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A History of Fans and Fandom (Hardback)

A Journey into the Passion and Power of Fan Culture

Colour Books P&S History > Social History Photographic Books

By Holly Swinyard
Imprint: White Owl
Pages: 232
Illustrations: 150 colour illustrations
ISBN: 9781399042833
Published: 23rd April 2024

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Do you have a Google alert for your favourite band going on tour? Or maybe you have a pull list at your local comicbook shop? Or perhaps you’ve got a season ticket to your sports team of choice? That would make you a fan, whether you realise it or not, and there’s a lot more to fan culture than you might think.

In the 21st century pop culture is everywhere; you can’t move for a new superhero film or major franchise appearing in our lives and we love it. We’re just jumping into the media landscape headfirst in order to get more of our favs, track down spoilers and deep dive about plot lines on social media. It’s hard to deny fan culture as part of the world now, there’s a fandom for everyone, but what does that actually mean, and where did it come from?

From ancient times to modern media, humans have shared their love for the stories that mean something to them and brought in others to be fans of them too. We’ve written ourselves in, made art of, and celebrated with others who love the same things as us all in the name of being a fan, even before the word fan existed. There’s a whole lot of who, where, what, when, why, how and huh to look into when it comes to fan culture.

From Shakespeare to Superman, Dickens to Daleks, and fanfiction to Frodo there is so much more to fandom than meets the eye. And a whole lot of references to pack in too.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

As someone who has been actively into cosplay, cons and other nerdy things since the early 2000s this was neat to read. It covers all the main aspects of the topic: the beginning of fanship, terminology, the rise of fandoms, fandoms online, turning points of their history, fanfiction, fanart and cosplay and everything in-between.

NetGalley, victoria catron

Swinyard provides so much information – the good and the bad. When I finished this book, I knew so much more that was useful in informing my own concept of fans and fandom. For the more well informed there are some constructive lessons on how to use that knowledge and experience safely and wisely. And lest it all sounds gloom and doom, Swinyard ensures that all the positives of communicating through fandom, gaming, and associated features has its positive aspects also. I feel very gratified to have had the opportunity to learn more about fan culture through this informative and thoughtful book. It’s a work that I shall reread with enthusiasm.

NetGalley, Robin Joyce

I've been waiting for someone to write a book on this topic for so long and I got so hyped when I saw this one! It ended up being a good informative read and I like the inclusion of pictures.

NetGalley, Ajla Gobeljic

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

The idea of fandom seems like a current thing so it was interesting to see the fanatic ideologies from other time periods.

NetGalley, A D

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I was attracted to this book because I am a fan myself and was curious to see what could be possibly written about the phenomenon of fandom in general. This book proved to be quite the interesting read, and was surprisingly (and refreshingly) amusing. The author truly knows her onions about fandom, being a fan herself and it's clear that she has put in the time and extreme effort to do very extensive research. Not only does the book focus on modern fandoms (such as the relatively modern Doctor Who and Lord of the Rings) it also focusses on the far older fandom (by comparison) of Sherlock Holmes. (taking a much-needed detour through the realms of Star Wars and Star Trek among many others.)

It also covers such phenomena as fanfiction, fanart and cosplay (and everything in-between) without being judgemental or preachy. (again, given the author is a fan herself, I doubt that she really would go the judgemental route.) She covers all the bases, touching on sites such as LiveJournal, tumblr, and Twitter as well as such paraphernalia as fanzines.

This is something that I definitely would recommend to people.

NetGalley, Quinn 1066

About Holly Swinyard

A cosplayer and lover of all things “geek” since they were 15, Holly Rose Swinyard is now a pop culture journalist and editor, running the cosplay magazine, The Cosplay Journal. They have also written on cosplay, pop culture and the need for “escapist play for adults” for national publications and on BBC Radio 4. It would be a shock to find them any where but their sewing machine, or scrawling notes for the next exciting project.

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