The Worth Of A Fan

This started out originally as part of a comment over in Mad Genius Club which grew into a rant, which the little Rhys-chibi in my head looked at and said “My darling, that soapbox doesn’t go there.” So it has it’s own blogpost where I natter on because I can.

Basically I was reminded that ‘oh yeah, The Hugo Awards are rolling around again, I’m entitled to nominate,’ but if I’m going to vote, I’ll have to buy a new membership.

I’m thinking: Fuck that. I don’t have the money anymore and I’m not inclined to scrape together the pennies to pay to vote. I don’t have the money because I’m installment paying an AWESOME piece of artwork.

The Hugo Award packet last year was WORTH IT (Thanks, Baen and Castalia House for the books! Awesome reads!) but after the shitty behaviour displayed by the Worldcon organisers and their ‘assterisk’ awards, I found myself questioning if I really wanted to spend that hard earned money – and it’s worse now that SJWs are actively trying to get book stores to stop stocking any Sad Puppies supporting authors. Between my supporting the authors with buying their books (which I, as a writer and artist myself, would prefer) and awards, I’d rather the direct support method. I’ve a list of authors whose works I will either pre-order or buy immediately whenever there’s a new one out, because I’m guaranteed, by dint of experience, that I will enjoy what I am getting.

The experience given to us by Sasquan tells me ‘we want your money to keep on insulting you wrongfans.’ Oh and that it’s likely not to have a good a packet as last year’s.

And honestly between a choice of buying something I deeply enjoy as a Star Trek fan and a fan of sci-fi/fantasy art, and paying money towards an organisation that actively hates people like me, I had a very easy choice on the matter. I don’t care that I’m nearly 2k AUD in debt (I’m instalment paying for the print) – this was something WORTH IT, because that outing at the gallery was fun that was worth more than the price we are going to put down for the prints, and my money goes not only to something I enjoy, but also to support a small art gallery run by people who are themselves clearly fans of sci-fi/fantasy and geeks.

See, the people who give out the Assterisk don’t realise that ordinary folks like me and my hubby set aside a ‘pleasure budget’ out of leftover money beside the day to day spending and saving, that we’ll spend on things we enjoy – books, movies, games, figures, art, music, supporting causes/artists we like and other expensive hobbies. We cheerfully will spend hundreds of dollars on a figure from Japan because it’s gorgeous.

However, these are things we save up for, lest someone have the mistaken belief that Rhys and I are obscenely rich – money in our pockets/account after the bills, groceries, rent, petrol, etc have been paid. Sometimes I’ll have only 5 bucks to drop into the pleasure bucket, sometimes I’ll have 50. I’ll look at cookbooks and such, then weigh it’s estimated ‘pleasure value’ against something else I’m likely to enjoy, or rather go for it when it’s on sale. The pleasure fund is something Rhys and I decided on early in our relationship – essentially an allowance for something we enjoy, that the other person has no input on unless requested (along the lines of ‘help, I can’t decide which one to pick and I can only afford one of these two things!’)

That’s money that goes to Kotobukiya in Japan, not Tor Books or Worldcon. 50+ AUD is a Nendoroid figure, and I’ve got Anna already shipped, and with the current exchange rate, the cost to vote might well be nearer 100 AUD, which is closer to the cost of a Shun’ya Yamashita Bishoujo Heroine figure, like Tali Zorah. I’m not a Mass Effect player and know nothing about the game or ‘verse – I pre-ordered this because it’s a gorgeous work of art.¬† I punted money towards the Art of Atomhawk 2 (the one that got me both books was my pledge) simply because that’s seriously gorgeous art, and an anthology for a game world because I like the work of several of the authors listed. Oh and I don’t just support the sci-fi and fantasy industry, I support science too – like mapping the Delta Quadrant of the galaxy.

That’s last year’s saved up pleasure fund, and part of the year before that’s cash.

I’m already saving up for Rory Mercury from Gate: Thus the JSDF Fought There and Dark Dragoon Forte from Rage of Bahamut.

I’m also setting aside cash for books that are coming out soon, from authors I enjoy, and Larry conveniently set out a little list so I can start allocating towards him, and Sarah, and John Ringo

The stuff I mention doesn’t include little things like my purchase of ImagineFX magazines (I don’t always get it because sometimes the main theme for that month isn’t something I’m interested in) or manga, or independent fundraisers I contribute to, or donations.

I reckon most other fans on similar stance as I am have similar methods of scraping together the cash for the hobbies and pleasures that we enjoy, whether it’s games, movies, books, or growing pot plants. And I reckon that these tend to be hobbies plural, and are ranked according to each individual’s passion toward the hobby in question. Thus, not only does the industries in which those hobbies inhabit have to compete for the attention of the hobbyist, but compete in the value given to the hobbyist in question versus their own measurement of ‘want’ and limitations of finances available, and the priorities of the hobbyist.

Typically, when faced with deciding whether or not I’ll go for something it’ll be like this:

-Do I really want/need this for my (hobby)

-If no, move on, if yes: how much pleasure will I get from it versus the cost and

-will I regret not being to afford something shinier later on / scrambling for a pre-ordered book/figure/thing I’m saving up for?

This isn’t really a long process, and it’s purely emotive. “Eh, fuck it, it’s cheap,” tends to land in purchases of 10 bucks or less. More than that, I end up considering it longer, or Rhys kindly steers me away from it (I’ve asked him to do this a few times) or points out how much books/other item I could get with the money I’m considering on using. Basically, he reminds me of my hobby’s priorities, in the face of the ‘oooh, shiny’ impulse I’ll sometimes get.

That’s the kind of thing that the Worldcon/Tor Books / SocJus bullies are competing against – a personal sliding scale of ‘desirability’ and ‘pleasure derived’ from well, my pleasure funds. Ultimately, that’s what we fans are worth to the authors, the artists. We become their paycheck because they make something we enjoy and are willing to pay money for. Yes, there’s plenty more that we’re worth as to the creator/s of those works, but ultimately, that’s the source of the author/artist’s livelihood, which is how they can keep on making more stuff for us to enjoy.

The Hugo Awards voting membership is way, way, way down on my priority list, and frankly I’m not interested in giving hard earned, carefully saved up money towards a group that shares a mindset that thinks bullying and smearing nerds and geeks like myself as the new Social Boogeyman as fucking cool and awesome. According to the detractors mentioned in that article, I’d be voting for Trump just because I’m an anime-avatar using fan. If I were American, I’d probably vote for him because, fucking hell, damned if you do and damned if you don’t, and if I’m going to burn, may as well for something I actually did. I don’t have much faith in the American elections at this point and really think that it’ll be the socialist, Bernie Sanders who ends up in the White House – I hate socialists, by the way; I’ve seen the damage socialism and Communism does firsthand- because I don’t have any illusions about how much damage Obama’s reign has done to the American systems that is yet to be uncovered or understood. (Seriously, your education systems are fucked, America. It admittedly isn’t as bad as trying to force the use of a language that doesn’t have technical, historical, medical, mathematical, scientific or any other terminology that would actually work for y’know, educating… but there’s a chance to fix it still.)

I don’t have an opinion about whether or not Trump would make a good president, and it wouldn’t matter if I did since I’m not American. That said, Trump’s supporters have a great sense of humor. I can kinda understand why people are going for him though, especially since he’s saying stuff people want to hear and are concerned about. I can see why the GOP is panicking, given that they have rather lackluster potentials.

I mention this seeming segue because the GOP, the Worldcon organizers, and SocJus bully fascists are reacting in the same way – panic. Panic that there are alternatives, that they are NOT in fact holding a captive audience, that we don’t have to limit ourselves to the same limited selections of bread at the end of a very long line, to consume only what we’re granted on by on high. They’re panicking because we’re not in fact, easily herdable sheep (and forget that stampeding sheep can still trample, because most of the morons who think people are sheep have never been NEAR sheep) but are more like goats who are willing to go off into the steep trails.

The more effort we put into something, the more ‘value’ we place on it, because of the investment we’ve put in. If we feel that we don’t get our money’s worth, we’re unlikely to repeat the experience, because there are other pleasures for us as consumers to enjoy- and the Hugo Awards just isn’t hitting the ‘eh, fine’ scale at present.


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