Take a step back and read an older issue of N3F’s The Fan from 2004 – with many reviews, including Jon D. Swartz’s take on the Firefly series and Janine Stinson turning a critical eye at Tomorrow Now: Envisioning the next 50 Years by Bruce Sterling.

Look back at where we’ve been and see how far we’ve come.

Author Susan M. Garrett died today after a months-long battle with cancer. Aside from being a professional writer (Intimations of Mortality, 1997, Berkeley, ISBN: 978-1572973138), she also wrote several unpublished novels and was actively involved in the fan fiction community, where she had a sizable fan base.

At her heart, Susan M. Garret was a storyteller, “Officially, I’ve been writing fiction since I was eight years old,” she said in one of her biographies. “It all began with fan fiction–they didn’t make enough new episodes of my favorite Saturday morning cartoon and children’s shows and so I started writing my own.”

From there, her writing took off. She had been published hundreds of times in various fanzines, including works of non-fiction as well as original fiction and fan fiction. It’s in fan fiction circles where the name Susan M. Garret gained an iconic status; a guarantee that a first-rate yarn was in store for the reader, true to the original characters.

She developed quite a large fan base with her original works based on the worlds of The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne and Forever Knight. It was her reputation in the latter that led to her book deal with Berekely in the 1990s.

Aside from developing a fan base of her own, Susan was a die-hard fan herself, where her fan career began in earnest in 1976, when she was inducted as the first American female into the UK’s storied Doctor Who Appreciation Society. A life-long fan of the Doctor and his adventures in the TARDIS, she kept up with the series until the end.

A publisher of several fanzines through the years (see partial list below), she had a distinguished impact on fandom in general and was the co-creator of the satirical “Not The MediaWest*Con Program Book” with Ann Larimer, that was distributed at MediaWest for many years.


Between 1989 and 1992, she published The Handy Dandy Adzine Calendar and Address Guide for Fanzine Editors and Other Busy People, a bi-annual adzine for and about adzines that was distributed at fan conventions and via the mail.

She also was the creator of two publications regarding fan publishing: The Fantastically, Fundamentally Functional Guide to Fanzines for Readers & Contributors in 1989, and The Fantastically, Fundamentally Functional Guide to Fanzines for Editors & Publishers in 1990.

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She had a particular impact in science fiction and fantasy TV fandom as it came of age in the 1990s.

She was a top BNF (big-name fan) among Doctor Who (1970s-80s), Forever Knight (1990s), and most recently The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne (SAJV). It was her work in SAJV fandom that is still being felt today. She, along with a small team of dedicated fans, set up a multi-media network to save the show that had been cancelled by the SCIFI Channel – consisting of inter-linked websites,  PR campaigns to advertisers and DVD/video distributors, and very detail-oriented and precise attack plans and events at fan conventions made the industry and other fans stand up and take attention.

Although it was too late to save SAJV, others took notes and those same tactics were later used in other campaigns, including the successful effort after FOX cancelled the series Firefly, in which many tactics originally developed by SAJVers under the tutelage of Susan M. Garrett led to Universal movie studio making the feature film, Serenity.

By that time, Susan started devoting more of her time practicing her writing. Born and raised on the east coast, but always fascinated by the lure of Hollywood (she was an extra in a 1999 episode of Homicide: Life on the Street when it filmed in Baltimore) Susan jumped at the chance to switch coasts when the opportunity arose in 2002 to move to the Los Angeles-area and be room mates with fellow SAJVer and empty nester with a room to spare, Vicci Varner. There she lived and wrote in the foothills overlooking Los Angeles for the past 8 years.

But, after a routine medical procedure in April 2010 revealed that Susan M. Garrett had advanced Stage 3 colon/stomach cancer, she spent her last months fighting the disease in her adopted home; as usual, she lived at the Varner house as part of the family until the end – with the help and care of her long-time friend and room mate, Vicci Varner, and her brother, Shawn. Recently, she was transferred to the intensive care unit of Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Beverly Hills, where she spent her 49th birthday. Her battle with cancer ended three days later with her drifting off in her sleep, on Saturday, August 14, 2010.


Although she has left us, Susan M. Garrett lives on in cyberspace. Below are a few links about her and her works:

Public Broadcasting Service

Image via Wikipedia

Starting this Labor Day, PBS stations will start airing a slice of fandom with the one-hour documentary, Four Days at DragonCon. Filmed by Atlanta- based documentarians, Jack Walsh and Gordon Ray during the 2009 con, the film is set to debut 9 p.m. (ET) Aug. 28 on WPBA PBS 30 in Atlanta and then roll out nationwide to other PBS member stations in the following months.

Dubbed in the media as “Woodstock for nerds,”  ”the ultimate pop culture convention” and “the South’s sci-fi fantasy Mardi Gras,” this is no small regional sparsely-attended fan convention as Dragon*Con has grown to become the largest fan-run science fiction and fantasy convention in the world with tens of thousands of attendees taking up more Atlanta hotel space than the 1996 Summer Olympics (true, ComiCon is larger and gets more attention – but it is put on by a large corporation, not volunteer fans – and it shows.)

Below is a sneak preview of “Four Days at DragonCon”

A new web site launched that may be of interest to role-playing fans of Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Darkover series of books.

Called The Red Sun, the fan-crafted site launched over the weekend. The RPG uses a blend of in-character message board posts and fan fiction to build the player-generated storylines.

The game is open to the public to create user accounts and join in on the fun. Since it is still in its rough starting stages, The Red Sun may be more malleable in its plot direction (a boon to creative new players) than more established BBS-based RPGs.

The Red Sun describes itself as a “game is set in the Recontact era – Terra discovers Darkover for the first time … again. Shattered Chain, The Winds of Darkover, Spell Sword and Forbidden Tower are books set in this time. Terrans think Darkovans are a primitive, violent people while Darkovans feel pretty much the same things about Terranans.”

In the same introductory message, the main site administrator (with the board nickname of Zandru) warns MZB purists that the “game does not always follow MZB canon. Rather, just like MZB herself did in her work, I’ll make minor changes to allow for the best stories and game balance.”

After years of the Brisith teasting America for it’s general populace’s foolish thoughts, UK researchers surveyed 2000 citizens of that country for the UKTV Gold channel. The simple question: which science fiction and fantasy mainstays are fact and which are pure fiction.

Some of the results reveal:

  • 40 percent believe Star Trek’s warp drive is possible
  • 33 percent tink the future will include Tardis-type time travel
  • 63 percent think ESP is real
  • 26 percent think blackholes are gateways to alternate universes

Neville Hobson at Web Pro News has a nice article here that details how The producers of Serenity are allowing sneak peeks of the film to bloggers.

He talks bout how this could be a turning point when film studios become less reliant upon mainstream media critics.

Firefly/QuizFarm have created a personality test of sorts that asks users 40 personality questions.

The end result – users are graded by their response and matched up with the Serenity character who most resembles their answera. Listed below are the results from my test, where I came out most like the whore, the villain and the doctor:

You scored as Simon Tam. The Doctor. You have a gift for healing that goes beyond education. You took an oath to do no harm, even when your patients have tried to kill you. You are out of place where you are, being used to refined society. However, if you take that stick out of your arse you should be fine.

Simon Tam


The Operative


Inara Serra


Hoban ‘Wash’ Washburne


Zoe Alleyne Washburne


Capt. Mal Reynolds


Kaylee Frye


River Tam


Jayne Cobb


Shepherd Derrial Book