What Do You Call Rabid Fans

I belong to a tie-in and novelization writers discussion list…and many of the writers have been discussing how they deal with rabid fans, the kind who live, eat, and breath the fictional worlds of STAR TREK or STAR WARS or BUFFY or even DIAGNOSIS MURDER and seriously need to get a life.  One of the writers came up with a name for them… and I predict it’s going to catch on: The talifans.

UPDATE: I want to clarify my thoughts on this.  Fans are great, they read and support our work and deserve our respect,
kindness, and attention. But rabid fans, for whom the TV show or movie becomes
something akin to a lifestyle or religion, are scary and hostile. There are some
STAR WARS, STAR TREK, and BUFFY tie-in writers who have some real horror stories
to tell about their interactions with fans like this…the Talifans. Heck, I
have a few I can tell myself from my SEAQUEST days (I even wrote a novel about
it!).  Talifans aren’t average fans…Talifans are rabid fans.

Here are some links to other Talifran discussions. Author Karen Traviss talks about how the term "talifan" came up.

This came from a media tie-in compadre after a mutual colleague had been given a
pretty grim tme by their fandom over parts of their book that did not fit
said fandom’s view of What The Character Should Have Done –  even if their view
bore no resemblance to continuity:

And Brian Hogg, pondering the religious implication in the term "talifan," wonders if fandom has become a religion  to some fans.

The level of devotion that genre fans feel is not at all unlike religious
fervor… The truth is
that these fans are paying tribute, endlessly, to their favored properties —
properties which, as sci-fi, generally espouse an ethos, a specific mindset, a
way of living today to achieve some exhalted future.

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

35 thoughts on “What Do You Call Rabid Fans”

  1. Call them what you like, but after far too many years in fandom to be worth counting, I’ve never met a person who ‘lives, eats and breathes’ their show/book/whatever, if by that you mean ‘is interested in that to the exclusion of all else’.
    I have met fans who know shows/books better than the creators. I’ve met fans who have opinions the creators didn’t like/didn’t see the point of. I’ve met fans who I thought took the show a tad too seriously. But I’ve never met one who ‘eats, sleeps and breathes’ it.
    I’ve never met a fan who wasn’t holding down a job (or at the very least actively looking for a job) as well as participating in fandom – though I have met several non-fans who ‘didn’t see the point of working.’
    Nor have I ever met a fan who had no family or friends other than other fans because of their involvement in their chosen interest – most have girl/boy friends and a few are polyamorous, which frankly is too much family life to my mind.
    “Rabid fan”, in my experience, meeans ‘someone who takes this more seriously than I do’. In which case, as far as I’m concerned, nearly anyone who actually watches any sport out of choice is a ‘rabid fan’ and anyone who’s been to church/temple out of choice is a ‘rabid fan.’
    In short, I think you need to define your terms a bit more closely; I’m sure there’s something you take seriously which would have me blinking in astonished bewilderment.

  2. Rabid Fans? Do you mean the people who pay your bills? The people who watch the series you write for and/or produce and then like it enough to buy your tie-in books and thus give you the possibility to maintain this blog in which you bash them? They sure must be rabid because otherwise why would they still let you earn your money this way? I hope many of the rabid DM fans find this blog and consider your opinions of them before they buy anything you’ve written.

  3. I have met fans who know shows/books better than the creators.
    What, someone who knows a product better than the person who spent (at the very least) hundreds of hours creating it?
    That sure sounds like someone who needs to get a life.

  4. What, someone who knows a product better than the person who spent (at the very least) hundreds of hours creating it?
    Yep. Mostly, it has to be said, in cases where the original creator has moved on to other jobs and other projects and the work they’re being asked about is one of their older works. In those circumstances it actually doesn’t take that much knowledge to know more than the original writer can remember of the top of their head.
    Example: I remember seeing the late Terry Nation (veteran British writer and producer who was involved in very many shows over a long life in broadcasting) being interviewed at a convention; he commented that he found himself from time to time watching re-runs on TV and thinking ‘This isn’t a bad bit of work, I wonder who wrote it’ then, when the credits rolled, discovering it had been him.

  5. I’m with Kete, Lee. Remember, it’s “rabid” fans like myself who pay your bills. You mock fans too much, and you’ll make it impossible for me to enjoy your books anymore.

  6. I wouldn’t call you a rabid fan, Mark. Far from it. Fans are great, and you’re right, they pay our bills and deserve our respect, kindness, and attention. But rabid fans, for whom the TV show or movie becomes something akin to a lifestyle or religion, are scary and hostile. There are some STAR WARS, STAR TREK, and BUFFY tie-in writers who have some real horror stories to tell about their interactions with fans like this…the Talifans. Heck, I have a few I can tell myself from my SEAQUEST days (I even wrote a novel about it!). There are even a few DM talifans. (I really love that new word… and no, I’m not the guy who came up with it… a very successful sf writer did).

  7. Not much help, I’m afraid, Lee. Karen doesn’t describe what she means by ‘rabid and negative fan’, it’s just an offhand remark. Perhaps you have a clearer idea?
    You see, from a wide experience of fans of various shows, I think you and she might be talking about different things. I think, but cannot be sure, that she means rude and dangerous. You, on the other hand, appear to mean ‘more interested than I’m comfortable with’. And it it strikes me that there’s a wide blue sea of difference between you.

  8. I think the easiest way to delineate what “rabid fan” means is: If you are offended by the term, you’re probably it. If you’re not, and by extension not dressing up like Mork for the initial airing of the Mork & Mindy True Hollywood Story, then you’re probably not. One can be a fan without being the kind of fan who, yeah, goes nuts and takes out an ad in Variety demanding Sammo & Arsenio be brought back for one more season of Martial Law…

  9. Interesting topic, but perhaps it would be more productive to think on it this way. People become interested in many things in life, and sometimes they become more interested than is good. Fandom is not exclusive to TV, or Movies or Books, rather it is a human thing, about LIKING something. Alot. I would submit that the members of most groups can be split into ‘levels of like’ and down those levels are people who are a bit obsessive. I have friends who are Vegetarian, but don’t really care that I eat meat, while I have been acosted by others that tell me that I’m going to hell for eating meat. I have been threatened with death by college football fans from rival colleges, and been friendly with players on the opposing team. If you want to extend this logically you could put it up to our occasional warlike tendancies.
    Humans like what they like and will also defend what they like, and that has nothing to do with being delusional about the thing. I know sci-fi fans that gripe and complain about how some minor character that had a few lines in 3 episodes got robbed because the story didn’t turn out to be about them. Well DUH that’s what makes them a minor character.
    Yet I do not go and tell them that their favorite character was horrid or anything. Just like the football maniacs, I didn’t give them a reason to beat me up [because they might have] I just told them that everyone cheers for their own school and I had nothing against them, I WAS JUST FOR MY SIDE.
    I believe it is a diservice in general to call this a FAN thing, because then it is always linked to fans, when it is a more general human condition. Very few people made fun of the women who went out and changed their hairstyle, because Rachel on “Friends” did, but if I go to a starwars convention, dressed like ‘Han Solo’ I am some kinda kook. Give me a frickin’ brake.
    So it is with many things. Why do people write tie-ins and novelizations in the first place? Beacuse they liked the original story? SURELY that’s not LITERATURE. I know, ‘them’s fighten words’ and I also know that there are those that hate novels as lowbrow literature, while streaming out praise for the bard. Heh, they are just as much fans of his work as ‘Hitchers’ are of Douglas Adams EVEN THOUGH they would never see themselves that way. So everyone that writes tie-ins for example, must like something about the situation they are tying into, yes? At least a little? In that way THEY are fans of that ‘world’ regardles what it is. So them karping and calling people who are more into it ‘TaliFan’ is a bit hypocritical, isn’t it? AND IMPORTANTLY it reinforces a negative stereotype , that they themselves are trying to get away from. Just because you are a fan doesn’t make your opinion invalid, Just because you write a novelization, and have met the person who originally wrote the screenplay, or the original book, doesn’t make your opinion worth MORE.
    In short, horror stories exist for the lady down the street that has 10 dogs and can’t figure out why you don’t want to play with them. Even though you told her about your dog allergies. “They won’t bite.” ‘That’s great, it’s just that I can’t get close because of my allergies.’ “Well, I do wash them.” ‘I’m sure you do ma’m, but I’d rather be safe than dead.’ “Allergies can’t kill you.” ‘Um, yes, well I have been to the ER for such things before…’
    Should I call her a Tali-dog-fan then? Or should I just chock it up to misunderstanding, and being set in your ways?
    People are strange, and sometimes it’s creepy, and sometimes it doesn’t matter, and sometimes it wonderous. The more you accept it all with your best grace, the more wonderous it becomes…
    ‘ps. since this is a wordsmith’s blog, apologies for spelling and whatnot. I am not a wordsmith…’

  10. Tod wrote: I think the easiest way to delineate what “rabid fan” means is: If you are offended by the term, you’re probably it.
    Sorry, no, this doesn’t work.
    I merely think the term mildly amusing but useless without further definition, and so am trying to find out is exactly what Lee means. It does not seem to be the same as what Karen appeared to mean.
    You see, having been around fans and fandom for a long time, I can think of situations in which I’ve found people who were fans to be irritating and/or dangerous to those around them. However, in every case those situations came about because they had some identifiable illness (alcoholism, drug dependency, poorly controlled bipolar being the three which leap most immediately to mind) and not because they were fans. And I would point out these are three people out of the approximately 5000 fans who attended conventions I ran over around ten years.
    Do you see the difference?
    An alcoholic home improvement enthusiast is just as dangerous as an alcolohic fan, or even more so – drink and circular saws don’t mix. But I don’t think Lee would consider blaming home improvement for the person’s problem, unless he can put together a cogent argument that home improvement causes someone to turn to drink. (In case you were wondering, yes, I am thinking of a particular example – an elderly neighbour of mine now has no fingers thanks to doing exactly that.)
    An amateur actor in a local dramatic club who has badly controlled bipolar is just as much of a pain and a worry to the rest of the cast and crew as a fan in the same situation is to their fellow fans. Or more – you can eject someone from a convention who is misbehaving, but amdram groups find it harder to recast when the show is in three days time. But you wouldn’t consider blaming amdram for their condition. (Again, I’m not making that one up.)
    It is very scary to meet someone you consider weird, but I’m sure there are things over which you’re excited and interested but which would leave me quite cold.
    Example: the perpetual interest people seem to take in football (soccer) games: I do not care that Liverpool won their match in Istanbul, but I have listened to re-tellings of that game all day today and I’m beginning to get more than somewhat sick of it. And they say SF fans are obsessed…I have a colleague who rang the office from bloody Istanbul to talk to his friends about it. I would’t cross the road to see football, let alone pay serious money to go to Istanbul.

  11. I think that’s a good point about sports teams. Why is it sci-fi fans are nuts while sports fans aren’t?
    And I’ve lived with sports fans. They can be way worse then us fiction fans.
    Lee, thanks for the vote of confidence, but remember that DM is a show I enjoyed, and I enjoy the books. But if we moved over to Alias, Babylon 5, or Trixie Belden, you might feel different. Heck, money is extremely tight for me right now, but I bought the newest Trixie reissue yesterday even though I already own two copies of that particular title.

  12. I think I know what Lee is talking about here. I wrote a review of one of the DM books for the American Spectator and posted it on the PAX message board. This was, I don’t know, about two years ago.
    Anywho, the place goes bananas and people start accusing me of being in collusion with Lee to destroy the Diagnosis Murder program, which, by the way, was already off the air at the time and was only running in reruns on PAX.
    Some woman accused Lee of trying to write the last two years of the show out of the history books! she actually had to be removed from the message board and people were worried about her health over the issue.
    It was UNREAL!

  13. “One can be a fan without being the kind of fan who, yeah, goes nuts and takes out an ad in Variety demanding Sammo & Arsenio be brought back for one more season of Martial Law…”
    That said, I’m still pissed Martial Law got cancelled!!!!

  14. Patrick,
    “Griddy,” “Kel,” “Betty,” and some of the other people on that DM message board definitely qualify as Talifans. (Remember, they also accused you of BEING me… as well as anybody who else who posted a message praising one of my episodes or books).
    When I was writing/producing SEAQUEST, there was an outraged fan who told me I couldn’t write episodes unless I read the fanfic first. She was furious because too many episodes were in conflict with the TRUE history of the show as it existed in fanfic. See, we wrote the show for money, fanficcers wrote it out of LOVE, so they were the “True” guardians of SeaQuest. That, my friend, is a Talifan.

  15. <<>>
    I actually have had the exact same experience outside of a fictional universe, and that is with fans of figure skating. Having worked for several TV networks that cover the sport, plus writing a few books, fiction and non-fiction, on the subject, I have, several times been accused of Only Being In It for the Money (TM), and thus my association with the sport is impure, while those who sit at home and discuss it endlessly on message boards, etc… and the true keeps of the flame. And this was about real people!

  16. I’m told that someone used the term on a Worldcon panel some years ago and defined a Talifan as a reader with a “Ninth Century view of the genre.” Whatever that means…

  17. All this reminds me of the time my mother as accused by a fellow helper at the local church of ‘bringing flower arranging into disrepute’. I’m not sure exactly why, something to do with the placement of a rose in an arrangement for the altar. Perhaps that person’s a ‘tali-flower-arranger’.
    It doesn’t matter what the subject, there’ll be some crazy people involved, just because there are crazy people in the world.

  18. I think that fans who neglect the neccesities of life (bathing, food, bill paying) in order to indulge in their hobby can be described as “Tali-fans”.
    It didn’t surprise me one bit that the “Booth Babes” at this year’s E3 show complained that most of the attendees skimped on deodorant.

  19. I get a little tired of the whole “fans pay your bills so you do as we say” attitude. Fans aren’t feudal lords commissioning an artist. Fans are consumers, and we go intot a store and plop down our money voluntarily, and never once do we say “Hey, make sure he gets some groceris and pays part of his light bill with that.” We do it because we want the book, or the movie or game, and to leave without doing so is theft.
    But it certainly isn’t charity. People make the same comments about George Lucas: “We pay your bills and buy your cars blah blah blah.” No, he makes you movies and you throw down cash. Because to not do so is theft.
    Go try that at IBM, or General Motors, or Microsoft: “We pay your bills so you do what I want!” No, you purchase something conjured by them, and its up to you to understand it, and its up to you to make a reasonably sound decision before swiping your card. So before you get hauled off by security at Frito-Lay because of this “my money for Cheetoes pays your bills” mentality, think about the actual nature of the transaction. Its not charity, its a trade. Caveat Emptor, and more importantly, I’ll be damned if we all have to suffer authors and artists plying their craft based solely on the idea that they want more money. And how horrible would it be if they responded to every little interest group with an axe to grind? They might as well sign up with Pepsi and do some product placement, because guess what – they pay better.
    Think about it. It’s goofy.
    Dark Moose out

  20. I don’t know who invented the term, but the meaning is pretty clear: someone so zealous about their personal vision of their chosen franchise that they threaten, abuse, libel or stalk writers who work in what they consider Their World, but who don’t accede to their demands because there’s that pesky business of the franchise owner wanting things written a certain way.
    A lad who politely e-mails you 50 times to talk about lightsabers or Spock’s missus isn’t a talifan. A fan who says you should bring back character X at least once a week isn’t a talifan, even if he has no social graces or deodorant. Someone who refers to you as “C***” online, libels you, accuses your colleagues of corruption and incompetence, or generally harrasses, bullies or abuses – now that’s a talifan. We’re talking extreme behaviour here. Please don’t think this is Galaxy Quest, folks: this is nasty, ugly stuff. It’s not about enthusiasm. It’s about hatred.
    I think the difference is clear. Unfortunately, the kind of people who are talifans can’t see that this is unreasonable and antisocial behaviour. There are actually very few of them in fandom, but the fact they’re there at all is bad news – even if most commercially successful writers get them sooner or later. There are some benchmarks of success that you could do without.
    And yes, they occur in all areas of interest, from sport to movies to whatever. Oh, and religion. Who said they didn’t?

  21. I should have added…I believe that the fact that they appear to be fans of a particular show or movie or whatever is a red herring. Nothing to do with SF, Harry Potter, Monk or even flower arranging; they just need something to latch onto to express this bundle of emotions, and organised groups like fandoms (especially online) offer an immediate and easy outlet.
    Speaking as a journo there, not a psychologist, which I don’t even play on TV.

  22. It’s important not to miss the heart of what’s being said here. Most fans are wonderful people. Speaking as someone who’s been a fan way longer than she’s been a writer, I can put my hand on my heart and say, some of the most incredible, valuable people in my life are fans and we met because of fandom. Fandom rocks, and so do most fans.
    But fandom, like most things in life, has a dark underbelly. And the fans who live in those shadows are not the kind of people it’s pleasant to spend time with. Speaking as a fan of over twenty years in a variety of fandoms, I feel confident I know what I’m talking about when I say this. I’ve met some of the shadow fans, in person and now of course online. These people aren’t the kind of fan who likes to sit around with other fans and enjoy a spirited debate about various aspects of a film or show, its characters, its subtexts, and who — most important of all — accept and even embrace the different interpretations of the show that exist because each one of us experiences the film/tv show through a unique prism.
    The fans we’re talking about here are fundamentalists. They can admit no deviation from their experience of the text, and are hostile towards anyone who puts forward a different view of The Truth. The concept of live and let live is alien to them. That means they will attack, in the most offensive ways available to them, anyone — up to and including the creators/writers of their passion and the actors portraying its characters — who dares to disagree with them. Media tie-in writers are often the target of their wrath, for many reasons, and that’s why we’re talking about it here.
    Sometimes the fans who don’t take their enjoyment to such extremes think we’re exaggerating, or that we consider ourselves better or more important or above reproach just because we write in an established universe loved by many others. Hand on heart, we’re not. Or at least, the ones I know personally are not. There really are some whacked out fans in the world who don’t see that death threats, abuse, attempts to destroy businesses and careers, spread libel etc etc aren’t legitimate modes of self-expression.
    Saying that we, as writers peripherally connected to various films/shows, have no legitimate right to fight that kind of behaviour when it impinges on our professional integrity, our rights as individuals or our careers, is wrong. We will fight it with every weapon at our disposal because that behaviour is also wrong, and it does a grave disservice to all the great fans out there who respect the opinions of other people, even when they differ.
    The only way the shadowfans, Talifans, call them what you will, can be kept in check is if all the great fans stand up and say, Nope. You don’t behave that way in my backyard. Grow up, or go away.
    Please don’t attack the people who do stand up and fight for civilised behaviour. Join us, instead.

  23. Amen. These people are an embarrassment to normal fandom and give the non-fan world the idea that everyone’s like them, because it’s human nature to focus on the dingbats and tar the majority with the same brush.
    Most fans can’t imagine how bad this stalking and abuse gets because they’re normal people. Stalking isn’t too strong a word, by the way – go look at the legal definition in both the USA and UK, and it’s a criminal offence in both countries. It’s time for some militant normality to make itself felt.

  24. I am a very, very small part of media tie-in writing. I have had many, many wonderful experiences with fans. And two brushes with shadow fans. One a sort of drive-by and the other a full-on attack.
    Posters on the TrekBBS who did not like one of my stories are not shadow fans or talifans. They are readers who did not like one of my stories. It happens. In fact, I particularly appreciate readers who take the time to tell me what did not work for them and why. Posters on the BattleCorps or Classic BattleTech boards who point out I made a mistake in weapons effect or BattleMech statistics are not talifans. Those are vital bits of information in game play and the fiction must reflect the game accurately. And of course, readers who simply did not like a particular story of mine are not only welcome, but encouraged to express their opinion.
    My drive-by shadow fan sent me an e-mail and published a more civil version of the e-mail denouncing me as a fake and a thief who was taking fans’ money and betraying Classic BattleTech because a character in one of my stories refered to an assault-class BattleMech as a heavy-class. His point was that if I didn’t care enough about the game to even get basic facts right, I needed to get out and leave CBT to the people who loved it. (At one level, he was right, btw, I had made a mistake and missed the difference between a 80-ton and a 85-ton BattleMech. Pointing out my error is encouraged — how he went about it was over the top.)
    My full-on shadow fan is actually very minor compared to some of the horror stories I’ve heard. In addition to being a writer I am a minister and special education teacher. I am active in a number of communities related to these fields. This person has not — yet — actually posted in any of these forums, but when my 14-year-old daughter “Dog Piled” my name to show a friend what I’d written, she found a blog about me. This person — angry with me for not agreeing with him on a Trek point that has no real bearing on anything other than his belief system — tracks me to different forums, quotes me out of context, then makes derisve comments about my words in an effort to show yet again that I am, in his words, a f**king moron. That the fellow is evidently unfamiliar with the Bible and education does not seem to affect his perception that he is right and anything I say anywhere is wrong.
    Counterbalancing these two are hundreds of people who like my work. I have received e-mails from Germany, Australia, and a soldier stationed in Iraq praising my works. I’ve been treated like a celebrity at GenCon (Even though it was revealed in a public match that I am a terrible BattleTech player — I had the wit to avoid the MechWarrior tables.)
    I like the connection between shadow fandom and fundamentalism posted above. It is, I think, more indicative of the emotional needs of the practitioner than whatever it is they have invested themselves in with such intensity.
    The origin of “fan” is “fancier” — one who appreciates something. It is absolutely wonderful to have my small works appreciated. It is when “fan” comes to mean “fanatic” that things go over the edge into the shadowland of talifans.

  25. Whenever I hear the term “Talifan”, the immediate image that leaps to mind is the character in Stephen King’s “Misery”. I have to think that it’s even inspired by just such a fan, before they had the epithet.
    The woman in “Misery” is a Talifan gone horribly wrong, and given some of the violent and offensive things I’ve seen Talifans say in a failed effort to distingish bad ideas from good, I’d say some of them, unchecked, would be headed that direction.
    Not all of them, mind you. Many are just overly abusive, and a little funny because of it. But the very idea that the worst kinds are tolerated in their sparse ranks endangers all kinds of fandom. That these few ultra-frustrated, overly focused, highly negative, give rise to an even more ominous subset of e-stalkers is a point that shouldn’t be missed. These folks are not just overly enthusiastic, or even just mired in pointless orthodoxy. They have a problem prioritizing what is worth getting into a confrontation over. And even worse, they seem to have a problem separating fact from fiction.
    Over at the SW.com boards I’ve seen all kinds. Many of them THINK that when someone breaks out the term Talifan, they are to be insulted, and really they have no idea that it doesn’t even refer to them. At SW.com, the technically minded fans seem to think its an alternate term for their sub-group. And that is actually borne of the Talifans around them trying to convince them of this. In reality, Talifans infiltrate groups in order to poison the fandom around them. They are a special kind of troll – and what distinguishes them is a few things: 1) they like to look like more than they actually are, to appear to have a broader opinion. 2) they believe in what I like to call “debate by attrition”, meaning they aren’t there to actually discuss anything, but to whither any opposing views 3) They are very personal in their remarks, and they are proud of this, whereas those around them distance themselves from someone who would say such insulting and abusive remarks 4) they are very self-referencing, and usually have a troop of yes-men in tow that agree with whatever they say 5) they can often claim to be affiliated with one group or another to give themselves legitimacy – really they’ve hijacked the group (again, excellent comparisons this term gives rise to) 6) When all else fails, and it seems the communities around them shun them for their attitudes, they call foul – they’ll say its part of a conspiracy before they accept the idea that maybe no one cares for their reasoning because it isn’t very well reasoned, and no one cares for their kind of persuasion because it actually does the exact opposite.
    Most savvy fans can spot these folks. Some can’t. That doesn’t excuse their existance in the grand scheme of things. In the end, the term Talifan is a kind of misnomer – they aren’t fans at all. To me, they’re folks who actively look for something wrong, and they use up a discussion forum as an excuse to be as ugly and lowbrow as possible in their quest to change somehting few others care about. And when they’re done, like locusts, they move on to the next focus of their disproportionate hatred.
    Talifans are not just rabid fans – we all know plenty of good-natured, over-the-top fans of many franchises. Those folks are great. Even when they have some negative feedback, they’re still ok. Talifans are people that exist to insult and deride, and when that doesn’t work, threaten and extort if they can. All because they want something their way. And they’ll be the first to say that whatever author or artist or actor is depriving all of fandom the right to be happy, when it fact it has only to do with their tantrum, their specific needs, and they couldn’t care less about the rest of fandom. They just want it their way. And even then, don’t think they’re going to be happy.
    Whoever said it above, its absolutely true: We as fans have to drive them out of our communities. We have to appeal to site moderation and administration to keep them out. And whenever possible, complain about their presence whenever visible. Kept in check, they’re a small voice, but allowed to run rampant, its a problem. There are boards I never go to because of the way they coddle these types.
    My advice to authors is this: they thrive on attention. They want you to give them a microphone by responding to them, and therefore validating them. I’d say whenver possible, don’t give them that opportunity.
    Its not that they are a serious problem. When seen in perspective, they’re actually a little goofy. But back to my analogy of locusts – if you don’t take care of it, all of a sudden it starts to turn into a plague. I resent the incursion into my fandom, personally.
    Dark Moose out

  26. Lee and I, several years ago, wrote a complete episode guide to MAVERICK. We were paid (by Video Review) but they didn’t publish it. A few years later, I was contracted by Warner Bros. to write MAVERICK: The Making of the Movie and the Offical Guide to the Television Series. Icon Productions sent me the screenplay, and asked my opinion. THEY asked, I responded. Heck — if they are crazy enough to ask my opinion, I’m crazy enough to answer. I promptly told them that the ending (in that draft) was all wrong, and why it was all wrong — in fact, it was the same error in character that flawed the ending of THE NEW MAVERICK TV-Movie. I even suggested two solutions to the problem. Supprisingly, Icon promptly responded, thanking me. I was, on reflection, correct. It also helped that I wasn’t the only person to share this view — I think Mel Gibson agreed with me. In the final draft, the flaw was corrected. Now, I am regarded as a MAVERICK “expert,” not a rabid fan. The producers of THE SAINT movie also asked my opinion, and ignored my suggestions. Then again, they ignored those of the character’s creator, Leslie Charteris. Soon, I will be consulting on a new SAINT project — whether or not they pay any attention to me is another matter. If they don’t, I will simply cash the check anyway, and not kill them, swindle them, or leave them tied up in an alley with a stick figure scrawled on their foreheads. Any of those latter actions would change my status from “expert,” to “talifan.”

  27. For me, the ultimate piece on this subject can be found in EDGEWORKS, by Harlan Ellison. “Xenogenesis, An Essay” is a collection of “fan” behavior and incidents Harlan collected over the years from his own experience and the experience of others such as Robert Heinlein, Robert Bloch, et. al.
    Scary reading. And scarier thoughts.

  28. Actually, most fans labelled “Talifans” are people that are fed up with authors who take themselves too seriously, and their syocphants who latch onto said authors like leeches along for the ride. It’s truly amusing that said authors who are unable to take criticism and go out of their way to inflame situations like this, suddenly scream foul when they can’t deal with the backlash. They’ll invent names like “Talifan” to make themselves feel better, then assure their leeches that there’s only three or four of ’em. Really, just a small group.
    No, fans who are labelled so are not the “mysoginist”, stalking terrorists mediocre authors who can’t take the heat from their own kitchens make them out to be. These are fans that will call you on your behavior while stripping away the flowery language couching the insults you’re so used to. Oh, and they make parody videos.
    See, these fans don’t care if you have “VIP” before your name on a message board or anywhere else. They know that even inmitigated jerks have titles, too. I know it must be tough to see fans that DON”T treat you like loyalty when you comment from on high, but such is life.
    I’m sure the rabid fanboys who get weak kneed at the prospect of talking to someone as holy as a “Star Wars” author believe everything said VIPs say about awful fans who disagee with them, or actually get angry when provoked by smug hacks. After all, VIPs are above such things as crying foul when someone doesn’t like their work. Just ask Randy Stradley…

  29. What I continue to find amusing about the term “Talifan” is the rush to identify with the term by those who know they’re already guilty of the associated traits.
    This umbrage is akin to someone walking walking down a crowded street and calling out “Any morons?” and someone actually answering “How dare you, sir!”
    Simply by expressing themselves, they invalidate themselves. They look to others to help validate their message.
    People that can’t distinguish between personal attacks and analysis, between stalking and criticism, between opinion and dogma, between discussion and confrontation, between debate and bickering, and between lobbying and abuse – those are Talifans.
    Even worse, the mobius logic that anyone who doesn’t agree with the fringe concerns of these few is “on the other side”. If you’re not with them, you’re against them, as the saying goes. I remember one of them (actually, oddly all of them, as if they share the same word-of-the-day calendar) used the word “sycophant” to describe anyone that would err on the side of the rights of the author not to be personally attacked. Obviously the point there is that these small groups are little other than sycophantic support groups. When one of them chirps, they all chirp the same song. It’s a social club built around abuse, and I daresay if they didn’t have someone to abuse, they’d find the uncomfortable silence to be unbearable and promptly disband.
    They must know that no one will ever take them seriously. Not because of what they say, but because of how they say it.
    And if the greater majority, on both sides of the author/fan coin, takes an issue with the existence of this tiny social phenomenon, then that means perhaps their time has come and gone, and the experiment was misguided to begin with.
    Sorry to hijack these comments. It’s just mildly irksome to those of us that actually have and use social skills to see others squander them, or worse, appear to have never developed them.
    Dark Moose out

  30. Note: Or I should say, nothing edited except for spelling and grammar mistakes on my part at the time of posting. Nothing was edited at all in the posts of the person in question. To be fair…
    Dark Moose out

  31. So Very Brittle

    Today is a lesson in why few people live in glass houses. Bryan Lambert somehow stumbled (Update: Led by the nose more like) upon the Traviss/clone uproar. He read the thread on TheForce.net and concluded that an eight month discussion…

  32. History of the Traviss Affair

    This history is by no means complete and focuses primarily on Traviss’s statements. May 2005 “Foreshadowing” LiveJournal Blog: May 26, 2005 Neologism of the DayTraviss discovers the term “Talifan” in relation to the work of another media tie-in writer….


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