlessly switch between “you take this too seriously” and “you are WRONG!!!”?

      or

      Do they enjoy weaving stories or theories or telling folks about the show?

    • Christopher M. Chupik

      Actually, that’s a good point. The real fanatics have lost all sense of joy in what they claim to love. They’re like believers who don’t love their god so much as they hate everyone who doesn’t.

    • “the teller is how they respond to my husband’s view that the movies were good, and enjoyable, but just not Trek.”

      Oh yes, this! I enjoyed the new Trek, but it’s just not something I’m going to rewatch time and again, or even quote ever, like the original movies. They were fun, but not something I’m fanatical about.

  28. Real fans indulge in their passion as time and money permit. Sometimes they go to or help organize cons. Sometimes they binge watch their favorite genre tv show. And sometimes they’re lucky to have time to read an SF novel in the company break room.

    All are real fans and the community needs them make it work. Your favorite authors would probably starve to death if they had to rely on just the con goers for book sales. So the self-proclaimed “tru-fans” are talking out of their asterisks when they think they own fandom.

  29. Christopher M. Chupik

    One of the things that became apparent is how many Trekkies cling to “canon” (though half of them can’t spell it, apparently) as though it were the sole factor determining if a Trek story is good or not.

    Almost every one of the True Believers who have tried to explain what a “better” Trek movie than the 2009 reboot would be end up creating lists of continuity references and pointless character cameos that would not advance the plot, if there was one. The Idiot Trekkie I’ve clashed with on Facebook wrote the most hilarious “outline” of a Trek movie a while back. He has “climate change” caused by debris from a Starfleet vessel impacting on a planet’s surface, causing “the greenhouse effect”. The rest of the “science” is technobabble, most of it cribbed from TNG episodes. He does everything I list above, filling the first half of the story with characters and situations that contribute nothing to the narrative and would increase the running time and budget for no reason. And considering how this guy robotically condemns the reboot for being racist and sexist, he has almost no female characters at all, and Sulu and Uhura are shoehorned into the tail-end of the third act.

    The funniest part of all is when he said that fixing the movie would have been easy, because he threw his outline together in a day, and a professional screenwriter would have done it in no time. Also, that his version would have made more money. 😀

      • Reality Observer

        Heh. I happened to enjoy greatly “The Cannon Law.” One of the better 163x novels.

    • Well, in a certain sense, it is. At least, a good Trek story.

      It’s no use trying to have a sonnet of 15 lines. Trek is a little less rigorous, but there are things you have to do to make it work. And making a story half-Trek and half-not can put a lot of discordance in the art.

    • One of the things that became apparent is how many Trekkies cling to “canon” (though half of them can’t spell it, apparently) as though it were the sole factor determining if a Trek story is good or not.

      Um….

      You mean, those horrible people want the good Trek stories to be Trek?

      • Reality Observer

        Well, if the one he referenced thought his “outline” was canon…

        • Do not care what random idiot said.

          The standard he set up was that those terrible people wanted a Trek show to be Star Trek.

          Are you arguing that Trek stories should NOT relate to…y’know… Trek cannon?

          • Christopher M. Chupik

            Nope, just saying that the canon isn’t the be-all, end-all. A lot of Spock’s best stories would have never happened if they had stuck to his very early characterization as a shouting, emotional alien with undefined “human ancestors”. One of the many, many things wrong with that guys outline was that while it superficially checked all the items off the list, it had no heart, and the characters were just puppets who contributed nothing to how the story was resolved.

            • Cannon =/= strict characterization.

              I was going to go on, but that pretty much sums it up.

              If you have to go “it didn’t contradict it, buuuut”– then stop.

              • If you want a good Trek movie, just find the old books “Price of the Phoenix” and “Fate of the Phoenix” and take the plot but rewrite the dialogue – that gives you a good story right there (yes, I know the pacing and dialogue are problems in the book – but the plot and characters are gold if you can get the dialogue right).

                If you want a comedy, take “How Much for Just the Planet” – imagine having Tim Curry play a singing role in a Star Trek movie. 🙂

  30. In one FB thread, GRRM conceded that my 14 years of pubbing a ‘zine and three years running a Con Art Show counted as enough FanAc to make my opinions valid, except that they weren’t the right opinions, so maybe not so valid….

    Okay, not those exact words, but my fannish resume did count, apparently.

  31. To understand the divide, we need to understand that there are two broad categories of fans.

    There’s a third. It consists of those fans (such as I) who enjoy a true and sophisticated appreciation of the show while sadly accepting that few others can grasp it as we do. We are the Enlightened Ones, the ones who have risen above mere fandom, even above obsessive fandom. We eschew arguments over trivia, over inconsistencies and continuity issues, even over varying interpretations of characters and events.

    For none of those matter. They are merely the sordid flotsam of attempts by mere mortals to present to us the tales of the Star Trek mythos. We who are the enlightened comprehend and appreciate the Platonic Ideal of the program, the ideal concept which manifested the vision Roddenberry attempted to capture.

    You cannot fault a sculptor for failing to capture the essence of an angel; you can merely appreciate the effort of one doomed to fail. True connoisseurship entails having the grace to accept the shortcomings of dilettante fans who imagine that epicureanism is achievable by mastery of the details, components and elements when the truth can only be expressed by grasping the gestalt.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      Somebody has an inflated head. Where’s the pin? 😈

    • I think a lit’rary critic has hacked RES’s account. Can we run a security check, please? 😉

    • Randy Wilde

      We who are the enlightened comprehend and appreciate the Platonic Ideal of the program,

      Or at least the stepchildren thereof…

  32. “It doesn’t matter if we’ve been part of fandom since the ‘80s, or the ‘70s or even earlier.”

    If avid reading counts, 1960’s. Most of the twerps fussing about the Hugos are a lot younger than I. Very tiresome really, the constant “but you’re not a -real- fan.”

    All it takes to be a fan and vote for Hugos is $40 bucks. And yes, the pretense that WorldCon is about Science Fiction and the people who love it died last year at the award ceremonies. It was sick unto death before that, but the cheering for Noah Ward was the BEEEEEEEEEEP of the cardiac monitor flat-lining.

    This year seems to be mostly galvanic action and the gasses of putrefaction. moving things about.

  33. I think Heinlein showed some class when all he asked for by way of acknowledgment, for the similarity between Tribbles and Martian Flat Cats, was a signed copy of the script. Having watched all those original episodes when they first aired probably doesn’t get me any Fan cred, as I’ve never been more than a very casual fan.

  34. As someone who was voted out of every club I started, then asked to help (but not invited back) when things went to shit, I always expect the fannish inquisition.

    And, quite frankly, anybody who says you have to pay dues by helping run cons just wants to make you as crazy as they are. And that’s coming from someone who volunteered to run afterprom more than once.

  35. Heh. I was a wrongfan before wrongfanning was cool. I was reading Dick before Bladerunner came out. I’ve always preferred Effinger and Malzberg to Asimov and Clarke.

    I thought that the first Star Trek series was fun, when I watched it in the 1960s, but never took it seriously. Ditto Star Wars– I hated the second and subsequent movies (Yoda was annoying enough to keep me away from the franchise.)

    I was New Wave in the 1970s, and I’m still New Wave. I like books that are disturbing and offensive, that ask difficult questions and don’t answer them.

    Many of the works I really love are considered by many to be not “really” science fiction. There aren’t any spaceships and blasters in VALIS or Dhalgren or Last Call or Illuminatus or The Soft Machine or You’re All Alone.

    I like what I like, and I enjoy those rare moments when I can share one of my favorite works with someone else and she or he doesn’t send it back to me tied to a brick through my front window.

    By and large, though, I’ve accepted that there aren’t many people with the same taste as me. It doesn’t make me better than other people, and it doesn’t make me worse. I’m not “hipper” or “cooler” or “more aware” than people who like Star Wars and Star Trek. I just like different things.

  36. Hypersensitivity and temper tantrums are a side-effect of a society that has been too affluent for too long. For most of our evolutionary history, members of our species spent every waking moment trying to stay alive, and the rarity of leisure time was used for reproduction. Since the advent of civilization however, we now have transitioned to an abundance of leisure time, and (for many) this idleness void has been filled with delusions of grandeur arising within the make-believe world of the imagination. The fandom psychosis that you describe can only exist in a fantastical world where the gravy train never stops rolling.

    • Christopher M. Chupik

      Indeed. The Idiot Trekkie I mention has clearly never had to deal with any truly serious problems his whole life, or he wouldn’t be so fixated on trivial things.

    • aka “majoring in minors”.
      One advantage of a work ethic is not having time to get fixated on trivialities, because there’s always more important things to do.

  37. Christopher M. Chupik

    “But Chris is young.”

    Thanks, Sarah, but at 39, I’m not as young as I used to be. 🙂

  38. Sarah, your description of your altered consciousness in the immediate aftermath of your concussion brought back memories of my own concussion, vividly. 😀

    It was 1976 and I was 16, riding my bicycle to school.

    One moment I felt my bike sliding out from under me. Then there is a blank space, and then the voices of my two friends urging me to do…something.

    I couldn’t see, my eyes didn’t seem to be working. At all. And I couldn’t understand the words my friend were saying, but I could *hear* the urgency in their voices. They *wanted* something from me. Desperately. So I stood up, still unable to see and unknowing of the situation I was in. At that moment, I had no memory of what had happened or where I was. Complete disorientation.

    (I later learned they wanted to get me out of the middle of the road. They probably should not have moved me, but – hey, we were all only 16. 😀 )

    So I stood, unseeing, and allowed my friends to guide me…somewhere.

    And then I lay down again, and there’s another blank spot.

    Some unknown amount of time later, my vision came back. I was lying on my back looking at a sky laced with tree branches. I was pure awareness with no context. I didn’t know who or where I was or what I was seeing. I didn’t even know that I didn’t know. I just looked at the pattern before my eyes and thought how beautiful it was.

    Some indefinite time after that, who I was began to *seep* into my awareness. Not all at once, more like a bath tub filling from a trickle, so slowly that once my identity returned, I’d forgotten that I’d not known before. *Then* I knew I was looking at sky and at tree branches. I had not known that. I’d just seen.

    At that moment, I asked the classic question: “What happened?”