Bowlers, ballads, bells, and blasters: Living history and fandom

  • Mark Soderstrom SUNY Empire State College
Keywords: Fandom, Filk, Folk, History, Morris dancing, Reenactment, SF/F


In many people's lives the disposition to create community around historical interest or reenacted historical community practices, or even just entertainment in a mythic-history setting, intersects with a related and similar interest in science fiction/fantasy literature and participation on some level in the related fandoms and social activities of SF/F. The bowlers, ballads, bells, and blasters of my title come together not just in current steampunk scenes but also in the storied and genred lives of many reenactors and fans. Or, as a friend of mine suggested when discussing this essay, "historical reenactment is the trade secret to fandom."