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The Happy Type
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Women and Geek Culture v. 3

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Leeloo Dallas rockin’ the multipass.

It’s time for another round of Women and Geek Culture and this time I asked a wonderful trio of bloggers to take the reigns. I’m really excited about sharing the answers each women shared because any opportunity to get a little geekery discussion going is a go for me. For the latest installment of Women and Geek Culture I’ve got Marielle from This Flooded Sky, Claire from Daisy Bisley and Alys from Mundane Ecstasy pitching for a fun and engaging discussion. Pretty rad team of ladies, right? Yup.

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Marielle | Alys | Claire

This won’t be the last time you see this talented trio in action though, because I have the 4th part in the Women and Geek Culture series all ready to go so keep a look out for it next week!

Is there an upcoming sci-fi or fantasy movie or book are you psyched about and why are you interested in it?

Claire: It’s not quite sci fi and it may already be out, but my pre-ordered paperback won’t be in my hands until September. I couldn’t be more excited for Batwoman vol.4 and I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed a comic series as much as this one. It’s brilliantly written, the storyline is fantastic and the characters are so interesting they keep you invested. And then there’s the artwork! It’s so beautiful each panel could be framed. It reads almost like a movie in the way each section is laid out and the art flows through the book beautifully.

Then there’s Kate. I’ve loved Babs and her Batgirl throughout the New 52 as well, but there’s something about Kate Kane that draws me in. She’s more complex and completely different from the rest of the Bat-family. She also has a unique reason for becoming the Bat. So compelling to read… and did I mention the art? Her character design is stunning, giving pasty redheads like me something to adore and her suit is now and forever one of my favourites. I could go on all day, so why not have a read to see what I mean.

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Marielle: I’m psyched for the next Michelle West and Patrick Rothfuss books, but no publication dates have been set yet.  So the next best thing is probably Dead of Winter by Kresley Cole, my YA guilty pleasure about tarot card teens in a post-apocalyptic wasteland.  KC makes me LOL every time, and she’s great at writing female characters.  This series is just the anti-Twilight, for so many reasons.

Alys: Cannot believe I am admitting this but I am actually excited about Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice which is due out May 2016. It’s hard not to be excited about a Batman or Superman film, that they will be together with Wonder Woman in the same movie is going to be fun even if it’s terrible.

If for a day you could step into the role of one heroine who would it be and why?

 Claire: There are a few, but I’d have to go for Kaylee from Firefly. For one reason, to fulfil a secret ambition, hidden deep within – to be an awesome mechanic.  My Dad used to sell cars and I always loved being around them, so it would be cool to run around in a jumpsuit fixing up an old spaceship. More importantly, Kaylee is fun, bubbly and a bit of a tomboy. She is also sweet, quirky and vulnerable, but knows exactly who she is and isn’t afraid to be just that. All things I aspire to and hope to be.  What more could you ask for in a kick ass lady?

Marielle: Probably Tess from Jaran by Kate Elliott.  I always thought she was a ridiculously cool heroine because she’s a linguistics genius.  Also, she’s gathering information for an interstellar rebellion while living with a nomadic tribe on a pseudo-Renaissance era planet.  Coolest job ever.  But the clincher is the fact that she can fight with a saber.  I’ve always loved swords.

Alys: As its only for a day I have to pick Princess Peach from the Mario Bros. series. Random I know but think about it I could play sports on a gorgeous island (Peach is a keen golfer), drive in a go kart race, I get to live in a castle, eat cake with cute Italian plumbers and play party games with my friends.

If I had more than a day I would want to be Hermione Granger but for just a day I plan to have a great time as Princess Peach.

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What are your thoughts on science fiction and fantasy literature? How do you view the women portrayed within these stories and what roles do they typically fill within the story arc?

Claire: I don’t read a lot of sci fi and fantasy literature, but do partake in the odd comic and graphic novel. I’m a sucker for real female heroes, something lacking in the movie world of late, so I guess I feel the need to compensate in my reading. When I say “real” I mean believable, flawed, human. Someone with depth and integrity. So I try and seek out female led things, like Batwoman, Batgirl and Wonder Woman, as it’s always great to feel the presence of a well written and well developed female character. A character to feel inspired and/or empowered by or just someone to empathise with.

The last sci fi novels I read were The Hunger Games (again). A female hero, albeit a flawed one – a human one, but a hero all the same. Katniss is made real by her flaws and traumas and that’s what appeals to me – real characters with depth that makes you invest in them.

Marielle: It was actually a long time before I consciously realized (probably when I saw the first movie) that there were no lead female characters in The Lord of the Rings.  True, you can argue that there are some powerful women in Middle-Earth, but they’re either not moving the story on their own terms or don’t get a lot of screen time in the books.  And sure, Eowyn’s badass and all, but she’s also (oversimplification here) giving up her life because some guy doesn’t love her.  Obviously, times have changed and lead female characters are more common in SFF books these days.  However, I feel like some authors still use the excuse of “historical accuracy” to justify the passive/restricted roles female characters play in medieval-esque settings, as if the fantasy genre doesn’t give authors full rein to make up their own worlds and histories.

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Also, there are so many stories that focus on male friendship and camaraderie.  Where are the books about two female best friends having adventures?  If Frodo and Sam were women, would they make it to Mount Doom?

Alys: Although science fiction and fantasy literature is better than many there is still far too many damsels in distress. I have no objection to working as a team, men do that all the time in sports/war/action literature but that is very different to the constant tripe of the heroine who needs to be rescued.

If you enjoyed the Women and Geek Culture series that I am running and would like to participate get in contact with me because I love connecting with other fellow geek ladies. I love adding more female voices to the discussion because too often geek culture can feel like a woefully female-free zone but it’s not so come and party down with your cohort. 

  • http://mariellegreen.com/ Marielle

    I’ve never been into comics or graphic novels – it’s really hard to follow the speech bubbles – but I’ve heard so much about them from your series that maybe I’ll give them a try sometime. And I have to agree with Alys about the damsels in distress. One of my pet peeves is the female character who’s set up to be strong, but the male one-ups her every time and probably saves her. And for a long time, female characters could be “strong” or sexually aware, not both. Blah.

    • http://www.thehappytype.com/ Crystal Turpin

      YESSSSSSS!!!! I hate how every time I start to really love a female character she gets ruined with this type of nonsense. And please do give graphic novels a try they are AMAZING. I honestly fell in love with The Dark Knight Returns and never looked back.

    • http://daisybisley.blogspot.co.uk/ Claire @DaisyBisley

      This was my biggest issue with Gamora in Guardians. I loved the movie don’t get me wrong, but it was a niggle that continued to niggle all the way home from the cinema, why did she need so much saving.

      I never used to read comics either. I read the odd graphic novel and was obsessed with The Crow in my moody, broody teenage years, but never a superhero one. Then I read Hush, the Batman series and I was sold. Like Batwoman the artwork reeled me in, but the story was incredible, definitely one of my all time favourites. Dark Knight Returns is also awesome, good shout Crystal! If you love a kick ass lady, who is also smart, strong (in more ways than strength), vulnerable, beautifully flawed and on a mission, Kate Kane’s your gal ;)

      I know I’ve said it a thousand times now, but thanks to Crystal for asking me to be a part of this :D

      • http://mariellegreen.com/ Marielle

        Ugh, yeah, that sounds crappy. I do like Black Widow in The Avengers films because she’s pretty awesome without having a superpower and can get stuff done on her own. I definitely have to give graphic novels a try now that I have all these awesome recommendations!

  • http://www.artworkbyjm.com/ Julie Maguda

    I’ve been waiting for the new Patrick Rothfuss to come out too…not so patiently. lol!! My husband and I are obsessed.

    • http://www.thehappytype.com/ Crystal Turpin

      I swear one of my favorite things about this series is that I get exposed to authors and artists that I never knew about. Rothfuss is on my kindle now. Whoop.

      • http://daisybisley.blogspot.co.uk/ Claire @DaisyBisley

        I’m needing a new book to read, what’s the Rothfuss man all about (other than having a fairly awesome name). Can you recommend a shiny new author/book for me to get stuck in to?

        • http://mariellegreen.com/ Marielle

          The Name of the Wind by Rothfuss is one of my favorite books. Awesome writing style, scientific approach to magic, great protagonist. He’s not the best at good female characters, but not everyone can win them all.

  • http://www.wanderlyn.com/ Eternally WanderLyn

    Marielle makes such a great point about female camaraderie in books. If they story does happen to have a female hero or lead, they often saddle her with a male best friend who will inevitably be a love interest. Apparently, females can’t have adventures together. They need a man to make it through. So lame.

    Also, I love Kaylee! :D

    • http://www.thehappytype.com/ Crystal Turpin

      Kaylee is the best! I love that she’s happy and pretty much operates on her own and doesn’t really let anyone else affect her mood. I’m with you on the annoyance of a female lead having a male second in command who becomes a love interest…the only other thing worse than that is when the male second’s affection isn’t returned and he gets bitter and turns against her or ends up being a random horrible subplot because he’s mopey. SHE DOESN’T LIKE YOU NOW LET HER GO FIGHT EVIL!…..or something like that >.>

  • Shybiker

    What a great discussion! I’ve always loved sci-fi (in both books and movies) but bemoaned the lack of strong female roles. And, quite coincidentally, I’m wearing a Wonder Woman costume on my blog today!

    • http://www.thehappytype.com/ Crystal Turpin

      A Wonder Woman costume? I have to see this and I think we just became the very best of friends.

  • http://blog.lixhewett.com/ Lix Hewett

    I’d love to participate in this series sometime! This was a great read.

    • http://www.thehappytype.com/ Crystal Turpin

      You bet! I’m glad you enjoyed it and I’ll keep you in mind when I send out the next round of invites and questions!

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