BOOK REVIEW: THE FANGIRL'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY: A HANDBOOK FOR GIRL GEEKS / AUTHOR: SAM MAGGS / PUBLISHER: QUIRK BOOKS / RELEASE DATE: MAY 12TH (EBOOK), JUNE 12TH (PAPERBACK)
Since the turn of the century, the glorious world of geekdom has been ever expanding. Things that used to be a niche retreat for a mostly male and steadily ageing audience have now been embraced by a wider demographic. Greater exposure has brought more diversity and more people. It also means terminology has adapted and changed, with entirely new elements of the geek subculture forming seemingly overnight. Change is good, but also confusing and stressful for all involved.
The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy is a book aimed at making life easier for a large chunk of the fandom. It’s intended for those making their first few faltering steps into geekdom and quite sensibly feels that some sort of guidebook is required. Squarely aimed at the younger generation, it’s written in a relentlessly chirpy style that introduces the quirks and code words of the modern geek.
Sam Maggs love for all things strange and fannish permeates it’s way throughout this book; every page feels like a well written but enthusiastic post on social media. The author takes us through all elements of modern geek life; from how to deal with internet trolls, how social media can help you, where to start with fanfiction, what to pack when going to a comic-con and so on. It’s full of useful advice and it also goes one step further; it explains in clear and simple terms what feminism is, and busts various myths about the social movement as it goes along.
It does suffer from being US-centred; the convention guide only covers North America, though the most of the advice is solid regardless of where you are in the world. Some of the references are quite current and it’s likely that this book will date quite quickly. A bit of more depth to some of the older aspects of the fandom would also have been nice as well. After all, Doctor Who is over 50 years old and Worldcon is even older than that, but this is a guide aimed at beginners, so the lack of depth is more a feature than a flaw. It does have some great interviews as well, and these work as a handy starting point for those looking to get into all sorts of geeky things.
If you’re the sort of gentleman who shifts uncomfortably at the phrase ‘Geek Feminism’ and feel a little bit out of your depth when faced with a whole new generation of excited female fans start talking about their ‘SuperWhoLocks’ and the like, then you need to read this book. Carefully and with an open mind. If you have a teenage girl geek in your life (or you’re one yourself), then this is an excellent starting point. Highly recommended.