Someone who is really
into something (or someone). The word's origins are from a shortened form of "fanatic"; "fan" implies the dedication, but doesn't have so many negative implications. (On the other hand, the word "fanatic" originally merely meant "one who is inspired by religious zeal"; given the heights to which some fans
take their devotion, that definition is not entirely inaccurate.)
One can be a fan of something (or someone) for a multitude of reasons. Perhaps it is incredibly good, and you are in awe of it - or at least consider it one of the good 10%
of what's out there. Perhaps you respect it for its historic importance. Perhaps just part of it is good, but it's a part you value. Perhaps it is bad, but in an entertaining
or historic way.
If a work is to be truly remembered Exty Years from Now
, it must
have fans of some sort. If no one cares enough to watch it, no one will remember it when it's out of print: this can easily lead to Older Than They Think
. If a fandom once existed but has died out, Pop-Cultural Osmosis
and Weird Al Effect
are likely to have occurred in the meantime.
An active fandom can keep the memory of a work alive after it's gone out of print. (Just look at the Sailor Moon
fandom around here.)