DeFlip Side #179: Fannish Pursuits

(Photo Courtesy Ed Shin, Shinbone Photography)

DeFlip Side #179: Fannish Pursuits.mp3

(NOTE: This episode appeared as part of the 34th Anniversary Special of Destinies: The Voice of Science Fiction, the radio show DeFlip Side is proud to call home!)

Welcome everyone. I’m Christopher DeFilippis and this is DeFlip Side.

As we gather tonight to celebrate the 34th anniversary of Destinies: The Voice of Science Fiction I’ve been thinking about my long association with the show, and the key to its longevity and success. And I think I’ve cracked the code.

Aside from Howard and his sheer tenacity, I think it all boils down to two words: fannish pursuits.

We’re all of us — every one — engaged in one fannish pursuit or another. Whether it be NASCAR or the perfect microbrew or the hunt for a vintage first pressing of Les Baxter’s Mondo Exotica. And if you’re joining us for tonight’s celebration, one of your chief fannish pursuits is undoubtedly Science Fiction.

It’s certainly one of mine, and Destinies has helped me enrich those pursuits immeasurably for almost two decades. This show has introduced me to books and authors I probably never would have heard of; it’s awoken an appreciation and awareness of film composers and soundtracks that I never would have had without it. And it’s given me an opportunity to just geek out with friends about Sci-Fi stuff for hours on end, both on air and off.

Destinies has also been key in expanding my relationships within the broader Science Fiction community. Were it not for my association with the show, I undoubtedly would have stopped going to cons years ago. But Destinies has kept me continually engaged — sometimes in spite of myself — with the world of fandom.

I frequently use my association with the show to finagle my way into different conventions as a guest panelist. And because of that, I found myself in a wonderfully surreal situation at the Long Island Geek Convention last weekend.

This was my third year as a guest at L.I. Geek, and one of the panels I got onto was called “Tomorrow is Yesterday: The Future, Past and Present of Star Trek” moderated by my friend Edwin Thrower — who I met when I used Destinies to get myself into the first Long Island Geek a few years ago. Also slated to appear on the panel was fellow Quantum Leap author John Peel, who has several Trek novels to his credit. I’ve met John many times over the years, and this was actually my second panel with him — the first being at a local Quantum Leap convention many years back.

So Edwin and I are sitting in the meeting room waiting for the previous panel to end so we can head to the front of the room first thing. But as the room began to clear, a lone figure remained sitting at the dais in wait.

I leaned over to Edwin: “Isn’t that Peter David?”

It was.

So far as either of us knew, Peter wasn’t scheduled to be on the panel. I personally didn’t even know he’d be at the con until I saw him at the registration table when I came in. And I didn’t speak to him or anything. Peter and I aren’t friends. I only know him by sight from seeing him at tons of other conventions, which I wouldn’t have gone to if not for Destinies. And I certainly wouldn’t know as much about Peter’s work as I do without having heard his bazillion guest appearances on the show.

So I was surprised and delighted to see him crashing our little party. Well, not exactly crashing. Turns out that he saw John in the dealers’ room, and John invited him to join us.

So when the panel got underway, and Edwin asked me to introduce myself I blurted out the only thing that sprang to mind: the truth.

“Hi,” I said. “My name is Christopher DeFilippis. I wrote a Quantum Leap book a hundred years ago, and that made someone think I was somehow qualified to sit on a panel talking about Star Trek with the likes of Peter David and John Peel.”

I wouldn’t say I was star struck, but when you consider John’s pedigree, and Peter’s monumental role in the ongoing success of the Star Trek novel program, I felt a little outclassed. What could I possibly have to add to this discussion?

Well, for anyone who knows me, you know that feeling didn’t last long and I soon found myself struggling not to hijack the conversation — which is my go-to move whenever someone shoves a microphone into my face. I told Peter that I read Q-Squared on my honeymoon; a revelation for which he apologized. And I managed to talk plenty in between anecdotes from both John and Peter about writing Star Trek novels and TV scripts.

I’ve seldom had as much fun reveling in my Star Trek fandom as I did that day — with Edwin, one of my best convention friends, and two Star Trek luminaries in a room of like-minded fans. In all, I spent a wonderful Sunday talking to fellow authors and geeks, friends and cosplayers — and building terrific memories.

And none of it would have happened without Destinies. As I said, I would have split the con scene long ago if not for the show.

So thanks Howard. I’m sure I speak for everyone listening when I wish Destinies a very happy anniversary. May the Voice for Science Fiction long continue to enable and enrich all of our fannish pursuits.


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