for SF Fandom


I saw the best minds of my genre destroyed by
sanity, well fed, rotund, naked.

dragging themselves through the convention
centre at lunch time
looking for affordable beverages

longhaired hippies hunting for the dusty hardback
collectible anthology of
Hugo winners in the dealers room at night,

who poor and t-shirted and jolly and drunk sat up
reading in the supernatural glow of an all night Firefly
marathon walking through the hotel hallways
contemplating Filk,

who bared their soul to the Internet under LJ and
saw WordPress stat counts and comments multiply
through the roof

who passed through university with sleepless red eyes
playing AD&D and WoW until light
ignoring the party next door,

who were not expelled from the academies but stayed busy
publishing obscure fanzines on the departmental photocopier,

who huddled in infinitely long signing queues, handing
their books for autograph and listening
to the Author they adore

who got questioned in their Gandalf beards returning through,
La Guardia with a box of books purchased at World Con.

who painted flames on their Warhammer miniatures in
Games Workshop’ back room, or customised their
Terminator squad at night

with dreams, with words, with Epic Fantasy, Science Fiction
Horror and endless
paranormal romance

incomparable kind, shelves of shuddering paperbacks under
strip-lighting in the mind leaping toward pretty covers in
Barnes & Noble, illuminating all the multiple realities
of worlds beyond Time,

(It’s a long poem. I like this as an ending, but I may add some more later.)


Published by Damien Walter

Writer and storyteller. Contributor to The Guardian, Independent, BBC, Wired, Buzzfeed and Aeon magazine. Special forces librarian (retired). Teaches the Rhetoric of Story to over 35,000 students worldwide.

4 thoughts on “GROWL

  1. Not completely sure whether you are supporting those fans of fanzines or mocking them. Or maybe it is simply a description? Good accurate images – oddly reminded of Christopher Priest flogging me a copy of Islands utterly weary of the whole process but knowing he must – but confused message maybe, or maybe no message at all? But that’s the thing about howling or growling – it’s a native, often guttural, emotional response and little to do with coherent argument. Of course I never expect poems to be coherent argument. Made me think – and that makes it worth the read.
    Apologies – am aware that these comments boxes are generally supposed to be filled with positive responses. But then considered is positive in my book.



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