Sci-Fi Fan Just Doesnít Get It
By the Radioactive Fanboy
(originally published in Revolution SF)
Science fiction fan Melvin Frye just doesnít understand a few things.
"I donít understand these news articles," complained the Twenty-eight year-old fan, referring to recent articles in RevolutionSF and other Internet sources.
Frye spends night and day in front of his computer, scanning the Internet for juicy tidbits about all of his favorite sci-fi shows and celebrities, occasionally coming up with a few perplexing news items.
"First," explained Frye, "there was that article about the filming of Green Lantern: The Movie, starring Mel Gibson as Hal Jordan and Michael Dorn as John Stewart. I was like, ĎWow! I canít wait.í Then all my friends said it was a hoax, even my mom. But I was like, ĎNuh uh!í
Years later, Frye is still adamant about the movieís impending release. "Itíll happen," he said confidently.
Frye went on to note similar reports of movies that never were on such popular sites as Ainít It Cool News.
"That Archie stuff went on forever," said Frye. "And what about Electro Woman and Dyna Girl, starring Pamela Anderson as Electro Woman and Sandra Bullock as Dyna Girl? That would have been cool."
But it isnít just movie rumors that baffle the diehard, info-gathering Frye. "Whatís the deal with all those articles on RevSF?" He asked. "Canada Apologizes for Lexx?" When did they do that? And why would they? That was a great show. And "Bridge Publications Announces ĎFanfic Writers of the Futureí Line"? I wish. I wasted two stamps sending them my Buffy and Spike get married story, and they returned it. Then there was that one about Richard Hatch choking a guy at Dragon*Con. When did that happen? I was at every one of his panels that year, and I didnít see anything like that. I think the guy who wrote it had his dates wrong. Maybe it happened the year before. I couldnít go that year because my mom wouldnít drive me down there."
If there is a joke, Frye wishes everyone would let him in on it. "Every time I post to one of these newsgroups to ask if something really happened, I get these veiled replies, like ĎI heard it is untrue, but Iím not sureí, or ĎYes, itís absolutely true, and Iíve got some oceanfront property on the Tharsus Plateau I could sell you real cheap.í Why is someone on a sci-fi message board trying to sell real estate? Why wonít anyone give me a straight, yes or no answer?
Poor Melvin might have to go on wondering, as long as the SF community remains tightlipped about these vaguely outlandish news items. But he isnít alone. Hundreds of people a year fall prey to Internet hoaxes and faulty reporting. Ainít It Cool News alone is responsible for the befuddlement of millions of Internet users each year. Scientists have coined a term for this condition, calling it fanatopsis.
Dr. Ted Sturgeon of the Lydeker Institute said that fanatopsis is prevalent only in aficionados of fantastic literature and television. "Some SF fans develop, over time, a shrinking of the cognitive faculties involved with appreciating humor," he explained. "They lose the ability to recognize sarcasm and humor of any kind, especially when it is directed at them or the things they enjoy."
In certain extreme cases of fanatopsis, fans endlessly memorize reams of meaningless technobabble, obsess over the anatomically impossible women found in comics, and fantasize about gaining superpowers. However, according to Dr. Sturgeon there is hope.
"Exposing the sources of these hoaxes works well in most cases," said Dr. Sturgeon. "But if that fails, a Louisville Slugger to the forehead has worked exceedingly well in clinical trials. Especially if said bat has had the words "It Was All A Joke" burned into the shaft."
What does Melvin Frye think of this last minute procedure?
"I donít think thatís funny at all," he whined.
The Radioactive Fanboy didnít think this article was funny at all.