Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Textual Poachers: Television Fans and Participatory Culture (Studies in Culture and Communication)
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on January 28, 2011
I've been meaning to read this classic book for a long time, though it was only when I learned that it mentioned my favourite fandom, From Eroica With Love, that I finally gave in and did so. I enjoyed the book a lot! It is very interesting, I felt I learned things and it is written in an easy way. English isn't my native language and non-fiction can sometimes be a bit difficult for me, but I never felt that way when reading this book. What little I know the facts seems to be correct. And the bits about From Eroica With Love was very good. Overall a very good read and I'm glad I read it. Dated, yes, it's from 92, so I would love a newer version, but it describes things up to then very well.
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on July 20, 2010
It actually surprise me how fast I received this book even being in another country. Less than 15 days. Although wasn't new it looks like it might be.
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VINE VOICEon October 11, 2004
Culture studies has been one of the most provocative and controversial areas of investigation in the social sciences during the last score years or so. Using the tools of postmodern analysis of texts, and the deconstruction of ideas, institutions, and forms scholars have reshaped our understanding of everything from the mundane to subjects acknowledged by all as critical to our modern society. In this important book Henry Jenkins turns his considerable analytic skills on the role of television fans in adopting and making their own several important series and movies. Jenkins, on the faculty of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, writes both as a scholar and a fan fully immersed in the culture that produces conventions and a wide range of artistic products associated with television.

"Textual Poachers" emphasizes how fans of various television shows and movies have embraced the characters and "universe" of the shows and made them their own. In most cases they participate in the continuing saga of the characters of the story by fashioning their own narratives based on the series. Be far the most famous of these participatory series is "Star Trek," which was the first series to attract this type of fan following, and still the largest of all of them. It has spawned not only multi and varied clubs for those interested in the ideals of the series, but also inspired a range of creative responses in art, literature, costume, engineering, erotica, music, and drama. In so doing, those that are a part of the fan culture of the series emphasize the interplay of the crew "family" aboard the Star Ship Enterprise, the ideals of the United Federation of Planets, and the challenges of moving beyond the humdrum of existence on Earth to a more exciting and rewarding life within the broader cosmos. The ranges of responses are almost as broad as the number of people involved, and Henry Jackson makes clear that all of those responses are legitimate in the "universe" of fandom.

Jenkins writes at length about the responses of fans to several television programs beyond the famous "Star Trek" phenomenon. These include "Alien Nation" (1989-1990), "Dr. Who," (1963- ), "Magnum, P.I." (1980-1988); "The Man from Uncle" (1964-1968), "Remington Steele" (1982-1987), "Simon and Simon" (1981-1988), "Twin Peaks" (1990-1991), and others. But the series fans that Jenkins spends the most time analyzing are those attracted to "Beauty and the Beast" (1987-1990). The romance between Catherine (Linda Hamilton) and Vincent (Ron Perlman) captured the imagination of a larger number of viewers and they used that on-screen relationship as the cultural materials from which they created a vast array of "stories, songs, videos, and social interactions." It proved a powerful inspiration for enormously romantic depictions.

Henry Jenkins also draws attention to the fact that the vast majority of those a part of this fandom, are white, middle-class women seeking something more than they experience in their everyday lives. They seem drawn to television series with compelling characters interacting in a sophisticated manner. They emphasize relationships and tend to soft-pedal action and adventure in their formulations. At sum they seem to be creating through their efforts a place of refuge, acceptance, and intimacy for themselves and their co-participants. This is captured well in a song, "In My Weekend-Only World," written by T.J. Burnside Clapp to express her love of the fan conventions that she attends:

"In an hour of make-believe

In these warm convention halls

My mind is free to think

And feels so deeply

An intimacy never found

Inside their silent walls

In a year or more

Of what they call reality.

In my weekend-only world,

That they call make-believe,

Are those who share

The visions that I see.

In their real-time life

That they tell me is real,

The things they care about

Aren't real to me." (p. 277)

Henry Jenkins' study is a superb analysis that will change the perspective all who read it about the fan culture and its place in modern society. It is difficult not to emerge from reading this book without a sense of wonder about the talented individuals who are a part of this fan culture and how they seek to live their lives on their own terms, in the process creating for themselves idealized "universes" more like those they glimpsed in the television fictions that they embrace.
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on July 6, 2001
This is a gem of a book. Jenkins combines an "insider's" understanding of media fandom with serious, well-grounded scholarship to provide one of the few scholarly works on this subject which is not riddled with unacknowledged biases or factual errors (you know, the sort of misrepresentations of series content which suggest that the scholar didn't think enough of the subject matter or their fan informants to bother to get it right). As someone who was practically raised by classic "Star Trek" re-runs and who continues to find inspiration and healing in many science fiction TV programs -- and who hopes to continue to do scholarly research in this field -- I would hold Jenkins up as a model to other scholars. The major drawback of this volume is that it is now almost ten years old. There have been many wonderful series with growing fan cultures of their own (including the rise of such female heroes as "Xena" and "Buffy") since TEXTUAL POACHERS was written, but Jenkins provides a methodology and a model which can still help to interpret these more recent phenomena. Read this, and enjoy.
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on December 5, 1999
Jenkins starts by dispelling the stereotype of the media fan as teenaged geek in Spock ears, and explores the very real and dynamic interactions between fans and their media. He has a clear understanding of the subject and a good relationship with the people whose culture he describes, as well as a readable and intelligent style of writing. The book is not only interesting but also fun to read.
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on October 27, 1999
While dated, and slightly insular, this text is an excellent introduction to the sub-culture of fanzines and fan fiction. While many of the current generation of fans seem to believe fan fiction was born online around 1994, they should be surprised and hopefully pleased to discover the rich (off-line) history of the phenomenon, dating all the way back to the pulp magazines of the 1930s.
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