Fangasm:Supernatural Fangirls – A Review

Fangasm: Supernatural Fangirls by Katherine Larsen and Lynn S. Zubernis.

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Ok, so at this point I think some of you must be rolling your eyes and saying “Another Supernatural book…Get a grip woman!” but honestly I’m enjoying the fandom and any fangirl out there knows when you fall for a fandom you fall hard. You want to be consumed in it, learn all about it, all the things related to it. So this book was perfect for me.

The book documents what happened when “two responsible college professors, Lynn the psychologist and Kathy the literary scholar, fell in love with the television show Supernatural.”  but what it really does is peels back the layers and asks lots of important questions about fandom, the rules of fandom, the dos and don’ts at conventions but above all it looks more specifically at females within a fandom and the way they are perceived by, not only the general public, but the stars of the show itself, their families and friends.

I knew as I soon as I started reading that this was going to be I need my sticky post its and my pencil handy. Lynn and Kathy start off by researching the psychology of fandom, why are we drawn to it.

“..watching or just thinking or talking about our favourite show can create an experience of belonging that makes us feel less lonely and buffers us against feelings of rejection.”  – Researchers at the University of Buffalo’s Center for Addictions.

Lynn and Kathy found that by retreating to a fictional world it helps people relieve stress and “shores up self-control” something I can completely relate to. After many a stressful day, my head loud with anxiety and exhausted, I’ve gone home put on my pajamas, tied my hair up in a messy bun, turned off all the lights and binge watched at least 4 episodes of Supernatural before retreating to bed.

Earlier on in the book they reference the incident involving the image of “Twilight Moms” that received online ridicule, the women receiving comments like “creepy” “unnattractive” and accusing them of being horrible parents. Thus showing already how “wrong” it is viewed for women to gush or objectify men in any fandom. The ladies look into this a bit more as the book progresses, they touch on the “flying fangirl” incident at the first Asylum convention in the UK, that saw Jensen Ackles being jumped on by a fan who proceeded to cling to him.

“Fanboys are no strangers to fan shame. But while male media fans fear being perceived as not sexual enough (the stereotypical fanboy virgin living in his mother’s basement) female fans seem fearful that being a fan makes them too sexual.”

As Lynn and Kathy say fangirls are viewed by the media/general public as crazy stalkers who can’t see the line between fantasy and reality. They propose that fan shame for females is linked to shame about sexuality. And I have to say I kind of agree with them. I’ve been around plenty of guys growing up (I have an older brother) and I’ve made friends with male colleagues over the years. I’ve been privy to plenty of conversations where a female celebrity has been the topic of discussion and I’ve heard plenty of explicit comments made about said celebrity, however the few times me and other women have discussed male celebrities in front of men and been nowhere near as explicit I have had men roll their eyes and actually look shocked and been like “Alright ladies, calm down!” I’ve even heard the phrase “pack of animals” used.  It’s a shame to say that in 2017 this is still the case. Women are objectified continuously by men and advertising companies, but goodness forbid that a man be objectified or woman objectify a man verbally. *rolls eyes* Anyway before I digress and pull out my soapbox, I will move on…

The ladies look at the role of fanfiction within the Supernatural fandom and the various types and what it means to the people who write it. Surprisingly, and again something I can relate to, they found that people who started reading fanfic and then writing it, made them feel more liberated and in touch with their desires and needs. It opened them up more sexually and made them realise that some of the kinks, they perhaps, hadn’t vocalised before, weren’t as strange as they thought because there were others out there with the same kink. When they asked various cast members about their opinion on the fanfiction the reaction was mixed, but generally it was something no one wanted their Mum or Grandmother to find.

Throughout the rest of the book, the ladies look at different things such as what happens when a fan “breaks the rules” or what happens when other fans become jealous of BNF (Big Name Fans) they look at the relationship between the powers that be and the people actually producing/writing the show and the fans. How, often, TPTB don’t seem to know or understand what the fans actually want or how to necessarily market a show or engage with the audience the right way. The ladies often found the answers to these questions through first hand experience, flying to conventions and meeting the cast and crew, even giving us an insight into how their experience of being fangirls impacted on their personal lives and the consequences of allowing themselves to indulge in their love of the show.

Needless to say I delved into this book thinking it was going to be one thing and then found it to be a variation of a lot of things. But I devoured it in no time, it’s provocative and insightful and whilst, for me anyway, it didn’t fully answer some of the questions, it certainly made me think about things differently and come to some realisations.

Star Rating out of 5: 4

“I felt like myself for the first time.”

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I’m actually attending my first con this year, and honestly I am already having low-key anxiety about it. I tend to dry up when I meet someone I admire and say nothing at all, wish me luck, although knowing the SPN Family, they’ve got my back! ❤

Happy reading.

G.

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Heart of the Dragon – Supernatural Book #4 – A Review

Supernatural Book #4 – Heart of the Dragon by Keith R.A. DeCandido.

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The fourth book is set during the fifth season of Supernatural and crosses generations. And honestly that’s one of the things I loved the most about this book. It opens in 1859 and shows the betrayal and death of a much respected Samurai at the hands of a demon. Moving forward to 2009 it shows the boys being alerted by Castiel (forever known as Cas by the fandom even though they will insist it’s spelt Cass) to the return of the Heart of the Dragon, the spirit of the samurai warrior from the beginning of the book. With the war between heaven and hell raging it’s important for the boys to stop the spirit before it can be controlled or manipulated by any demons.

When doing the research it seems that the Heart of the Dragon has been on their families hunting radar since 1969 when their Grandfather Samuel and their mother Mary hunted it. Through the use of flashbacks we see the dynamics between Mary and her father, the hunting dynasty and gain a better understanding of Mary (which is always nice considering her minimal yet present impact in the show) unfortunately the Campbells are unsuccessful in stopping the Heart of the Dragon completely and only end up banishing the thing for 20 seasons.

Which brings in John Winchester confronting the spirit, leaving both Dean and Sam with Bobby Singer whilst he does so. Again we’re offered more of an insight into the kind of man John Winchester was, the relationship between John and Bobby and a look at the boys as children separated from their father whilst he was off hunting. Now in 2009 the boys are faced with doing something their ancestors haven’t seemed capable of and as the body counts rise, it’s a race against time.

Although the ending was slightly anticlimactic and all seemed a bit too easy, I did really enjoy the flashbacks to Samuel and Mary, and John and Bobby’s strained relationship in regards to the boys. There’s not a WHOLE lot of the boys in this book, but it makes up for by giving us more insight into some of the key people from their past.

Star Rating out of 5: 4

Happy reading y’all.

G.

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Bone Key – Supernatural Book #3 – A Review

Supernatural Book #3 – Bone Key by Keith R.A. DeCandido

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I’ve fallen for this show pretty damn hard, and like most things you fall in love with you want to learn more about it, absorb yourself in it, learn more about it. So it made perfect sense to start buying all the tie-in books. I used to do the same with Buffy the Vampire Slayer when that was on, I have quite an extensive collection and still continue to buy titles to this day. Indulging my inner nerd, a guaranteed way to make me feel better when everything else seems to be going so wrong…Anyway, as per usual, I digress and find myself falling into some weird hole where I gush like a fangirl (which I am and proud) anyway moving onto the book.

Bone Key takes place a week after A Very Supernatural Christmas and sees the boys heading for Key West, Florida where ghostly activity seems to be rife. At this point in the TV show Dean’s time is running out before his soul is claimed by the Hellhounds, so there are some great moments of angst between the brothers, and of course humorous bravado from Dean. It also features their father figure Bobby Singer, which made me squee because I love the relationship he has with the boys.

The boys go around the place investigating, getting themselves into the usual interesting situations as they begin to realise the thing they face is hundreds of years old and will mean working alongside a demon to defend it.

Needless to say this is a great tie in and I really enjoyed the way the characters were written because they felt authentic, whereas I didn’t feel they were in book 2 (Witch’s Canyon) so Keith R.A. DeCandido did another great job.

Star Rating out of 5: 4.5

Happy reading.

G.

More Than a TV Show…

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Supernatural was always one of those shows that people used to tell me to watch but I never did until last year (I know, I have regrets about not watching it sooner but life kinda got in the way) Last year was tough, across the board for everyone and I was going through some personal stuff, to help take my mind off things going on I started watching the show and by some miracle (working crazy hours at my full time job and still finding time to fit everything else in) I managed to finish Season 11 a week before Season 12 started.

During the 5 or 6 months that I started watching the show, I have befriended so many people through the fandom and can honestly say, with my hand on my heart, that I’ve never known anything like it. I won’t name other fandoms that I’m part of as I don’t want this to be a whole ‘this fandom is better than that’ or anything but sincerely I have never known anything like it.

My life turned upside in November and I’m still not in the best place. Yesterday I had to have one of the toughest conversations of my life. I put out a call for help on Twitter to the #SPNFamily asking for some positive vibes and was inundated with messages of love and support. Complete strangers offering their time ‘day or night’ and lending an ear. Supernatural isn’t JUST a TV show, it’s a way of life. It’s created a place where during your darkest days you have an entire family supporting you and holding you up. It gave me the strength to do something I didn’t think I could. I have no words for what it meant to me, none that will do it justice.

The cast and fandom embody the the aspects of all that is good in this world and through their generosity and authenticity it encourages others to follow suit and live by the same principles and values. The show, the cast and the fandom mean so much to me. Because sometimes in life you’re blessed with something special, Supernatural isn’t JUST a TV show, it’s a family, it’s a way of life and one I am thankful to be part of.

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Thank you, here’s to hoping 2017 is a better year for the world.

Georgina

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Witch’s Canyon – Supernatural Book #2 – A Review

Supernatural Book #2 – Witch’s Canyon by Jeff Mariotte

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I have to say I much preferred the story of Witch’s Canyon over that of Nevermore. The boys are visiting a small ranch land close to the Grand Canyon to investigate (and hopefully prevent) a murder spree that seems to occur every forty years.

I really loved the setting of the book, the small scale of the town only added to the feeling of isolation. There was also added intensity as the boys race against time to solve the mystery behind what’s causing the killings before a huge shopping mall is opened, all those people in such a confined space just screams body count.

As the days pass, people in the town are being picked off by a deadly horde of spirits (both animal and human) and pretty soon the local Sheriff realises that the Winchesters are the towns best hope against what is happening. That being said, I don’t think Dean and Sam jumped off the page enough in this book and some of the characterizations were a little off.

Star Rating out of 5: 4.5

Happy reading!

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