The OF Blog: Amusing oddities

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Amusing oddities

In the 4+ years that I've been an administrator over at wotmania, I've seen quite a bit of behavior that is in turns amusing and baffling to me. I just felt like writing a short, light-hearted post here devoted to the quirkiness that seems to make the SF/F fan what he or she is, so please don't take any of this personally, although I suspect a few of you might. C'est la vie and all that.

The first thing about the obsessed fan is the near-fanatical devotion toward matters of cover art. Judge a book by its cover? Perish the thought...or rather, perish the publisher that changes the art or those which print 'garishly SF/F art' on their covers. From the multitude of comments about how the Darrell K. Sweet WoT covers compare to the British ones to how people hate that the SOIAF covers have changed three times over four books to differences between the Canadian/American and British covers for R. Scott Bakker's The Prince of Nothing series, it would seem as though the 'typical SF/F fan' has to have the cover art JUST so.

Related to this is book size. Gotta wait an extra 8-24 months to own the tradeback/paperback edition (with the same cover, of course!), because the books must be of the same size and appearance! Heaven forbid if there's a hardcover that comes in the end part or that the composition of the paper used is thicker/thinner than before (you may think I jest, but considering the 'complaints' I read about George R.R. Martin's A Feast for Crows having 'thinner' paper than before, you'd be shaking your head as much as I am, perhaps), because we might have a few more heart attacks around this joint.

Then we have those amusing people who just have to have all of their books ordered just so on a bookshelf. Just reading a few posts around the web in recent months, it seems as though there is a legion of obsessed fanatics that arrange their shelves by book size, color, texture, etc. and therefore would become crazed if this said order would be compromised if an author were to release a book with cover art that is incongruous to that which has come before!

I guess whoever said that maxim about not judging a book by its cover never met a truly dedicated SF/F fan! I probably am leaving out more oddities, but I thought I'd just post this little bit in lieu of writing a more 'serious' article. Feel free to add more suggestions in the comments box.


Anonymous said...

Speaking as one of those obsessives..

I thought your blogging could have used a bit more symmetry with the paragraphs. :)

I do have my books in alpabetical order... and I also(for certain series) ..want all my books the same...and this does occasionally require the purchase of mulitple copies. Page thickness in not an issue.

Have you also noticed that many who share the higher I.Q. (read:nerd) associated with Spec. Fiction are ...for the most part..divergent Personalites?
... I wear my Nerd Badge proudly.

Lsrry said...


Little else to say but that, yes?

And for the record, I was too much of a Jock growing up to ever be a nerd, so there! :P

Anonymous said...


You are both a nerd and a jock..

Just like I was a nerd and hung with all the cool folks..

Nerdism is statement of things enjoyed...not a lable from the great uncouth masses.

Anonymous said...

Guilty as charged.

But then, I've never claimed to be either normal or sane. :D

Anonymous said...

Apparently I'm not that particular about the organization of my books... my brother moved them all, and they're all out of order, some upside down and backwards. Yet, I haven't taken the time to reorganize them all. Of course, I'm not here at home all that much, which probably has something to do with it.

In my old room, I did organize them somewhat, both by author/genre and by size. At school, I have Classics separated from everything else, but not too much organization otherwise. Maybe I'm getting better... or deluding myself.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I do that. I am still having problems coping with the fact that I bought books 1 and 3 of Kay's Fionaver's Tapestry, when I found out book number 2 is impossibly difficult to buy. So now that when is completely different. Different shade of pink, different size.

Mmm, it really does sound rather sad looking at it this way.

BTW, I also have my CD's in alphabetical order and I DO argue with my wive when she doesn't put them back in order...

Anonymous said...

I have my books arranged in an order that has nothing to do with whether I am obsessed or merely mildly enthused by said books. Well, not usually, anyway.

Being all not-earning-money-of-my-own, I tend to buy what I can, and hang the imprint. But it hurts. You should see my Alexandria Quartet, all different editions. My heart bleeds. Bleeds.

And you know, most fantasy cover art sucks. It's like they pick the dumbest non-visually competent idjit to slash paint on a sack. Hooray for Paul Kidby.

And lastly, why? Why? Why are you poking fun at us? We trusted you!

Anonymous said...

I am guilty of some of that, but I have outgrown most of it. I try to keep my books organized by author. They are not alphabetical, it all depends where they fit on the shelf. Of course, I am out of shelf space and many books are on top of others, crammed in where they can fit.


RobB said...

At least the fantasy forums isn't the only place where readers/fans bring up these gripes!

Lsrry said...

I think it's an universal plague now, Rob - we poor mods just have to suffer for their sins/weirdness!

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