So I posted my short story themed on Norse mythology to this website last month, after I’d had trouble finding a magazine or a market for it. The idea was that once it was up on the web I could attract my own readers to it, e.g. via fan groups of Old Norse online – even though my story wasn’t particularly loyal to the traditional mythology, as the idea was merely to get to readers who had enough background knowledge on the subject not to be put off by it. And so I found a relatively big fan group of Viking culture and the sagas that seemed to fit the bill, but before I had posted anything on it I discovered that the most active members of the group seemed to be in it out of some white supremacy ideology in connection with Vikings, where ‘sons of Odin’ seemed to serve as some kind of an euphemism (and then somehow the confederate flag entered the picture, though whatever connection it can have with the Vikings is beyond me). While I hadn’t been completely oblivious of the appeal that Old Norse had had to neo-Nazies, I had still naively assumed that today’s fan groups would mostly consist of people like me – fans of that archaic mythology for what it is.
At that point I couldn’t get myself to go through with posting anything promotional on that group. Even if writers on open forums aren’t able to control who reads their stuff (and I actually find it quite unlikely that the kinds of fans of Old Norse that I’m referring to would have bothered with visiting my page, let alone read the story), but it just seems to me that when you are actively targeting readers then you have to be a bit selective. Although I guess it’s purely a sentimental matter for me; I don’t even know if the bigots were a majority in that group at all. But all this leads me to wonder whether the fandom of Norse mythology has become this toxic and if my perception of the general interest in that culture had become distorted from growing up in Iceland, where it is a part of the national heritage.