Home > Fandom, Star Trek, Tolkien > Fiction In General 2: Dueling Fandoms

Fiction In General 2: Dueling Fandoms

I’m trying to decide which currently-popular franchise has the most devoted fanbase.  Since an overall comparison of this would be impossible, let’s do a pairwise comparison.  Which of these two has the most devoted fans?  Discuss.

Case 1: Tolkien

Master of mythology and codifier of conlanging.  Creator of Middle Earth and all of the associated Legendarium.  Illustrations of a devoted fanbase: First, the movies, all of the work that went into making them, and all of the arguments about how they could have been better.  Second, this research paper:

"The Climate of Middle-Earth", supposedly submitted to the J. Hobbitlore by Radagast the Brown.

“The Climate of Middle-Earth”, supposedly submitted to the J. Hobbitlore by Radagast the Brown.  In reality, written by a fan.

Translation into Elvish.

Translation into Elvish (Quenya?).  At least I take it to be a translation – I do not readily parse Tengwar script.  It may actually be English, transliterated into Tengwar from Roman.  If it is Quenya or one of the other Elvish languages Tolkien invented,  then it will have a lot of English loan words.

Translation into Dwarfish.

Translation into Dwarfish.  Again, this may actually be a transliteration using the Cirth runes to represent English rather than a complete translation into Khuzdul.

Case 2: Star Trek

Codifier of space opera television.  Series.  Movies.  Reboots (which were lousy).  Fan-made live-action TV showsLots and lots and lots of spin-off media.  And plays and operas and music videos done in the languages invented for the show.

Some of you may have already seen the Klingon Hamlet.  So I submit for your consideration the Klingon epic opera ‘u’:

  1. michaelbusch
    2013/12/22 at 11:55 am

    I am now informed that both the dwarvish and elfish versions above are transliterations, and not particularly good ones. Thanks go to Nick Heavens, @WeatherOnMars and http://dawninhampton.blogspot.com/ .

    Also, apologies for the rickroll to anyone who actually clicked on all of those links.

  2. 2013/12/25 at 3:05 am

    I think Star Trek has Tolkien beat. I don’t remember anyone writing operas in Elvish. Although it’s hard to compare them fairly when Star Trek has something like a hundred times as much material to work with between five series and hundreds of books.

    Are we doing this tournament-style? Because I think there are cases to be made for Doctor Who, Star Wars, and Harry Potter, at the least.

    • michaelbusch
      2013/12/29 at 11:08 am

      I’m not sure about original compositions by fans (as separate from those made for the various Peter Jackson movies), but Youtube yielded me some Quenya covers of various pop songs. e.g. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AIJ_F01gd6Y I’m not sure how good the translations are – they’re available at http://users.skynet.be/am270205/elril/song.htm

      But if you want to argue that Star Trek wins this round, I won’t argue the point too much. As Rachel says, the comparison gets hard unless we make an overly-narrow metric for the devotion of the fans. That’s one reason why I said an overall comparison between all franchises would become impossible.

  3. 2013/12/26 at 6:12 pm

    I think it depends on what metric we use for comparison… Star Trek has more movies, and original series only had a third season because the fans protested long and loud. Doctor Who has more TV episodes than Star Trek, and is currently running, although the one movie didn’t go over so well. Star Wars may have a broader base across the general English-speaking population. Harry Potter may have more appeal with a slightly younger crowd… does it have more fanfic than the other franchises? Or perhaps, more recent fanfic?

    Bottom line: I think it probably all depends on what metric you use for comparison. And “most extreme demonstration of fandom” is going to be a difficult metric to quantify.

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