John Edwards Davies

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Fan
Name: John Edwards Davies
Alias(es): John Davies
Type: SF fan, club administrator
Fandoms: Doctor Who, UFO
Communities: Doctor Who Club of Victoria
Other: Australian
URL:
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John Edwards Davies with UK actor Ed Bishop (Commander Ed Straker from UFO), at Huttcon convention, Melbourne, November 1990
Supervoc 3 cover

John Edwards Davies (1961 - ) was a fan within the Australian science fiction community during the early 1980s, becoming involved with a number of fandoms and fanzines.

He and his father (John England Davies) assisted with the production of some fanzines; the latter printing Supervoc 3, Multiverse 5, and Interceptor 2.

John joined the Doctor Who Club of Victoria in 1980, becoming Interim President between May and December that year, then the inaugural (elected) President 1981 - 1982. He then withdrew from organised fandom.

In January 2024, John was interviewed [1] about his time in the club, and his thoughts about fandom. He also presented a critique of the Doctor as a character.

From his comments on fandom:

John enjoyed commonplace cultural exposure to science fiction and fantasy:

... My space-age childhood experience was replete with the multitude of science fiction/fantasy television being presented across all the TV channels [all four of them] throughout the 1960s. When I look back upon the amount of television programming dedicated to these genres, the total is nothing less than astonishing.

Despite the evident popularity of this material, his initial experiences as a fan were largely solitary or individualised:

Doctor Who had been an almost exclusively solitary viewing experience for me during the sixties and seventies. I, being an only child did not have to compete with siblings in order to select and watch any program available for viewing during those years. This privilege extended to Doctor Who but it led me to believe on occasion that I was the only person watching the series...

He eventually discovered fandom as a more communal activity:

So I was somewhat taken aback when I discovered a fanzine called Zerinza, dedicated to the series... It took me a year to muster up the gumption to initiate correspondence with Zerinza’s Editor/Publisher, Antony Howe, and I was quite thrilled that he deigned to respond, resulting in our establishing a friendship which continues today.

Leading on from the establishment of this interstate connection was the discovery of a local Melbourne Club, The Doctor Who Club of Victoria... My curiosity piqued, I began attending club meetings as of January 1980, and continued to do so throughout the rest of that year. It brought me into contact with fellow fans enabling me to at long last share in my appreciation of the series and establish several life-long friendships. It also rather rapidly and somewhat unexpectedly led to my ascending to a leadership role in the club, which I came to find quite satisfying.

However, he indicates that despite this early involvement in organised fandom, his attitude appears to largely subscribe to the FIJAGH philosophy rather than FIAWOL; and he preferred to go full circle and return to his enjoyment of SF as a more solitary or individualised experience:

My interest in remaining a member of the club began its inexorable decline over the subsequent years as I increasingly felt that I no longer wanted to associate myself as closely as I had become to organised Science Fiction/Fantasy fandom. In terms of personal development, I felt that remaining inside the bubble of the above would be like getting trapped within a cul-de-sac.

His memories of his time within the Doctor Who Club of Victoria:

We succeeded in transforming the club from being a one person operation into one administered by a constitutionally governed committee. We continued to hold monthly meetings, produce our own regular newsletter, Sonic Screwdriver and the occasional fanzine, Supervoc.

We presented Christmas Parties at Foresters Hall RMIT in December 1980 & 1981 and then at The Richmond Rowing Club in December 1982. These parties were the absolute highlights of the club’s calendar for networking, building of fandom communities, and building the club.

I am grateful that there were so many members who were keen to accept roles and responsibilities within the club.

From his critique on the Doctor:

Whilst often touted as being alien in temperament, the Doctor displays a number of all-too-familiar human character traits, and this enables the audience to identify and engage with his character.

Today, he is a complex character with precious little residual mystery and now carrying an inordinate amount of personal baggage... I believe, after having viewed the series for over half a century, that it has long since reached the point where its title, “Doctor Who”, is no longer applicable.

The presentation of a number of historical, cultural, ecological, political and, more recently, gender identity and sexual orientation-related themes for examination and debate – sometimes quite heatedly within its demographically diverse fanbase – reflect the Doctor’s evolution.

I have watched the series since its return in 2005 with a sense of mild detachment and I don’t imagine that this is going to change in the foreseeable future.

References

  1. ^ John Edwards Davies, "Doctor Who - Who Indeed?" on Humanist blog, 12 January 2024.