Links roundup for 4 January 2012

Here’s a roundup of stories on fandom nostalgia that might be of interest to fans:

  • Writing about book fandom in the mid 1800s, Jennifer Brady recounts research done on fan letters to Susan Warner about her novel The Wide, Wide World. “Though The Wide, Wide World is probably not familiar to many people today, the concerns and claims of these fan letters, rather remarkably, may be.” For many, the novel and character kept a hold of them for years, with mothers passing down the book to their children. “For other readers, writing to Warner was an exercise in nostalgia, an opportunity to remember old times: one reader wrote, “I well remember my first introduction to you, some ten years ago, as gathering round a bright fireside in our old ivy covered home, an elder sister read aloud to ‘the children’—the ‘Wide Wide World.’ Those happy, happy hours!—””
  • Of more recent vintage is Robert Burke Warren’s reminiscence about R.E.M. on the occasion of their breakup. “And I’m glad they told us all about their breakup in autumn. Perhaps it is easier to accept loss as Nature is reclaiming the warmth, the green, and the light, all the while offering up bounties of that which grew in the summer sun. For me, that bounty includes standing next to Todd in the basement of the Biltmore Hotel as four scruffy guys opened up our hearts and minds to a whole new way of playing in a band; sitting on Todd’s bed in his teenager room, marveling at the lush sounds of Murmur, hearing our fluttering, inchoate desires and attitudes given melody and form, if not distinct words, our friendship galvanized by the music.”
  • Wired hosted the reminiscences of Ahrvid Engholm, a science fiction fan who knew author Stieg Larsson in his fannish days. “But very interesting is also that father (Erland) and brother (Joakim) Larsson were there. I spoke to them a bit and tried to sort of update them about all the activities Stieg had in science fiction and fandom. That was actually quite a lot, but most biographies around miss much of it. My impression is that the family Larsson didn’t have a full view of all that Stieg did. Father Erland said something like “We knew Stieg did something with science fiction, but not exactly what.” This is quite common. Science fiction hasn’t been seen as quite kosher and a person is apt to hide or downplay skiffy activities, and especially fandom activties [sic]”.

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