Confession time

This blog has become so much more than I originally intended it to be and as such I am beginning to extend what I write about, to reflect much more of my life, rather than the narrow confines of what I planned  when I started it in August last year.

As such, I feel like I have been lying to you. There is a whole side of me which I haven’t introduced you to.

I am a geek. A real geek. Not only in the swotty, reads all of the books she writes on her bibliography (although that is  me too), but a geek who loves sci-fi and fantasy. I play World of Warcraft (WoW). And watch Star Trek, Buffy, read all sorts of fantasy and sci-fi  and love graphic novels etc etc. And right now I am really, really digging The Big Bang Theory – seriously I have watched series one and two in a dvd marathon which leaves one bemused when resurfacing in to the real world. And then gone back and watched them all again.

I hope my confession hasn’t caused you to sneak away.

One thing which repeatedly annoys me, makes me infuriated and angry in fact, is the lack of strong women in sci-fi and fantasy. More often than not the women are there to be raped, has been raped/abused/beaten etc etc etc and this is their driver.The alternative (in fantasy predominately) is that they are there to be mothers or should be mothers, etc etc. It really bugs me and really makes me want to be a writer so that I can address this and write decent female characters with feminist principles. (Minor problem of not having any ideas!)

As a long-term reader of Boing-Boing I knew that Cory Doctorow was big sci-fi writer and when I got Little Brother out of the library last year I was hooked on his work. And then I read Over Clocked. His writing is amazing. He writes strong women characters who just are. My favourite story in this book is Anda’s Game. Click here for the background to the story; just as an overview:

This is a riff on the way that property-rights are coming to games, and on the bizarre spectacle of sweat-shops in which children are paid to play the game all day in order to generate eBay-able game-wealth.

It’s written from a girl gamer’s point of view and I really can identify with it. When I first started playing WoW I played a female elf sorcerer and…. wow. I got so much crap from disgusting guys harassing me and making nasty comments that I quit playing as it disrupted my game and made me feel really uncomfortable. The whole point of WoW is it is a fantasy game and I really would like to be an elf who can throw fireballs! Nowadays I play as a male gnome rogue, with a full on beard, sideburns and moustache. I haven’t had a single bit of harassment, but I am not playing as I want to either (although I really do like being able to sneak up on people, garotte them from behind, punch them in the kidneys and then stab them repeatedly until they die). Ahem.

The story also touches on sweatshops and child labour in a cyber world, which made me think about a new angle on the topic of sweatshops. This is one story in a collection of shorts, but I really do recommend the whole book. Cory writes really well, is relevant and writes strong male and female characters. He also is quite politically active – he has been leading the storm surrounding the Digital Economy Act.

So, that was my geek confession. As I have decided to start writing in a wider capacity I will be coming back to the geekiness. I hope that’s ok with you and if you are geeky then please feel free to confess!

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9 thoughts on “Confession time

  1. dubgirl says:

    congratulations with the new job. You cant beat a bit of sci-fi or fantasy. Have you been watching the remade ‘V’ series, there is a strong female lead (FBI agent) well she is at the moment, I’m waiting for the moment when she gets ‘dumbed’ down’.

  2. EcoYogini says:

    YAY!!! I’m a geek too! Andrew used to play WoW (is now playing… Teamfortress 2). So lame that you got harassed when you were an elf. boo!

    I am currently reading the prequels to Dune…. not sure if you’ve read them- but I just went through all six originals and am reading what Herbert’s son wrote (which he has TERRIBLE writing, but it’s kinda neat to read the side story).

    Also- I have seen all seasons of Buffy (loved season 6, cuz Willow goes crazy), and watched all 7 seasons of Star Trek Voyageur. Loved it cuz of Captain Janeway and Seven… strong female characters and all 🙂

    also- have you SEEN Battlestar???? seriously the most fantastical show ever. LOVE it. Wish it never ended (although I am not a fan of Caprica…).

    hmmm, what else makes me ‘geek-y’…. I read any sort of fantasy book (and really despised Twilight cuz the lead character is really the stupidest girl ever). Love Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Underworld books and Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake and Merry series (even though they turn into crazy vampire sex porn…).

    I think you are AWESOME for liking those things. Being a geek means being interesting!

    Blessings from one geek-y eco-fiend to another!

  3. Thanks for the encouragement ladies! That makes me feel good and smile!

    I also have seen all the buffys at one stage I had them all on video and then when they got left behind I got most of them on dvd. Its been a while since I had a Buffy binge!

    If you like books then Kim Harrison’s Rachel Morgan series is awesome – lots of cool sex, and a seriously kick arse woman (quite literarally) , with some intelligent thoughts about magic and extremely well written. Some of this types of books are so badly written that I cannot bring myself to read anymore of them (Sooky Stackhouse being a prime example).

    I never got into Battlestar – mainly as I didn’t have a tv for ages. I think my OH would be very happy if I got into it thought.

    Love 7 of 9!

    Dubgirl I haven”t seen V – I did record the first one, but I am trying not to get hooked onto any more new TV series. We shall have to see though!

  4. armaitus says:

    Yay for geekdom!

    I can highly recommend BSG for strong female roles… and Laurell K Hamilton (The Anita Blake series still has more plot than porn – and the Merry books are going that way too 🙂 )

    I tried the Sooky Stackhouse books… well I say tried, more like read a couple of chapters of the first book and launched it into the bin. Shockingly bad.

    Your experience in WoW is exactly what puts me off… not from any kind of gender bias, (I would likely play a female elf myself) but because there are so many idiots on the servers. The kind of people who play the game to make up for some sort of real life power deficiency.

    “I’m head of the Tuesday Guild and if you don’t let me touch your virtual bum we’ll pwn you lolz”

    Idiots.

    I partake of and enjoy LRP; there is some of what I see in WoW in LRP but it’s handled a lot better. The kind of social deficiency that leads to the cyber bullying in WoW just doesn’t work in LRP. It occasionally happens that someone will try and flex their virtual muscles but it nearly always goes badly for them… and there’s no resurrection in LRP 😉

    You see strong female roles in LRP also. LRP gives people opportunity to excel regardless of colour, creed or gender.

  5. EcoYogini says:

    I LOVE Kim Harrison’s books!!! 🙂 Yay!!

    also, agree with armaitus, isn’t it terrible that the plot for Anita and Merry have gone to poop, (ok sex) but that I still adore them?? lol.

    I was desperate for some new fantasy books, a friend lent me the first five of Sookie Stackhouse, and I muscled through them. They are terribly written…. buut… the story gets better, well kinda. lol

  6. armaitus says:

    The thing that will keep me coming back to Hamilton’s books is that she can write. I have not yet read an LKH story that I have not wanted to finish in one sitting, her style grabs me and sucks me in.

    I like her formula also, it’s simple but effective. Take a strong female lead and gradually increase her power/control over her environment whilst also increasing the threat to her from her environment.

  7. I’m glad I have sparked such a debate! I will have to get into LKH then – I haven’t read her stuff before< Armaitus I feel the same about Kim Harrison – I have to finish the whole book there and then!

    Sookie Stackhouse – I read them before the TV series… well I say read, I just could not get over the hideously bad writing. It was dreadful!

    So, maybe I should be writing on here more about geek issues then?

  8. Sarah Head says:

    Hi jen, maybe you could try some different authors. I love Anne MacCaffrey and Barbara Hambley – lots of strong women in positions of power and support. Katherine Kerr’s not bad either. Guy Gavriel Kay writes books on Pagan themes and has some interesting women.

    • Sarah – thanks for your suggestions – I have read all of Anne McCaffrey’s work and I haven’t heard of the others, so I will add them to my list at the library

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