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Fangasm: Supernatural Fangirls

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  420 ratings  ·  75 reviews
Once upon a time not long ago, two responsible college professors, Lynn the psychologist and Kathy the literary scholar, fell in love with the television show Supernatural and turned their oh-so-practical lives upside down. Plunging headlong into the hidden realms of fandom, they scoured the Internet for pictures of stars Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki and secretly ...more
Paperback, 246 pages
Published October 1st 2013 by University Of Iowa Press
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Jul 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
The First Rule of Fandom: tell no one about fandom
Well, authors Larsen and Zubernis just blew that rule right out of the water, using the CW Network show Supernatural to drag Fandom (with a capital 'F') out of the dark, secret corners of the internet into the blinding sun of mainstream Judy Judgmental awareness. I appreciate their heartfelt efforts here to get to the bottom (heh, bottom) of the 'whys' and 'wherefores' of Fandom -- why people do it, who is doing it, and what exactly are they
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
First, I will just say that I love Supernatural. It’s a great show and if I could I would love to visit Comic Con, but…I think there is a limit to how far one takes one's obsession with a show/movie/singer/group/whatever…it’s one thing to like something, but to let it take over one’s life totally? It’s not that I don’t enjoy fandom’s, but I just don’t have the need to ruin my economy, drive away my friends or family for it.

The ladies in this book, middle age women, suddenly start to obsess over
I had to divide this up between by personal feelings on fandom and conventions and my feelings about the actual book so the waters didn't get muddied. There's some overlap of course, but I felt this was the most fair way to go about it.


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
Sep 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This unique read really hit home for me in a thought provoking and thoroughly enjoyable way. I am what the authors describe as a buffet fan...sampling a bit of this and that before moving on to try something else. I prefer to think of myself as a serial monogamist...faithful for a phase until my next obsession comes along. That being said, I always teeter on the edge of fandom without the willingness to invest my funds, or my precious time, as fully as a true fangirl. I've long wanted a glimpse ...more
Mari Skyrin-Sarker
Nov 24, 2014 rated it did not like it
I have the same problem with this book as I did their more academic version "Fandom at the Crossroads."

The authors seem to keep their focus on the more extreme fandom obsessions and fail at showing that they are not ashamed. Like other commenters, I can't help but feel they are trying to convince themselves rather than others that their actions are not shameful.

Besides, what about the fans who just watch the show? Like my friend who got me hooked into Supernatural? What about fans like me who
Sam (she_who_reads_)
Sep 12, 2018 rated it it was ok
I feel so disappointed in this one!! I went into this expecting a fun, yet insightful, look at how fandoms work- specifically the Supernatural fandom. What I got was a book about writing the book. With a huge focus on fanfic writers/readers- of which I am not. It’s also extremely repetitive.
On the very last page the authors mention an academic book they published on fandoms...maybe that’s the book I should have picked up because this was seriously just a book about writing the book.
Vince Darcangelo
Dec 03, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviews, nonfiction

Fangasm: Supernatural Fan Girls

Katherine Larsen and Lynn S. Zubernis

While I enjoyed Fangasm from page one, I have to admit I was confused at first. What I thought would be an academic account of fan culture, particularly surrounding the TV show Supernatural, turned out to be something altogether different.

Two professors—Katherine Larsen and Lynn S. Zubernis—geek out over the hunky stars of their favorite television show, attending conventions, joining
Jun 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
I’m no stranger to fandoms--my first fandom was ‘N Sync, and I just HAD to own all the albums (including import CDs), put dozens of posters on my wall, set the VCR to record all their TV appearances, and go to their concerts every time they were in the Midwest. I remember visiting fan websites and waiting impatiently for pictures to load (back in the dial up internet days). I read fanfiction and even tried writing it once. I bought all kinds of ‘N Sync merchandise, but my most prized item was a ...more
Feb 25, 2014 rated it it was ok
I got this book because I have a friend who is really, really into Twilight (she's in her mid-30s, for what it's worth), and I thought I could gain some insight into what drives her obsession. The authors' obsession is the TV show Supernatural, but they do reference other fan communities such as Star Trek.

The authors claim they want this book to show fandom as a healthy, positive thing. While there were a couple of letters from fans stating how the online fan community was supportive of them in
Oct 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
When I started reading I expected something slightly different. Maybe a little bit more about the shows fans. A bit more fokus on the whole fandom. Instead, the book is more about the authors personal experiences with the creative side of the show and TPTB (The Powers That Be). Thus minus one star.

I liked the book nevertheless because it showed me totally different side of the show. What is going on on "the other side"? That side that fans like me will very likely never get to see and
Oct 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
So as I stated in my last review of Bobby Singer’s guide to hunting I’m a huge supernatural fan. So when I saw this book about the fandom and read that it was written by two women in love with the show but also mothers and professors I just knew I had to read it.

As a mother, working woman and a huge fan of Supernatural just like the writers I do get some strange looks and comments from people around me. They just don’t understand how I can be such a big fan of a series and a mother at the same
Stefanie Kellum
Aug 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
I'll admit. I binge-watched all of Supernatural this summer, and this was an equally playful and academic look at not only that show but fandoms in general. I laughed out loud a few times while reading this one at the gym. :)
Anel N.
May 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: in-english
To me it was a story I could relate to in many ways. I started reading this right after I got back from my first Supernatural convention. This brought back all the squee and ohmygod moments. I found myself nodding along and having to put the book down every once in a while to calm myself from the excitement and nostalgia.
I also once had an opportunity to interview my idols. (We're not talking about A-list actors here though :D) Their struggles with equipment and scheduling reminded me of that
Jul 23, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, memoir
When I saw this book on Netgalley I thought, “Hm, that sounds interesting.” It was these bits from the description that caught my eye:

"And yet even as they reveled in their fandom, the authors were asking themselves whether it’s okay to be a fan, especially for grown women with careers and kids.
… But what Kathy and Lynn found was that most fans were very much like themselves: smart, capable women looking for something of their own that engages their brains and their libidos."

And this:

Lori Schiele
For anyone who is a Supernatural fan, this is a MUST!! It's a "behind-the-scenes" look at the creation of the show as well as numerous interviews, including "the boys" and many others. It only follows Seasons 3-5, but still very worth it. I learned a a lot I didn't know and was like WOW!!!
Two female academics (also HUGE Supernatural fans)--both college professors: one an English teacher and literary scholar and the other a psychologist--go on a country-wide tour to every possible convention in
Academics Katherine Larsen and Lynn Zubernis deliver their account of their entrance into Supernatural fandom. You could probably add one star to the rating if you're actually a fan of Supernatural yourself, and another if you've read their more formal approach to the subject of fandom, Fan Phenomena: Supernatural. As it is, I found the book fascinating for the tensions it raises in gender, family, celebrity status, and academia, but also somewhat wearying for its sensationalist approach.

Apr 13, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
I've been very interested in fandoms for a long time, and writing about them often straddles this weird line of too academic or not academic enough. In this instance, I think I was expecting some things that, presumably, show up in their academic book. This was a book about fandom from the experience of two specific women (and written in a weird plural first person/third person hybrid). This was a tale of them meeting and talking to everyone on Supernatural they could, and hey good for them. But ...more
Gayle Noble
Apr 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Being a part of the SPN family myself, I enjoyed this book. It's an easy read but one that, in parts, makes you think. I'm not one for fan fiction but I do love other parts of the fandom such as the sense of family and camaraderie and I get why people love to attend conventions. I don't get why some people get huffy when they realise that fans not only like the show because of the storylines and the skill of the actors, but because said actors are extremely hot.

I have long argued that many
Sarah Michaud
Nov 22, 2014 rated it did not like it
This book was not what I thought it was going to be about. I picked it up at Hal-Con last year and was told by the lady at the table that it was about two academic professors and their journey through fandom. That is not untrue. What she failed to mention is it is also a book that extolls the virtues of being a part of the slash community. I tried to read it and see from their point of view, but I just couldn't. I'm not adverse to slash. I just can't handle the incest part of it that goes with ...more
Feb 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book is everything I never knew I needed. It helped me understand a lot of things about this fandom I love so much that I never quite understood. It helped me realize I had awful prejudices about other fans and I am now ashamed of how wrong I was but happy the book made me aware of them.
It's also pretty interesting for the interviews with the cast and crew and what happens behind the curtain. As a fan and convention attendee I had those moments of "I know exactly what you mean!" while
Oct 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This one is so honest. It's all about what it means to be a fan, the good and bad. the way we can see ourselves and the way people see us. The pride of loving what we love and the shame that comes with giving to much of ourselves to it.

If you are a fan, part of a fandom that consumes your life in the good way, this book is for you. It's about who you are and what you are looking for when you embrace your fangirl self. It's not all pretty but it's all about assuming your passion and enjoying the
May 28, 2014 rated it it was ok
Honestly, reading the book felt redundant. A lot of it was stating things I already knew. I felt it, I found it out by BEING in fandoms. Instead I was reading about grown women acting like horrible people to their friends and family as they objectified Jensen Ackles. At least Jim Beaver and Jared came out of this looking like great people.
Jun 17, 2014 rated it liked it

It was fun to read, especially the first part. And it was educational because I thought of myself as fangirl also but after reading Fangasm I realized, I have a long, long way to go :)
But it was a good read and a great insight of fangirls life.
Alex Owens
Jun 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley-arcs
Fun read, offering a glimpse into the Fandom world with flair!
Danielle Turchiano
Sep 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
"At The Crossroads with Two Books on 'Supernatural' Fandom: Which To Read?..."

Arguably we all just want a place to belong in life, among people we feel we have things in common. 'Community' creator Dan Harmon perhaps said it best last year at a fan convention for his show when he spouted: "I think the most important thing as an individual is to figure out who you are but know nobody wants to be alone...There is no one who wants to be alone-- nobody. We take hardened criminals, we put them in
Jan 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
The book was well written and I liked its pace. It wasn't overly scientific and gave interesting insights in the world of fandom.

There were things though that put me off right from the start. For instance, the first paragraph of the first chapter ends with the question And why are we all so ashamed of it? It being their hobby. Yes, please tell me, why you are ashamed of your hobby? Also, who is we all? This we are ashamed of the fandom we are shipping is a red thread throughout the whole book
Shayla Morgansen
Mar 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I generally avoid non-fiction religiously, however non-fiction about fiction seemed a safe starting point for my new resolution to read more NF. I found this read insightful and interesting. As a fangirl and writer myself embarking on fandom research, it highlighted some of the traps that were easiest to fall into when attempting to straddle the line between fan and academic, insider and objective outsider. I appreciated the authentic exploration of online fan community (and how that translates ...more
Feb 22, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: i-own
I am not sure what I expected of the book, but it sure wasn't what I just read. It's both good and bad.

I expected more about all kinds of fans, not just the obsessive kind, or the kind that have money to go to conventions. I wanted to know about the fans, not what the actors, writers etc. thought of the fans. This really was a book about writing a book, to me, this was not a book about about fandom. It was a book about two grown ass women being embarrassing as fuck. Granted it was hilarious at
May 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
Leave it to me to find an academic(ish) book about Supernatural. This was a fascinating read. It was more about the nature of fandom in general & what it entails. Of course, being well-versed in the show didn't hurt, but it was interesting to look at the relationships that exist between celebrity & fan especially when it comes to conventions & whatnot. The last chapter was kind of strange (you will see what I mean), but it does contain some great insight from Misha Collins who was ...more
Apr 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book definitely is only interesting to a small group of people: You have to love Supernatural and you have to be interested in fandom and how it works. Luckily, both of these things apply to me. And I have to admit that I loved this book - not only because of the stories about two fangirls meeting some of my favourite actors, but because it tought me a lot about myself. And it made me want to be less ashamed of being a fangirl. I also feel like I need to go to a Supernatural convention ...more
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