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A fandom is a community of fans, participating in fanac and interacting in some way, whether through discussions or creative works. The interaction may be face-to-face at gatherings such as conventions, or written communication, either off- or on-line.

Fandom as a concept started in the last years of the 19th century, to refer to sports fans. The earliest usage listed at Science Fiction Citations is for an 1896 Washington Post sports column. In the late 1920s and early 1930s, fans of science fiction began using the term to refer to the organized society/culture they were forming, and science fiction fandom is considered the direct or indirect "granddaddy" of many other kinds of organized fandom today, with many of its terms and traditions carrying through even when people aren't aware of their history.

To many science fiction fans, "fandom" specifically means "science fiction fandom"; all other kinds of fandom need to be specified (e.g., "anime fandom", "media fandom").

Outside of science fiction fandom, fans may also refer to their own corners of (collective) fandom simply as "fandom". Some also refer to communities around different source materials as individual "fandoms". Thus, someone who is multifannish might make a list of "my fandoms" but also talk about "fandom" in general as their hobby or their way of life. The Fandoms by Source Text category page on Fanlore links to pages on hundreds of different fandoms.

One Fan Says

A comment in 2009:
One of the BNFs of all BNFs once described you [Fandom] in an email to me as "a huge internet octopus mind meld" - a rather quirky way to describe your particular brand of ungainly but unconditional support. It's true though, and all things considered, it's quite noble support you give towards your charge - the inhabitants of that other world - and towards us too, and our world. You're a very good host, Fandom. You've given us beautiful soil, dark and rich, and anything will grow here - and we've raised you up to be quite the conversationalist. You have something to say about everything, don't you? Kings have long arms, Fandom, but not as long as yours. I know you have something to say, and I'm listening. [1]

A comment in 2012:

I can't imagine my life without fandom. And whatever form fandom takes in the next ten years, whatever platforms we adopt or adapt or invent, I'm grateful to have had this space in which to develop so many of the best fannish relationships -- and friendships -- in my life. ♥ [2]
A comment in 2015:
No one is more critical of art than fandom. No one is more capable of investigating the nuances of expression than fandom—because it’s a vast multitude pooling resources and ideas. Fandom is about correcting the flaws and vices of the original. It’s about protest and rebellion, essentially. Fandom is the voice of a mob that can do better than the original, that often flies in the face of the original, that will accept nothing less than the best the medium (and the human at the helm) is capable of. Fandom is about putting debate and conversation back into an artistic process—-especially if the artist or author in question has become so vain that all criticism falls on deaf ears. (Moffat, I’m looking at you.) Fandom is about mutual creative expression—-there are no gods in fandom and every time someone thinks they’ve become a god of fandom, fandom corrects them again. (Cassandra Clare, I’m looking at you.) Fandom doesn’t need permission and it’s certainly not waiting for it. (Robin Hobb, I’m looking at you.) And fandom doesn’t actually want your attention often, they’d rather you left them alone to get back to what they’re doing better than you anyway. (Supernatural, I’m looking at you.)... Fandom is not worshipping at the alter of canon. Fandom is re-building it because they can do better. [3]

Types of Fandoms

For specific kinds of fandoms, see:

Further Reading/Meta


  1. comment by Amyhit I love you. Let's gather firewood. We'll light a fire on the mountain., April 1. 2009
  2. heresluck, posted Aug. 25th, 2012, retrieved 9.20.2012
  3. Stacey Lehane — A word about fandom, Archived version, goddammitstacey, February 11, 2015
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