Between seeing We are Wizards at SXSW last month, Elisabeth's excellent Geek Beat column on cosplay and costuming (that's her at the right, dressed as Queen Gorgo), JK Rowling squaring off in court with Steven Vander Ark over this Harry Potter Lexicon, and following the wonderful Twilight fan sites more closely of late, I feel like I've been double-dipped in fandom recently. All this has got me thinking on the concept of fandom and fantasy and what drives people (like myself) to obsess about fictional worlds and characters, and where the line is between healthy love and admiration for books and films and unhealthy obsession.
Don't get me wrong here ... I totally love fansites.. Fans who maintain fansites give hours and hours of their personal time to keeping those sites going, and when sites get popular, they have to recruit other obsessed fans to help them out, all while maintaining the quality of the site and keeping away trolls (and, in the case of Twilight Moms, maybe a few irate spouses to boot!) But how much is too much?
I guess for me, the line that keeps me on the right side of sanity is: am I living so much in this fictional world that it's taking the place of my real life? Am I neglecting spending time I should be spending with my husband and kids, keeping the house (er, reasonably) clean, and getting my work done, in order to read fansites and re-read Twilight or Wuthering Heights for the 89,000th time? Are fictional characters appearing in my dreams and fantasies? Do I accidentally call my husband "Edward" at inopportune times? (Thankfully, that's not happened yet ... I expect his tolerance for Twilight would take a massive downhill turn should that occur ... ).
I know we have lots of passionate fans out there -- costumers and cosplayers, fans of horror, of anime, of comics, of Harry Potter, and, of course, of Twilight -- as well as more than a few of the folks who run the fan sites. I'd like to hear your thoughts on fandom and fansites, and how you keep the balance between healthy fandom and unhealthy obsessiveness. Sound off with what you think about it ...