Saturday, May 26, 2018

Guide Review: The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy by Sam Maggs

Title: The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy: A Handbook for Girl Geeks
Author: Sam Maggs
Format: Hardcover, 208 pages
Pub. Date: May 12th 2015
Source: Quirk Books

Book Description:

Fanfic, cosplay, cons, books, memes, podcasts, vlogs, OTPs and RPGs and MMOs and more—it’s never been a better time to be a girl geek. The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy is the ultimate handbook for ladies living the nerdy life, a fun and feminist take on the often male-dominated world of geekdom. With delightful illustrations and an unabashed love for all the in(ternet)s and outs of geek culture, this book is packed with tips, playthroughs, and cheat codes for everything from starting an online fan community to planning a convention visit to supporting fellow female geeks in the wild.


Yikes. Let's get this over with, shall we?

This definitely wasn't the book for me, that's for sure. From the get-go, I'm not sure who the demographic for this is. It's written in a really juvenile tone, but it mentions getting fandom tattoos, so... Not sure the age that this is meant for. It says in the book that this guide isn't just for girls to learn from, yet that's what the title of the book is. The word fan isn't gendered in the first place, so it was a choice to market it to women. This book also says that no one can be classified and we're all special... Then proceeds to talk about labels of fans and what defines them.

It's supposed to be a relatively feminist text, based on the cover, title, and introduction to the series. But I didn't feel that way. The male casts of shows are described not as talented, but as "yummy". There's also a fair amount of discussion of shipping characters and having crushes (like Han Solo). There's nothing wrong with ships or having character crushes, but it shouldn't be a focus of why to watch a show. People watch for talented actors, good writing, and plot lines that keep you hooked.

There's also a section that addresses how annoying "fan speak" is, but the book is still full of it. Words like glomp, squee, and feels are all in play. There's even a textual representation of a .GIF in this book. Like.... why though? I can see including it in an ebook or digital copy but it seems silly in a hardcover. That said, there's some interesting word/reference origins here, but most of it isn't new to you if you spend as much time on the internet as I do.

It's been 4 years since this book was published, and it's already incredibly outdated. Ben Affleck as Batman is a reality. This is something that, in the book, hasn't happened yet. There's also a ton more Star Wars and Avengers films (which, Avengers is really the only love Marvel gets). No one thinks of Aquaman as a lame hero anymore, not since Momoa got cast. Slang is off, shows are no longer relevant. I'm sure it was better years ago, but it doesn't all hold up.

A lot of this book is common sense. "How do I convert a friend to my fandom?" Watch stuff together. Not that hard of a concept. "How do I bring fangirl to my life?" Wear merchandise and hang a poster. "How do I notice a Harry Potter fan?" I mean, talk to people? Also a Hogwarts shirt is a pretty clear sign. I don't know why things like this needed explaining.

Though I clearly have issues with this book, I do give credit where credit is due. There's a section on comic con etiquette and what to expect your first time that I think is incredibly helpful. There's a highlight of popular conventions and where they're held, and some good resources for finding meets and stuff in your area. For me though, that's all I enjoyed about this book.

Maybe it's just me. If you learn something from this book, great. Genuinely. But it wasn't for me, and I don't recommend it.


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