History’s Hidden Heroes: format change

TaipingRebellion.com-rebelsHello my lovely Geek Girls, Guys, and People Who Identify as Intersex or Other-Wise Non-Binary.  We have a format change here on Geek Girl in Love because to my great delight the amazing Sarah Wendell at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books has asked me to write a monthly column for her about real-life women in history.

The only problem with this delightful development is that I don’t actually have time, in between reviewing shows and books and raising my kid and trying to round up freelance projects, to write multiple columns a month on amazing people in history, much as I’d like to.  So once a month I’ll be sharing a link to Kickass Women of History at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books.

This month’s Kickass Woman is Su Sanniang.  She was a Robin Hood style bandit who became a general during the Taiping Rebellion.  She was said to have “powerful arms and the air of a hero.”   My kind of woman!  Click on the link above to learn more about her, or go to smartbitchestrashybooks.com.

My Schedule At BayCon!

BayCon2014logoI’m so excited about BayCon – I’ll be doing seven panels in three days.  I’m practicing looking knowledgeable.  I’d love to meet some Geek Girl In Love fans at the convention as well as any fans of my reviews at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books (I write under the name ‘CarrieS’).  So please stop by BayCon and say hello to the short woman in the book cape or the Jane Austen Steampunk outfit – that’s me!

Here’s a link to Baycon’s homepage:  www.baycon.org

And here’s my schedule:

1.  Steampunk’s Parents: Mary Shelley, H.G. Wells, and Jules Verne on Friday at 5:00 PM in Lafayette
(with G. David Nordley, Bob Brown)

Let’s visit the source of steampunk! Come discuss the classics!

2. BoF: Vaginal Fantasy Book Club on Saturday at 11:30 AM in Other 5
 (with SallyRose Robinson)

Come and hang out with people who love the Geek and Sundry Show Vaginal Fantasy BookClub. Join them as they share their love of paranormal romances and chick lit aand which episode an d books they love. Some of the Panelists are part of the In Person SF MeetUp-The Wicked Grounders.

 3. Paranormal Romance: Ripping Bodices Since… Yesterday? on Saturday at 3:30 PM in Napa III
 (with Irene Radford, D. M. Atkins, Deirdre Saoirse Moen (M))

 What is this genre? Where it come from, where is it going and does it even merit classification as a separate genre? If all you’ve read are stories about sparkly vampires, you haven’t even scratched the surface.

 4. Monsters In Love! on Sunday at 10:00 AM in Alameda
 (with Margaret McGaffey Fisk, Nick Facer)

Paranormal Romance is going all over the place these days. We have dino romance, wolf pack romance, there is even BigFoot romance! Where is this coming from and where can we take it? The Panelist give their takes, ideas and thoughts on all things romantic and monsters!

5. Creating family in fiction and in fandom on Sunday at 11:30 AM in San Tomas
(with Setsu Uzume, Brad Lyau, Colin Fisk, Tory Parker)

The idea of a family of choice is one that has always been powerful in science fiction and fantasy literature. Examples of groups who create familial bonds range from the Fellowship in Tolkien to the crew of the Serenity in Firefly. Similarly, Fandom has its own sense of belonging and fellowship. In this panel we talk about the different ways family can be defined and built, both in fiction and in our fan communities.

6. Strange Love – Using Romance Tropes in Science Fiction and Fantasy on Sunday at 3:30 PM in Bayshore
(with Amy Sterling Casil, D. M. Atkins, Deirdre Saoirse Moen, Beth Barany, S.L. Gray)

What are science fiction and fantasy’s most powerful love stories, and why do we love them so much? What’s the difference between a romance novel and a novel with romance? Find out how romance novels have changed in the last two decades, and how the digital market has opened up a whole new crossover world.

 7. Steampunk in Literature on Monday at 10:00 AM in Stevens Creek
(with Cliff Winnig, Laurel Anne Hill, Steve Frankel)

Discussion of Victorian technology and the proper use of steam power, gunpowder, goggles, and the pith helmet. Especially the goggles.

Mini Review: Her Sky Cowboy, by Beth Ciotta

Cover of Her Sky CowboyHer Sky Cowboy is a fun steampunk romance that takes as many crazy elements as possible and throws them all together.  It’s hard to get emotionally invested in the book, because the characters, while they have many merits, are pretty much stock characters.  Still, it’s a fun ride.  If you are a steampunk fan, you’ll get a kick out of this book.  If you’re not a steampunk fan, you won’t find much in the way of depth or emotional content to hold your interest.  It’s the first in a trilogy.

Not sure if it’s for you?  Here’s a partial list of some of the elements in the book:

  • Airships
  • Time travelling hippies
  • Victorians
  • Janis Joplin singing “Piece of my Heart” on a zeppelin
  • A mechanical Pegasus
  • Pirates

A full-length review is available at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books.

Mini Review: Ironskin, by Tina Connolly

Ironskin was nominated for a Nebula Award in the Best Novel category, and it’s easy to see why (the winner was 2312).  This incredibly poignant, passionate and inventive fantasy take on Jane Eyre is set in a world in which England has just barely won a war against the fey.

The world-building is fantastic (pun intended) and the characters shine.  Jane is a wonderful character who shares the original Jane Eyre’s strong sense of ethics, self respect, and passion.  The only flaw in the book is that the romance between Jane and her brooding employer is under-developed.  As long as you are reading this as a fantasy about an amazing woman, as opposed to a romance where the love story takes center stage, you will love the book.  My full-length review is at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books.

Mini Review: Jenna Starborn, by Sharon Shinn

One of my favorite books is Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë.  By “favorite”, I mean I have a copy wrapped up in plastic on top of the can opener in my earthquake/alien invasion/zombie apocalypse kit in case I have to rebuild civilization.  So any adaptation of Jane is going to have to work hard to make me happy.  Jenna is a very inventive take on Jane Eyre.  By far its strongest feature was the carefully developed society and culture. Sharon Shinn creates a culture which is completely distinct from that of Victorian England, but which still imposes many of the same limitation on Jenna that Jane experiences in Jane Eyre.  The book’s biggest flaw is that Jenna, while admirable, is simply not sufficiently fiery, layered, or interesting enough to fill in for Jane.

For a full length review, check out my entry over at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books.  You can also find my Jane Eyre TV and film adaptation round-up over there.  Toby Stephens, call me!

Jenna Starborn book cover

Jenna Starborn