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So through happenstance I've recently read several novels in which fandom takes on a large role, so I have some random thoughts on it.

1) Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. (This one is actually a reread because I like this book.) Main character is a fangirl who writes slash for the not!Harry Potter of her universe as she navigates her first year of undergrad. Fannish interactions--excerpts from fic, fan sites, fan conversations--all ring pretty true, but the "great leap" is at the end when she writes and then publishes her own original short story that echoes all her growing pains heretofore. So fandom is great but something that must be grown out of.

2) Gena/Finn by Hannah Moskowitz and Kat Helgeson. I had high hopes for this one when I read about it and largely enjoyed it. The entirety of the story is told through online postings and comments (mix of pseudo-lj and pseudo-Tumblr), IMs, texts, fan art, etc. Two fangirls bond over their favorite show and flirt with becoming more, and then not-quite-implode. The two main characters go from the "gosh it's so weird talking to someone real on the internet and having feelings" (which I'm not sure people still have those? it being 2016?) to "I can't live without you I might break up with my boyfriend over you" stage ~really quickly. Spoiler alert, they don't end up together, which makes me sad. One of them has a mental illness that really explodes when a traumatic event happens; anyway, she starts the book with her rl friends and family AND DOCTOR saying "you should be off drugs by now" and then when she goes off the drugs she absolutely relapses, and this affects her relationship with her fellow fangirl who decides she probably wants the bf after all. Which I also thought was too bad, and almost flirted with biphobia? Like, sure you can "like" girls, but boys are what you settle down with for "real life." Ugh. Ditto the ableist aspects of "you can love someone with mental illness BUT IT IS SO HARD." Which, yes, but also? Ugh. So I have very mixed feelings about it.

3) Scarlet Epstein Hates It Here by Anna Breslaw. High school fangirl dealing with high school and her fav tv show being cancelled. Also the former best friend/boy she's had a crush on forever dating a popular girl and acting like a tool. She decides to cope with both by writing a spin-off fic with OCs--because ~as we all know~ fandom gets really excited about fic with all OCs *snort*--that are also, functionally, RPF AUs. Hijinks ensue when because reasons the real kids find out about this and are justifiably hurt...and then the dude eventually ends up dating her anyway because reasons. So fandom is a high school thing that is fun and verges into creepy and is then abandoned for Real Life. Ugh.

4) Arkwright by Allen Steele. So this one is a bit different but I actually quite enjoyed it. It's a series of linked novellas; the first being about a granddaughter finding out about her grandfather's legacy and his story told in fun fan history flashbacks to the "First Fandom" of the 1930s. Lots of rl fan history cameos by guys like Sam Moskowitz and Forry Ackerman; one token woman fan who ends up being an agent rather than a writer, so, could be worse. Anyway, the guy writes a series of highly popular sf novels--sort of Star Trek meets Foundation etc etc--that inspire the later generations of his family, who end up in other stories building an interstellar spacecraft that goes to another planet and settling it. So it's about how fandom effects science effects real life, which was a lot of fun. But--notice how because white boys and science fandom is treated as much more useful and "normal" and even, dare I say it, worthy? That's kind of...not cool.

Anyway, so I'm fascinated by this new trend of representation in pop culture. Anyone else have any observations? recs?


( 5 comments — Add your .02 )
Aug. 29th, 2016 02:24 am (UTC)

No observations, but the 2nd one had been rec'd to me and now I will avoid it, based on your review.  Still working on Eleanor & Park, though I do have an ebook of Fangirl, so maybe I will move that up in the queue.

Aug. 29th, 2016 02:30 am (UTC)
FWIW if you have the werewithal I'd love to hear your thoughts on Gena/Finn if you ever give it a chance. I do worry if my review was too harsh on the basis of it told a story I didn't want, you know?
Aug. 31st, 2016 12:07 am (UTC)
I think just reading your synopsis of the conflict is enough to let me decide DO NOT WANT on that particular one. The combo of mental health judginess by ableist jerks, and fair-weather-friends is too close to my own comfort to be soemething I could keep in perspective.
Aug. 31st, 2016 09:31 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I felt kinda the same way. It's a little more happier than that by the end but not as much as I wanted.
Aug. 29th, 2016 11:51 pm (UTC)
Cool reviews, thanks!
( 5 comments — Add your .02 )

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