Monday, 23 May 2016

Bad Fan

I'm a Bad Fan.

Let me expand what I mean when I say I'm a Bad Fan.  I tend to do my own thing when it comes to buying CDs of bands I follow or the books of authors I read.  I find I'm always behind on the latest new thing because I'm still enjoying the last old thing I found.

For example, take the band Garbage.  I discovered them when Buffy the Vampire Slayer was first on TV after buying the soundtrack for the series that had all the songs from the band that appeared in the show when the characters were hanging out in the Bronze.  That was back in 1999 and I probably bought my first Garbage album in 2001/2.  As I said I'm not quick when it comes to getting on the band wagon.  So this old fogey has been following Garbage for about 14 years, and the band has been around 20 years.  That pretty much defines not being on the bleeding edge.

I only recently got their last new album Not your Kind of People, which is great, mostly because I'd forgotten about it and there is another new album coming out soon: Strange little Birds.  And don't get me started on Blackstar by David Bowie, who along with Kate Bush I use to buy every LP (vinyl record for those who are too young to know what an LP is anymore) as it came out during the seventies and early eighties, but there again I reiterate I'm a Bad Fan, because I buy/listen/read/consume things at a pace that suits me.

Beginning of rant.

Anyway, on the internet in the last week we've had the usual foolishness of of people telling me what kind of SF there is and who likes what.  Warning this link takes you to Damien Walter being judgemental and dividing the goats from the sheep in his Eight Tribes piece.  I will state here that I intensely dislike being herded into a tribe.  It's divisive and serves no useful purpose.  Furthermore, my experience is that while some fans self identify as a fan of a particular part of the genre, lots of us (me) like to taste more than one thing.  To then extrapolate that certain parts of fandom – those into Military Science Fiction – are part of a right wing tribe that is just a poor ad hominem attack on those that Damien Walter's doesn't understand or like.

All this sort of piece does is divide people, and I'm not happy with being defined by a genre I read.  My reply to anyone who thinks that this is reasonable is sod off.

End of rant.

On a related note Paul McAuley wrote a rather nice piece on the Clarke Award in response to Nina Allan's Last Hurrah blog.  To quote Paul:
Science fiction, perhaps the most protean of genre fictions, is somewhat harder to define. We know it when we see it, but it includes a vast variety of different kinds of fiction; its borders are vague; it overlaps other genres, including literary fiction. But in all of those different kinds of science-fiction works, there's perhaps one unifying factor: rather than exploring reality, science fiction is interested in exploring the limits of reality. Rather than analysing and universalising individual human experience, it's interested in analysing the reality of the universe and measuring it against human values. It's about change and difference, and the consequences of change and difference.
I particularly like the, exploring the limits of reality, which is apposite given what science has to say about local versus non-local reality or if you prefer our biological versus our mathematical understanding of the universe we live in.

So that's it for another week, and I have to find my centre and get on with finishing off an article I'm in the middle of, rather than fretting over stuff on the internet that upsets me.


  1. Silly Ashley, it's much simpler than that.

    There is the science fiction I like, which is well-written and subtle stuff with important points to make.

    Then there is the science fiction I don't like, which is derivative preachy trash.

    Merely accept that I am the arbiter of all that is good and bad in SF, and things will become much easier.

    1. Yet another reason why I'm a Bad Fan. Perhaps I should get T-shirts printed up with Bad Fan on them? Or perhaps it's down to my day job, where such beliefs and behaviours displayed in fandom would be considered at best odd, and probably end up with one losing one's job.