When The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy was announced as a book, I immediately put in my preorder. What could be better than the guidebook to my geeky life? You bet I want to read that. Sam Maggs guide is not for the long standing Fangirl or person with Geek 4 Lyfe tattooed invisibly (or visible) across her knuckles. If you didn’t choose the geek life, and the geek like chose you, this book will feel lacking. What The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy really does is introduce a new world of geekery to the next generation and explain it to moms who are hanging out scratching their head over why their daughters are sobbing over the season 2 finale of Sherlock or keep saying “bowties are cool” for seemingly no reason. Written in super modern vernacular, the book goes out of its way to explain definitions such as “feels,” “shipping” and various type of internet trolls (and how to avoid them).
The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy breaks down different categories for nerdgirls, but also provides classifications. While I appreciate Sam Maggs identifying “SuperWhoLock” as a category, I will admit the Wholigan in me felt her hackles raise. I love me some Supernatural and Sherlock, but they pale in comparison to my love for the good Doctor. I found myself thinking of the way many older fans who previously were forced into camps (Trekkies, Browncoats, Whovians) will find themselves bristling at the change of options. Maggs does do an incredible job of listing a large wealth of other categories, so make sure to look out for your classification. This section definitely felt more like an introduction to the uninitiated.
Possibly the most useful breakdown in The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy is how to survive your first convention. For Fangirls who have been braving the hard cement floors of hotel ballrooms and city convention centers, Magg’s suggestion of footwear will seem like common sense, but try to remember your first convention where those cute flats seemed like a good idea, or you totally convinced yourself you’d be fine in heels for that cosplay all day. She includes advice for keeping cost down, keeping yourself safe and for making friends in the nerd community. I wish I could send a copy of this book back to my 18 year-old self for my first San Diego Comic Con; I would have been in a lot less pain after day one.
Sam Maggs does not try to hide the fact that the internet is dark and full of terrors. She gives a fantastic breakdown of various social network sites, including their praises and pitfalls. Her discussion of different types of internet trolls is both informative and laugh out loud funny. To make up for the dark, Maggs also includes interviews with Fangirl culture juggernauts such as HerUniverse.com founder Ashley Eckstein and the editor from MarySue.com.
Overall, Sam Magg’s message is a positive one I’d love to see more of in the world of Fandoms: Everybody love what you love and be kind to people who are loving what they love. The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy is a great gift for a confused mother or teenage girl who doesn’t yet know the extents to the joys of Fandom.
The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy is available from Quirkbooks May 12, 2015.