I was the only geek in my immediate family. I have some geeky cousins, but we lived about six hours away from them. My sister is into some of the same things that I like now, but when we were growing up, our tastes were as different as they could get. Just about the only common ground we had was She-Ra. My mom read horror — chiefly Stephen King — romance, and westerns, so I was exposed to some genre fiction, but no one shared my interest in science fiction or fantasy.
At home, I read classic literature and a lot of my mom’s books. I got my scifi needs met through cartoons, Knight Rider, Star Trek, and Babylon 5. I don’t think I knew the term “science fiction” until I was in high school. I found the scifi paperback section while working in our school library. That was how I realized that there were such things as science fiction books. I’m sure I picked up a scifi novel or two before that, but realizing that there was a whole genre full of them was mindblowing to me.
I wasn’t allowed to watch my TV programs very often because I was the only one in the family liked them. So, fanfiction started for me as a way of returning to familiar universes and engaging with the characters when I didn’t have access to the source material. As I got older and didn’t need my parents’ permission to watch what I liked, that pattern changed. There was still an element of “access to the sources material” throughout the 90s and 2000s, since it was before the era of streaming television. More often, though, fanfiction was what I did when the source material became unsatisfying. Sometimes there were hanging plot threads. Other times, There were questions left unanswered after a series ended, characters killed off for expediency or marketing, or there were just things that didn’t make sense. I guess most people would let those things go. I see a lot of fans who love to get together and nitpick about them, but I prefer to speculate and come up with my own answers. That’s where the majority of my fanfiction projects have come from.
To me, fanfic is as natural as reading. It’s the logical next step of engagement with a story. I guess that comes from having grown up without any encouragement to talk about stories or to share my enthusiasm for them. Even if that weren’t the case, though, I could still see myself engaging primarily through creative means rather than discussions or analysis. I just prefer to connect in a creative way. I realize that’s not the case for everyone, and it probably seems more natural to want to engage by discussing plot points and character arcs (or making memes? I don’t even know.) I usually feel out of place when I get involved in group discussions or even book clubs. I have little to say , though I can certainly analyze when I disagree with something or I’m upset about a social condition. Maybe it takes me longer to articulate how I feel about things because I was never invited to do that when I was young. My fiction knows what I think and how I feel long before I do, so that’s how I engage with a fandom.
Rose B. Fischer is an avid fan of foxes, Stargate: SG-1, and Star Trek. She would rather be on the Enterprise right now. Since she can’t be a Starfleet Officer, she became a speculative fiction author whose stories feature women who defy cultural stereotypes.In her fictional worlds, gender is often fluid, sexuality exists on a spectrum, and “disability” does not define an individual. She publishes science fiction, science fantasy, horror, and biographical essays. To find out more, visit her website or her Amazon Author page.