'The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy' Review
I’m just going to say it. Female geeks are a rare breed. Growing up, society often told me that I should only like reality shows, fashion and glossy magazines. In reality, I was more enamoured with cult television, video games and fantasy books. This was just one aspect of my personality that labelled me as one of the “weird kids”.
…that and my spontaneous performances that only really appealed to my sense of twisted humour.
But back to my point, lady nerds just aren’t that common. It’s hard to find role models to look up to, and to find further information on other figures of this nature.
Or at least it was, until I discovered The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy. This book is the essential guidebook for all geeky gals out there, written by Sam Maggs. Titled as “Awesome Geek Feminist of the Year” by Women Write About Comics, Sam is one of the leading writers in this niche field. When she is not scribbling down awesome geek gal content, she works as a games writer for BioWare.
In an exclusive interview with us, Sam outlined her inspiration for the book. “When I was in high school, I felt super isolated by my interests - like I had no one else who would understand the things that I loved without judging me.
"It took me until my mid-twenties to stop caring about what other people thought, and to be able to find my tribe, both IRL and online. My hope is that Fangirl's Guide will help girls to realise that there are other gals out there just waiting to be friends with them based on their mutual interests!”
The book actually holds a specific section on the best way to meet nerdy mutuals. These can include on forums, on Tumblr, at conventions and more. Sam wants to spread the word of letting out your authentic self, and the places she suggests are great starting points to do so. There are also fun little sections such as ' A Field Guide to the Geek Girl', which labels the different fangirls and their traits.
From this section, I confirmed I had many of the stereotypical traits of pretty much all of them, but mainly as a Potterhead and a SuperWhoLockian. Who would have guessed?
A peek into the layout of this stunning nerdy masterpiece!
This book also holds snippets of interviews with other key figures in the sector, including Jill Pantozzi, Editor in Chief of The Mary Sue and Jane Espenson, producer and writer from fan favourite shows such as Buffy and Torchwood. Through conventions and social media Sam has been able to contact her friends in the media, as well as establish new connections through this project.
Whilst the book champions and highlights the progress of female geekery, Sam does believe that there is more to done. She states, “...we have a long way to go behind the scenes. I'd love to see more women and creators of colour responsible for bringing their own stories to life.” I think she is hitting the nail on the head here, especially in production and technical roles. I hope that any younger girls reading this book will be inspired to look more into breaking these glass ceilings.
This also seems to be one of the few pieces of literature out there that gives literal explanations to online fandom talk. As a longtime geek, I’ve had chance to explore the meanings being the term “squee” and the obsession with slash fiction. However, if you’re just getting started as a fangirl, this terminology can be a bit of an alien concept. Sam has taken into consideration those who will be taking their first steps into the nerd world, and lends that helping hand.
I think one of the reasons I love this book so much is that Sam really does show her pride in being a fangirl. She tells us that our interests aren’t weird, and aren’t socially unacceptable. It’s totally normal to be a geeky girl who loves games, fandoms and Tumblr, and it’s time that us geeky feminists showed our true selves to this world.
If you’re just making your first steps into this new society (if so, thanks for choosing The London Geek to do so!), or if you’re a seasoned nerd such as myself, this book is a must-have in your library. Sam also has more exciting projects on the horizon, including her next book, Girl Squads: 25 Female Friendships that changed History, which is scheduled for release this Autumn.
So what are some words of advice for all the geeky feminists our there from our fantastic author?
“Stop caring about the people who don't like you; find and embrace those who do. Fight for what you believe in, speak up, create your own art. Your voice is unique, and we need it.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
Not the finest quality photo, but the view was too good of a opportunity to bypass