Tag Archives: fandom

Living in Fictional Universes

18 Dec

I’ve lost track of how many fandoms I’ve signed up for. They are wild, wonderful worlds full of interesting people in the real world. However, the reason we are fans also becomes the reason why many of these fandom decline or die.

For those not familiar with the term, “fandom” just means the world of (usually) sci-fi/fantasy fans. It can also used in plural to refer to a particular fan base, such as Star Trek fans, Star Wars fans, et al. Myself, I am primarily involved with The Royal Manticoran Navy, a David Weber fan group. After that, I’m in the Colonial Ministry of Defense, which is a Battlestar Galactica fan group, and I’ve recently become inactive in STARFLEET International, a Star Trek fan club. I also signed up for The Mercenary Guild, which is a Four Horseman fan group, but I just watch the FB posts for that. I used to be in the Society for Creative Anachronisms, but not because I don’t like the Middle Ages any more, just a lack of time.

Look at that smiling idiot with the shades and all that bling–that was me after I finally gave up my ship command and became a commodore. I had run the local chapter (our “ship”) of TRMN for three and a half years and was glad to turn that responsibility to someone else… specifically the two folks in white hats to my left.

You’d think, “Why would you give up being the captain? That sounds pretty cool.” And it is cool–I liked the title, I like the bling, I liked setting the meetings. At the same time, you have to deal with problems with your members. Which gets back to the point I started with–the reason a lot of these organizations decline is because of the kind of people you attract. People are fans of science fiction because this world does not appeal to them.

That applies to me as well. We’re all socially awkward, occasionally successful, fans who wish they could be in a different universe where their talents would be respected and adored. Who wants to be an instructional designer with a mortgage when you can be an admiral leading ships into battle against a devious foe?

However, now you combine people who are socially awkward and throw them together in an organization. By the time I was done with being a captain, I had a couple members who drove me crazy. I didn’t enjoy hanging out with them, they lived too far away, and they were driving away members that I liked to hang out with. So when I got the chance at a promotion, I took advantage of it, and let the local chapter slowly die.

Not proud of that last part, but because I didn’t exclude those problem children, it was inevitable. Of course, having had experience being in a veteran’s organization, this may be a problem with any volunteer group. You join, you get really excited, and you have a personality conflict with one of the members. That either gets resolved or one of you leaves. When the conflict gets really bad, you break off and form a new chapter. My post/bar is only a mile away from another post/bar. Why? Because the members of one couldn’t STAND the members of the other.

That doesn’t mean I don’t participate, but certainly the gleam has dulled from fandom for me, so I don’t participate as much as I used to… even before COVID. Am I right? Is this a problem with any volunteer group? Or is it specific to fandom? Let me know in the comments below!

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