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Cosplay: A History

The Builders, Fans, and Makers Who Bring Your Favorite Stories to Life

Foreword by Adam Savage

About The Book

A history of the colorful and complex kingdom of cosplay and fandom fashion by Andrew Liptak, journalist, historian, and member of the legendary fan-based Star Wars organization the 501st Legion.

In recent years, cosplay—the practice of dressing up in costume as a character—has exploded, becoming a mainstream cultural phenomenon. But what are the circumstances that made its rise possible?

Andrew Liptak—a member of the legendary 501st Legion, an international fan-based organization dedicated to the dark side of Star Wars—delves into the origins and culture of cosplay to answer this question. Cosplay: A History looks at the practice’s ever-growing fandom and conventions, its roots in 15th-century costuming, the relationship between franchises and the cosplayers they inspire, and the technology that brings even the most intricate details in these costumes to life.

Cosplay veterans and newcomers alike will find much to relish in this rich and comprehensive history.

About The Author

Andrew Liptak is a writer and historian based in Vermont. He graduated from Norwich University with a master’s degree in military history and writes about history, technology, and science fiction in his newsletter Transfer Orbit. His work has appeared in Armchair General MagazineClarkesworld Magazine, Gizmodo, io9, Slate, The Verge, and other publications. He coedited the anthology War Stories: New Military Science Fiction, and his short fiction has appeared in Galaxy’s Edge Magazine and Curious Fictions.

Product Details

  • Publisher: S&S/Saga Press (June 28, 2022)
  • Length: 368 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781534455825

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Raves and Reviews

“Andrew Liptak not only covers the history, fabulous art, and fun of cosplay, but takes on the thornier issues like gatekeeping and racism by interviews with a wide range of fans. This is a comprehensive resource for anybody interested in our world of fandom.”

—Martha Wells, Hugo, Nebula, and Locus Award–winning author of The Murderbot Diaries

“Cosplay brings our favorite stories to life in the real world around us. This utterly fascinating book, in turn, brings the world of cosplay to life. A serious history of fandom, which will make you a fan.”

—P. W. Singer, New York Times bestselling author of Wired for War, Likewar, and Ghost Fleet

“Andrew Liptak expertly demystifies the culture of cosplay for those out there under the mistaken impression that the phenomenon is just a glorified game of dress-up. Liptak makes the case that it's not just a pastime, but a robust community, an art form, even something transcendent. His book is sure to be embraced as the definitive history of cosplay.”

—Brian Merchant, author of The One Device: The Secret History of the iPhone

“Cosplay is a hugely important part of fandom that has long deserved a history of its own. Andrew Liptak’s engaging, informative book is a welcome look at the past, present, and future of a fascinating aspect of popular culture.”

—Alec Nevala-Lee, author of Astounding: John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, and the Golden Age of Science Fiction

“An entertaining look at a vibrant, ‘interactive, interpretive, and immersive’ pop-cult community . . . A wonderfully fun book showing that the art of having a good time has not been lost.”

—Kirkus Reviews

“[An] illuminating history . . . Enriched by amusing tales of his own fandom . . . Liptak’s study is an inspiring one… Cosplayers and curious minds alike will enjoy this intriguing dive into an eccentric world.”

Publishers Weekly

"As our troubled superheroes know, donning a mask can be liberating, a way of releasing one's deeper self...Liptak's history is generously packed...with information about cosplay fandom."

– —Washington Post

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