Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy by Sam Maggs
“I am a geek girl and I am a feminist” says the back cover, and that’s pretty much the thrust of this book.
Maggs is an editor at The Mary Sue, and is incredibly well informed about what she calls “Geek” culture, particularly the Lady kind (assuming that is an acceptable term).
I picked this up out of curiosity, “what are the kids up to these days?” and so on. As expected, a lot of it was opaque to me (amazingly enough, I’m not up on the last 25 years of teen age culture). Honestly, I don’t like or care about video games much, and I grew out of comic books a long, long time ago. And I never was into cosplay. (He says, as he quickly closes the web comic in the other browser tab, and remembers the Star Fleet sew on patch he used to have somewhere. :-)) But Maggs is actually a very effective ‘splainer, so I was able to grok enough to get along.
I think I was most interested in the “inside view” of how these communities use the Internet, and how important it is to geekdom. (Historical note: I assure you that we created the Internet mainly to connect all the geeks in the world. The other uses were just side effects.)
This is the section on “the seven kingdoms of the Internet”, which is highly informative to me as student of how people use the Internet. The way she describes the net is radically different from the way I think about it, ignoring almost all the technical features and highlighting the social uses. She’s not wrong, she’s just a native, with a native’s understanding of this stuff.
The descriptions of fan culture, cons, and so on are nicely done. It makes me tired just reading about it!
The last chapter gets quite serious about feminism, and Maggs gives a clear and actually intelligible explanation of where she is coming from and wants us to go. Well done.
I can’t be a fan girl (that doesn’t even make sense, really), but it makes my old Bolshie heart go pitta-pat to see this happening.
Ask an ancient, grey bearded geek, I have to say, “You go, Sam Maggs” (and all). Geekdom never was just for boys (in my day we’d have killed for some girl geeks to play with), and the Trolls are active because you have disturbed them in their nest and they sense the danger. You have them on the run..
I would note that the last pages have a list of web sites which would probably repay attention, especially for you young geeks or parents of young geeks out there.
I’ll add one more to the list: #GirlsWithToys (“Astronomer calls scientists ‘boys with toys’. Big mistake !! #GirlsWithToys is born ;)”)
- Sam Maggs, The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy: a Handbook for Geek Girls, Philadelphia, Quirk Books, 2015.
Sunday Book Reviews