Sunday, October 15, 2006

Who's up for costuming?

Loosely defined here, fandom is a set of people (aficionados or "fans" for short) with distinct sets of behavior and beliefs that differentiate them from a larger culture of which they are a part. I've been a member of Science Fiction and Fantasy fandom for many years.

You may be getting a picture in your mind already. People dressed up in Star Trek garb with Mr. Spock ears giving the Vulcan salute saying "Live long and prosper."

Sure, they have the extremists. The ones who have to watch a movie 10 thousand times to get the costume exactly right. How many red buttons are on the Star Wars Ep. I holoprojector? I'm sure there are quite a few bulletin boards devoted to in-depth discussions on that topic among other trivia.

But, they also have folks on the other end of the fandom spectrum who only read the occasional novel or comic book. Maybe they just enjoy the movies or artwork or what-have-you without a need to get too technical, too involved in the sci-fi dynamics. And these people might attend a con as a mini-vacation, just checking it out, shopping in the dealers' room or what-have-you with other like-minded friends.

And I have to confess, though it's not much of a confession as my close friends already know - while I attended many conventions, I rarely officially participated in much more than the occasional panel. I went just to hang out and cut loose within a group of people who are known for being more open minded and welcoming than many other factions of society. My particular sub-culture within the fandom sub-culture was incredibly fun.

And Hell yes! We too would mock the fans of the extremist variety. With all due respect. But you have to learn to laugh at yourself don't you? I can truly appreciate the many parodies of science fiction conventions and the type of people, fen, who attend. And most are not far off the mark. A couple of my favorites are the William Shatner Get a Life! Sketch on Saturday Night Live as well as the motion picture Galaxy Quest (1999).

When my nieces were teens, I introduced them to fandom in small doses, mostly by taking them to conventions, aka "cons", at hotels and hanging out with them around the pool. I did the same for ~K~ but at an earlier age. She was 3 months old at her first con. But as she was growing up, I has less energy and other responsibilities that kept me away from fandom. So her total exposure was minimal.

~K~ has, however, come to develop an interest in "Science Fiction and Fantasy" all on her own. I neither cultivated nor encouraged it. Having spent too many years hanging out with geeks of one type or another, I have had my fill.

Yes. It is now biting me on the ass.

My child is a Sci-Fi geek. I'm thrilled, can't you tell?

For the past few years, it's been Star Wars. She quotes lines from the movies and knows every character/actor. She will spend hours telling me about the subtle variations on the historical development of the light saber as evidenced in Episodes 1 through 3 as well as the colors and hilts allowed to be used by the many and various characters. Huh? What? Yeah.

Anyhoo. Once again, on October 1st, as happens every year, I opened negotiations on the current year's Halloween costume. (Explanation Here.) I have come to learn that I will save time, money and much frustration by setting a budgetary limit and just buying a pre-made outfit and accoutrements.

I am only thankful that ~K~ is not at that extremist geek, I mean, Fan level where accuracy in costuming really matters to her or her peers. We recently purchased and received a simple Jedi Knight costume from eBay and a build-your-own light saber kit from a toy store (so she can change the style and colors as she pleases). She couldn't be happier.

We did have quite a bit of bidding competition on the costumes though. We lost several auctions early on as we had to keep within our budget. After one loss, ~K~ turned to me and said, "It's not like a lot of people would want to dress up like Star Wars characters."

Ahh. She has much to learn.

Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will.
-- Yoda


  • At 6:32 PM, Blogger veronica jos said…

    speaking of the dark path, my young girl daughter would like to be a Reaver for know from Serenity? We compramised with a zombie costume.

  • At 8:24 PM, Blogger Queen of the Universe said…

    I would love to see pics! Thanks for stopping by.

  • At 9:50 PM, Blogger JohnH985 said…

    I was a fellow geek in my younger years. (Actually there are a lot of people who would tell you that I am still a geek, but hey...)

    I still read some science fiction and fantasy but nowhere like I used to. I've hit my share of cons, mainly comic book cons but a few science fiction ones.

    Who were some of your favorite writers? You know if I'm not careful I'll come off geeky here asking what your favorites where :)

  • At 10:12 PM, Blogger Queen of the Universe said…

    Truthfully, I prefer detective novels to sci-fi and fantasy. However, I can walk down the aisles at almost any book store and pick out quite a few sf&f authors with whom I've had drinks. You can see where lay my priorities at cons. What conventions did you go to?

  • At 6:46 PM, Blogger JohnH985 said…

    Today I mostly read detective novels myself. Michael Connelly, James Lee Burke, John McDonald, the list could go on forever. Everyone now and than I'll pick up a science fiction novel. I'm not a big fantasy fan, but I do love the series George RR Martin is doing. One of my favorite writers is Harlan Ellison.

    Conventions...I've been to numerous San Diego Comic Cons, Chicago Comic Con before Wizard bought them quite a few times, some in Orlando years ago. Science fiction wise I went to some on the gulfcoast years ago, can't remember what they were called, they weren't that big. I went to the comic con that they had in New Orleans a few years ago. I also went to a few of the science ficton cons they had in New Orleans many years ago, can't remember what they were called. Haven't been to any cons in awhile.

  • At 9:24 PM, Blogger Queen of the Universe said…

    Lemme jog your memory some.... Coastcon on the Miss. coast, and there's Mobicon, in... you guessed it. Mobile. In New Orleans we had NOSFFF, years ago, New Orleans Science Fiction and Fantasy Festival. Also Crescent City Con which is alas no more either. And as I type this, my brain fog settles in and I can't recall anything other than SwampCon (in Baton Rouge.) But World Con was held in NO in 1987ish.

  • At 11:14 PM, Blogger JohnH985 said…

    CoastCon was one I went to a couple times. I'm pretty sure it was Crescent City Con I went to in New Orleans. I know I missed the World Con, by that time I was pretty much out of most science fiction.

    All this talk about cons is making me want to go to one.


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