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Fangasm: Supernatural Fangirls Paperback – October 1, 2013

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 246 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Iowa Press (October 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 160938198X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1609381981
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #582,213 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“Being a fan isn’t hard. Getting inside a fandom, exploring every nook and cranny of a show, doing smart interviews with the top talent, keeping your perspective AND your sense of humor? Now that is really freakin’ hard. Kathy and Lynn are the best possible guides anyone could have through the many worlds of Supernatural fandom. As writers, tour guides, and companions, they kick it in the ass in every possible way. This is a terrific and engaging read.”—Maureen Ryan, television critic, Huffington Post

“Take a trip on the rollercoaster ride that is the Supernatural fandom as Kathy and Lynn combine their own fannish passion with astute academic insights into what it is to be a fan. Combining an emotionally honest account of their own experiences with interviews with the cast and showrunners on fandom, it's a book no fan should miss.”—Jules Wilkinson, administrator of the SuperWiki

Fangasm takes you on a wild and brave journey into the deep realm of fandom. It's a no-holds-barred true tale of community, passion, and creativity, where the fans are the real stars of the story. An honest, insightful, and often surprising exploration into the world of fandom, Fangasm breaks down barriers and reminds us just how vital fans are to the success of any creative work. It resonates with the fangirl or fanboy in all of us.”—Tony Zierra, director, and Elizabeth Yoffe, producer, My Big Break

About the Author

Lynn S. Zubernis is associate professor of counselor education at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. She is also area chair for stardom and fandom for the Southwest Popular Culture Association. Katherine Larsen teaches at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and is the area chair for fan theory and culture for the Popular Culture Association. Larsen and Zubernis are principal and associate editors of the Journal of Fandom Studies. Together, they have authored Fandom at the Crossroads: Celebration, Shame, and Fan/Producer Relationships and edited Fan Culture: Theory/Practice and Fan Phenomena: "Supernatural." They aren’t telling the names under which they write fan fiction.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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The book had me smiling and laughing out loud about the wonderful experiences.
Karen E. Cooke
Would certainly recommend this book to anyone that enjoys the Supernatural show and wants read about everything related to the fans and actors...
The experience gave me what Lynn and Kathy describe in the book as one of the most amazing things fandom can give you: the feeling of belonging.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book doesn’t cover fandom or any theories about it that would satisfy general or academic readers. In fact, the whole book seems to be a pretext for the authors to meet Jensen Ackles and get his blessing for slash fiction. The best they get, in an interview late in the book, is his awareness that slash exists and his bemusement that anyone would want to read his off-set friendship with Jared Padalecki as gay, but that doesn’t stop the authors from spinning his comment into off-base academese about “male intimacy” because their stated goal is to “de-shame” the practice of slash fiction. Throughout the whole book, they skimp on explanations of slash fiction in favor of insisting that it’s “empowering” and reading explicit approval in to the actors’ good-natured resignation to its existence.

After a superficial theory piece, most of the book narrates a series of conventions attended and road trips undertaken in pursuit of interviews with people involved in the making of Supernatural. Very few fans are interviewed about their participation in the fandom, though you’d think that would be key to understanding the phenomenon. It’s thus not surprising when regular convention-going fans come to resent the authors for having green-room access to conduct interviews just on the strength of their PhDs and the claim that they’re writing a book. The authors could have taken that as a springboard for musings on fandom, but it’s one of several missed opportunities and blind spots that plague their process. After their crowning glory as interviewers -- a set visit and interviews with the stars in Vancouver -- they are shocked to find a potential book deal with Warner Brothers yanked out from under them, to be replaced with a cease and desist letter.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Sabrina Greenwood-Briggs on September 28, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I feel like I've been waiting for this book for years and I was so not disappointed. It's such a great commentary on women and shame and being allowed our passions without judgment or criticism. I highly recommend this book to everyone in fandom, especially women. It's so worth reading, devouring even and it might just open people's eyes to the amazing community that exists out there for people who are passionate about the things the love.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Karen E. Cooke on October 2, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this book cover to cover within 24 hours of receiving it. I lived through many of the moments described in the moment and thoroughly enjoyed hearing them related and getting even more background about them. The book had me smiling and laughing out loud about the wonderful experiences. And thinking about the phenomenon of fandom subculture and especially about the Supernatural fandom. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Kathy and Lynn's experiences as they explore the fandom from both inside the fandom and straddling the line to the other side. I loved reading about Kripke's reaction to hearing he was represented in fanfiction. And how the various actors came to learn about fandom and to appreciate it.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Bardicvoice on October 2, 2013
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If you're a fan of the CW's "Supernatural" or if you've ever been hesitant to admit you're a fan of anything, you will appreciate this book! Lynn and Kathy, two professional women, are both fans and academics, and recount their story of attempting to unite both of their personal identities by writing a book (which turned into two books!) examining fandom in the context of the show. Their professional standing gained them unprecedented (for fans) access to the show's actors, producers, writers, and crew, but bridging those two worlds proved awkward. This book is their personal story, in which they make new friends, lose old ones, see their lives change in ways they never expected, make mistakes, and score triumphs. They share their embarrassing moments right along with the delightful ones, and take us along on a journey that became as much an exercise in self-discovery as it was an exploration of the relationships among and between the fans, stars, creators, and business "powers that be" connected with "Supernatural." Reading this, you'll laugh out loud, shake your head, and probably see pieces of yourself in the book's mirror. And you'll learn a lot about both "Supernatural" and its fandom. Enjoy this book!

And if the topic of fandom and understanding what makes people fans fascinates you, also look at Lynn and Kathy's other book, the more scholarly (but still extremely fun and readable!) "Fandom At The Crossroads," which looks seriously at what makes fans passionate, how fans interact with each other and with the objects of their fandom, and why many fans, especially women, feel shame about being fans. Fandom At The Crossroads: Celebration, Shame and Fan/Producer Relationships
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Angela Panetta on July 3, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
I have mixed feelings about this book and its topic. I read 67% percent in one sitting and then had to force myself to get back to it. Something about it all felt…dirty? I guess dirty fits. This is why I had to separate this out. It was my feelings around hardcore fandom itself that led to this feeling for the most part, though I did take some issue with the tactics the authors took.

The ups and downs, the positives and the negatives of being a fangirl in a hardcore fandom are covered in Fangasm. From the unspoken rules of fandom to the fandom turning their collective back on fans that don’t “do” fandom right, the pages cover less of the psychological side and reasoning behind obsessive fandoms and more of the personal journey of the two writers. For the academic review of the authors’ antics, check out Fandom at the Crossroads: Celebration, Shame and Fan/Producer Relationships by the same authors.

Fangasm is the story of two middle aged college professors – one university professor with a PhD in eighteenth century literature and one psychologist and researcher with a PhD in clinical psychology – that find themselves becoming certified fangirls over Supernatural and try to document their journey “inside” the fandom while attempting to discover what lies behind and beneath the crazy culture of fandom. They write fanfiction. You should know this. You will know. If you forget, they’ll tell you about 9,000 times.

Here’s where I’m torn: I was never really sure if the authors were trying to justify their fangirl ways -to the readers and themselves- or if they used their professional researcher status as a way to gain access to the cast, crew and creatives under the guise of writing this book. Those PhDs they mention several times?
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