Over the last couple of news letters I’ve touched on the small clusters of McSciFi fans that exist around the globe.
fan club – /’fan kləb’/
noun: fan club; plural noun: fan clubs; noun: fanclub; plural noun: fanclubs
an organized group of fans of a famous person.
“members of the Justin Bieber fan club”
The Venn Diagram of Bieber and McSciFi fans is two distinct circles. Allegedly. That said, the last couple of weeks have reminded me there are innocent souls who, for reasons that would appall their clergy, have decided some squishy McSciFi is just what they need to get through their day.
And some of those people have gone to extraordinary lengths to make that known.
This is a bit of a read, but I promise it’s worth it, so strap in.
Last week I shared the joy of discovering there was, and is, a Legends Parallel fan club in Utah. They were discovered when they hit the McSciFi Merchandise page and bought all the stock there was and backordered the rest.
Then the fun began.
U.S.P.S. sent the books on a randomized journey across scenic Utah. After an initial panic, where I used polysyllabic words to express my displeasure, the books were finally delivered to welcoming hands and then favorably reviewed. The backordered books will be there this week.
These were people who had never touched an issue prior to this and were basing their fandom on reviews and cool NSFW videos. If someone tells you those things don’t matter, show them this email.
Sometimes, however, fandom takes an unusual turn and you can’t help but be impressed, amused, and mildly intrigued. This next bon mot checks all the boxes.
In late February, 2020, a group of young Asian women living in London discovered McSciFi’s comics. They proceeded to loop me into some of the more fun Twitter threads my old butt has ever experienced.
At any moment I expected them to move on to the next shiny thing, and that was their plan as well. However the pandemic hit, and hit hard. Suddenly, young ladies who were used to being flittering social butterflies found themselves locked indoors and watching BBC.
Left with few choices, they reached out to a small group of people for companionship. For a couple of them I was one of those people. I decided to be reactive. Answer if asked, speak when spoken to, and so on. These young women are over thirty years younger than me and I didn’t want to freak them out.
Soon enough there were three or four of them who felt comfortable enough to chat on a regular basis. And those conversations were revelatory. I have never been a young Asian woman, and it showed. They took pity on me and gave me insights into their world. Then they took more pity on me and started telling their friends I was worth knowing and my fictional missives were worth reading.
When my McSciFi shop opened in the UK and had face masks, a rare commodity at the time, one of the young ladies, named Jin-ah, went out of her way and created an Internet ad for me, and the shop. And it worked. There are now people in Europe wearing McSciFi masks who have no idea who or what a McSciFi is. Thus is the allure of the Internet.
Another young lady, named Xi Xiang, decided to use her down time to learn how to read and write English. She already spoke it. To help her on her quest she decided to purchase The Brittle Riders. Given how badly I mangle language to create larger points, I did not see success in her future. But she read things out loud, referred to the appendix often, understood context clues, and had a ball. During the pandemic, when the lock down loosened, she took a new job in an office. Upon discovering her new boss was a sci-fi fan she shared my book with him. You can now color him impressed.
She also gifted me with one of the most insightful reviews I’ve gotten, “This is the story of what happens if Frankenstein’s monsters ruled the earth.” Yes, this is now a part of my digital media kit.
Later, she tried to share her new found prize with relatives in China where, like Russia, McSciFi is not sold. Long story short; equal rights and support for the marginalized are frowned on in those countries, and a few others. Even more countries have oddly specific requirements or limitations which keep me from their digital shelves.
She decided there was no way she would allow herself to be deterred by little things like borderline tyrants. When she shared with me what she’d done, it was kind of awesome, I shared the story on my Facebook page.
Here is my post (edited to add links).
Technically, legally, and other important sounding words, there are barriers to prevent the staunch hearted from purchasing their, much needed, dose of McSciFi in China. However, as one tenacious young fan informed me, it’s not impossible. I’ll never get a fan pic since they would be posing with illegal contraband and Chinese jails aren’t nearly as fun as they seem in the movies, but I did get instructions on how others could do it.
Thus far this hack works for Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, China, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Indonesia, Israel, Kuwait, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Asia as a whole, Europe as a whole and the United Arab Emirates.
As Jeff Goldblum once sagely noted, “McSciFi will find a way.”
The article is brought to you courtesy of an editor at How I Travel. The author is a human who works for Amazon and is trying to increase company profits even if they must do so at the expense of those silly laws that might prohibit commerce.
I can’t tell you how much I appreciate my fans. If it wasn’t for them, and you, there would be no logical reason for me to keep writing. Not that I would stop, but I’d need to do other things to pay bills and so on.
And, as you can tell, fans can come from anywhere. When I see people post about their “target markets” I laugh, shrug, and keep working on my pronunciation of Xié Xié.
Stay safe and sane and I’ll see you next week.