From time to time, the OTW will be hosting guest posts on our OTW News accounts. These guests will be providing an outside perspective on the OTW or aspects of fandom where our projects may have a presence. The posts express each author’s personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OTW or constitute OTW policy. We welcome suggestions from fans for future guest posts, which can be left as a comment here or by contacting us directly.
Una McCormack is a New York Times bestselling author specialising in TV tie-in fiction, a lecturer in creative writing, and an academic who has written on subjects such as Blake’s 7 fandom and Tolkien fanfiction. In 2017, she was a judge for the Clarke Award, given each year to the best science fiction novel published in the UK. Today, Una talks with us about a life spent in fandom.
How did you first get into fandom and fanworks?
My first exposure to fandom was at a very young age: my (much) older sibling was a fan of the 1970s BBC science fiction programme Blake’s 7, and went to several conventions when it was still on air (circa 1979). I was seven or eight at the time. My sibling brought back a pile of zines, which I have to this day. I loved reading these stories: it really blew my mind that these characters that I loved could continue having adventures off-screen. I started drawing my own comics, stick-man cartoons based on Blake’s 7. This turned into fiction when I was about 16 or 17. There was some pretty heartfelt poetry at the time too.
I got online in the early 90s (I met my other half through a university Doctor Who bulletin board, but that’s another story…), and from around the mid-90s I was very involved in online discussion and fanfiction groups, particularly Blake’s 7, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and, later, Tolkien fanfiction groups. I got onto LiveJournal in the early 2000s. So I feel like fandom has always been a part of my life, in one way or another, for nearly 40 years now.