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Review: The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy

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The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy: A Handbook for Girl Geeks by Sam Maggs is like the geeky older sister back from college to guide a younger sibling into the world of MMORPGs, comic book stores, and cosplay conventions. Considering Sam Maggs is an editor at The Mary Sue, she may actually be one of the most qualified “geeky older sisters” available on the internet.

fangirl coverFanfic, 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, including:
• How to make nerdy friends
• How to rock awesome cosplay
• How to write fanfic with feels
• How to defeat Internet trolls
• How to attend your first con
And more! Plus, insightful interviews with fangirl faves, like Jane Espenson, Erin Morgenstern, Kate Beaton, Ashley Eckstein, Laura Vandervoort, Beth Revis, Kate Leth, and many others.

I really love the idea of this book. It acts as a kind of manifesto for girl geeks, giving voice and published, authoritative presence. It offers interviews with the Queens of Fangirl Geekdom, like Jane Espenson who is known for her sci-fi television writing: Buffy the Vampire SlayerFirefly, Battlestar Galactica, and Once Upon a Time among others. So it offers role-models, a history of girl geekdom even. And that’s really, really awesome.

However, in the execution, I ended up wondering who the reading of the book was for. The coverage of any given topic–how to write fanfic or introduce a friend to a particular geek fandom–is introductory. So who would be starting to identify as a fangirl or geek girl and need guidance on how to find more to their interests or to share their interests? Certainly not me, but since I’m well into my 30’s, I’ve had more than enough time to do super fangirly things like create a Firefly-fan oriented guild in World of Warcraft (I named us the Special Hellions). So likely this is for someone younger, perhaps a teenager starting to orient strongly towards Doctor Who.

This book would be a great addition to a high school library to help diversify the ways students could build identity. It would be a perfect gift for a teen-aged girl without older role models in geekdom who might need some solidarity to allow her geek flag to fly.


Author: Erin Perry

I'm a high school English teacher specializing in AP Literature and Film Analysis. I'm interested in most things geeky, including superheroes, vampires, zombies, teen culture, postmodern philosophy, pop culture analysis, and combinations of the aforementioned. Follow me on Twitter @eriuperry.

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