Several years ago, I wrote an article for Fantasy magazine that touched on my involvement with the sport of paintball and its connections to the world of fandom.
I wrote that article out of frustration. I’d spent many years (and dollars) attempting to bring fannish sensibilities to a rough and tumble sport that had engaged with genre in serious ways, but this was not meant to be. Paintball culture was not a good match for fannish culture and while major weekend events benefited tremendously from knowledge borrowed from convention organizing, a greater degree of cross-fertilization would never be achieved. Many paintballers are readers, watchers, players of SF&F, but most will never be fans.
In fact, though I hunted constantly for other ‘ballers who were as deeply involved in fandom as I was, I only ever found one such over the course of nearly three decades with paintball, that being Lynda Engler, author of Into the Outside, a newly released YA novel.
Lynda was the wife of Eric Engler, a designer and manufacturer of custom paintball gear. He’s a constant feature at paintball’s version of the convention – the 24 hour scenario game – a weird mix of Cosplay, LARPing, camping out and shooting people for fun.
When Lynda first released this book (written with co-author Henry Dixon) back in 2013, she and Eric were still married and the book was titled Out of Ewr.
Now, despite their divorce, Eric has offered praise to the apparently updated effort and sent along a note to that effect. Given those circumstances, I can’t do anything other than follow suit (out of a perhaps vain attempt to continue to push the connection between genre and paintball to paintballers).
Here’s a bit from Lynda & Henry’s promo for Into the Outside:
16-year-old Isabella has grown up believing mutants are sub-human, stupid and would eat every shelter person if they had the chance, until she spies a wandering mutant tribe through the glass bottom swimming pool that is her shelter’s only light source. Isabella is fascinated by them, but it’s their 17-year-old leader, Malcolm, who truly captivates her – ebony skin, straw-colored hair, rippling muscles, four fingers on one hand and six on the other.
Into the Outside by Lynda Engler and Henry Dixon is available for 99 cents in Kindle and $10.99 in paperback; an excerpt can be read here