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When a Fan Hits the Shit: The Rise and Fall of a Phony Charity Paperback – September 1, 2004


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Editorial Reviews

Review

Amy Player combines intelligence, charisma and gall with narcissism, pathology, and bumbling incompetence. -- Salem Monthly, August 2005

Any fan of the films will want this book, as will anyone interested in the ways people fool each other. -- Salem Statesman-Journal, Oct 24, 2004

Cross dressing, faked suicides, identity theft and speaking in Hobbit...this book is one of a kind. -- Willamette Week, January 19, 2005

Cross-dressing, faked suicides, identity theft and speaking in Hobbit...this book is one of a kind. -- Willamette Week, January 2005

For anyone with deep interest in Tolkien fandom, Internet culture or underground artifacts, this book is one of a kind. -- Willamette Week, January 19, 2005

Just when you thought the sideshows surrounding the [LOTR] trilogy could not get stranger, they become truly weird. -- New Zealand Herald, Nov 7, 2004

Just when you thought the sideshows surrounding the movie trilogy could not get stranger, they become truly weird. -- The New Zealand Herald, November 2004

Not so much a "whodunnit" as a "how they dunnit," a look into the warped minds of small-time sociopaths. -- Salem Monthly, April 2005

Overall effect is marvelous. Any fan will want this book, as will anyone interested in how people fool each other. -- Dan Hays, Salem Statesman-Journal, October 24, 2004

With each succeeding chapter, I couldn't believe I was still reading this book - but I couldn't put it down. -- The Beat, July 21, 2005

From the Publisher

A portion of the profits from the sale of this book will be used to reimburse many victims of Bit of Earth's scams.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Heisenberg Press (September 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0965313646
  • ISBN-13: 978-0965313643
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,034,480 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By C. on January 1, 2005
Format: Paperback
This particular sideshow? Worth the price of admission. Really.

Renne, whether or not it was her intention, has presented two highly memorable anti-heroes. Without in any way diminishing the reader's natural sympathy for the fraud victims, she nevertheless fascinates and amuses with the details of an almost unbelievable scam. Amy and Abby, at least as they appear in this book, are like villains from a nineteenth-century melodrama: charming scoundrals, dazzling montebanks, an object-lesson in manic creativity gone awry.

Renne's book may not be "objective," but why should it be? She was involved. If anything, the simmering anger and wholesale rejection of an "unbiased" stance only add to the hilarity. And history, really, isn't written by the victors: it's written by those with enough determination and self-discipline to keep their arses firmly planted in a chair long enough do the job. She's done that, and created a thoroughly readable and entertaining book. Go read it, and urge any fellow afficiandos of true crime stories to do so as well.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer L. Dailey-o'cain on December 16, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is a self-published tome, and as such, it isn't perfect. There are points where the prose could use a little bit of polish, and the jumping back and forth in time can get a little confusing. But honestly, if Jeanine Renne can write something this gripping without an editor, I'd really love to see what she can do with one. I wasn't involved in the events discussed in this book at all and in fact have nothing to do with Lord of the Rings fandom, but this story has fascinated me ever since I first heard about it last December, and it's great to finally get the full scoop in one place. One of the best parts is the "appendices," which include transcripts of an Internet chat in which supposed "hobbit channeling" took place, and Amy Player's final "suicide note" to her parents. Anyone who's interested in pathological liars, what makes them tick, and how they succeed in making people believe them is going to want to read this book.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Laurel Sutton on December 16, 2004
Format: Paperback
As a book, it's lively and funny, crammed with the kind of details bring the reader right into the story. It's almost too much information: I could have wished for a scorecard to keep track of the cast of characters, and a linear timeline - the book's chapters jump back and forth chronologically, which is an effective storytelling device but confusing as hell when you've got so many different versions of the same events. At times I thought that the lies should have been printed in red and the truth in blue; it would have made for a very colorful book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca Ripley on February 26, 2005
Format: Paperback
This story - the better for being true - moves quickly from revelation to revelation of astounding yet small-time duplicity, and of the gullibility all too common among those who wish to do good. Getting to know the anti-heroines (without being burned by them) is alone worth the price of admission. There is something pricelessly absurd about a self-proclaimed Warrior whose ultimate weapon is the fake suicide attempt.

Unusual among true crime stories, this one concerns major players - both con artists and dupes/avengers - who are women. The action takes place in a fandom centering around a group of men, the LoTR actors, of whom only one plays more than an elusive background role in the book. There is much food here for thought about sexual and gender politics.

While the story is dramatic even on a quick read, more of it would be accessible to a wider variety of readers if more background information were given; for instance about the organization of an international on-line fandom, the typical requirements for the success of a fan convention, or the IRS regulations concerning non-profit status. A great deal can however be gleaned from the text, with attentive reading.

A serious discussion of transsexuality and whether that is a relevant issue would have strengthened the book's focus. It is currently an unexplored subtext that has distracted some readers from the primary story.

The second part of Appendix A could, with a a bit of narrative added to the chat transcript, stand on its own as a very funny short story about clashing agendas. (Too bad that would probably not be quite legal.)
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful By NotEbutNice on December 5, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book is a must read for any fan of ANY thing. This all really happened. As they say, the truth is stranger than fiction. Mentally unstable fans ripping off other fans, committing fraud, taking advantage of legitmate charities and unsuspecting film stars. The story is a twisting, winding road of lies and deceit. You'll read it in one sitting, but you'll be amazed by it for days and weeks. Someone needs to make a movie out of this. I wonder if Sean Astin would be willing to play himself in it???
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. Potter on September 12, 2008
Format: Paperback
I remember reading vague bits of this whole mess years ago, toward the end of its coming-apart. I definitely remember thinking, how could anybody be fooled to such an extent?? In my ignorance I couldn't imagine being so gullible as to accept these clearly outrageous claims and behaviors.

And then I became part of an online fan community for a wildly popular TV show, and found myself sucked in to a hoax so elaborate, and so rabidly defended and maintained by its acolytes, that when it finally unraveled I actually wrote to Ms. Renne to apologize for judging her and the others taken in by this scam. I'd like to think that my personal alarm system would have been activated by the money involved (our hoax, similar though it was, didn't result in any financial involvement, thank heaven), but we all certainly accepted some pretty crazy, outrageous stuff.

In other words, no matter how incredible it may sound, it's definitely a possibility, and always something to be aware of and on guard for. Stay safe, people.
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