This month’s recommendation is actually a collection of books, one of which I read over the summer. The series is called Fan Phenomena and is published by the University of Chicago Press. Each book in the series is about a different fandom and contains scholarly essays that examine the phenomenon surrounding that particular fandom. I discovered these books at Printer’s Row Lit Fest 2015 at the University of Chicago Press’s booth (which is one of my favorite booths at the fest – they always have such interesting titles).
The one I chose to buy was “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” book because I am a big Rocky Horror fan. However, the decision was quite agonizing considering the others they had available: Sherlock Holmes, Jane Austen, The Hunger Games, Doctor Who, etc. You can view the entire stock here to see if your favorite is on it. It astounds me that they have not yet released a Harry Potter one, but they are still releasing titles, so I’m hopeful it will come soon.
The Rocky Horror edition contains 10 essays covering different aspects of the Rocky Horror fandom and the film itself, from cosplay to gender analysis. Another unique element of the book was that between the essays, the editor interspersed interviews with prominent Rocky Horror fans. The book also had lots of photos from the film and fan events, all in color. As a physical object, these books are really attractive. If you are interested in a particular Fan Phenomena book, the website lists the titles of all the essays included in each book so you can see if it is worth a read. Ultimately, it is encouraging to know that scholarship exists out there for topics that are often ignored or stigmatized by academics. Fandoms are complex (as are the works which inspired them, naturally), so I’m glad these books exist. I highly recommend checking them out if any of the fandoms available are of interest to you!