The Sunday Salon: Fandom Histories

Oh, fandom. This particular level of engagement continues to delight and delightfully horrify me. (…Supernatural.) But we tend to think that fandom started with the Internet, which is false. My fannish foremothers were already despairing of Mary Sues long before I was born. Today, I thought we’d highlight at three works dealing with pre-Internet fans that I’ve read for the blog.

Among Others by Jo Walton

So many books feature a bookworm, but she rarely talks about what she reads with the true passion of a bibliophile or the engagement of a fan. In Among Others, Mor does both in the 1970s. It’s a treat for book lovers and fans alike–often one and the same!

Harry, a History by Melissa Anelli

Okay, so technically this isn’t pre-Internet, but Harry Potter was one of the first fandoms that developed almost entirely online, rather than transitioning to the new medium. Melissa Anelli walks us through the development of one of the fan sites in the community, as well as the development of the books themselves.


I’ll be honest–Ringers is, more or less, silly. But as a Ringer to my core, I loved seeing the evolution of the fan community, especially through the generations since its publication. I have friends who had this novel read to them by family, an experience I very much envy. But at least I can still imagine bits of my collection coming to me from older fans. So–silly, but still worth a watch.

I’m in Ireland! Updates to follow upon my return, which is this week.

The Baen Free Library is full of free downloads, including The Shadow of the Lion and On Basilisk Station. Night Shade Books is offering Butcher Bird and Grey as free downloads at the moment. Vertigo Comics is offering free downloads of the first issue of several series, including Fables, The Unwritten, and Y: The Last Man. (And you will go download The Unwritten.) Small Beer Press offers several of their books as free downloads, including Kelly Link’s Magic for Beginners. If I’ve missed your giveaway or freebie, drop me a line!

Got any recommendations for fan histories?

11 thoughts on “The Sunday Salon: Fandom Histories

  1. Hope you’re having fun in Ireland!

    I keep forgetting about Harry, a History! I’m going to the library today to get it. I’m sad Ringers wasn’t good, because actually I would LOVE to read a really good book about the history of the Lord of the Rings fandom.

  2. I really need to get around to reading Harry: A History. And I’ve seen a trailer for Ringers before (in a LOTR DVD I think?) and wondered about it. I’m glad to hear it’s worth watching, and will prepare myself for the silliness.

    Enjoy the rest of your trip!

    • Why, yes, I read The Literary Omnivore. 😉

      I actually love and adore Fanlore, which is where I got a handful of recommendations, and I just discovered the journal, which I loved. There was an article about Harley Quinn owning her submissive nature, I had to love it.

      And it’s very nice to see you around these parts, Renay! I adore ladybusiness.

      • The Literary Omnivore is pretty awesome, isn’t it? 😉

        I keep wanting to edit Fanlore and contribute, but right now I’m a staffer in the OTW (which runs Fanlore) and it eats all my time. Maybe later this year, though! FANNISH HISTORY! \o/ I also like TVtropes, which is not really fannish history, but collects fannish tropes and is extremely thorough.

        I secretly lurk in all the blogs Nymeth loves. 😀 I’m glad you’re enjoying ladybusiness, it’s pretty fun. ❤

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