Wow, so it’s been a while since I’ve done a book rec for The Collective.
I, uh, choose to blame grad school and an overabundance of fanfiction for my literary silence. (Shame on me.)
Fortunately, our friends over at The Geekiary pulled me out of my impromptu reading hiatus by releasing an e-book all about popular culture, fandom, and how we interact with the two. My book rec this month is The Geekiary’s Fandom Frontlines: The Effect of Geek Culture On Our Everyday Lives.
A Brief Synopsis
The writers over at the Geekiary have compiled several essays all about their experiences in fandom. The fandom cornerstones are covered—fanfiction, shipping, cosplay, representation, etc.—and the authors blend personal experience with fandom trends to create a portrait of what life is like as a fan. Such a life can be richly rewarding, as The Geekiary’s admin Angel writes about in her explorative “How Misha’s Minions Saved Me,” but fandom also has its darker side, and Fandom Frontlines explores that as well in its more intensive looks at topics such as queer baiting in Emma Scully’s “Queer Baiting and the Need for Canon Representation.” Fandom Frontlines combines both focuses to include a comprehensive look at what it means to be in fandom in the early 21st century.
Some Thoughts on Fandom Frontlines
I’ve spent much of my adult life doing academic research on popular culture, and perhaps the nerd in me is a little too happy at the idea of a work being both academic and demonstrating personal connections in fandom. For me, fandom is about bringing people together, and Fandom Frontlines shows us how fandom can do that—for either good or evil.
Fandom Frontlines shows us how fandom brings validation to such practices that are commonly marginalised by mainstream culture, such as shipping, in essays like “Shipper Shame: How I stopped Hiding and Learned to Love the Shipper Within” by Yvonne Popplewell or “I Will Go Down With This Ship” by Farid ul-Haq. As a shipper, I loved to read about other fans’ experiences with shipping and how they embraced the lifestyle.
The parts of this book that resonated with me most, however, were the essays that emphasized the importance of diverse representation in popular culture. And, let’s be honest, that’s the heart of this book: to bring awareness to a culture that’s inundated with white-washed, heteronormative, cookie-cutter storylines and characters. And, really, where’s the fun in stories like that?
You can buy the book for Amazon Kindle here.