But not every fandom has a Tolkien at the head of extra content creation. So, we do our best to compensate, with fan fiction and reviews and essays and cosplay and conventions. Smart Pop Books is doing its part to bring much-needed extras to the pop culture expanse, with a wide variety of books and essays on every fandom from the Whedon-verse to The Hunger Games to Twilight.
My latest foray into the Smart Pop world is with the Kevin Grazier-edited Fringe Science: Parallel Universes, White Tulips, and Mad Scientists. Fanbase Press readers will be familiar with my overwhelming love of all things Fringe: twisted father and son relationships, Observers, Walter Bishop (and the amazing John Noble), ass-kicking lab assistants, and all the milkshakes you can shake your finger at. I’ve watched the series so many times, I’m starting to call Astrid by other names, as well.
Fringe Science pulls together a group of essays on every topic from parallel universes to experimental drug use to the influences of 1950s science fiction on the show to the genetic similarities between Gene the Cow and his human lab mates. This is the kind of book you leave on your coffee table, so you have it close at hand for your next viewing of the episode “6B” or so you can read up on quantum entanglement again. Or bone up on infectious diseases before a re-watch of “What Lies Below” or “Bound.”
The essays are informative, witty, and - especially when they’re tackling complex topics - very easy to consume. Grazier prefaces each chapter with hilarious intros that are worth the price of admission all by themselves. Each of the essay authors display the warm affection for their topics that only true geeky fans of the show would have. They just happen to be experts on the multiverse, as well.
It’s all helpful background for a show that has hard science at the core of all of its “supernatural” phenomena. But, more importantly, it’s one more life line to all of the things that the fans of Fringe and science and laboratory cows are so desperate to have.