Ship It by Britta Lundin
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
This book is possibly the worst. Just, the worst. It's hard to figure out where to start with this review because I have entirely too much to say.
I understand where the author was trying to go with this, but all she managed to do is highlight the toxicity of fandom in general.
From the very beginning, we meet Claire. She's a superfan of the show Demon Heart. She's picked up on what she believes is an attraction between the two male costars of the show and has become convinced that the characters are gay and in love. Claire writes a lot of slash fanfic of the characters and is excited when she finds out that the team from the show are going to be making an appearance at her "local" comic convention.
From there, Claire bullies and cries her way into contrived situations and somehow "finds herself" in the process. I could go into all the problems with the plot, the writing, or even the unlikableness and terrible behavior of the protagonist. Instead I'm going to end up talking about fandom and its pitfalls. If you find that you agree with what I'm saying, I think you'll know that you want to avoid this book.
For any of us that are super fans of literally any show, movie, or general fandom; by now you know about the toxicity that exists. Just recently there were articles regarding the actress Kelly Tran deleting her social media pages because of hateful and bigoted vitriol by a bunch of grown-up-children because she dared to be a POC in a fandom film. There is a faction of the bowels of the internet that are unable to separate fiction from reality and are determined to foist their view of their fandom on you whether you like it or not.
These people are the fan fic writers. The angry message board commenters. The ones who sit there and type out angry reactions to the slightest faux pas by casual fans. These are the people who feel as though they own fandoms because they got there first. I've read various op eds over the years about how this group feels as though they own these fandoms because they were persecuted for liking these things for so long. Now that geek culture has gone mainstream, they still are holding on to that anger and awfulness instead of embracing the newbs and making new friends. The superiority and snobishness that drips from every condescending word is apparent in most of their interactions. Now they have the power in knowledge and they work to tear down anyone who dares to think they might know a little something about the chosen fandom. In case you haven't connected these dots…THIS is the chosen protagonist of the story.
Bitter? You bet I am. I came into geek culture late in life. I didn't know that there was this entire community of geeks and nerds who loved all these awesome things. Luckily I found a few awesome people to help me navigate the waters, but I learned quickly and the hard way not to bother with online forums.
In this novel, Claire decides that she knows more about the show and the characters than the actual creators, writers, and actors. You know, the people who actually handle the overall creation of the TV show. This plot is loosely based on an interaction that occurred during a Supernatural convention in which Jensen Ackles brushed off a fan who asked about the context of Dean and Castiel's relationship.
This book has the vehicle in which to truly explore Queer issues and it's role (or lack thereof) in fandom. It has the vehicle to bring people in. Instead Claire spends the entire time forcing her agenda instead of just enjoying the thing in the first place. She crosses so many ethical lines it's downright absurd and I'm pretty sure she broke a law or two in the process. She's wholly unlikable.
If you're looking for a geek centered romance, I'd recommend Geekerella instead. Heavy on the romance, but a far better choice than this tragic representation of fandom. You can check out my review of it here:
Literally the best thing about this book is the hardback version's cover.
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