Published by Dark Horse Books on October 18th 2016
Genres: Comedy, Contemporary Women, Geek Culture, Girls & Women, Love & Romance, Personal Memoirs, Women's Studies
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.
I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
There’s a lot of books out now about what it’s like to be a ‘geek’: we’ve got ‘guides’ coming out of our ears telling us how to be a ‘geek parent’, or a ‘girl geek’, as well as spotters guides for ‘non-geeks’. Not all of them have been great. So when a new anthology ‘The Secret Loves Of Geek Girls’ landed in my inbox, I was wary. I needn’t have been.
But, it’s hard to really pinpoint specific stories in this collection, so, in a first for this site, I’m going to try and get across what I loved about this book via my favourite quotes from some of the essays. Hopefully, this conveys the strengths of ‘The Secret Lives Of Geek Girls’ as well as satisfying my new addiction to PicMonkey!
The Control Systems of Desire by Cara Ellison.
Gaming writer, designer, and critic Cara Ellison really nails the ‘relationships as games’ metaphor.
How Fanfiction Made me Gay by J.M.Frey
Gorgeous phrasing and searing honesty, make this tale of fanfiction an essential read. Author Frey discusses how it not only taught her about relationships and the mechanics of sex, but also shone a light on her own sexuality.
URL>IRL by Gita Jackson
Gita’s essay really resonated with me, and will with anyone who’s ever been seen as ‘not normal’ and found it hard to date/socialise because of their interests and ‘geekiness’.
Four Fictional Happy Endings by Diana McCallum
Comic and co-creator of the brilliant ‘Text From Superheroes’ Diana McCallum rips to shreds the myths behind four fantasy relationships. Wesley and Buttercup, Jocelyn from ‘A Knight’s Tale’, and Christian and Satine from ‘Moulin Rouge’ all get the treatment, but it’s the (in)famous Disney Princess pairings that get the best/worst.
There’s Nothing Wrong, It Must Be Love by McCallum again
McCallum has the ability to be as insightful as she is brutally funny, and her recount of finding a love as true as the passion she feels for her ‘geek loves’ will hit home for many, and is probaly my favourite from the whole collection.
Ghost by Marjorie Liu
With a damaged memory, Liu draws on her love of reading and getting lost in the narratives of her favourite books to drown out a traumatic experience.
Not just ‘One For The Girls’.
There were other stories that stood out – Margueritte Bennett’s amazing tale of lost love ‘Minas Tirth’, and ‘A Divorcees Guide To The Apocalypse’ being two of them, but if I was to quote them, I’d have gone on for pages and pages.
It’s not just prose in ‘The Secret Lives Of Geek Girls’, there’s some pretty awesome art and comics too. The atmospheric illustrations that accompany Cherrelle Higgins’ heartbreaking ‘Cherry’ particularly stand out.
This is a truly superb anthology, but don’t think it’s one that guys can’t enjoy. This extremely diverse collection of writers and artists has something to say to, and for everyone.
BUY THE BOOK