Book Review: Fangasm By Katherine Larsen and Lynn S. Zubernis

“…we don’t get to choose fandom. It chooses us.”

Fangasm: Supernatural Fangirls is a wonderful book that thoroughly examines what it means to be a fan. The authors provide a vivid, behind the scenes look at the Supernatural set. Through research, fan convention experiences and interviews with the cast, crew and others passionately invested in the show, Fangasm: Supernatural Fangirls does an incredible job in analyzing the fandom culture.

At the outset, authors Larsen and Zubernis make an astute observation regarding the “rabbit hole” of Supernatural fandom. Like Alice, there’s a curiosity and magnetic pull that draws Supernatural fans into their world of these two heroic brothers, their hunting friends, angels, demons and a host of other Supernatural entities.  This book successfully walks the delicate tightrope of advancing academic theories for immersion into the fandom while sustaining humor. The first hand accounts from the various actors, writers, crew and others offers an authentic flavor by enriching the narrative.

In addition, the book is an honest way of exploring the emotional rush of fandom. It pierces the veil. It courageously tackles the sensitive issue of fandom shame and fandom legitimacy. Why is there an embarrassment, particularly among women, associated with fandom pursuits? Why do they harbor intense feelings of guilt over these interests? Is it “right” to abandon family obligations in the quest for fandom bonding? What is the allure of fandom that it is capable of embracing people from all walks of life?

I applaud the authors in how raw this book is. It is written with heart. The book testifies to the success and failures of the authors as they become caught in the exciting yet frustrating and arguably contradictory world of the Supernatural fandom.

Further, there is a theme of the outsider that provides a powerful undercurrent to the book. The authors are academicians (a university professor and psychologist) with impressive credentials. But they’re also unapologetic fangirls who love Supernatural. This dichotomy places them in the enviable position of having access to the actors and crew that the average fan may not be afforded. Yet, they’re cautious as they pursue their research so as not to alienate other fans.

I highly recommend this book. If you’re a fan who has always wanted to attend a Supernatural convention, but unfortunately has been unable to do so, this book is for you. If you want to understand the various permutations of Supernatural fan fiction or the language of fandom, this book is for you. If you’re proud to call yourself a fangirl and you want others to understand what it means to be a fangirl, this book is for you.

Fangasm: Supernatural Fangirls will strike an emotional chord. It is a well-researched, well-written, memorable treasure.


1 comment

  1. I purchased this book a while back and have read it cover to cover- I also purchased another of their books- and highly recommend them both – They are written with the SPN fan in mind- If you have not been a fan of Supernatural before, you will after you have read this. I have never been to a CON and probably never will due to the fact that I am 83 and cannot afford the trip or the tickets, but have been a fan of the boys for 11 years- I have all the DVD’s and read everything I can about them on the internet and twitter an face book. You will not regret one word of this well written, perfectly intimate account of these two well informed and totally addicted fans- Their description of their meetings and encounters with the fans and the actors is fascinating and I could close mhy eyes and feel the excitement and overwhelming fanmania they must have felt- Love the books and will keep them as a go to reference in the helatus periods between seasons- Great read s and congrats to the authors for making us fans part of the action through their eyes.

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