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Secret Loves of Geek Girls, The: Expanded Edition

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Published by Dark Horse Books on 2016-10-20
Paperback: $14.99
FICTION / Graphic Novels


The Secret Loves of Geek Girls is a non-fiction anthology mixing prose, comics, and illustrated stories on the lives and loves of an amazing cast of female creators. Featuring work by Margaret Atwood (The Heart Goes Last), Mariko Tamaki (This One Summer), Trina Robbins (Wonder Woman), Marguerite Bennett (Marvel’s A-Force), Noelle Stevenson (Nimona), Marjorie Liu (Monstress), Carla Speed McNeil (Finder), and over fifty more creators. It’s a compilation of tales told from both sides of the tables: from the fans who love video games, comics, and sci-fi to those that work behind the scenes: creators and industry insiders.


(Paperback (01), 2016-10-20)
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ASIN: 1506700993
ISBN: 9781506700991
EAN: 9781506700991

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1

BYH O P E N ICHOLSON COVER ART BY NOELLE STEVENSON DARK HORSE BOOKS '

Neil Hankerson Executive Vice President | Tom Weddle Chief Financial Of'cer | Randy Stradley Vice President of Publishing | Michael Martens Vice President of Book Trade Sales | Matt Parkinson Vice President of Marketing | David Scroggy Vice President of Product Development | Dale LaFountain Vice President of Information Technology | Cara Niece Vice President of Production and Scheduling | Nick McWhorter Vice President of Media Licensing | Ken Lizzi General Counsel | Dave Marshall Editor in Chief | Davey Estrada Editorial Director | Scott Allie Executive Senior Editor | Chris Warner Senior Books Editor | Cary Grazzini Director of Print and Development | Lia Ribacchi Art Director | Mark Bernardi Director of Digital Publishing | Michael Gombos Director of International Publishing and Licensing Published by Dark Horse Books A division of Dark Horse Comics, Inc. 10956 SE Main Street | Milwaukie, OR 97222 Kickstarter edition: December 2015 ISBN 978-0-9939970-1-3 Expanded edition: October 2016 Digital ISBN 978-1-63008-713-5 International Licensing: (503) 905-2377 | Comic Shop Locator Service: (888) 266-4226 THE SECRET LOVES OF GEEK GIRLS Note from the Editor ? 2015, 2016 Hope Nicholson. Foreword ? 2016 Kelly Sue DeConnick. Introductions ? 2016 Colleen Doran and Trina Robbins. All content ? 2016 respective creators. Dark Horse Books? and the Dark Horse logo are registered trademarks of Dark Horse Comics, Inc. All rights reserved. No portion of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the express written permission of Dark Horse Comics, Inc. Names, characters, places, and incidents featured in the 'ctional contributions to this publication either are the product of the authors? imagination or are used 'ctitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons (living or dead), events, institutions, or locales, without satiric intent, is coincidental. Events in the non'ctional contributions are portrayed to the best of the authors? knowledge and/or memory. Some names, characters, places, or incidents may be altered. The authors and the publisher disclaim all responsibility for any errors or omissions. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Names: Nicholson, Hope, editor. | Stevenson, Noelle, illustrator. Title: The secret loves of geek girls / edited by Hope Nicholson ; cover art by Noelle Stevenson. Description: Expanded edition. | Milwaukie, OR : Dark Horse Books, 2016. Identi'ers: LCCN 2016017604 | ISBN 9781506700991 (paperback) Subjects: LCSH: Dating (Social customs)--Comic books, strips, etc. | Women--Comic books, strips, etc. | Fans (Persons)--Anecdotes--Comic books, strips, etc. | Dating (Social customs)--Comic books, strips, etc. | Women--Comic books, strips, etc. | BISAC: COMICS & GRAPHIC NOVELS / Contemporary Women. | COMICS & GRAPHIC NOVELS / Literary. | COMICS & GRAPHIC NOVELS / Anthologies. Classi'cation: LCC HQ801 .S44195 2016 | DDC 306.73--dc23 LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2016017604 President and Publisher MIKE RICHARDSON Expanded Edition Editor DANIEL CHABON Assistant Editor CARDNER CLARK Designer SARAH TERRY Digital Art Technician CHRISTINA MCKENZIE

BREATHER Sanya Anwar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 GEEK GIRLS BONDING Gis'le Lagac', Shouri. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 NOTE FROM THE EDITOR Hope Nicholson. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 FOREWORD Kelly Sue DeConnick. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 INTRODUCTIONS Colleen Doran, Trina Robbins. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 COMICS Margaret Atwood. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 MINAS TIRITH Marguerite Bennett. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 SETTINGS ALB . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 THE CONTROL SYSTEMS OF DESIRE Cara Ellison . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 LUNGERELLA Stephanie Cooke, Deena Pagliarello . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 ANNE OF LINUX PINE Erin Cossar, Kristen Gudsnuk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 WAXING MOON Meags Fitzgerald. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 HOW FANFICTION MADE ME GAY J. M. Frey. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53 A DIVORC'E'S GUIDE TO THE APOCALYPSE Katie West, Kristen Gudsnuk. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61 CHERRY Cherelle Higgins, Rachael Wells, Meaghan Carter. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68 BEMUSED Roberta Gregory, Linda Medley. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78 BOTH SIDES OF THE TABLE AND BETWEEN THE SHEETS Janet Hetherington. . . . . . . . . . . 83 BABES ON A BIKE Jen Bartel. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91 FANFICTION, F/F, ANGST Tini Howard. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92 COSPLAY LOVE Renee Nault. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98 URL IRL Gita Jackson. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 99 SHIPPING Jenn Woodall. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103 LEVELING UP YOUR DATING PROFILE Loretta Jean . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 109 READ: 1:19 A.M. Jen Aprahamian. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 114 MASHING OUR BUTTONS Soha Kareem. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 119 MECHANISM Meaghan Carter. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 124 I'M YOUR BIGGEST FAN Adrienne Kress, Deena Pagliarello. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 129 YES, NO, MAYBE Megan Kearney . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 135 HOW FANFIC FROM AN AMERICAN GIRL CAPTURED AN ENGLISH BOY Megan Lavey-Heaton, Isabelle Melan'on. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 140

THEY BURY YOU IN WHITE Laura Neubert. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 145 A DIFFERENT KIND OF FANTASY ROLE-PLAY Brandy Dawley, Leslie Doyle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 151 NERD LOVE Irene Koh. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 155 GIANT-SIZED REGRETS Jess Oliver-Proulx. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 160 PUZZLED OVER PINTS Jen Vaughn, Jordyn Bochon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 164 FOUR FICTIONAL HAPPY ENDINGS Diana McCallum. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 167 M'NAGE ? 3/STICKY DILLY BUNS Gis'le Lagac', David Lumsdon, Shouri. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 172 GHOST STORIES Annie Mok. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 182 THERE'S NOTHING WRONG, IT MUST BE LOVE Diana McCallum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 187 WE WEREN'T EVEN DATING YET Carla Speed McNeil. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 191 GIRLS WITH SLINGSHOTS Danielle Corsetto . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 192 RISE OF THE LATE BLOOMER Hope Nicholson, Kristen Gudsnuk. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 197 NONE THE WISER Diana Nock . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 201 HEARD IT THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE Brandy Dawley. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 207 REGARDS TO THE GOBLIN KING Megan Kearney, Jordie Bellaire. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 210 NEVER KISS A WRITER Alicia Contestabile. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 215 WHY I KNOW MY PARTNER IS REALLY A SUPERHERO Trina Robbins, Jessica Paoli . . . . . . 220 ARMOR Paulina Ganucheau . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 223 GHOST Marjorie Liu. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 224 POP CULTURE METAPHOR Fionna Adams, Jen Vaughn. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 229 A GEEK GIRL ROOM OF YOUR OWN Crystal Skillman. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 233 KIDS THESE DAYS Natalie Smith . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 239 MAY I ADMIRE YOU AGAIN TODAY? Twiggy Tallant. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 242 MONTREAL, 1993 Mariko Tamaki, Fiona Smyth. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 247 LOVE IN THE TIME OF ETHERNET: GEEKS & LDR Natalie Zina Walschots. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 253 A FIRST Gillian G. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 258 THE VULCAN IN ME Emma Woolley. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 263 BETTER THAN FICTION Sarah Winifred Searle. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 269 POPPING THE HEAT SINK Sam Maggs, Selena Goulding. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 274 GEEK GIRLS Genevieve FT. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 279

I'm sitting in an airplane, just after the Vancouver Comic Arts Festival 2016 (VanCAF for short), and reading this book I made with my friends and getting 'the feels,' as Sam Maggs would say. When I wrote the original introduction for this book for the edition that I published through my little publishing company, Bedside Press, I had no idea how it would be received. I was hopeful that the success of the Kickstarter used to fund the project didn't just indicate a fascination with the idea that Canada's legendary literary icon Margaret Atwood was drawing comics of her love life (how salacious!), but that it indicated a real need for stories by geeky women about the complexity of love and sex. During the last few months, seeing this book safely delivered into the hands of many thousands of fans, I can know for sure that this was a book that was needed, desired, and, luckily, very much enjoyed. On the Saturday of this recent VanCAF, a young woman approached the table. She had a mix of emotions showcased on her face that was familiar to me through doing conventions'a mix of the embarrassment, anxiety, and intense joy and excitement that come from a comics fan in a space where there are limitless art, stories, and artists to meet. She came with a copy of The Secret Loves of Geek Girls that I saw with surprise had already been signed by Marguerite Bennett, the fan having been at Emerald City Comicon a few weeks earlier. 'I couldn't 'nd you at the con then,' she said (I had been there only briefly, on my way to a wedding in Florida). 'Can you sign it'? I signed it dutifully, lacking the wit or style of other artists. I suggested several other contributors who had tables at VanCAF, and who hopefully could add their names, and possibly sketches, to the book. She thanked me, and then told me how much the book meant to her. How she'd read it and reread it and it had become her favorite book. She was excited, thrilled, and deeply, clearly, in love with this book. The next day, I was beginning to set up my table when a bearded man in his mid-thirties approached me. And, wouldn't you know it, he had that exact same look on his face that the girl did. Gleaming, he told me he'd bought the book the day before and taken it home right after the convention, where he'd proceeded to read it for several hours without pause, and how much it meant to him to see these stories on the page. Since the book was published, I see these moments at least once a convention, more so online where readers who I'll likely never meet in person have taken the time to tell me, their friends, and my contributors how much this book meant to them. I chose the name Bedside Press for my company with an optimistic hope that I would publish books that would be the type taken to bed. Nothing as epic as Lord of the Rings, but stories of community and friendship, of adventure and affection. Learning that for some, this book was exactly that for them, but more so that it gave them community and a voice, is awe inspiring. I think of how much I've learned from my friends in this book and am again honored that I was able to help make this space possible. By HOPE NICHOLSON 7

And I have indeed learned from my friends! When a friend was struggling through a dif'cult breakup I recommended he read Diana McCallum's story 'There's Nothing Wrong, It Must Be Love? and Katie West's 'A Divorc'e's Guide to the Apocalypse.' These stories deal with the decision to end relationships, not because they are bad, but because they've reached their end, and how to heal and proceed after this. Erin Cossar's story 'Anne of LINUX PINE,' Marguerite Bennett's 'Minas Tirith,' and Diana Nock's 'None the Wiser? are bittersweet stories dealing with learning our own limitations in love, and the mistakes we've made along the way. Whether it's acknowledging that your career will always be 'rst to a lover, that in'delity hurts in ways that you can't expect at the time, or that chasing a love that's doomed will lead you to tears, the roads of love aren't always smooth travels, and each story features these writers learning more about themselves as a result. 'URL IRL? by Gita Jackson, 'Better Than Fiction? by Sarah Winifred Searle, 'A Geek Girl Room of Your Own? by Crystal Skillman, and 'How Fan'c from an American Girl Captured an English Boy? by Megan Lavey-Heaton are all tales of that magical moment when you 'nd a geeky lover matched to you, and how ful'lling that can feel. 'Nerd Love? by Irene Koh showcases how sometimes, though, common interests really aren't enough. 'Never Kiss a Writer? by Alicia Contestabile, 'Read: 1:19 a.m.' by Jen Aprahamian, 'Yes, No, Maybe? by Megan Kearney, and 'The Vulcan in Me? by Emma Woolley are all about the neuroticism of dating. Do we keep anything to ourselves? What do we expect from others? Are we weird? Will we 'nd love? Do we even want that? We aren't born with a road map to our own emotions, and the confusion of 'guring it out can last far longer than just the teen years. Though I kept the stories to a lighter tone when possible, 'Cherry? by Cherelle Higgins, 'Ghost? by Marjorie Liu, and 'Ghost Stories? by Annie Mok are stories too powerful not to share. When abuse has been a part of our lives, it affects how we relate to others, and to ourselves. These stories showcase that you're not alone, and that the stories we read can be a needed lifeline. On the opposite side of the spectrum are lighter stories of relationships that are brief, geeky, and enjoyed for exactly what they are. 'May I Admire You Again Today'? by Twiggy Tallant and 'Giant-Sized Regrets? by Jess Oliver-Proulx are examples of these happily short dalliances and reminders that not all romantic love needs to be true love. Our youngest contributor is Natalie Smith, whose story 'Kids These Days? is about coming to the decision that platonic love can be more important than romantic love. Meanwhile, our contributors who are over seventy years of age, Trina Robbins and Margaret Atwood, both share their stories of the fluttery feelings of flirtation that are the same throughout time and age. Each story in this anthology means something to me. If you've ever felt confused about love and affection, I know that one of these stories will reach out to you. And just know that if we're all weird and we're okay, no matter what your weirdness is, you'll be okay too. 8

Writing is hard. Writing that is good, writing that is powerful enough to evoke a change or an authentic emotion or even just an idea in another human being is about as mysterious as an alchemical recipe, but there are a few known ingredients. Craft? Yes, absolutely. Devotion? A load'yes! Humility? Not vital, I suppose, but all my favorites include at least a dash. Before those can be added to the cauldron though, you must have a base of Honesty. Honesty is dif'cult to 'nd in public spaces these days (and getting harder every goddamn day) but if you're quiet, and patient, you can usually 'nd some hidden in your room somewhere. (It helps to turn off the lights, for some reason.) Problem is, Honesty is invariably bound to Vulnerability and the only thing that cuts the bitterness of Vulnerability is Courage. And Courage? Well. Courage is the hardest thing of all. Funny story: When I was 'rst asked to write this piece I misunderstood the premise. 'The Secret Loves of Geek Girls,' the email said, and, for whatever reason, I interpreted 'Secret Loves? to mean 'unexpected passions.' Like, 'long-time comics editor Lauren Sankovitch explains her deep and abiding love of professional wrestling!' Or, 'Tini Howard on the drumming of Neil Peart versus that of Phil Collins!' Or, 'listen to this Doctor Who a'cionado proselytize for Beach Volleyball!' (Seriously: Did you know Ed Brubaker is really into Olympic curling? My hand to God. You can't make this stuff up.) I liked the idea of challenging what it means to be a 'Geek Girl,' and it promised contributions from a myriad of women I admire (MARGARET fucking ATWOOD, anyone'''). I 'gured the book would be a hoot too. 'I'm in!' I shot back without even clicking through to the Kickstarter link. Clearly, I'm an idiot. Nowhere herein will you 'nd a treatise on why you should love the music of Weimar Berlin, alas. No, these are literal love stories. Oh, shit. When I say I panicked, I mean I panicked. Heart-in-my-throat, cold-sweat panic. I called up Dark Horse and quit. I'm not quali'ed to write an introduction to a collection of love stories! I don't write 'love stories.' I don't read, watch, or buy anything marketed as a 'love story.' Love stories, frankly, make me . . . uncomfortable. And there it is. Last April I had the honor of speaking to the 99u Conference at Lincoln Center. The title of my speech was 'How to Make People Uncomfortable (And Still Make a Living)? and in it, I made my case that the sacred duty of the artist is to Speak 9

Truths, even and especially those truths that make us uncomfortable. I used slides! SLIDES, people! A 've-point presentation laid out a path to becoming a 'Professional Discomfort Provider? like so: 1) Lead with Your Heart; 2) Find Your People; 3) Foster Community; 4) Listen; and 5) Seek to Be Uncomfortable Yourself. Who am I, if I don't practice what I preach? So I called back, UNquit, opened the 'le, and I read. I'm not going to lie to you: I was wildly uncomfortable and I haven't exactly been converted to romance fandom, but'! But I was also wildly impressed. From Marguerite Bennett's Yankee Candle to Erin Cossar's 'impression management,' it was the tiny truths that spoke to me most directly, the baring of souls somehow more naked than the baring of breasts. And what have these creators done but model my own slideshow for me? Lead with Your Heart? Check. These are nothing if not exercises in vulnerability. Find Your People? Check. A sisterhood of creators advocating for themselves and one another. Foster Community? Check. Merely by having the gall to exist, this book acts as a bolster for an underserved community of readers, to say nothing of its community of creators. Listen? Check. 'Listening,' in this context is about 'nding and speaking truths in the world around you, and goddamn if that yellow cake candle won't haunt my dreams. Seek to Be Uncomfortable Yourself? . . . Check? Here I have to project a bit because I haven't had the opportunity to interrogate these creators? discomfort as I have my own, but I think publishing a love story in a climate where female creators are still kept from high-pro'le positions because of the perception that they'll water down the action and shift the emphasis to romance is taking a fucking risk! (I can talk your ear off about why that perception is some bullshit and cite speci'cs nonstop until the sun rises tomorrow, but at the same time, I wonder if my own active distaste for the romance genre isn't some kind of protective actualization of the vile 'I'm Not Like Other Girls? trope. My gut says no, but it makes a kind of sense, doesn't it') Bringing it back to our opening metaphor, what follows is a brew of pictures, comics, and prose built on a base of Honesty. And it is my humble pleasure to present it to your table. Bon app'tit. 'KELLY SUE DECONNICK PORTLAND, OREGON, 2016 10

11 I've lived long enough to have programmed computers on punch cards, hacked the school board computer before hacking was illegal, and seen horn-rim glasses come back into fashion (I'm wearing them right now), and I've yet to leave my middle age. The geek world has changed a lot in a few decades. It's changed so much it's swarming with geek girls. Who were like unicorns for rarity when I was a kid. I'm sure today's geek girls are tired of hearing about the bad old days, but once upon a time about the only outlets for geek girl romance were the Kirk/Spock slash zines sold under the table at science-'ction conventions, or passed around via mail order in plain brown wrappers like porn. Which they were, I guess, but it was girl porn, and back then girl porn was pretty much limited to a naked Burt Reynolds prostrate on a bear carcass, his circa-1972 modesty protected by his outstretched hairy arm that was almost as hirsute as the dead bear. Romance was for weak women, and women in science 'ction were supposed to wait for their spaceman to come home. Girls weren't supposed to go on adventures. And they weren't supposed to pursue romance because romance and science don't mix. And if you don't believe me, just ask Mr. Spock, who went completely whackadoo every seven years at the prospect of nookie with his wife. (Apparently, this disordered state didn't have any effect on the slash nookie he was getting out of Kirk. What a plus.) For every moment Lt. Uhura amazed us with her button-pushing skills on the bridge of the starship Enterprise, and her thrilling rebuff of Mr. Sulu, whom she held at bay with nothing but a knife, she was forced to bleat 'Captain, I'm frightened!' because for every three steps forward there were two steps back. Even now, old school science-'ction fans bemoan the intrusion of their sacred domain by 'diversity,' which is 'ne when diversity refers to blue people, not so good when applied to brown people from their own planet. Unless they happen to look like Lt. Uhura. Many of the stories in this anthology are stories of discovery'not of other planets, but of other people 'just like me.' Girls who read comics. Girls who read science 'ction. Girls who program. Girls who game. Conventions may be 'lled with geek girls, but high schools aren't. And the sense of isolation and vulnerability that comes from being the odd girl out remains. The desire to seek out social events where you 't in draws geek girls in droves. Costumed geek girls, and cartooning geek girls, and geek girls with kids. Geek girls who just want to read and watch the movies and who aren't looking for a relationship at all. 11

This book is about love. The love of all things geeky, the love of other people like us. Learning that love isn't just about liking the same things, as in the story 'Nerd Love? by Irene Koh. Reticent and reserved love, trapped in a world that seems sex obsessed as related by Megan Kearney. Love of movies stars who represent something they're not. Love of superheroes. Love of everything with David Bowie in it. Long-distance love conducted entirely by computer terminal and iPhone. Love we can never have in real life. Love of books. Love and a life of the mind. Because the mind is the best aphrodisiac. And so, with love, read on. 'COLLEEN DORAN There have always been geeky girls. Marie Curie was one. ('Marie, get your nose out of that book and 'x your hair! Pierre will be calling on you in 'fteen minutes! That girl, she'll never 'nd a husband!') (But she did.) Ada Lovelace was another. I was a geeky girl years before anybody had heard of computers (well, except for Ada Lovelace), much less Star Wars or Dungeons & Dragons. But there were comics, and there was science 'ction! I was a geek because I read science 'ction, and nobody else in my 1950s high school did. Even my beloved sister thought I was weird, and laughed at the notion of men on Mars (for some reason, it was never women on Mars). If reading science 'ction didn't make me geeky enough, I also had no idea how to be a normal teenage girl. All those popular girls seemed to have been born with a knowledge that I lacked. They knew how to talk to guys and they dated football players. They must have taught makeup on a Jewish holiday at my predominantly Catholic high school, so I missed it and as a result didn't know the difference between Max Factor and Maybelline. But I did know that BEM stood for BugEyed Monster! Eventually I met two other teenage science-'ction fans, both boys: David and Marty. We would hang out in David's furnished basement where his father had installed a Ping-Pong table in hopes that his son might turn out to be normal. None of us ever used the Ping-Pong table, but we did a lot of raiding David's refrigerator for Cokes and arguing the respective merits of Arthur C. Clarke and Ray Bradbury. David and Marty introduced me to EC Comics. I wasn't too crazy about the horror titles, but I loved Weird Fantasy and Weird Science, because they adapted Ray Bradbury stories, and especially MAD comics. MAD taught me to question authority and ultimately was responsible for me becoming a hippie. Because I was the only girl science-'ction fan in all of Queens, David developed a crush on me. He was kind of a lumbering guy with an unfortunately flat, piggy face, and, to make matters worse, he was a freshman while I was a sophomore, so I would 12

try to avoid being seen with him as he trailed after me in the halls, books piled up in his arms, loose papers flying behind him. But after school, hanging out in his basement, I was nice as could be, and David somehow forgave me. In 1969, when I 'nally sat in front of a television set with my sister, watching men (still not women!) really walking on the moon, I felt so justi'ed! ('See? See? I told you!') In the end, the geeky girls win. Eventually the popular girls in my high school married their football players and had a house in the suburbs and two and a half kids. But I and Ada Lovelace and Marie Curie'and all the geeky girls in this book'scorned no longer, write books, draw comics, play with computers, and have the time of our lives. Although I never did 'gure out how to put on makeup. 'TRINA ROBBINS 13

14 Margaret Atwood COMICS

15 Margaret Atwood PAPER DOLLS

16 Margaret Atwood GLASSES

17 Margaret Atwood CONTACTS

18 MINAS TIRTH I Sansa Stark loves lemon cake, and so does the girl I love. II Tell me a story. And we're lying in bed with a Yankee Candle burning and the scent of lemon cake 'lling up the tiny rented room. New York thunders and drones and rolls outside, rattling wheels and squealing traf'c, the weight of night settling down over the city, like wet cotton. In the dark of the room, her eyes shine back at me, mirrors to the flame. In a hole in the ground, there lived a hobbit, I begin, and she sinks her teeth, teasing, against my shoulder. I never got into Lord of the Rings much, she says. The elves and dwarves and swords and castles, and everything had a name, had a backstory'had to keep looking at the map at the front? This map? I ask, pressing her back, so her chest turns, warm with sleep, to the dark ceiling and the flickering light. She laughs. She lets me. I run my hand down the plain between her breasts. My clicking nails become swift horses, drumming over the heat of her skin, and I murmur in her ear. Here, I say, kissing her left breast, here is Minas Tirith, and the throne of the realms of men? And softly drumming my nails across the steppes of her skin to the other? Marguerite Bennett

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