Tuesday, July 29, 2008


It's a phenomenon one runs into in any form of fandom; the Wall. It's the intangible barricade, made up of outdated news bits and endlessly rehashed (and insoluable) arguements, that prevents a fan's imagination from spending more time in a particular universe.

For instance, rewind to 2005. You're a respectably unbalanced Star Wars fanatic, and the past six years have been great. Fandom is active and growing. There's discussion and interaction everywhere you look. You're glued to the computer. If you didn't have to eat-sleep-work-and-wash, you'd never leave.

But as days and weeks pass after the last movie's released, information dries up. One terrible day you click between starwars.com, theforce.net, and your fandom-run site of choice (score extra points if it's the Master/Apprentice archive) and . . . nothing. No news, no rumors, no pictures, no fic, niente. You have hit the Wall.

Your heart sinks. You have, after all, been through this rodeo before. Membership at your discussion groups and fanfic lists will start to decline. The hardcore fanatics, group hosts, and listparents will find new fandoms and take great chunks of your fellow nerds with them. Eventually it'll boil down to one or two of the old salts, some truly insane people (I'm looking at you, Spuffy shippers), and a bunch of folks too lazy or too disinterested to formally exclude themselves (unsubscribing, unFriending the group, etc).

I knew it was coming. This is the offseason. I just didn't expect it to happen so fast. It does stands to reason though. Star Wars as a fandom is still vibrant, because there's new source material avaiable via the Extended Universe (the Lucasfilm sactioned novels and games). Buffy, which has been off the air . . . God, five years now, is still chugging along via fanfiction. Even Firefly is alive and well. Sports on the other hand . . . there isn't much material other than direct from the source available. Fans don't get to put their own spin upon the fandom. Makes keeping up enthusiasm hard.

So it's been two months since the Finals, and I'm clicking with increasing desperation through my list of websites, looking for some news. (Almost) Any news. Team USA? Landed in China yesterday. Summer League? Wrapped up, with our boys comporting themselves honorably. Not confirmed yet who's staying and who's going. Trades for Josh Smith or (gulp) Ron Artest? Just talk, not serious, possibly the vulgar fictions of demented general managers.

Nothing new.

I have hit the Wall.

. . .


Addendum: Thank God. Mr. Fisher knows the Wall. He spends a great deal of time trembling on the ground, bits of his scalp smeared all over the Wall. Thanks, Fish.

Addendum the Second: Pardon me, but who in Chi would think that Mr. Cuban's acquistion of the Cubs would be a bad thing? I guess it depends how heavily the Chicago fanbase -- and Major League Baseball -- is invested in the ideal of their Cubs as loveable losers. (And that Lansing Lugnuts crack was low. Whitecaps all the way!)

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