The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy

A Handbook for Girl Geeks

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Pub Date 12 May 2015 | Archive Date 05 Aug 2015


This ultimate handbook for ladies living the nerdy life is a fun and feminist take on the often male-dominated world of geekdom.
Fandom, feminism, cosplay, cons, books, memes, podcasts, vlogs, OTPs and RPGs and MMOs and more—it’s never been a better time to be a girl geek. With delightful illustrations and an unabashed love for all the in(ternet)s and outs of geek culture, this book is packed with tips, playthroughs, and cheat codes, including:
• How to make nerdy friends
• How to rock awesome cosplay
• How to write fanfic with feels
• How to defeat internet trolls
• How to attend your first con

And more! Plus insightful interviews with fangirl faves, like Jane Espenson, Erin Morgenstern, Kate Beaton, Ashley Eckstein, Laura Vandervoort, Beth Revis, Kate Leth, and many others.
This ultimate handbook for ladies living the nerdy life is a fun and feminist take on the often male-dominated world of geekdom.
Fandom, feminism, cosplay, cons, books, memes, podcasts, vlogs, OTPs...

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EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9781594747892
PRICE $15.95 (USD)

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Average rating from 331 members

Featured Reviews

Are you a fangirl? I am. I've been a fangirl of lots of different fandoms for years. If you are a new fangirl or even if you've been around the block a few times, this book is a great reference guide. Want to know where to meet other local fans? There's a section for that. Not sure where you fall in the fandoms- they're all explained.

Nervous about attending your first con? Or maybe you're a seasoned pro looking for some tips. You'll find lots of convention tips and ideas, including costumes. There's also a list of kickass female characters to dress as if you need some ideas. Confused by terms? They're here, including a nifty glossary.

I really loved the party ideas and the interviews with some influential fangirls. I found this guide rather empowering. Women can be trivialized and objectified in the fandom communities. There was some good advice for how to deal with online trolls and haters. If you are a fangirl or just fan-curious, I recommend picking up The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy.

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This book compactly shares so much information on the culture and ideas behind being a fangirl. This is clearly written by a fangirl, for fangirls. I would highly recommend this book to any fans, given the perfect marriage of information for all of the fandoms.

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Adorable and affirming for all of us fangirls out there! I really can't wait to see the print edition, because the illustrations were all cut up in the e-galley version. Even more reason to get a copy for my library!

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A beginning Fangirl's guide to navigating the real world, the Internet, and conventions, with tons of humor and pop culture references of course. The definitions of terms like OTP and such, were clear and funny. The examples were often the best part. The section on feminism while fantastic - didn't really fit with the rest of the book in my opinion. Also, since I was reading an ARC on a Kindle Fire the layout was very messed up. The pictures came in bits and pieces over numerous pages and some of the text was so scrambled it required some deciphering.

A good library purchase, but probably not one that'd you;d read through more than once if it was on your own book shelf. I could comfortably hand this to high school students.

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This is an enjoyable book to read for geek girls everywhere. An introduction to a variety of fandoms, with all of the buzzwords defined, and tips on how to get started, meet people with similar interests, and get your friends involved. A really fun read!

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I cannot express how important this book is

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You may have noticed that we have a big of a fangirl collective here at WhatchaReading. How often do you find a group of geek girls that share your same obsessions, AND introduce you to new ones? Well - these days, it's a bit more often than it used to be (thanks, Internet!). And that, folks, brings me to Sam Maggs and her awesome upcoming book, The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy.

We met Sam Maggs at the Quirk Table at NYCC last year. We were familiar with her because we're ALL fans of The Mary Sue over here at WR, so we fangirled a bit over Sam, who totally fangirled back at us, and we had a bit of a love-in, which was awesome. She told us about her upcoming book and signed posters for us.

Getting a poster like this was the BEST possible tool for creating a longing fangirl buzz. I know I couldn't wait for this book to come out, because THIS IS EVERYTHING. A couple of weeks ago, I managed to get my hot little hands on an e-galley, and tore through it in a night and a half.

Sam Maggs is the total package. She's in multiple fandoms, stretching across all media, from gaming to movies, books and comics, Internet, podcasts - she's the SuperFangirl. And she imparts her wisdom here for all of you. Are you a beginning fangirl? Maybe just started playing HALO, and want to talk gaming with other folks who aren't going to shoot you down? Did you just start watching Arrow and/or Flash, and want to extend that love to the comics, but need to know who to talk to so you can find the best issues to start reading? There are all sorts of ideas and links - SO MANY LINKS - here. It's a guidebook, it's a reference resource, it's all of these things.

What made me the happiest while reading Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy is the sheer love that comes through. There is love and respect here for ALL women (and guys, too!), ALL forms of media and fandom, and mainly, what she's writing about. Sam wants to give you the best resources you need to help you find your tribe(s). And if you think, "Well, I've got my tribe, I've got my fandoms, I'm pretty set," that's great, too - but I guarantee you'll find new things to discover in here. This book has something for everyone - jump in and explore. You can pre-order the book through Quirk Books' site - they're offering crazy amounts of goodies for pre-orders right now!

While you're at it, check out Sam's website, and more importantly, her Tumblr, which has so much geeky goodness. And if you're in NYC, keep an eye out for our Fangirl collective - you can usually find us, on Wednesdays, in our local comic book stores, or roaming around Midtown Comics and Chipotle.

FANGIRL'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY Author: Sam Maggs Publisher: Quirk Books ISBN: 978-1594747892 Release Date: May 12, 2015 Price: $15.95

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I'm absolutely loving that our culture is undergoing a shift for the better these days. Until recently, to be a geek or a nerd was seen as a negative thing - it conjured up images of the 30-year-old male living in his mother's basement, wearing a headset and playing video games all day without making a real contribution to society. Or maybe an overweight group of geeks gathered in a back room to play obscure and mysterious tabletop games.

But our culture has evolved and today we find ourselves in a more enlightened place than ever before. Marvel movies are automatic blockbusters. Graphic novels and comics have experienced an explosion in popularity and renown. Just this morning, I walked into my local Meijer and noted a handful of "geeky" tabletop games in the toy section. And when the weather is nice, I often pass a group of people LARPing (live action role-playing) in the park!

I love that people are realizing that it's okay to be who you are, love what you love, and be absolutely passionate about it. As a fangirl and all-around nerd myself, I spend my weekends playing video games, adore Wil Wheaton's TableTop show, and carry around a Batman backpack with a Legend of Zelda wallet inside. I own a TARDIS lamp, Master Sword, Shield of Hyrule, and a variety of nerdy t-shirts.

But at times, it can be really hard to be a female trying to navigate the waters of the nerd community. Whether it's the guy behind the counter at the video game store who assumes that he is an expert and I know next to nothing or family members who continually challenge me to defend my hobbies and interests, feeling belittled and like I should be ashamed occurs all too often.

That's why this book is really important. Sam Maggs writes about what it means to be a fangirl. The book is comprehensive, covering topics ranging from convention tips to how to handle online trolls. Included are helpful glossaries and resources, interviews with famous fangirls, discussions on feminism and its importance, site profiles and info for women artists and creators that everyone should know, a discussion of different kinds of fandoms, and more. The tone throughout the book is warm, humorous, and inclusive. It's really perfect for any lady geek, regardless of their familiarity level with nerd culture.

Most importantly, passion is encouraged, never belittled. Regardless of fandom, interest level, or expertise, all fangirls are encouraged to let their love for their fandoms shine and to never be ashamed. In a largely male society, where rape culture is the norm, feminists are labeled as man-haters, and things like GamerGate exist, it is SO important that girls are taught to know and value their own worth, to be independent and strong, to love what they love without feeling ashamed or inferior to their male counterparts. It's easy to see that Maggs feels the same way, as it is expressed well throughout the book.

If I had any complaints, I might say that the book occasionally lacked depth and seemed designed more as a lighter introduction to the world of female nerd culture. But the scope is already pretty comprehensive, and any single topic could spawn a book (or several) on its own, so to devote the time and attention to each topic at a deeper level would probably have changed the book entirely, making it longer and probably less humorous. So it does work well the way it's designed.

I'm definitely planning on buying a copy of this as a go-to resource guide. I want my friends and family to read it, to understand me and how nerd culture is shifting. And because it's important. It's important to show support to female creators, to speak out about equality, to stand up for what we are passionate about. If we don't, nothing will ever change.

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For every geek girl out there this is your book. From getting ready for VidCon to OTPS to how to get someone into your fandom. This was pretty much my life in a book.

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Such an amazing and hilarious book. Not what I expected; it was actually so much better. This truly is the ultimate survival guide for the fangirl!

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This book is adorable! I was a little worried going into it that I wouldn't be able to relate to the content, since I don't really consider myself a fangirl. I don't love Doctor Who, Supernatural, Marvel movies, Lord of the Rings, fanfiction or other traditionally "nerdy" things. I do watch Sherlock and have a love for Harry Potter, but I am very much outside of the mainstream fangirl culture. However, this is a culture that many readers feel at home in and I'm very interested in the fascinating lives of teenage readers, so I'm always down for keeping up with that world.

I actually found a lot here that I really liked! First off, Maggs opens the novel by describing different fandoms and she includes YA literature as a fandom!!! Hello! Longtime member of that fandom RIGHT HERE. I loved how broad the content was and how this book is a celebration of all kinds of geeky love. I didn't feel left out. There is something here for pretty much every kind of geek, nerd, or fangirl. Maggs gives a basic rundown of everything a fangirl needs to know, from fandom vocabulary (OTP, shipping, feels, canon, spoilers, etc) to tips on attending conventions ("Cons"). The chapter titles include:

It's Good to be a Geek
[Fandom Intensifies]: Geek Girls Online Geronimo!: How to Survive Conventions Aim to Misbehave: Geek Girl Feminism The first two give lots of basic tips and advice that might be good for all audiences, but I liked the chapter on Geek Girl Feminism the best. It's no secret that geek girls have a difficult time just being geek girls because they get sexualized, told they are only being geeky for male attention, and harassed. Geek girls also have to deal with media that does not always represent women in positive or authentic ways (if women are even there at all!). Maggs gives a basic Feminism 101 lesson, including vocabulary and common myths about feminism. She gives a great list of media (TV, movies, books, games, comics, anime) that have a great female characters and thoroughly explains how fans can apply a few simple tests to other media to see if it fits the bill. She recommends action items for fangirls to be more proactively involved in making their media more female-friendly. I thought this whole section was a great overview of how feminism applies to this particular form of popular culture.

This big question with this book seems to be audience, as it think it is best enjoyed by younger teens and those just starting out in fandoms. There is nothing in depth here about any particular fandom OR about feminism. It is literally a Girl Fandom 101-style guide for anyone who doesn't have an older sister or friend guiding the way. Because of that, it would be the perfect book to stock in a middle or high school library or in the teen section at a public library. It would also be an excellent gift for any geek-minded tweens (11-14) in your life. Hardcore fans and dedicated members of fan communities may feel like they already know everything here, so I would pass on the book for them in favor of something more specifically related to their fandom.


I enjoyed reading this book and it was a very fast read! I'm glad the book exists and would loved to have featured it in my library! It's exactly the kind of nonfiction book kids love: relevant, easily skimmed, eye-catching, and engaging. I probably won't buy a copy for myself because I read this out of professional interest, but I would absolutely consider purchasing it as a gift in in the future. And if any adults out there feel baffled by fandom culture (because geeks existed in the geeky closet in the 80s and 90s, and fandom today is much more accepted and public!), this might be a great crash course in what your kids are doing with that SuperWhoLock Tumblr they're obsessed with (and what SuperWhoLock even means).

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This witty guide was a fun read for my daughter who is the quintessential fangirl. She read it twice and really enjoyed it. It has everything you need to know about cosplaying and being a nerdy girl geek in today's world. It is a quirky, yet interesting book that girls would enjoy. It was more of a book for my daughter than for me but she gives it 4 stars and I would recommend it.

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The premise to The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy: A Handbook for Girl Geeks was different than anything else I've read. I know of fanboy/fangirl culture from what I've seen and heard, but I've never really thought about the fact that fangirls may be viewed as second-rate fans. Some men feel that they've cornered the market on fandom and that girls are hopping on the bandwagon.

It was in intriguing look into a culture that I don't personally have any investment in. I enjoyed it quite a lot.

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A fun romp through the many fandoms, this book is an excellent voice for current and future female geeks. Veteran fans can be amused by the references, get useful tips for their next con and be reminded that they aren't alone in this geeky galaxy thanks to profiles of famous fangirls. But this book's true value lies in its last section. Maggs takes the opportunity to speak out about women bashing from both within and without the geek community, highlighting why being a fan is just as much our right as it is a man's. Which I think is why this book will be excellent for those young adults out there struggling with their identities and having society inform them that what they love is for men. Both a treatise on girl power and the value of being a fan, Sam Magg's The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy is a must-read for any one who has ever cried when a fictional character died.

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The subject matter is something I care deeply about and i'm so impressed with this book! It gives so much information so neatly and so well explained I loved every minute of it! I'm definitely recommending this to other fangirls and geek girls I know and love. I love the representation in this book and I love that they got so much right! Definitely a great read that i'll go to over and over again.

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Most amazing and ultimate geek guide in the universe. I cannot show my love for it enough!

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I was a little confused about who the intended audience was for this book. At times, the tone and language seemed to be for a younger audience, such at 5th graders or middle school ages girls. But then she mentions "Cards Against Humanity" which is not appropriate. Neither is getting a tattoo to show your hardcore love and devotion to the Tenth Doctor! After finishing this book, I would probably recommend it for high school or college girls. Maybe former students of mine.

The dos and don'ts for comic cons and other conventions is great advice. The Q&As with well known authors and actresses who are self-proclaimed geeks give great advice about being comfortable with who you are. I also like the listing of books, games, comics with strong female characters. Geek or not, you can't deny these women are strong role models.

Overall, I think this is an empowering book for girls who might be into something different than "mainstream" entertainment.

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I was delighted when I found out that I was approved for this book. The blurb sounded great, like the perfect little book for a geek/fangirl like me. My expectations were high and I had hopes for lots of fun fangirl stuff, some conventions and glossaries.
However, it disappointed me. There was still a lot of fun fangirl stuff, fandom stuff, but sadly there were things I didn't like.

Let me start with the things I liked.
I loved the glossaries in the book, with what word/abbreviations meant. Things like: RPF (which apparently means Real Person Fiction), Femslash, Songfics.
We also had a big chapter on the various fandoms, of course not all of them are mentioned, that would be impossible as for every tv-show/anime/manga/book/whatever else there is a fandom, be them big or small. But in this one they at least addressed the biggest ones (at least I would count them as the biggest ones). At the end of the chapter there is also a big list (without descriptions on the numerous other fandoms).
I loved the parts on the trolls (I really laughed out loud at the description and it was great to see how spot on it was). Of course I really loved the counter attacks. I am sure a lot of people could use those as trolls are everywhere. Not all of the counter attacks are ones I would agree with though, so I would say use and be careful.
We also have various interviews with writers, creators of things (sorry, I don't know what kind of stuff they create (could be games/tv/books anything really).

There is also a huge part on how to survive and prepare for a convention. That one was really interesting, though most of the stuff mentioned didn't apply to me as the cons in my country aren't that big and we don't have a lot of the things mentioned (Like photoshoots? Signings?), but also our cons here aren't that big. The author describes cons that are seemingly huge. Still a lot of the tips are usable and interesting.
There is also a whole planning list and what to do if you are going alone or in group. What to do when you meet up with people you met on the net and several other interesting tips and hints.

I really like the Cosplay Directive. I really think people should read this one. Not only the ones that are the group that should read this book, but everyone. I have seriously seen so many things go wrong or people being treated like shit and I think this should really be printed out and posted at every con that has cosplayers.

However, there were things I didn't like. If I had known that this book was so full of feminism, I wouldn't have applied for the ARC or even considered the book. No offence to all feminists, you are all free to do whatever you want. But I am not one that likes Feminism (and yes I am a girl). I like feminism in the way of equality for girls in school and workplace (like being able to study or getting the same pay as your male colleague who does the same thing as you do), but other than that I am actually getting a bit tired of the feminism stuff that is coming up all over the net and outside of it. I won't go further with it, as that is a topic that falls outside of this review, but I am really disappointed that apparently even in a book like this, we get the whole thing shoved at us. So yeah, those are parts I read through (since I have to review the book), but really disliked, and it also made me give this book a -1 star.

Then we have the other thing that I didn't like. The book is quite U.S centred. There is a big chapter about all the wonderful, fantastic cons in the U.S and that is nice, but there is a whole world out there. You are now just centring it on one continent, not even that, since it is only North America/Canada(ish). And this is a shame. I know the U.S is a big big country and a big big thing in people's mind, but hello. Hi! Europe here. We also want to read your book, and we also want to know about our cons. It would have been fun if there was a part about the U.S and then also parts about the other continents/parts of the world. Like a top 5, or a top 10. We, in Europe, got some big and great cons. England, Germany and France have some huge cons that really deserve mentioning, and the same goes for Asia and other parts. Now it just feels off to me. Sure, I am planning to go to the U.S one day, but for now that is a) too expensive and b) too difficult (there are soooo many rules one must follow to get in the U.S). I wish the author had done a bit more research and had looked outside of their own country.
The same also goes for the links she posts. A lot of those links are international, but most of the shopping ones? Does the author know how expensive shipping costs are to Europe or another part of the world? (Spoiler: Very expensive, not to mention customs.) Not to even mention that maybe those stores don't even ship to Europe or Asia or whatever other part of the world?

All in all, I wouldn't really recommend this book. Maybe for some parts (glossaries, the basic con guide, fandoms), but if you don't like/feel uncomfortable with Feminism or with the lack of international stuff then I would suggest to turn away from the book.

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