Two paragraphs into Sam Maggs’ The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy and I was hooked. She starts by clarifying the term “fangirl” and it meant a lot to me because back when Tricia invited me to join FANgirl Blog, I hesitated. I didn’t want to be labeled a fangirl. The connotation I associated the term with was negative. But Tricia convinced me this was an opportunity to redefine the word in my own terms, to contribute to thoughtful fandom discourse, to show that not everyone is a fan of everything in exactly the same way.
I’m not a screaming-her-head-off, jumping-all-over-the-place kind of fan. I may cheer from time to time or applaud really loudly but for the most part the more moved I am by something, the stiller I get, the quieter I get, and sometimes the more teary-eyed I get. If that’s you too, then here’s a high five of solidarity. And if that’s not you? That’s ok too. That’s what Fangirl’s Guide is ultimately about–that there are so many different ways to participate in a fandom and you get to choose what you want to do.
I got to meet Sam Maggs recently and her friendliness translates well to the page. In the book she even makes a point to welcome anyone who wants to read this guide, regardless of gender identity. And while it’s a formidable companion if you’re new to this whole larger world of fandom, Fangirl’s Guide could really be applicable for anyone. Although I was familiar with a majority of what the book covered, I was able to still find bits here and there that were new to me –whether it was an idea on how to engage with fellow fans, a convention I hadn’t heard of, or just perspective on fandoms or activities of which I’ve never took part.
Where the book lost me a little was when it’d get too heavy in fangirl lingo. There’s a fair chance you’ll run across these words online, so I’m on board with at least defining them. Even I get the “feels” sometimes, but there were areas of the book where the jargon leaned towards undercutting the expertise. The guide also finds itself in a tricky situation when it comes to fandom segment stereotypes. It’s difficult to explain some types of fans you might encounter without perpetuating the idea of putting people into tidy boxes and that’s too bad because the rest of the book is about making sure the reader knows there’s not one formula for celebrating whatever you love.
Of course the contents are based on Maggs’ own experiences and observations so you may not agree with her 100%. However she also thoughtfully includes mini interviews with various ladies of the geekdom. It’s interesting to get a peek into what women including Ashley Eckstein, Laura Vandervoot, and Kate Beaton think of the “fangirl” term. For all the information contained within it’s a pretty quick read so overall Sam Maggs’ The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy is a good jumping off point if you’re looking for more ideas to express your fandom and interact with fellow fans.
The publisher provided FANgirl Blog a copy of this book.
Kay grew up wanting to be an astronaut. After seeing Star Wars, she wanted to be Princess Leia, Han Solo, and an astronaut. Life’s taken her on a bit of a different path, but she’s still a Star Wars fan at heart who enjoys surprising people with how geeky she really is. A voice actor, photographer, and artist who also consults in communications and marketing, Kay spends the little bit of free time she has reading, writing, learning and, of course, making pew pew noises. She would pick up more jobs and hobbies if she was a Time Lord. You can follow her on Twitter.
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