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Uhura and some enthusiasts, by Sharon A. Young, from the zine Diverse Dimensions #5 (1984)

Hokas were the creation of Poul Anderson and Gordon Dickson.

They first appeared in a 1951 science fiction story and became the focus of a series of stories.

The Hoka are an alien race that look like teddy bears. They are are entranced by fiction. When encountering a story, hoka will start to live it out, believing (or at least acting as though they believe) as if they are in it. These single-minded enthusiastic creatures became a sort of meme that transferred from science fiction fandom to media fandom.

Fan Comments


And, of course, there are always the "plush people" produced by such fans as Pasha (Pat and Sharon) who make fantastic stuffed animals. Their most famous are the Hokas, "teddy bears" based on the tiny, intensely imitative ursine people of Poul Anderson and Gordon R. Dickson's stories. The most famous of these, Sherlock Hoka, who resides with a human named Lani who has a weakness for art auctions, has "chosen" Sherlock Holmes as his role model. There is a legend that says; "If a person at a con art auction holds Sherlock and (in cases of dire emergency) chews on his Hoka-sized deerstalker, she cannot lose her bid." Sherlock is a lady's Hoka; he doesn't work for the gents. [1]


For any newer fans who may be a little confused at the abundance of costumed teddy bears floating around older fandom, as toys looking like everything from Blake's Seven crew to Conan the "BarBearian" to Princess Leia, or as cartoons in older printzines, a short explanation of the madness follows: Hokas were born in a short story published in the science fiction magazine Other Worlds Science Stories in 1951, the product of the collaboration between science fiction greats Poul Anderson and Gordon Dickson. They became such beloved creations they went on to books, some of which may still be in print and are well worth a hilarious read. Highly suggestible teddy bear-like inhabitants of the planet Hoka, these charming beings not only accept human "cultural contamination", they REVEL in it. Whole sections of population throw themselves into their storylines and characters with such gleeful zeal, they can quickly build Londons to fit Queen Victoria's age or a medieval Paris complete with cathedral for their own version of the Hunchback. Since they also have a happy disregard among literature, old movies and real history, they are as likely to have Sherlock Holmes present at the Battle of Trafalgar ... held on Thursdays ... as they are to decide being Foreign Legionaires are more fun next month. On a diplomatic visit to Earth, "Disraeli" can become "Don Giovanni" after a single state visit to the opera. All of this single-minded enthusiasm makes them rather the "Ultimate Fans". As such, fandom embraced them as mascots and Hokas turned up in every fandom that arose. [2]

Some Hokas


  1. ^ from Fiawol, or, How to feel at home in a purple wig and a cape (October 1978)
  2. ^ from Millennium #2 (2004)