Journal of Romance Studies

Electric hive minds

Italian science fiction fandom in the Digital Age

Journal of Romance Studies (2016), 16, (1), 110–131.

Abstract

Today science fiction fandom seems to have achieved full critical recognition in all its complexity and segmentations, as an extraordinary vantage point from which to observe ongoing changes in the relationships between cultural industries and the public, and monitor developments in an increasingly interconnected mediascape. This essay looks at some critical issues regarding the activities of Italian science fiction fans, starting from central questions on their use of media and their accomplishments: where can fannish activities be positioned in relation to the professional fields of science fiction cultural production across different media? How have the new media, by making new spaces and tools available to produce content and connect people, influenced fans’ activities and the form and workings of fannish communities? And how, in turn, have these people and their activities influenced media development and the shape of the contemporary Italian mediascape? Provisional answers are provided to these questions drawing on existing primary sources, testimonies and contributions on past decades, and on a survey conducted in 2015 to capture the present state of Italian fandom.

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Iannuzzi, Giulia