Why book fans need media and gaming fans (and vice versa)

by Gail Z. Martin

I run into some groups of fans who have a “separate but equal” view when it comes to conventions. Some book fans get twitchy around fans whose primary experience with the genre comes via gaming, movies and TV. Multi-media fans sometimes don’t “get” what all the excitement is about listening to a bunch of authors talk in a hotel ballroom.

Can’t we all get along?

I’ll be the first to admit that I consume the genre in multiple ways: books, music, movies, TV, anime, costuming, and when time permits, role playing games (video and old school). For me—and for many fans—consuming the genre in more than one way deepens the experience.

Don’t get me wrong—I love books. After all, I write them. But I also enjoy the genre when it’s presented well in a variety of formats. I’ll get something different out of each experience. Experiencing the story in ways that stimulates multiple senses makes it more memorable, more tangible and more pleasurable.

That’s why I think that the books vs. media “controversy” is a tempest in a teapot. Book and multi-media fans have a lot they can learn from each other. Working together with respect for each other’s perspective and experience, they can gain a whole new way of alooking at their favorites. They can serve as cultural translators for each other, and in the process, find treasures in formats they might not have otherwise explored. I really believe book fans need media and gaming fans—and vice versa—because together they provide a more well-rounded and wholistic fandom, with roots in the past but comfortable and fluent in the present.

It’s worth the effort to bridge the divide. Fandom is stronger—and more fun—when we work together.

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