Firstly, they assume that the health of a sub-culture is indistinguishable from the health of the industry that serves said sub-culture and so discussions tend to revolve around issues relating to the expansion and contraction of said market. For example, when people talk about the health of tabletop roleplaying games, they talk about the number of books sold and the number of companies in business. Thus, when the d20 license created a boom in the market that convinced existing fans to buy more stuff, people mistakenly confused this boom with an expansion in the boundaries of gaming fandom.
tyllwin:"The other thought that I didn't get out because I hit "post" when I wanted "preview" was that fandom now is much more splintered. Back in the gold old days that are being pined for a bit, wouldn't Twilight, and Harry Potter and Hunger Games all have been ghettoized with "written SF fandom?""
DU: Not all growth is good and not all shrinkage is bad.
"One excellent example of this type of thing is John Scalzi’s novel Old Man’s War. Though first published in 2005, Old Man’s War compares unfavourably with works of science fiction published over thirty years earlier. Indeed, despite appearing in 1974, Joe Haldeman’s Forever War comes across as a far more mature and sophisticated piece of writing than John Scalzi’s take on an almost identical set of tropes."
The typical science fiction fan was an early teen-ager or even a pre-teener who worshipped science the way almost all his peers worshipped baseball. He dreamed of rocket-ships and new electronic marvels as others dreamed of home-runs and double-plays.
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