A funny and touching tale of childhood fandom into modern-day geek culture.
Can you remember the first time you stared, slack-jawed in wonder, at events unfolding before your eyes and decided: This. I want to be around this for the rest of my life. I want this to be a thing that I consistently involve myself in. Sadly, my own personal moment of epiphany eludes me. It might well have been Super Mario 3 on the original NES but I’m unsure; the details are hazy, and besides – my brother wouldn’t let me have a go anyway.
Bob Fischer remembers his; he’s the author of Wiffle Lever to Full!: Daleks, Death Stars and dreamy-eyed Nostalgia at the strangest sci-fi conventions. It was the night that he saw Tom Baker die and regenerate into Peter Davison in a 1981 episode of Doctor Who called ‘Logopolis’. After having spent his Saturday afternoon writing a thrilling sci-fi epic called “The Battle to Save Earth” (available in its entirety between chapters of the book!) his life changed immeasurably upon viewing the passing of the torch from the Fourth Doctor to the Fifth.
Now older, somewhat wiser and having initially moved on from his geeky passions into the world of being a Grown-Up, Bob finds his copy of “The Battle to Save Earth” and flashes back to that fateful day of regeneration. On a whim he purchases a ticket to a Doctor Who convention and begins his journey back into geekdom, taking in conventions held in honour of all those TV programmes and films which helped shape his adolescence and early adulthood. At a Discworld convention he consoles his girlfriend for going all slobbery fangirl on Terry Pratchett; at Dimension Jump he performs Madonna’s ‘Like a Prayer’ onstage to a captive audience including Chris ‘Rimmer’ Barrie; and almost comes a cropper at a water-pistol fight between fans of The Hitchhiker’s Guide and Blake’s 7; all in the name of rediscovering fandom and the thrill it gives to people.
Considering how seriously he obviously takes his love for all things cult and sci-fi, Fischer writes with a light and breezy tone that really entertains and strongly relates with the reader. His tireless adventuring up and down the country will strike a chord with anyone who’s queued up in the rain to get a glimpse of their literary and dramatic heroes – and their long-suffering girlfriends or boyfriends too; just make sure to stay away from the cursed knitted dolls of characters from Robin of Sherwood.