Category Archives: geek life

End of an era: Borders to liquidate

Well, it’s official: The death of retail book chain Borders is upon us. Store liquidations could be coming as soon as the end of the week.

Borders hasn’t been my favorite bookstore in a long time, but, being in Michigan, it was the most prevalent. And as someone who still likes to read and buy actual books, this is a blow.

Yes, we have ebooks now, and Amazon, and blah blah blah. We’ll be fine, and the books aren’t going to go away entirely, no matter how loudly the digital evangelists are shouting. This is still sad, because what really doomed Borders was a long chain of bad business decisions – and now 10,700 people are going to lose their jobs because of it.

Stick them with the pointy end: Believe it or not, but the ladies sure do love them some fantasy

HBO’s adaption of Game of Thrones premieres tonight amid a new storm of controversy about women and fantasy. What could possibly have soiled the premiere of what is probably the biggest fantasy literature event of the year? (Well, the biggest one that doesn’t involve boy wizards and horcruxes, anyway.) Why, yet more false assumptions about women and what they watch and read, of course!

It was all sparked by Ginia Bellafante’s New York Times review. Behold this bit of ‘wisdom:’

The true perversion, though, is the sense you get that all of this illicitness has been tossed in as a little something for the ladies, out of a justifiable fear, perhaps, that no woman alive would watch otherwise. While I do not doubt that there are women in the world who read books like Mr. Martin’s, I can honestly say that I have never met a single woman who has stood up in indignation at her book club and refused to read the latest from Lorrie Moore unless everyone agreed to “The Hobbit” first. “Game of Thrones” is boy fiction patronizingly turned out to reach the population’s other half.

Uh-huh. There’s plenty one can say to this, but since I am the absolute last fantasy-loving female in the blogosphere to address it, here are a few selected responses:

The reality check. Emily of The Discriminating Fangirl responds to many of Bellafante’s misconceptions. Key quote: “…How can the show require MENSA-member viewers and be too stupid/silly for HBO?”

The feminist. Sarah Louise of Bleeding Cool takes on the gender normative tone of the review. Key quote: “The main thing I find shocking about all these sweeping remarks is the fact that the piece was written by a woman. Aren’t we all supposed to be in this thing together?”

The ally. Alan Kistler wonders where the actual review was in his Newsarama Op-ed. Key quote: “We didn’t get an informed opinion on the show. In fact, in her whole review, the story premise is barely touched on and not one character, plot point or scene is mentioned. ”

The snarky: Annalee Newitz of io9 asked (with spoilers) why would men want to watch Game of Thrones? Key quote: “Who but a woman would even be able to keep all those Stark children’s names straight, let alone all the other people connected to the Stark family?”

The full package. Amy Ratcliffe of Geek with Curves talks about what she really wants to see in the series. Key quote: “I’m not tuning into the television show to see sex either. I won’t lie – I’m not unhappy about seeing Jason Momoa shirtless as Khal Drogo, but that isn’t the primary reason I’m watching. I want to see Westeros on screen.”

The author. George R. R. Martin breaks his own rules to say something about the review. Key quote: “…if I am writing ‘boy fiction,’ who are all those boys with breasts who keep turning up by the hundreds at my signings and readings?”

And naturally, amid all this? A Today piece on how ladies power viewership for SF/F TV. How long must we have to harp on this before the Ginia Bellafantes of the world catch on?

UPDATE: Bellafonte responds. What does she take from this? ‘People on the internet are mean?’ So much facepalm.

Turning over a new spit: Cooking with Club Jade


I’ve been hanging around fandom a long time. But now, every year brings less and less Star Wars that actually appeals to me. The Old Republic? Not a gamer. The saga in 3-D? Meh. Novels focused on brand-new characters? That’s what the rest of the SF/F section is for. The Clone Wars? No thanks.

And there are so many news blogs out there right now, run by young, fresh names and faces. You don’t need us anymore.

So what’s left that really excites us about Star Wars? Why are we still here? What is the deep dark secret of Club Jade? Continue reading

Do lightsabers and hoverboards really exist? A shocking percentage of British adults think so

A survey by the Birmingham Science City finds that “over a fifth of adults” surveyed believe lightsabers are real. Nearly a quarter believe that humans can be teleported, 50% believe that memory-erasing technology (ala Men in Black) exist, and more than 40% believe in hoverboards. Remember them from Back to the Future Part II? Granted, we can probably blame Robert Zemeckis himself for that one. Science fiction, what have you wrought?

Show your support for Katie today by wearing and donating Star Wars

Today is the day to support Star Wars and geek pride for Katie, so wear or display some Star Wars gear, or donate a Star Wars toy to needy children. (But don’t forget to add a note saying that the toy is for a boy or a girl!)

Meanwhile, io9 has an theory on the reason behind bullying Katie.