Before the internet, kids who were geeks were pretty lonely. Take it from me. Geeks nowadays have vast networks of geeks around the globe with whom to connect. And science fiction is now mainstream. Not so in the early 70s, when I was on the precipice of puberty and discovered science fiction. It was not to be talked about.
I didn’t know anyone else who read the stuff. I barely came out of the closet. At one point I was friends with a kid whose father worked for Ballantine Books, one of the great sf publishers at the time, and I admitted my interest in sf to him. I hoped the friend wouldn’t tell others.