But man, if you want to get anywhere in Galaxy Quest fandom, you Don’t Talk About GalaxyCon ‘99.
I’m a n00b, by Quest standards– started watching with the New Adventures, right as LJ was taking off. The funny thing is, I’m not much younger than the biggest BNFs. They just got a head start, and were fans of the old show even though they were barely born when it was airing. I hear older fans grumble about it, sometimes. They wonder how a bunch of twentysomethings ended up not only the biggest names in fandom, but in charge of the con and friendly with the cast, besides.
“That picture from Jason and Gwen’s wedding is circulating on Tumblr again,” I tell my housemate. “Did you know Brandon Wheeger was a groomsman? He was barely out of high school– how did he even manage that?”
Max rolls her eyes at me. GQ isn’t one of her main fandoms, though I’ve made her watch most of the episodes on Netflix. Still, she picks up enough secondhand to know most of the main fannish players. “You’ve got a really weird grudge against that guy, you know,” she tells me. “You need to drop it. You’re friends with Katelyn, aren’t you?”
“Mostly I just really like her fic,” I say. To be fair, she writes really, really good fic. Her Laliari is amazing, and she even makes me like Roc. “The fact that she’s part of Brandon’s weird cabal is something I’m willing to overlook.”
“It’s not a cabal,” Max reminds me. “They’re the concom, not the Illuminati.”
“The Illuminati would be less banhammer-happy,” I grumble, but I let it drop. GQ fandom, for all its weirdness, is pretty well-run by its benevolent overlords: minimal wank, maximal inclusiveness, zero tolerance of cosplayer gropers or entitled man-children. I’ve even volunteered at GalaxyCon the last few years, mostly because Katelyn comes up with really awesome programming for the fanwork track, and she knows I can be trusted to not go mad with power if she lets me sit on her panels.
And, of course, because I know that You Don’t Talk About GalaxyCon ‘99.
Remember how just yesterday I was saying that Galaxy Quest’s only real issue was its lack of inclusivity? When the Galaxy Quest crew had to go to its fans to figure out how to maneuver around their ship and save the day, Jason called Brandon and his group of white male mega-fans to help them out. It was a nod to fandom, but it was only really for the stereotypical fans, even though it was clear from the convention shown in the movie that there were fans of color and female fans in the audience. So why not let some different people be the mega-fans for once? Fortunately, there’s fanfic to help out.
Galaxy Quest fic always promises a fun time because it’s so meta. There are the real actors who play actors who play characters on a TV show, and fic can be written about any of them, so it can get really confusing really fast. SMOF, or secret masters of fandom, adds another level of confusion to that by writing about fans writing about the show. Main character Casey, Galaxy Quest fangirl, isn’t a big name in the fandom, but she’s active in the fandom and knows a couple of the people who run Galaxy Con—a bunch of young guys and girls who somehow know Galaxy Quest‘s cast really well.
SMOF is written in a rare first person pov, and seeing Casey’s fandom through her eyes really helps to emphasize the fandom community and the bonds that one can make through fandom. Furthermore, the new fans that we meet are truly diverse—there are women, women of color, and people of color, and Brandon is clearly passing the torch to them. Author hollimichele even included an old-fashioned zine with fic, fanart, and an NSEA cross-stitch pattern—just like the movie, creating a (much more inclusive) love letter to fandom.
You can read SMOF here on the AO3! Think of it as a great epilogue for the movie.