This issue of Room is a love letter to unremitted, unrestrained, and often unfashionable enthusiasm.
I’ve always been a geek. It started with movies; when I was three, I made everyone call me “Dumbo.” When I was four, I was Minnie Mouse. When I learned to read, I became that kid who beelined to your bookshelf or sat on the floor of your bathroom and read the comics you left by the toilet. At some point, someone gave me The Revenge of the Baby-Sat, and I started a comic book collection I cart around with me to this day. I devoured children’s science fiction and fantasy and worshipped Monica Hughes and Madeleine L’Engle. I had my video game of choice (Monkey Island), and I also had the sport I could not shut up about (ringette). It wasn’t my interests that defined me as a geek, it was the degree of my passions.
Over the last few years, the gate-keeping and bullying in geek culture has come to the forefront of the Internet. In 2010, comedian Patton Oswalt claimed that the Internet “killed” geek culture by making fandom more accessible, deriding “gym douches” in Boba Fett T-shirts, as though liking Star Wars and going to the gym were mutually exclusive. Sexism reared its hateful head, and the idea that women “pretend” to be geeks to attract male attention has become the subject of countless online rants, not to mention the insidious “Idiot Nerd Girl” meme.
Well, fuck that noise. “Geek Girls” includes Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Torchwood fandom, poetry inspired by comic books and fairy tales, as well as new work by acclaimed speculative fiction author Larissa Lai, an interview with horror writer and illustrator Emily Carroll, and comic book-inspired artwork by Sandra Chevrier. Hockey nerds slip “lightly homoerotic” fan fiction into the hands of a Canucks player, biochemists attempt to fit in with mathematicians and physicists, experimentalists and theoreticians, skeletons come to life, and zombies fall in love. I’m thrilled to share the work of authors and artists who are both well-known, and soon-to-be-known. This one is for all the keeners out there, whether you are a die-hard fan, a casual fan, or a new one. It’s a privilege to share our enthusiasms with you.
Meghan Bell is a member of the Growing Room Collective. Her creative work has appeared in several film and theatre festivals in Vancouver and Victoria, and she is currently a staff member at the Vancouver International Film Festival. Follow her on Twitter @meghanlbell.
Emily Carroll lives in Stratford, Ontario with her wife and a very large cat. Her comics have appeared in several anthologies and her first book, Through the Woods, was published by Margaret K McElderry Books in July 2014, and by Faber and Faber in the UK.
Julia Dillon-Davis is a screenwriter, playwright, and producer. Her plays have been produced in theatre festivals in Edmonton and Victoria. She co-produced Freshman’s Wharf, which won the 2011 Leo Award for Best Web Series. She was a finalist for the Sir Peter Ustinov Scriptwriting Fellowship the same year. She resides in Victoria, B.C.
Tania Hershman is a writer and poet, the author of two story collections: My Mother Was an Upright Piano: Fictions (Tangent Books, 2012), and The White Road and Other Stories (Salt, 2008). Based in Bristol, U.K., Tania is studying for a PhD in Creative Writing, exploring the intersection between fiction and particle physics. Visit her at taniahershman.com.
Larissa Lai is the author of two novels, When Fox Is a Thousand and Salt Fish Girl; two books of poetry, sybil unrest (with Rita Wong) and Automaton Biographies; a critical book, Slanting I, Imagining We; and a chapbook, Eggs in the Basement. A recipient of the Astraea Foundation Emerging Writers’ Award, she has been shortlisted for the Books in Canada First Novel Award, the Tiptree Award, the Sunburst Award, the City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Award, the bpNichol Chapbook Award, and the Dorothy Livesay Prize. She lives in Alberta and teaches Creative Writing at the University of Calgary.