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Fandom, the Next Generation

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This was a really interesting exploration of "generational fandom." I am not in the fan studies field, so I am not sure if this is the first time the concept was explored but it was the first time I was able to put a name to something I've observed in the world (a friend grew up in a Star Trek household, for example). As is the nature of collections, I found some essays easier to get through than others and that only partially coincided with my familiarity with the source material (I've read Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit once but found that particular essay super interesting, as is the concept of fandoms taking on aspects of their creators). I'm really glad I read this!
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Looks at a few different fandoms and explores them through different authors. Fans over the decades and how they with each other and connection to work.
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As with any collection, "Fandom, the Next Generation" has some essays that are interesting or intriguing, and others that are less so. Which is which, though, depends on the reader.

The main theme of the book refers to generations of fans (what else?). Depending on the author, the generations might refer to fans' actual ages, such as in the case of Star Wars fandom, where old fans are likely to have seen the original trilogy first, around the time it was released; or it might refer to the version of the story fans encountered first. Whichever is chosen, however, tends to make sense for that particular fandom.

Maybe it's because I'm more of a monograph person, I feel like this collection is an introduction to larger topics more than anything else. There are many interesting topics mentioned, but perhaps because of that (and because each essay is assigned a limited number of pages) the <i>breadth</i> here is much larger than the <i>depth</i>.

Still, I found it interesting to read about Tolkien fandom and Sherlockians through the ages, as those particular essays focused on large-scale transitions from perhaps more literary and text-focused fandoms to more creative, transformative fandoms. 

Another interesting essay was on Turkey's Türkan Şoray - an actress who started her career in 1960 and gained a very large following in the 60's and 70's, still being known, respected and loved today, even if she's no longer active as an actor. While the manifestations of her fans are mostly to be expected (collecting memorabilia, meeting her in person), the description of a very <i>personal</i> relationship with her that some fans have, seeing her as part of the family, or as an ideal woman to aspire to, are sometimes almost endearing, and at other times almost like a mania. 

Something else that caught my eye was an exploration of the failure of the "Jem and the Holograms" movie (I don't think I even remember the cartoon) and of betraying fan expectations while missing the point of the original series. It's interesting.

I felt that the Star Wars essay gave a bit too much credit to the corporate overlords producing the lastest trilogy, choosing to cast into a nostalgic light what is essentially the ripping off of the whole Episode IV plot to create "The Force Awakens" (I will never get over the disappointment that history is repeating itself a bit too much and nobody in-universe seemed aware of it, along with other continuity issues). But it does say that an appeal to nostalgia and a rehashing of old stories and ideas has been with the series from the very beginning, which was interesting.

I was mostly disappointed by the Backstreet Boys essay; I feel like the author didn't have a lot to say about BSB fandom in the Netherlands, and there was more that could have been explored (e.g. did the women interviewed try to pass on their fandom?). As it is, it's mostly telling us that girls were listening to BSB, felt the music was relevant to their lives, still feel the fandom for the band, are a bit embarrassed about it, but finally have the means to attend concerts and events. Which is well and good if you're not familiar with the phenomenon, but if you are, there's nothing here that I wouldn't have assumed if asked what I think BSB fandom is like.

I'd like to thank the University of Iowa Press and NetGalley for providing me with a free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. It's neat to see fandom studies growing as a field.
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This is an interesting book. I thought it would be a light collection of essays, but turns out its an academic book. Very interesting, but not for my particular research.
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Fandom, The Next Generation, edited by Bridget Kies and Megan Connor is a collection of essays exploring, unsurprisingly, fandom, but with a particular focus on transgenerational sources and fan communities. I.e., those fandoms centered around “rebooted or perpetually rebroadcast media texts” whose long-lived and/or resurrected nature maintains and creates several generations of fans — those who came to the text in its original form, those who discovered the text in later years, and those who came to the text as an adaptation or reboot. Think the many decades of the various Star Wars films or Dr. Who shows, the long-running but also rebooted Star Trek universe, but also non-SF/Fantasy works such as the multitude of Jane Austen adaptations over the past decades. 

The collection is divided into three broad sections: the way fan groups respond to reboots/remakes and why, the way fan groups sustained themselves over long stretches of time and brought in new fans, and finally the ways in which those multiple generations of fans are sometimes at odds with each other and at other times find ways to build bridges across the span of years. Given the recent and ongoing controversies that have bedeviled fandom — the over racist and misogynistic reactions for instance to the Star Wars or Ghostbusters reboots — the material is clearly topical and rich for mining. 

Unfortunately, I’d be lying if I didn’t say the book was a major disappointment, mostly due to the fact that it was all too rare that I felt the essays delved deep enough, skating along the surface of concepts and offering up what too often seemed self-evident or thinly supported points. As a few representative examples of the former, we get told that older fans sometimes gatekeep their community to keep out newer ones (and this is often tied less to fidelity to canon than to misogyny, racism, and queer hatred), that older and more knowledgeable fans are seen as more authoritative, that female fans are treated differently (as are female-centered texts), that generations are not monolithic,  that younger fans are often introduced to texts by family members, that fans respond better to reboots where the original actors have aged well than when they have not (and again, that women are held to different standards in that vein), and so on. These are all placed in their specific textual contexts (Sherlockania, Star Wars and Alien fandoms, etc.), but honestly, one feels you could take have switched out the texts and much of these points would remain true no matter the source material, nor would any of them be particularly surprising. These sort of conclusions felt more like introductory concepts, jumping off points into a deeper dive rather than what they were—the meat of the essay. The editors do acknowledge this book “begins [the] conversation,” but I needed a more substantive, thoughtful entry into that conversation than Fandom provides.

The writers clearly did their research, and their methodology is well explained, but still, a number of the essays felt thin, with internet surveys, sometimes large but sometimes not as the bulk of the research and lots of quotes from respondents but with little sense of scale. When someone says, “two people say”, it doesn’t leave me with a strong sense that this is representative of anything. Other times pronouncements were made that seemed a leap to me, as when it’s said that when a showrunner describes herself as a “Kristy rising”, “it is hard not to read this incorporation of astrological language as coded signaling to queer communities.” I’m the first to admit I don’t know if this is true or not, but I need something beyond the pronouncement itself so I can follow the author into this conclusion. 

Somewhat similarly, when a claim is made that “Twilight fans are ridiculed in ways fans of more male-oriented-series are not”, this is true if it means the mode of ridicule is the same, but I’m not sure it’s true if it’s meant to say those latter fans haven’t been or are not mocked (as one of the most famous examples consider the famed SNL Shatner “get a life” skit). Again, there’s a point to be made here for sure, but it needs more depth of discussion. With multiple such instances, the essays felt not rigorous enough for academic readers and not plainspokenly insightful or entertaining enough stylistically for lay readers.

It didn’t help matters that the essays multiple times repeated the same basic definitional points, such as the difference between transformative and affirmative fandom, something that perhaps might have been better placed in an introductory section. 

In the end, I wrote “thin” or “weak” as my closing notes to a majority of the essays, wrote “good” in my notes to only one, and ended up with next to no highlights or notes, which is my best gauge for the impact of a non-fiction work. As such, I sadly cannot recommend this title, despite the authors’ clear enthusiasm for their subject and the amount of work they put into their pieces. 

[box] Published in August 2022. This collection is the first to offer a close study of fan generations, which are defined not only by fans’ ages, but by their entry point into a canon or via their personal politics. The contributors further the conversation about how generational fandom is influenced by and, in turn, influences technologies, industry practices, and social and political changes. As reboot culture continues, as franchises continue expanding over time, and as new technologies enable easier access to older media, Fandom, the Next Generation offers a necessary investigation into transgenerational fandoms and intergenerational fan relationships. [/box]
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This is an excellent collection of academic work on the subject of fandom, exploring the politics of reboot culture, intergenerational relationships to beloved media properties and generational conflicts within fandom, the experiences of aging fandoms, and other topics. Fandom is an underexplored area of the social sciences, and I enjoyed diving deep into fandoms I don't know much about and learning more about how seemingly small "nerd fights" actually serve as a mirror for social issues in the broad overculture we all inhabit. 

Thanks to NetGalley and University of Iowa Press for the opportunity to read this book!
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This books of essays was pretty interesting, and I enjoyed the many different viewpoints. I even learned a few things about fandom I didn't know, and will think greatly about the other things mentioned within. In particular I enjoyed the piece on cross-generational fandom. I enjoyed some of the more niche fandoms mentioned, but some of them seemed out of place in this as I can't say I know anyone from some of the fandoms mentioned, and some I had never heard of. I will have to look into them to better understand their essays.
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Fandom, the Next Generation by Bridget Kies and Megan Connor is an in depth set of essays about different fandoms. The essays are mostly focused on issues in the fandoms, but it covers many known and less known fandoms, and a wide range of topics.
I found this book extremely interesting. It covers current issues a great deal, such as gender and sexuality. But it also goes over intergenerational conflict in fandoms like Star Wars. The essays were well written, and well researched. It is interesting as well, easy to read.
I would recommend this book to anyone interested in fandoms and the issues in them. I would not necessarily recommend this if you are only interested in learning about your own fandoms, it covers a very wide range of fandoms for many different generations.
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Having been involved in fandom for most of my life, I was excited to pick up this book and learn more about fan studies. Overall, the analysis of different generations interacting with a text or as a community intrigued me, especially what defines ownership/seniority in a fandom and how fan works transform the meaning of a text. I haven't read about this topic before but after finishing Fandom, The Next Generation I began looking into some of the writers' other essays.
While I was especially drawn to essays about texts I'm more familiar with (ex. Jane Austen and Tolkien), I was surprised at how compelling some of the others in Parts II and III were as well. Part I, unfortunately, didn't keep me hooked, but that didn't take away from my overall enjoyment. Fandom, the Next Generation is perfect for devoted or even casual fans interested in social studies and community interactions.
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This was such an interesting look at fandoms and how different generations of fans have interacted with their fandoms over the years. Even when the fandoms being explored weren’t ones that I’m a part of, the authors were able to pull me in and make me interested in their analysis. Something that’s interesting about the ways that generations were defined for the book wasn’t always based on the age of the fan, the time spent in the fandom and when the person became a fan were also taken into account.

I enjoyed getting a deeper look into what’s going on when fans claim that a reboot is “ruining their childhood,” the fan pushback against the Jem and the Holograms movie, analysis of Lord of the Rings fanfiction and how different generations of fans viewed the medium, how fandom is passed down from fathers to daughters and then how they pass it on to their children, and other topics.

As with any collection some aspects will be stronger than others. Occasionally there would be an essay that didn’t quite grab my attention like the rest of them. But overall I think this is a really strong book. It’s definitely academic in tone, but not so scholarly that it’s unreadable for someone who isn’t an expert in the field. I’d definitely recommend checking it out if fan/fandom studies interest you.
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Fandom, the Next Generation, edited by Bridget Kies and Megan Connor, is an insightful collection of essays addressing inter and cross generational fanhood.

While this is an academic work it is also quite accessible for anyone interested in the topic. Because the general area is still relatively new and the specific subarea of generational fanhood is even newer, each essay offers an explanation of the methodology used. This leads to some repetition for those who used similar methods, it is also essential since there is no single accepted way to do this research. For those reading because they are fans rather than academics, these explanations help to make each essay much clearer.

For the fan, the essays that apply to your particular fandom will be the most interesting but for the academic (or former in my case) each essay offers insight into the phenomenon of fanhood. Some will speak more directly to the reader's particular interest but all offer insight into both the specific fandom being looked at as well as fandom in general.

There were several that stood out for me because of my interests but I learned so much from each and every one. I was a little put off by the way one researcher chose to write up the research. This is more a case of form rather than content. She opted to state what she posited then gave the research that supported it. The problem for me is that doing so almost makes it sound like the evidence might have been cherry-picked, whereas if research is given then the theses posited comes from that research, it appears more solid. Stating broad hypotheses at the beginning of an essay is one thing, to preface every bit of research with a personal statement of what the researcher is positing just looks shady. I am not saying that there was any cherry-picking, I am talking about presenting research in a manner that doesn't encourage (usually subconsciously) whether the information the reader is given is really complete or just what supports the researcher's aims.

That one essay aside (and I still found it interesting, it just rubbed me the wrong way) I would highly recommend this to both the academic and the casual reader with an interest in fandom. For those considering research in the area this is an excellent book that offers superb examples.

Reviewed from a copy made available by the publisher via NetGalley.
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This book was a fascinating exploration of and queering of generations upon generations of fandom. I really enjoyed the different research that made up the edition, with foci on The Babysitters Club, Dr. Who, Sherlock Holmes, Star Wars, and more, it was an informative, thought-provoking, and fun non-fiction read.
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This book features scientific articles about fandom culture by a variety of contributors. These are compiled into ,3 sections and are all centered on (inter)generational aspects of fandom. As a 30-something lifelong fangirl myself, I found this book really interesting and informative. I liked that a lot of the essays focused on female fans, as I feel much more precious research have been done of the experiences of male fans. I particularly enjoyed the essays about generational music fandom that looked into Backstreet Boys fans, and how they found fandom to be a communal experience as well as an individual one. Other favourites included the essay regarding Tolkien fandom, and the one about new fans, superfans, and mentors in fandom. Overall, this was a really enjoyable and read and I'd recommend it for anyone with an interest in fandom.
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Being a fangirl on the cusp of forty, this collection of essays naturally appealed to me. Fandom: the Next Generation compiled a range of essays on the subject of fandom with a particular focus on generational fandom both positive and negative, including fandom passed down within families and conflicts arising between different generations of fans when original series and reboots come into play. All the essays were interesting in their own way, but some standouts for me included those that looked at inter-generational fandom within families and the role of media and modern technology in fandom generations, where there was a particularly captivating piece on Jane Austen. If you are a fan and interested in social studies, this is definitely a worthwhile read. It gets 4 stars from me.
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