Challenger - Return Home   A Science Fiction Fanzine   Spring/Summer 2003

A note on the beginning of it all from a beloved Chall pal ....

Fandom, the Genetic Factor
Trinlay Khadro

I grew up fannish, though I didn’t discover the kingdom of Fandom until fairly recently. Yeah, there was the occasional news blurb about something like a “Star Trek” convention: but “gosh” I thought, “those people are even weirder than me…”

My dad was born in the late 30’s and still has a well worn, fragile pile of comic books: Batman, The Shadow, tales of space travel and speculation about The Future. <”Where are the Flying Cars? There’s supposed to be Flying Cars…”> Dad claims that he was never much of a reader, but he regularly watched the Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon serials. He had a Buck Rogers space station & a Space Cadet poster on the wall of his room.

My sister and I grew up sharing the usual activities with our Dad, assisting automotive and household repairs, camping and whatnot. Our evenings with Dad were magical though, sharing episodes of Classic Trek, and later Battlestar Galactica. Weekends were for Twilight Zone and B movie scifi and horror beside Dad in the den. Sis and I papered out rooms with posters of Yoda (my fave), Luke Skywalker, and Han Solo…

My sister and I are major readers, reading things like Lord of the Rings, and Brave New World, before we were in Middle School. Later we discovered The Narnia Chronicles and Xanth, and many many other wonderful worlds. Mom is our reading parent, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen her read SF or Fantasy, and she rarely reads horror. But we have the devouring of books from her.

Somewhere between 7 &10 years old I was bitten by the ‘zine bug. My zines came out only occasionally in editions of 4-5 copies, each handwritten and drawn. I didn’t have access to a ditto or a Xerox, let alone any idea of people outside the family who might be interested in my zines. Occasionally I’d get to run a ditto or do the stencil for a dittoed class project. But nothing really of my own till I was an adult, when I found myself raising my daughter alone, and wanting to keep in touch with friends far away. I also, on occasion, managed to pry material for that zine from some of my friends. It was great fun.

I also enjoyed taking my daughter to SCA events, Pensic war when she was about 2… an event in Madison when she was 4 or 5 where she ate too much candy and later threw up on my sisters’s friend Kaiyt. Do not play airplane with a toddler who’s been drinking Mountain Dew, and mooching boy scout candy (without mom’s knowledge) all day…. The summer weekends of taking her to gawk and to shop at Gencon…
… and along the way, I discovered Fandom…

Now my daughter is just shy of driving age, we hangout with a fannish crowd. Video night weekly with one subset of local fans. Game night weekly with another subset of fans, and once a month for the local APA. Now also occasionally a trip to a local, or not so distant con.

Now, I see her, emailing fan-fic of her own, choosing and reading books from friends and from the library, now that she’s read ALL of my books. She’s busy playing SF & Fantasy themed video games, and movies, enjoying SF themed TV shows that she’s discovered herself. She’s found friends of her own with fannish tendencies, who enjoy reading, and sharing their books and videos.

With many of her friends, I’ve noticed there is a parent or stepparent who is a reader or a fan. Occasionally one of the friends has a parent who is an active fan. Though more common seems to be the fannish, or borderline fannish child who comes from a family with no idea what could possibly be fun about SF or Fandom. I wonder how that happens.

I’m glad to have a family to share my passion with, and that I’ve been blessed with being able to pass my love along to my child.


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Challenger is (c) 2003 by Guy H. Lillian III.
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