Are you a fangirl who has lost the ability to can?
A fanfic writer who spends most of her time squeeing over her OT3?
A convention noob afraid of catching hate for her kick-ass Falcon cosplay?
A person who didn’t understand 3/4 of what I was talking about in the last few sentences?
In any of these circumstances, we’re all going to be glad that Sam Maggs has written The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy – a pretty comprehensive overview of living the geek girl life. Inside you’ll learn new vocabulary words, and how to use them (including this excellent sentence of truth and glory: “I stan Sebastian Stan, because stanning for Stan is the best way to be a stan.” (Stan = combination of stalker and fan); places to find your people (both online and off, since most of us have the online portion of geekery down pat); and a brief run-down of a few of the main fandoms you might find yourself sucked into (Are you a SuperWhoLockian? It seems like there are certainly a lot of you out there on Tumblr).
Filled with valuable insights into getting along in just about any sphere – “Nobody trusts egg people” (i.e. Change your Twitter pic from the default) and that posting online is basically creating a horcrux “a part of you, out there in the world, for as long as the Internet shall live.” – Maggs’ Guide is not just for fangirls, but good for anybody on the internet who’s trying to understand beyond the basics of ‘Don’t feed the trolls.’
She talks about fanfiction (and its long literary history), how to beware of (and respond to like a kick-ass heroine) the real-life trolls, the power of critical thinking (and constructive criticism) in fandoms and beyond, and the advice on attending cons would have been extremely helpful last August when I went to my first and was completely overwhelmed (there was no food! and too many people! and two children who moped their way through it with me) & declared I would never try again. (Although I really want to try again: I met Gail Simone and showed her my handmade Oracle shirt – let’s be serious here for a minute. Totally worth all the other crap.)
There are also some great interviews with famous geek girls (Ashley Eckstein, Kate Leth, & Jane Espenson for example), or author Erin Morgenstern who talks about how fandom and being a fangirl “Gives you a common language” that’s “invaluable.” I can only agree.
Maggs also introduces you to the Hawkeye Initiative (in case you missed out on that awesomeness), gives you a jumping off point for where to start meeting your new favorite heroines (Kate Kane! Gemma Doyle! Cimorene!) and lists so many amazingly geeky places to shop that my wallet may never recover.
For me, the best part is the unbridled enthusiasm and glee that the author espouses and seems to be a true believer in: That being a fangirl is something fantastic and worth celebrating. That spreading the news about how great it is is an honor and a true responsibility. It’s one that she takes seriously, and, with this book, I think she’s doing an excellent job.
Edited to add that I received my copy through NetGalley, and the actual book doesn’t come out until May. Put it on your list.