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Fandom at the Crossroads: Celebration, Shame and Fan/Producer Relationships

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Fandom At The Crossroads: Celebration, Shame and Fan/Producer Relationships is an in-depth exploration of the reciprocal relationship between a groundbreaking cult television show and its equally groundbreaking fandom. For the past six years the authors have inhabited the close-knit fan communities of the television show Supernatural, engaging in criticism and celebration, Fandom At The Crossroads: Celebration, Shame and Fan/Producer Relationships is an in-depth exploration of the reciprocal relationship between a groundbreaking cult television show and its equally groundbreaking fandom. For the past six years the authors have inhabited the close-knit fan communities of the television show Supernatural, engaging in criticism and celebration, reading and writing fanfiction, and attending fan conventions. Their close relationships within the community allow an intimate behind-the-scenes examination of fan psychology, passion, motivation, and shame. The authors also speak directly to the creative side in order to understand what fuels the passionate reciprocal relationship Supernatural has with its fans. As they go behind the scenes and onto the sets to talk with Supernatural's showrunners, writers, and actors, the authors struggle to negotiate a hybrid identity as 'aca-fans'. Fangirls one moment, 'legitimate' researchers the next, the boundaries often blur. Their repeated breaking of the fan/creative side boundary is mirrored in Supernatural's reputation for fourth wall breaking, which has attracted journalistic coverage everywhere from Entertainment Weekly to the New York Times. Written with humor and irreverence, Fandom at the Crossroads combines an innovative theorizing of fandom and popular culture, with a behind-the-scenes story that anyone who has ever been a fan or wondered why others are fans will find fascinating.


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Fandom At The Crossroads: Celebration, Shame and Fan/Producer Relationships is an in-depth exploration of the reciprocal relationship between a groundbreaking cult television show and its equally groundbreaking fandom. For the past six years the authors have inhabited the close-knit fan communities of the television show Supernatural, engaging in criticism and celebration, Fandom At The Crossroads: Celebration, Shame and Fan/Producer Relationships is an in-depth exploration of the reciprocal relationship between a groundbreaking cult television show and its equally groundbreaking fandom. For the past six years the authors have inhabited the close-knit fan communities of the television show Supernatural, engaging in criticism and celebration, reading and writing fanfiction, and attending fan conventions. Their close relationships within the community allow an intimate behind-the-scenes examination of fan psychology, passion, motivation, and shame. The authors also speak directly to the creative side in order to understand what fuels the passionate reciprocal relationship Supernatural has with its fans. As they go behind the scenes and onto the sets to talk with Supernatural's showrunners, writers, and actors, the authors struggle to negotiate a hybrid identity as 'aca-fans'. Fangirls one moment, 'legitimate' researchers the next, the boundaries often blur. Their repeated breaking of the fan/creative side boundary is mirrored in Supernatural's reputation for fourth wall breaking, which has attracted journalistic coverage everywhere from Entertainment Weekly to the New York Times. Written with humor and irreverence, Fandom at the Crossroads combines an innovative theorizing of fandom and popular culture, with a behind-the-scenes story that anyone who has ever been a fan or wondered why others are fans will find fascinating.

30 review for Fandom at the Crossroads: Celebration, Shame and Fan/Producer Relationships

  1. 5 out of 5

    Em

    I feel this book requires an in-depth knowledge of Supernatural; people who are not fans of the show will often be excluded by the examples that assume a deep level of knowledge. Much of the book relates to fanfiction, particularly "Wincest" and slash fiction. I'm not a reader or writer of fanfiction, but it was interesting to read about. I don't really understand the shame felt by some fanfic creators and consumers, and this book helped me to better get it. At the Supernatural convention I atten I feel this book requires an in-depth knowledge of Supernatural; people who are not fans of the show will often be excluded by the examples that assume a deep level of knowledge. Much of the book relates to fanfiction, particularly "Wincest" and slash fiction. I'm not a reader or writer of fanfiction, but it was interesting to read about. I don't really understand the shame felt by some fanfic creators and consumers, and this book helped me to better get it. At the Supernatural convention I attended, there was a sign up in the bathroom telling attendees how fans "should" behave, including that no one should ever mention fanfic or Wincest to the actors. I found this sort of policing of behaviour to be very weird -- it was supposed to be an environment where people can just be themselves among other fans. (This was in Chicago in 2009. The night before the convention, "The Real Ghostbusters" debuted on TV -- the episode where Sam and Dean attended their first convention for the Supernatural books. It was very meta, timely and bizarre!) I enjoyed the perspectives of the show's actors and creative staff regarding Supernatural fandom -- usually these answers are just "I am grateful for the fans", but this book was able to extract more information and candid opinions. If you love Supernatural, you will likely get something out of this book.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    I really loved this book. If there is one thing I love reading about it is fandoms. I'm heavily involved in a lot of fandoms so fandom stuff is close to my heart and this book really tackled the subject well, even if it was a look into the Supernatural fandom, it was reminiscent to how a lot of fandoms work, especially the parts that covered fan shame and also how fandom acts as a whole. The bit about fandom wank was a nice reminder that every fandom has wank and no matter what that fandom will I really loved this book. If there is one thing I love reading about it is fandoms. I'm heavily involved in a lot of fandoms so fandom stuff is close to my heart and this book really tackled the subject well, even if it was a look into the Supernatural fandom, it was reminiscent to how a lot of fandoms work, especially the parts that covered fan shame and also how fandom acts as a whole. The bit about fandom wank was a nice reminder that every fandom has wank and no matter what that fandom will still exist no matter what wrong is done. My favorite part though was when the authors interviewed the cast and crew of SPN and seeing their reactions to the fandom side of things and how it's not as bad as most fans expect it to be.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    In this book Lynn Zubernis and Katherine Larsen set out to explore modern fan culture and the dynamics of shame within such a community, while straddling the difficult line between being fans themselves, and academics - so-called aca-fans. Reading as a particapatory fan, it's interesting to see your fandom exposed from a new angle, and there are many points about why we do what we do, that I hadn't considered before - for example, how shaming slash writers might be a continuation of the pervaili In this book Lynn Zubernis and Katherine Larsen set out to explore modern fan culture and the dynamics of shame within such a community, while straddling the difficult line between being fans themselves, and academics - so-called aca-fans. Reading as a particapatory fan, it's interesting to see your fandom exposed from a new angle, and there are many points about why we do what we do, that I hadn't considered before - for example, how shaming slash writers might be a continuation of the pervailing suppression of female sexuality by the patriarchy, and how fan/fiction can be a way to healing - and participation is a way for fans to take this into their own hands as a form for writing therapy. For hypothesises like these, their dual roles as an aca-fans gain them credibility, however, there are other times where it seems to be their Achilles heel - when it come to criticism of the show, especially the harmful dynamics perpetuated within the text. They briefly mention fans' reaction to female characters like Ruby and Bela, and reach the conclusion that there isn't support for such characters, instead of discussing how the fans' reaction could stem from bad writing (they do point out that Bela was added as eye-candy, but they do not notice how FEW female chars that are, and how they all tend to die for for the sake of male plot developement - also called fridgeing). The show is notorious for this - even in the first episode there are TWO fridgeings where a mother & a girlfriend die horrible deaths in order to send our heroes on a journey for revenge. I think the writers missed an opportunity to research the dynamic between a show with a large female fanbase and a show that also rutinely perpetuates misogyny in it's writing, and what kind of mindset that create in female fans. Likewise they also repeatedly gloss over isssues such as racism and queerbaiting on the show, with the actor Charles Malik who played the character Victor Henriksen, briefly mentioning in an interview how he appreciates fandom looking into that, but the Zubernis and Larsen do not delve further themselves - and then they compare the issue of "coming out" as a fan to "coming out" as an LGBTQ, but this is a dismissing dichtomy. They do mention a couple of times that there are LGBTQ people writing fanfiction, but it's not of focus, and neither is the issue of why many of them ship slash pairings - which from personal experience and conversation with fellow fans seem to be a bid for representation in a show where it's sorely lacking (now I do remember that Kripke in an interview in the text apologises for a gay joke! That's nice, but it doesn't make up for repeatedly setting up homo erotic subtext between characters as bait for queer fans). This leads me to the next issue with the text - the writers focus a lot on a single ship, Wincest, and why it is, despite the taboo, a popular ship. I understand a wish to research this, as it remains one of the most controversial ships, and it can be interesting to look into why and how. But, the reader get an impression throughout the text that this is the most popular ship, and they also state that it was voted such once in a fan poll. The problem is that this information is very outdated, and it actually made me check when it is they wrote the book - from there I got the impression that they wrote it between season 4 and season 7, but it's unclear, as the interviews and anecdotes jump around in time. Nevertheless with the introduction of the character Castiel, the ship Dean/Cas eclipsed Sam/Dean in popularity, and as a fan you get a sense that there is almost a rift betwen old fans and new fans through their shipping preferences. They only mention the Dean/Cas ship once or twice, and while they are very interested in exposing the dynamics of Wincest, they do not however go into why Destiel is popular - and there are some things to look into, especially in relation to queer fans, as many truly hope for representation through the ship becoming canon - while most people never had any hope for Wincest because of it's taboo qualities outside of personal fantasy. In the end a lot of the text seem to be coloured by the authors' own fandom preferences, namely Wincest and real person fic, while other central issues of the fandom is glossed over. They do write some interesting general theory about why people enter fandom, the relationships between fans themselves and the relationship between fans and artists, but some parts about Supernatural is flawed. That is not to say this isn't an enjoyable book and it's apparent that a lot of time and work went into it's research and writing. Zubernis and Larsen have an enthusiasm that shines through, and ultimately I would have liked to show this book to an outsider in order to explain my own passion for fandom and eradicate fan shame, which also seem to be the authors' goal. However I am not going to do that, as it is my judgement that the reader needs a knowledge of Supernatural and fandom beforehand in order to get a balanced point of view of the issues at hand. In the end, I will recommend this book to academics for the theories presented around fanfiction, and I will recommend this book for fans, who will like the pictures, interviews and "behind the scenes", but if it is your first point of research into the fandom or you're just casually curious, I can not recommend this book to stand alone.

  4. 5 out of 5

    katie

    had to read this for a class, it was pretty interesting!! if you're currently or have been in any fandoms, especially Supernatural, you'd probably find it interesting too. had to read this for a class, it was pretty interesting!! if you're currently or have been in any fandoms, especially Supernatural, you'd probably find it interesting too.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Annabel

    I’m always fascinated about what’s going on in te mind of people and to get the chance to combine that with my other love: Supernatural I just knew I had to read this book. I loved reading it, to get an insight into the mind of the fans but also read about what the actors and the creative people behind the series think about fans. People have a strong opinion about you when you tell them you’re a fan of something. Reading this book gives you insight in everything about fandom, it’s a really good I’m always fascinated about what’s going on in te mind of people and to get the chance to combine that with my other love: Supernatural I just knew I had to read this book. I loved reading it, to get an insight into the mind of the fans but also read about what the actors and the creative people behind the series think about fans. People have a strong opinion about you when you tell them you’re a fan of something. Reading this book gives you insight in everything about fandom, it’s a really good thing that the authors are fans themselves. That makes the book so great if you ask me, they know what it feels like to be on the other side of the fence. The side where people think you’re just crazy because you like a show so much that you would travel around the world to meet the people on it, that you would spend a lot of time online getting in contact with other fans or writing your own stories. If you would really like to know what fandom is about, this is a must read. And if you’re a Supernatural fan it’s so amazing to read the responses of the actors.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Lynn

    I might be a little biased, seeing as I'm cited as a source and quoted within the text (and I'm friendly with the authors both in fandom and academia), but honestly, this is one of the best "aca-fan" texts I've ever read. I think the authors managed to pull off something very few other aca-fan authors have: the perfect amount of distance from the subject. Too many authors try to place themselves completely outside the fandom sphere, and it results in an awkwardly clinical and often inaccurate, i I might be a little biased, seeing as I'm cited as a source and quoted within the text (and I'm friendly with the authors both in fandom and academia), but honestly, this is one of the best "aca-fan" texts I've ever read. I think the authors managed to pull off something very few other aca-fan authors have: the perfect amount of distance from the subject. Too many authors try to place themselves completely outside the fandom sphere, and it results in an awkwardly clinical and often inaccurate, if not downright insulting, portrayal of fans and fandom. Now that the methodology of autoethnography is gaining more acceptance within the anthropological and sociological disciplines, I hope to see many more unapologetically autoethnographic texts on fans and fandom.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Vickie

    A must read for all of you who have ever lived and breathed in fandom! Most of my books are divided into two categories...those I display in my office and those I hide in my bedroom. But at last, this one belongs in both collections! Lynn Zubernis and Katherine Larsen explore the crossroads between their academic exploration of fandom and their fangirl status in the realm of the CW's "Supernatural." Certainly I'm biased, as this is a duality with which I also struggle, but I think folks on both A must read for all of you who have ever lived and breathed in fandom! Most of my books are divided into two categories...those I display in my office and those I hide in my bedroom. But at last, this one belongs in both collections! Lynn Zubernis and Katherine Larsen explore the crossroads between their academic exploration of fandom and their fangirl status in the realm of the CW's "Supernatural." Certainly I'm biased, as this is a duality with which I also struggle, but I think folks on both sides of any fandom will find this crossroad fascinating. Worth picking up for the photos and funny quips alone!

  8. 5 out of 5

    rebecca

    Catching up on some tangential lit since I don't really do fandom studies, getting ready for our SPN panel next month at the International Conference of the Fantastic in the Arts. Catching up on some tangential lit since I don't really do fandom studies, getting ready for our SPN panel next month at the International Conference of the Fantastic in the Arts.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    Just ordered this online. So excited!

  10. 5 out of 5

    EmilieSA

  11. 4 out of 5

    Heather

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Healy

  13. 5 out of 5

    Slashbabe

  14. 5 out of 5

    Stella

  15. 5 out of 5

    Katja

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sheila

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kayla Boesche

  18. 4 out of 5

    Margo Collins

  19. 4 out of 5

    Trystan

  20. 5 out of 5

    Allison

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jade

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ann

  23. 5 out of 5

    Yaro

  24. 4 out of 5

    Johanna Franke

  25. 5 out of 5

    Vickie

  26. 4 out of 5

    Briony

  27. 5 out of 5

    Julene Warwick

  28. 5 out of 5

    Acadfandom

  29. 4 out of 5

    Figgitus

  30. 5 out of 5

    John

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