If you’re a fangirl of anything and you haven’t read Sam Magg’s The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy, do it. Do it now.
You might know Sam from places like the Cineplex pre-show, The Mary Sue, Teletoon, Space, and MTV. Sam is a total geek, loves video games and geek culture of all sorts. Awesomely enough, she also has an MA in Victorian Literature. How cool is that? (#booknerd)
The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy is a handbook for girl geeks.
This little book is all explaining the fandom world and encouraging girls to embrace the things they are passionate about and jump into the fandom community. It has chapters about different kinds of fandoms, about what all the weird words and acronyms used in fandomland mean, about how to survive comic conventions and get the most out of them, how to deal with internet trolls, and more. It’s basically fun, and silly, and weird, and inspiring all at the same time. Plus it’s super fun to look at with adorkable illustrations by Kelly Bastow.
I’ve read some not-so-nice reviews of this book, most of them complaining that the book isn’t written for them and that it is childish or simplistic or annoying. Well guess what folks–that means you’re not the target audience of the book. This book is definitely written for a young teen girl audience. It’s quirky (hence why it’s published by Quirk Books) and it’s feminism in an awesome way.
This book helped me understand my geek girl friends
I’m a booknerd. I’ve always been a lover of books, reading, stories. The chapter in this book that most connected to me was definitely the one on fanfiction. I could have used that chapter when I was twelve and felt ashamed that I read fanfic.
Other than that, though, I don’t identify as a total geeky fangirl. But many of my friends do. They obsess over TV shows, video games, comic books. They analyze and collect. Their apartments are filled with fan art, collectible figurines, posters, and geeky t-shirts. It’s a little overwhelming for me. And it’s AWESOME. Their passions and their fandoms are so much a part of who they are.
Because of their passions for these geeky things, I’ve learned a ton, been exposed to so much cool stuff, and grown an appreciation for it. But until reading Fangirl’s Guide, I didn’t really understand it.
This book is definitely written for younger geek girls. It is also a worthwhile read for anyone with a geek girl in their life. I’m stoked to accompany a fangirl friend of mine to a con this weekend as her handler and bag carrier while she shows off her awesome cosplay. And thanks, Sam, for the tips on how to survive a con–I’ll definitely be using some of them!
Fangirl IRL Conversation
The fabulous Sam Maggs is in Calgary in real life (IRL) this week for Calgary Comic and Enterainment Expo and stopped in at the Calgary Public Library for an author sesh with Wordfest. I had the chance to go and hear her talk.
Sam is hilarious! She talked about her different fandoms and the impact they’ve had on her life. Among her love for comic books and video games, she also is a HUGE fans of books. Like many of us, Sam loved books when she was a kid. They gave her adventures and introduced her to awesome, strong girl characters. Did you know, she was head of the library club in sixth grade? How awesome is that!?
Another cool did you know, for us booknerds at least, Sam has an MA in Victorian Literature. She studied 1860s sensation fiction. A literary genre that crossed boundaries – like one story about a female bigamist!
Basically, it was a few solid hours of laughs, feminism, and lots of fangirls (and a few fanboys) cheering for their favourite things. I think my favourite part was seeing the group of the young teen girls who were thrilled to be there and kept asking questions and seeking advice from Sam. It was fabulous to see someone inspiring these girls to be true to themselves.
Okay, the other great part was meeting Sam and getting my book signed. She’s rad.
Author Interview! With the fabulous Sam Maggs
I asked Sam for an interview and sent her a few questions and she was super awesome and responded with these awesome answers!
How/why did you come up with the idea to write The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy?
I really wanted to write the book I wished I’d had when I was a new fangirl, feeling alone and isolated in my interests. That couldn’t have been farther from the truth, and I wanted other fangirls to know that there is a whole community out there to support them!
How did the Fangirl’s Guide go from a cool idea to an actual book?
My incredible agent, Maria Vicente, pitched the idea to editrix extraordinaire, Blair Thornburgh, at Quirk Books, who I’m so glad instantly loved the idea. The three of us gals (as well as illustrator Kelly Bastow, designer Andie Reid, and a host of other amazing women) worked really hard together to make the book everything you see today.
What is your favourite part of Fangirl’s Guide?
I am so grateful Quirk was on board with the final chapter on feminism. I think that being an intersectional feminist is such an important part of being a good fangirl.
What was the easiest part to write?
The conventions chapter! I’ve done so many, it was so easy to impart all of that wisdom. (This chapter made me want to go to another con so much!)
What was the hardest part to write?
The feminism chapter, while the most rewarding, was definitely the most difficult. I wanted to do it justice.
Which fangirl category do you most identify with?
Right now, it’s got to be the gamer. My whole life revolves around games lately!
What was your favourite book as a kid?
Tamora Pierce’s The Immortals quartet. I have a tattoo of Daine on my arm. I love Pierce’s Tortall books so much, they’re still my favorites. (Adding these to my TBR RIGHT NOW.)
Are you reading anything at the moment?
I’m on a lady-written lady-led science fiction kick right now, and I’ve found so many amazing titles. I have to recommend CA Higgins’ Lightless, Emma Newman’s Planetfall, Rachel Bach’s Paradox trilogy, Carolyn Ives Gilman’s Dark Orbit, and Becky Chambers’ The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet. (And…my TBR is growing even more…)
Please, please, please, tell me about your new book, Wonder Women: 25 Innovators, Inventors, and Trailblazers Who Changed History, that’s coming out on October 18.
Of course! The book contains bios of 25 women throughout history who were scientists, doctors, spies, adventurers, and explorers. All of them made incredible discoveries and inventions and we never seem to learn about any of them in our textbooks (hmm… I wonder why). It was really important to me to bring these ladies’ stories to life, especially since we hear so little about them – particularly about the awesome women of color or queer women in history who made huge strides in STEM.
Lastly, what do you think of Calgary? 🙂
I have only been to Calgary for work (Expo and Stampede) but the people have always been so kind! Expo is my favourite Canadian convention. I always look forward to coming. (And we always look forward to having you!)