Fandom, the Next Generation

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Pub Date 17 Aug 2022 | Archive Date 17 Aug 2022
University of Iowa Press, University Of Iowa Press

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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 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.

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 their personal politics. The contributors...

A Note From the Publisher


Maria Alberto, University of Utah
Mélanie Bourdaa, University of Bordeaux Montaigne
Meredith Dabek, Maynooth University
Simone Driessen, Erasmus University Rotterdam
Yektanurşin Duyan, Mardin Artuklu University
Dan Golding, Swinburne University of Technology
Bethan Jones, Aberdale, Wales (UK)
Siobhan Lyons, Sydney, New South Wales (Australia)
L. N. Rosales, University of Nebraska, Lincoln
Andrew Scahill, University of Colorado, Denver
Janelle Vermaak, Nelson Mandela University
Cynthia W. Walker, St. Peter’s University
Dawn Walls-Thumma, independent scholar
Neta Yodovich, University of Haifa


Maria Alberto, University of Utah
Mélanie Bourdaa, University of Bordeaux Montaigne
Meredith Dabek, Maynooth University
Simone Driessen, Erasmus University Rotterdam

Advance Praise

“Utilizing a range of methodological approaches, Kies and Connor have assembled a collection of essays that are brimming with original data to explore the importance of the often-overlooked axis of intergenerationality to the ongoing construction and performance of fan identities. Through analysis of fans of a range of media franchises that span expected cult properties such as Star Wars and Sherlock to previously unconsidered texts like Jem and the Holograms and The Man from U.N.C.L.E., diverse topics including nostalgia, technology’s impact on consumption habits, and reboot or legacy media arise. Central to all of these essays is the concept of identity—both individual and collective—and how gerontological issues are deeply intertwined with other aspects of fandom’s intersectional identity politics. The essays in this collection thus initiate important debates that will hopefully frame fan studies for generations to come.”—Ross Garner, Cardiff University

Fandom, the Next Generation investigates how fandom persists over time, whether in one person, transmitted intergenerationally, or around reboots or new content. With case studies from sci-fi to celebrity culture to novels, from the nineteenth century to the twenty-first, the book provides a rich variety of approaches to an under-studied topic.”—Mel Stanfill, author, Exploiting Fandom: How the Media Industry Seeks to Manipulate Fans

“Utilizing a range of methodological approaches, Kies and Connor have assembled a collection of essays that are brimming with original data to explore the importance of the often-overlooked axis of...

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Featured Reviews

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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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 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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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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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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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 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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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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This is an engaging, well researched book with a multitude of voices. Would recommend for anyone with an academic interest in fandom studies, or any member of a fandom interested in delving more deeply into the fandom phenomenon.

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