Doctor Who / effort / fantasy & sci-fi / popularity / story / true fan / writers / writing

Fandom

Unfortunately because of the lighting, you can’t read the sign on the door–but if you know the TARDIS, you know what it says. My friend is edited out since I’m posting this late at night and can’t seem to wait to get her permission to use her image on my blog.

Are you a true fan of anything? Ever written fanfic? Worn a costume of a favorite character? Waited in line for hours to meet a singer, writer, actor you love? Or have you ever wanted to but didn’t because you were afraid of the looks you’d get?

In time for our housewarming party, I turned the door in my office into a TARDIS from the long-running British sci-fi show Doctor Who. I have friends who are also fans, and they loved posing in front of the TARDIS. Other friends don’t know anything about sci-fi, and maybe they were baffled, but they were polite and appreciated my enthusiasm.

What is it like to create a story that people love enough to dress at the characters, to bake cupcakes based on heaven-knows-what from your book, to write fanfic, to make jewelry, to start a band, all from something that came out of your head?

Sure, we are subjected to marketing ploys, stories are created around toys, and conglomerates wait for us to spend our money on key chains, tee-shirts, and other nonsense. But not every story is like that.

In 1963 the BBC came up with the idea of a Time Lord traveling all of time and space in a blue box. In 2012 a woman in Texas spends hours of her life copying that blue box in her home. I doubt the BBC of 1963 dreamed of such a thing.

Then again, creating a story that people love deeply–too deeply? Is that possible?–can end up like this.

8 thoughts on “Fandom

  1. Very cool, Marta, setting up the TARDIS for the party! I’ve paused to consider this. My wife insists I will have fans. Actually, since I write historical fantasy, she warns that my fans will be like th comicbook store-woner on the Simpsons–you know, the guy who says, “Worst fantasy trilogy ever!” She fears we will one day have fans showing up on our porch to ask an obscure question about the background of a secondary character, or some such.

    Kind of like the guy who wrote to George RR Martin telling him he was doing a thesis for college on the Valyrian language, and asked him for all of his transcrits and translations regarding it. GRRM wrote the guy back saying somthing like, “Look, I appreciate your enthusiasm, but it’s a made up lost empire. There are literally six or seven words I’ve INVENTED for a nonexistant language. And even I can’t keep them straight.”

    I’ve been a lifelong fan of LOTR, and was one of those guys who went to the first showing on the first day of each of the films’ releases. I have four or five bound sets of the books, in various incarnations, and have read the trilogy five or six times in the last forty years.

    Someday I’ll be able to tell people, I knew Marta when… 🙂

    • Oh, it’s not set up jut for the party. That is the bathroom door!

      But you’re right. If you write fantasy (or sci-fi), you are much more likely to have the possessive fan. You should watch the documentary about George Lucas. It really discusses that whole creator vs fan dilemma.

      See, now how would you feel if someone forked money over for several bound sets of your books? That would be something.

      And you’re funny. I know that with all the competition in the world, my book is more likely to disappear than create a fan base (especially since I am no marketing pro), but I’m glad you know me now. 🙂

  2. I’ve never watched Dr. Who, so I don’t understand the appeal. I’ve never been a super fan of a show, though. I mean, I have shows I like, but I’m cursed. As soon as I get hooked on a show, it seems to get canceled.

    • But what about a series of books? I just use Doctor Who as an example because I’ve got the picture, but I’m more interested in people who are huge fans of characters in books–like Lord of the Rings or Alice in Wonderland or whatever. Ever feel passionate about a particular fictional character? (Granted, many of the great characters have films made of them, but I’m thinking of falling in love with the book before the movie.)

      • Oh! The Great Gatsby. That’s my favorite book of all time. I cannot wait to see Baz Luhrman’s interpretation of it.

  3. That’s a terrific door design. And maybe the lighting obscured the sign, but I like the way the light seems to be flooding the frame from within the TARDIS itself.

    I’m not by nature a joiner, and participation in a group experience seems to be one of the main elements of cult fandom. So I’ve never really gotten into, y’know, doing the fan conventions, the costumes, the board games, watch parties, and so on. (Another good documentary on the topic, which I’ve never seen, btw, is called Trekkies.)

    You know I’ve come to be crazy about The Doctor, though — as well as related shows like Torchwood and Sherlock and you know about my Twin Peaks fandom, and so on. (In the latter case, I have managed to accumulate — and generally lose — a variety of “supporting material,” including a newsletter subscription, an audiotape of all of Cooper’s conversations with Diane, an anthology of academic papers about the show…) For a good long while, I had every episode of the British Avengers TV show on VHS, with data about each kept in a database so I could cross-reference characters and settings and such. I guess that counts, huh?

    For books, it’s generally a more reserved sort of fandom. The Missus and I did go to a local bookstore for each of the last several Harry Potter midnight-release things, but that was primarily to get the book (and soak up some of the excitement, of course!).

    I don’t think I’d be comfortable with HAVING a mass cult fanbase. Somebody like Neil Gaiman can pull off having over a million Twitter followers but the thought that I might someday makes me seriously want to pull the Twitter plug. 🙂

    • Yes, JES. If you have the “related material” like tapes with Diane, that counts. I’m not much of a joiner either. My dad had me in Brownies for three months–awful. He put me in the Girls’ Club. Also awful. The first group I ever joined that I truly enjoyed and looked forward to was NaNoWriMo–and I was in my late 30s and that is really a club where you do your own thing with the group.

      Doctor Who may be the first series I’ve ever really thrown myself into. I did used to have a “Who killed Laura Palmer” shirt back in my Twin Peak days. But that’s about it. The whys and wherefores of all that is another blog post.

      I’ll look for Trekkies.

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