I think every person I’ve ever met in fandom, no matter how they identify, has some embarrassing story of their past. About how they acted online or at a convention and how it just makes them want to craw under a rock never to be seen again. I know I have way, way too many to count. I should really just burn my Livejournal…
For the longest time, navigating your way through fandom and what it means to be a fangirl has been a process of trial, error, and horror stories passed down through others of what NOT to do. Lucky for all of us, associate editor of The Mary Sue/Canadian Nerd Personality/professional fangirl Sam Maggs is doing the work of the Goddess by creating The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy.The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy: A Handbook for Girl Geeks is a roughly 200 page book broken down into four chapters on various subjects with adorable illustrations by Kelly Bastow spread throughout. While no means a definitive resource for all fandoms and all activities, The Fangirl’s Guide still manages to hit all the major points of navigating your way through fandom such as preparing for conventions, how to meet other fan-types, and how to engage critically with works that you enjoy.
There’s a lot of stuff to like about this book. From Maggs’ familiar and friendly writing style that’s absolutely reflective of her personal self (we became bros at Toronto Comic Arts Festival over our mutual love of Sailor Mercury) to the interviews with various women creators talking about their own experiences with fangirls and fandom. The interview with greatest TV writer ever Jane Espenson and how her involvement in Star Trek fandom got her into the industry especially made me squee (don’t know what that means? See page 33!).
My favorite part though is how positive Maggs is throughout the guide. Never once does she hit the “Not like other girls” tone and instead gives a tone of loving your fellow fangirl and being proud of who you are without dragging others down. She even opens her book stating that you don’t have to identify as female to enjoy it and even welcomes you with open arms to see if the fangirl life is for you. That kind of attitude is so refreshing, especially after finding myself in fandoms where internalized misogyny and special snowflake syndrome can run rampant. Maggs isn’t here for that. She’s here for helping you be a better fangirl you.If you have a budding fangirl in your life, you definitely need to get her this book. Even if it is a fast read, there is plenty of material here to go back to as she navigates her way around the fandom sphere. And even if you’re a seasoned fangirl like me, there’s still plenty of material here that serves as good reminders and things you might not have even considered. The chapter on conventions is something I especially wish I had last year when I was visiting ALL the cons and will keep bookmarked for future con season prep. Hell, you might even be finding a gateway into new things to check out with all the recommendations Maggs throws around.
Fun, fast, friendly, and full of good info, The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy will instantly become an essential part of your fangirl life. You can check it out over at Quirk Books or at Sam Maggs’ website to find where in the galaxy you can get this book into your life.