On Fandom with Abandon…

Today, I searched online for fan groups for one of my all-time favorite authors, Edward Eager.  Know what I found almost immediately?

“a young vampire named Edward. Eager fans”

Sigh. Groan.

Even in a hunt for fans of other books, you’re bound to stumble on Stephanie Meyer.  She and her minions lurk behind every door.

So I soldiered on, deeper into google.  But further searches revealed that sadly, after half a century in print, despite his early status as a #1 bestseller, and the love of countless children, Eager has no fan club. He has no web site.  He has nothing but a linkless Wikipedia page and the sites required by various booksellers to peddle their wares.

Which leads me to wonder what inspires fandom.  I don’t mean to ask what makes people enjoy a certain book, or what establishes literary merit.  Eager’s got all that covered.  I don’t even mean to question how publishers spark big sales.  I mean how do you attain  fandom.

Why do some books cause kids to collect stickers and join chat groups, while other books—even well-loved books, even bestsellers—are simply read, enjoyed, and then returned to the library, or set on a back shelf to gather dust?

What is it about boy wizards and teen vampires?

Really, I’m asking!

I’ve got some thoughts on the matter myself, but I’m curious to hear what you think…

3 Responses to “On Fandom with Abandon…”

  1. Tap Says:

    Oh! I’ve noticed the same thing. There are some books I enjoy but when they’re over, they’re over; there are others that my imagination takes off on. Part of it probably has to do with how much you like it, but I’ve found myself imagining what happens next even for some books that I didn’t really enjoy. I think a larger part is how many hints and threads there are of other things for your mind to grab onto. If there’s nothing spare there, you could say that nothing was wasted in crafting the story — but in that case it often feels like it’s just a facade, a stage set, not a real world with roots that go deeper. As a reader mysteries may drive me crazy but the alternative seems to be forgetting about the story.

  2. Heidi Estrin Says:

    Laurel, I’ve been pondering your question about what inspires rabid fandom and I have an idea. I think its a combo of dramatic tension and angst. The angst gets you involved, and the tension keeps you coming back. This works best with a series that prolongs the tension over more than one book, as is true in the Twilight series, or Harry Potter. It also works with tv shows – the tension kept people coming back to find out who killed J.R., and to see if Ross and Rachel would EVER get together. And while there are plenty of dramatic, exciting moments in the Eager books, they all get resolved fairly quickly, and by the end of the book, everything has been wrapped up neatly. The tension is gone. At the time of reading this is quite satisfying, but it means that once the book is over your brain can let go of it. The characters don’t need to be wondered about and worried over any more. In a way, books of this sort are more zen – you can enjoy them in the moment, but not hold fast to them afterwords. But I guess zen isn’t really compatible with rabid fandom!

  3. Vania Says:

    umm yeah this is ridiculous. I just watched the MTV movie awards and for this movie to snag awards that should have been given to much more deserving one is just wrong. Not to mention the crazy obsessive fandom. What about it is so enchating and enthralling? I honestly cant tell you.

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