starshipcat (starshipcat) wrote,

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Bittercon: With Fans Like These, Who Needs Enemies?

The stories are often passed in whispers: the fan whose obsession with the writer's fictional world has gone beyond all reasonable bounds, to the point of confusing fact and fancy. The fan turned stalker, who does something colossally stupid and dangerous at a convention and leaves an author afraid to attend conventions, lest this unbalanced person endanger innocent fans in pursuit of the author of their obsession.

And while some of them may be born of speculation when an author suddenly stops writing a series or stops attending conventions for unspecified reasons, not all are unfounded. For a number of years Mercedes Lackey was unable to attend conventions because of the actions of one fan who got a little too involved in her urban fantasy series. And of course there are all the obnoxious fans who've rudely demanded that George R. R. Martin get moving on the next volume of A Song of Ice and Fire, in terms that edge dangerously close to threats that would be legally actionable.

We almost never hear of such obsessive fans making nuisances of themselves with the authors of mysteries, or romances, or even technothrillers, which are kissing cousins to hard sf with rivets. Is there something about fantasy and sf and its fandoms that attract these sorts of people? Or does the peculiar intimacy of sf/fantasy fandom, in which published authors regularly hang out in con suites and schmooze with their fans as equals, lead a certain kind of person to assume an entitlement entitlement to their favorite author's efforts?
Tags: bittercon, culture, society

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