Folks following my Facebook and Twitter feeds know that Ethan Gilsdorf, author of “Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks: An Epic Quest for Reality Among Role Players, Online Gamers, and Other Dwellers of Imaginary Realms” has a new article out on salon.com titled “How Dungeons & Dragons Changed My Life.” He wrote the piece after sitting on a panel at Boskone with Peter V. Brett and myself, and we’re both quoted in the article.
It’s a great piece in its own right and I hope you’ll check it out. But it also makes a broader point which I wanted to reiterate here. Pete is unarguably a successful fantasy writer. The jury is still out for me. But both of us attribute our ability to go pro to our fannish pasts (in this case, being die-hard D&D dorks). I’ve often felt that the strongest SF/F writing comes out of the fan community, motivated by a solid blend of a love of genre and a desire to pay it back, ambition, and the good old fashioned ego-mill that runs on seeing one’s name in print.
Of those, I think the first is key. If you love the culture of the genre, you’re going to do a better job of furthering it.
This reminds me of a neat story one of the New England Science Fiction Association (NESFA) graybeards told me while we were setting up for Boskone. Some new NESFA member had just gone pro back in the 70s or 80s, and was at a NESFA meeting where they were mimeographing, compiling and stapling the fan newsletter.
When asked to help out, this neopro scoffed, saying that pros didn’t do that sort of thing. It was a fannish task that he was now beyond.
At that very moment, Ben Bova emerged from a backroom saying “Hey guys! Isaac needs another stack of page 7.”
He was, of course, referring to the grand master Isaac Asimov.
One to grow on, folks.
And this just in: The awesome news, reviews and SF community site Fantasy Faction is voting for me in their discussion of the critical question “if all the fantasy writers were in a battle royale, who would be the last one standing?”
Thanks for your vote of confidence. Now, not to take a humorous jaunt too seriously, but I’m not fighting anyone. One thing both warfighters and police officers have to remember is that the public trains and equips us to use force in *service to and defense of* our citizens. In exchange for this training , we agree to only use force under those conditions. The Coast Guard is the only service in this country that is BOTH military and police. So, yeah, no brawling for this guy.
Besides, have you ever met Sam Sykes? That kid’s bigger than Gregor Clegane 🙂