Broken down into 10 essays covering 112 pages, written by different authors with differing views on the saga, it would be very easy indeed for fan Phenomena-Star Wars to be a bit of a sprawling mess. But on the contrary, it’s a concise, focused and interesting look at the various facets that make up the Star wars world we all inhabit and does a great job in bringing to the attention of the reader a number of key players in the fan side of the phenomenon that is Star Wars.

But if there’s a focus of this book, what is it? Well, it certainly seems to be aiming at the contributions fans have made to the survival and longevity of the Star Wars galaxy. When other franchises have withered and died, faultered or been rebooted, Star Wars has managed to prosper. There have been periods of ‘perfect hibernation’ during the Dark Times, but the keystones of fandom are as strong now as they were over three decades ago, and this book shows that.

The essays are brief, roughly 7 pages long and are stronger for it, as it would be very easy to ramble into details, numbers and peripheral facts. Editor Mike Elovaara has done a solid job of keeping the articles ‘on track’ and punchy, making the book a swift and enjoyable read, especially as many of our colleagues at other sites are mentioned. Through topics such as fanworks, merchandising, gender and religion we delve into what makes Star Wars tick as a phenomenon above and beyond the mere watching of the films. Chapter one looks at Star Wars as a character orientated franchise, a strength that certainly helped the film embed itself in the cultural fabric of the 70’s and into the new millennium and later chapters delve into the ways that fans involve themselves with their favourite past time, be it via fanzines in the 70’s and 80’s through to the costuming groups, websites and blogs of the current era.

While we are all busy being Star Wars fans there’s something very enticing in reading about how the fandom works, and that’s what this book brings. Hat’s off to all the authors involved and to Elovaara for holding the reins on such a potentially sprawling project. Definitely worth the time for any fan of fandom or of Star Wars to read.

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Mark Newbold
Former Daily Content Manager and Program Director for Jedi News and the podcast network. Co-host RADIO 1138 and Take Cover on the Jedi News Network.

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