Geek Elders Speak – The Recap

By GeekGirlCon Copy Writer Sarah “SG-1” Grant

I wanted to go to this panel because Jamala Henderson was the moderator, and I love her voice and her presence. She and I met for the first time at the premiere of Captain America: The Winter Soldier this year, and now I’m part of a group of Marvel enthusiasts that shares awesome upcoming Marvel things with each other.

I also wanted to go to this panel because I am a little bit of a history geek. Not about every aspect of history, but the history of fandom is definitely something that sparked an interest. I know MY history with fandom, and I love hearing other people’s histories as well–and this panel was the ultimate history of women in fandom.

Geek Elders

Linda Deneroff, Tish Wells, Susan Matthews, Jamala Henderson, Maggie Nowakowska

The speakers in the panel were four women with various connections to the beginnings of fandom: Linda Deneroff, Susan Matthews, Maggie Nowakowska, and Tish Wells. Each of these women was involved in the beginnings of media and print fandom in the 60s and 70s, primarily around Star Trek and Star Wars. They each spoke about the first books they read that got them into science fiction–everything from Freddie and the Space Ship to Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot to the novels of Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Jamala asked the panelists what they loved about those early science fiction books they read. Susan said, “It was a new world where anything could happen, but there wasn’t any magic!” Linda was struck by the commonalities between what she was learning to read and the advent of the United States space program. Maggie read all the kids’ science fiction books available in her local library, and then moved onto the adult books (which is just what I did!). Tish spoke briefly about an author named Hugh Walters and how she read every book he wrote.

The conversation moved from books to fandom, and how the women got started in media fandom, specifically. All four of them had the same response: Star Trek. They saw the show, then worked on Star Trek fanzines, attended Star Trek conventions, joined Star Trek discussion groups, and cosplayed the characters they liked, whether they were men or women. There wasn’t anything special about a woman dressed as Han Solo or Luke Skywalker; they wore what they wanted to wear.

Having fandom in their lives inspired all four of the panelists in different ways. Susan began writing her own fiction in about 1978, but often kept it to herself. She published her first novel in 1997. Linda was inspired to take up photography, as well as publishing and traveling. Maggie started helping to publish fanzines–most of which were written, typed, mimeographed, and compiled (all by hand) to be sent around the country. Tish said fandom became part of her life as a journalist as she wrote her first published piece on a WorldCon; that piece got her a job, which sent her to Los Angeles for a Star Wars costume exhibit, at which she met and interviewed George Lucas!

All of them said they “found their ‘selves’” in fandom; there was a huge community linked to fandoms and conventions. They encouraged each other to do what they loved, it was powerful enough to keep them doing it. They told stories of women whose husbands wouldn’t allow them to attend science fiction conventions because their husbands “needed them home to cook their meals”. One woman apparently put together fanzines in her car, because her husband wouldn’t allow them in the house. There was even a woman they knew who was institutionalized! Her husband thought that the things she was doing and wanted to do around fandom were literally insane. This sounds like something out of the nineteenth century, or maybe even the early twentieth century; but these happened in the 1970s and 1980s, here in the United States.

Each of these four women have learned very powerful things in their lives through fandom.

  1. Community is powerful.
  2. Sisterhood is powerful.
  3. Whatever it is, you can do it.

I left this “Geek Elders Speak” panel with tears in my eyes, a lump in my throat, and the determination to learn more about the history of women in fandom. I know my history, and I knew about some of the early fanzines; I was even part of a correspondence fiction club called The Third Fleet out of California where we made our own characters, took Starfleet ranks, and were placed on “ships” (groups of other writers) to write stories with our characters and fellow “shipmates”. But nothing I did when I got into fandom prepared me to hear Maggie, Susan, Linda, and Tish speak about their experiences. I’m proud to be part of their ranks, years later, and thinking of ways to do some of the kinds of things they did: building and fostering community, mentoring each other (both in life and fandom), and making sure that what they did–how they built and fostered the communities we have today–continues to grow.

The info sheet for The Third Fleet Academy

The info sheet for The Third Fleet Academy

If you were at the “Geek Elders Speak” panel at GeekGirlCon ‘14, what impressed you the most about the panelists? How did YOU come to fandom? And if there was one thing you could do to help others in our community and build their fandom experiences, what would that be?

And guess what: you can already get your tickets for GeekGirlCon ‘15! We’ve sold out entirely two years in a row, and next year is our fifth anniversary. Don’t miss it!

Below is a bibliography of some of the books and publications mentioned and discussed by the panelists; Maggie Nowakowska forwarded it to GeekGirlCon so we could share it with anyone who wants the information, and to learn more about early media fandom.

Space Cat, Ruthven Todd (orig. 1952)  For the young girls in your life. This was the very first book I took out of the library when I was in 1st grade.

Star Trek Lives!, Jacqueline Lichtenberg (1975)  A classic, written by a media fan, that allowed many women to discover Star Trek fandom. If you’ve ever wondered how Trek fandom came to be an grew so powerful, this is a good book to read.

Textual Poachers: Television Fans & Participatory Culture, Henry Jenkins (1992)  An excellent resource for tracking the early media fanzine phenomena, including the early copyright conflicts; mentions some fan writers by name.

Enterprising Women: Television Fandom and the Creation of Popular Myth, Camille Bacon-Smith (1992)  A frank discussion of how fandom developed socially in the 1980s. The author participated in fandom herself and describes the ways a fandom supported and challenged women in the 1980s. IMO, Bacon-Smith nails the problems that often arise between those who made up the “first fandom” of a favorite series and the “second fandom,” made up of those who join later, bringing different, often conflicting interpretations to the mix.

Science Fiction Audiences: Watching Doctor Who and Star Trek, John Tulliock and Henry Jenkins (1995)  Follow up the Textual Poachers, with a tighter focus on Whovians and Trekkers.

Boldly Writing: A Trekker Fan and Zine History, 1967-1987. Joan Marie Verba (1996)  A year-by-year review of Star Trek fandom by someone who was there. If  you want to travel the years of fandom vicariously, this is the book for you. All the people who paved the way for media fandom, all the social and fanzine developments, are here.

Fan Phenomena series: Star Trek, Star Wars, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Batman,  Twin Peaks, Doctor Who, Supernatural, Sherlock Holmes, Jane Austin, The Hunger Games, Various editors (2013) England brings us a series of books about many of the world-wide media fandoms that have developed over the years.

“Fangirls Flying High,” Tricia Barr, article on women in SW fandom, Star Wars Insider Issue 151 (Aug/Sept 2014)

How Star Wars Conquered the Universe, Chris Taylor (2014)  An excellent history about how Star Wars, and Star Wars fandom took media fandom mainstream and made Star Wars the phenomenon that it is. Deeply researched, this book will take you into the heart of the Star Wars experience.

**Also, you can help make the paperback version better. The Star Wars fandom that Taylor describes is made up of boys and men. Taylor wants to know more about the women of Star Wars fandom. Read the book and when you review it, ask for more coverage of all the girls and women who love Star Wars! Tell Taylor about all of us who love Star Wars now and have for years.**

Sarah Grant
“Rock On!”

Star Wars at GeekGirlCon ’14

Written by author Trisha Barr.

In a piece here last year, I shared how community building is an effective way to deter bullying and gatekeeping. One of the reasons I am so passionate about supporting GeekGirlCon is the sense of inclusiveness and welcome that is evident the moment you enter the venue. In the three years I have attended, I have made important connections with members of the geek community. Sometimes I have gained a new geek friend or ally; GeekGirlCon gave me the opportunity to meet Ashley Eckstein, who invited me to be a contributor in her own fangirl community-building venture, Her Universe’s Fangirl of the Day. Last year’s connections started me down a wonderful journey that resulted in a feature article in Star Wars Insider Issue #151, where I had chance to mention GeekGirlCon.

Fangirls GGC SW Panel

Panelists from the 2013 Star Wars panel: Linda Hansen-Raj, Amy Ratcliffe, Meg Humphrey, Lisa Granshaw and Tricia Barr, plus panel attendees.
Photo by Joanne Perrault/FANgirl Blog

 

Star Wars Insider #151 cover

Star Wars Insider #151 Image source: Star Wars Insider

As an advocate for female fans of Star Wars, I have always known women loved the franchise and have sought ways to highlight their contributions. Greg Kubie, who markets Star Wars Books for Random House, had sent along an introduction to journalist Tish Wells. She and I spent over an hour in a corner of the convention hall chatting about Star Wars, the dynamics of the fandom, and her experience interviewing George Lucas. Later that day Tish introduced me to a few more longtime fans, including Maggie Nowakowska, who has been a fan academic, fanfic writer, and fanzine contributor since the late 1970s. Maggie and I exchanged contact information after she recollected an old fanzine piece that wondered where all the men were in Star Wars fandom. Considering the common perception of the state of today’s fandom, it was a piece of Star Wars history that definitely interested me.

Corresponding with Maggie – each email was marked with fantastic looks back at fandom before the internet – was like reading a history of fandom. I decided to ask Maggie to share her memories as part of an oral history project. Shortly after the recording was made, I was solicited to write a piece on fangirls for Star Wars Insider magazine. The Force seemed to be guiding me in a direction, and Maggie’s journey as a Star Wars fangirl became the focal point of that piece. Star Wars Insider Issue #151 included several pieces featuring the contribution of women to the franchise, including Lisa Granshaw’s article on geek couture. Lisa will be joining me on the panel “Fangirls Find the Force: Star Wars, from Episode VII and Beyond” at GeekGirlCon this year, where we will talk about the franchise and how we can participate in shaping its future.

You can listen to Maggie Nowakowska’s oral history on my podcast Fangirl Chat. She will also be participating in the GeekGirlCon panel “Geek Elders Speak: How Media Fandom Empowered Women in the 60s, 70s, and 80s” where I am sure she share some more wonderful stories.

Tricia Barr discusses Star Wars, fandom, and strong female characters at FANgirl Blog. Her novel WYNDEwon the Gold Medal for Best Science Fiction/ Fantasy/Horror Ebook in the 2014 Independent Publisher Awards. For excerpts and tales of her adventures in creating a fictional universe, hop over to TriciaBarr.com. For updates on all things FANgirl, follow @FANgirlcantina on Twitter.

Guest Contributor
“Rock On!”

Science of Tatooine: Water

Written by Adrienne M. Roehrich, Manager of Editorial Services

In the Star Wars Universe, Tatooine is a desert planet with two suns.

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary(1) a desert is

1a :  arid land with usually sparse vegetation; especially :  such land having a very warm climate and receiving less than 25 centimeters (10 inches) of sporadic rainfall annually

b :  an area of water apparently devoid of life

Clearly, definition b is not in effect for Tatooine, as there is megafauna. Merriam-Webster Dictionary(2) defines megafauna as:

1:  animals (as bears, bison, or mammoths) of particularly large size

2:  fauna consisting of individuals large enough to be visible to the naked eye

On Tatooine, there are krayt dragon, rancor, sarlaccs, dewbacks, banthas, among other animals. Our understanding of life requires water. On a planet with less than 10 inches of sporadic rainfall annually, how do such big animals get their water?

We have to move outside of Universe canon to consider water on Tatooine. (Canon, as of the summer of 2014, has been declared to only include the six movies to date and the Clone Wars television series.) So, there is little to go on. Some of the books, outside of canon, discussed Tatooine as a planet much like earth with large oceans that was altered by an alien race. Whether a planet with suns such as Tatooine could have the described oceans, is another article. However, it does help with how the animal-life could have evolved. Another question arises: in such a change of climate, how did these animals adapt? (Peruse the carnival for an answer to this question!)

One possible source of water includes the very dry atmosphere. Water vapor occurs in the atmosphere, even those above deserts. Relative humidity varies from region to region. On a planet entirely desert, this could be true as well. Not all deserts have the same atmospheric humidity.

Moisture Vaporator. Source: Star Wars Wiki.

Luke Skywalker is introduced on the moisture farm of his aunt and uncle. These moisture farms use a technology called moisture vaporators. Moisture vaporators condense water out of the atmosphere using cooling rods. This works much like a cold beverage getting condensation on the outside of it on a hot day. Water vapor from the atmosphere comes into contact with a cooler surface and condenses. In a fairly humid region, this will happen at temperatures near current temperatures. However, in the desert, the temperature at which the water will condense is lower. Once condensed, the water flows down the rod into a water storage tank. Clearly having working vaporators is a matter of survival for humanoids on Tatooine. Indeed, a moisture farm is necessary to provide water to bigger cities. No wonder Owen Lars requires a droid with translation skills.

“What I really need is a droid that understands the binary language of moisture vaporators.”

“Vaporators? Sir, my first job was programming binary loadlifters—very similar to your vaporators in most respects.”

from A New Hope

Purchase of the droids. Image source.

Another possible source of water on this desert planet is aquifers. Aquifers are a water-bearing stratum of permeable rock, sand, or gravel(3). Aquifers are often linked to rivers. With the evident geology of Tatooine in the various movies, one can guess that at one point there were rivers flowing on Tatooine. In fact, the Sahara Desert on Earth, has seasonal and intermittent rivers, lending credibility to the possibility of the same on Tatooine. Some of the cities on Tatooine could also get water piped in from existing aquifers in the region.

“Aquifer en” by Hans Hillewaert – en:Image:Schematic aquifer xsection usgs cir1186.png. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Obviously, the non-humanoid animals are not using these moisture farms to gather water out of the atmosphere, nor are they digging their way down to the potential aquifers. So how are they getting their water? What other sources could they get for water?

Animals that have evolved to survive and thrive in desert climates may not need to consume water the way we think. Many desert animals retain water using methods such as burrowing into moist soil, and some do not excrete it the way mammals do. Often, due to water retention and evolution to need less water, they are able to get all the water they need through the vegetation (or animals) they eat. As we can see from the aquifer diagram, it is these underground sources of water that lead to the small oasis of vegetation. In addition, groundwater will come to the surface to create little pools, which animals can gather at to consume water.

Sources of water on this desert planet may be sparse but they exist.

Be sure to visit all the posts in this Science Carnival!

 

Citations/References

1. “Desert.” Merriam-Webster.com. Accessed July 20, 2014. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/desert.

2. “Megafauna.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 20 July 2014. <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/megafauna>.

3. “Aquifer.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 21 July 2014. <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/aquifer>.

4. Desert USA http://www.desertusa.com/survive.html

Adrienne Roehrich
“Rock On!”

Star Wars Day

Written by Meg Humphrey, Programming Project Manager

This post originally appeared on May 4, 2014 at Have You Nerd

May Fourth has become the official Star Wars holiday over the last few years. As a Star Wars Fan since I was old enough to comprehend what a movie was, you’d think that it would be my favorite day of the year (outside of holidays where I get presents, of course). This is where I’ll admit that, for a little bit, I was a Star Wars hipster in the way where I really disliked the idea of “May the Fourth.” Suddenly Facebook would be blowing up with posts “May the Fourth be with you!” and I would get unreasonably angry. I would think “You’re not a Star Wars fan! Luke Skywalker isn’t lame! You haven’t cried while reading the X-Wing series or the Jedi Academy Trilogy! You don’t collect any of the toys! CG YODA IS NOT BETTER THAN CRAZY PUPPET YODA! Stop pretending!” Then I realized that I was part of the problem; I was acting as a gatekeeper to my fandom. I needed to cut it out and I did. I’ll never again forget that Star Wars touches uncountable lives in many different ways and there’s no one true way to be a fan.

Star Wars Celebration VI Attendees

Repeat after me: Star Wars is for everyone. Casual fans, die hard fans, fans who started with The Clone Wars, fans who saw A New Hope opening night in 1977, fans who hate the prequels, fans who love the EU (now the “Legends” books), old people, young people, girls and boys (and any gender outside or in between), Sith, Jedi, Wookiees, Trandoshans, Bith, Ewoks, politicians, pilots, and every other being in the galaxy. Star Wars is for you (and for me) and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

On the whole, Star Wars fans are beautiful. We’re eager to make friends and connections, to talk about our speculations and feelings, and to just enjoy the vast universe that is being set before us. You’ll find people with different opinions than you, but we’ll try to discuss them rationally and without hurting each other’s feelings (we just sometimes have strong opinions). I’ve done Star Wars Panel at Sakura-Con for the last seven years and I’m forever grateful for the friends I’ve made there and the stories from audience members about the goodness that Star Wars has brought to their lives.

Audience at “We’re Doomed!: A Star Wars Panel” at Sakura-Con 2014

Is the fandom perfect? No. As much as I’m accepted and respected by others, there’s still people who insinuate that my Rebel Alliance and Jedi Council tattoos aren’t real and I couldn’t possibly know as much about Star Wars as them because I’m a woman. Are there things I wish were different about Star Wars? Of course. My voice joined others with the concern of the lack of female representation after the Episode VII core cast announcement. But we stick with it, because our love ofStar Wars is too great, and we are determined to make it better, more inclusive, and more fun for everyone.

So go ahead and get your Wookiee Cookies and Han Burgers ready for your Machete order marathon (or in my case – a showing of the Ewok Adventure and the Caravan of Courage)! Fill Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram with your makeship Leia bun head bands and your hand crafted stormtrooper armor! Celebrate the Force as it surrounds us and binds us as the luminous beings we are!

 

And, as ever, may the Force be with you.

Always.

 

Guest Contributor
“Rock On!”

Star Wars Is for Everyone

Guest post written by Tricia Barr

Last August, when my GeekGirlCon Star Wars panel explored the fairy tale archetypes of princesses and witches that are prominent in the galaxy far, far away, I had no idea what was about to unfold two months later. The Disney purchase of Lucasfilm coincided with the announcement that there would be more Star Wars movies. Not just a sequel trilogy, but also new stand-alones. Almost immediately rumors swirled about a female lead protagonist for the sequel trilogy from a franchise that is often considered one for the boys. A recent Slate article by Libby Copeland revealed that Disney programs like Doc McStuffins and Sofia the First are turning on its head the entertainment industry’s notion that boys supposedly won’t watch shows about girls. It’s still too early to say what the future of Star Wars movies and media tie-in products will be, but undoubtedly this is a time when female fans are more prominent than ever.

Shea and Tricia

Shea Standefer and Tricia Barr cosplaying as Jaina Solo at Celebration 6

For all the talk surrounding the lack of a female-led superhero movie or television show after the recent round of announcements from DC Comics and Marvel, it’s easy to forget that Jedi are superheroes too. That was one topic of discussion at last year’s panel. While Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games is proving that a female-led action heroine movie can draw impressive box office tallies, she is still just a girl and not a supergirl in the minds of studio executives who greenlight movies. Following up on rumors that Soairse Ronan has read for the lead role in Episode VII, Bleeding Cool commented: “Years of genre films living under a cloud on this front and Star Wars is coming back swinging with at least a pair of great leading roles for young ladies. It almost feels like a grand statement you wish nobody had to make.”

Having been a fan from 1977, I’m proof that Star Wars was never just a boys’ franchise. In 1980 the president of the Star Wars fan club was a woman, Maureen Garrett. The Star Ladies are a fan group invaluable in the running of the Star Wars conventions known as Celebration. Not to mention the simple fact that movies don’t become worldwide phenomena without engaging a broad base of fans. As a young woman I was sold from A New Hope’s opening scroll, which didn’t mention the saga’s hero but rather a princess who was “custodian of the stolen plans that can save her people and restore freedom to the galaxy.” In her first on-screen moments Princess Leia transferred the stolen plans to R2-D2 and engaged stormtroopers as a diversion for the droid’s escape. That was the moment I realized girls could be heroes too.

As a blogger covering the franchise, I see plenty of signals coming from Lucasfilm and its parent company Disney that both corporations don’t view their audience as just boys, either. IndieWire reported from the exclusive Disney event at the Las Vegas Licensing Expo that Star Wars “content presents stellar licensing opportunities and deepens Disney’s portfolio across consumer segments, particularly with boys and collectors, but also opens up the Star Wars world to new fans.” We are entering an era that will be very similar to the first return of Star Wars movies when The Phantom Menace hit screens. Old fans were reenergized and new fans were born. It was both an exciting and daunting time. Fanzines and local fan groups were replaced by message boards and chat rooms. The fan community grew exponentially and shared its passion at computer terminals. Think of how much larger and more connected internet communities are today than they were a decade ago.

The internet allowed fans to foster many new friendships, but also created greater opportunities for bullies to lash out. My fandom almost came to a screeching halt in 2003, when I had the good fortune to win the first of many fanfiction awards—and my success earned me the ire of a certain subset of the fandom called movie purists, who were not happy that stories about characters found in the Star Wars Expanded Universe books had garnered more awards than stories about the movie characters. At the time I was very naïve about gatekeeping and the dynamics of geek culture. Luckily, as I struggled with individuals who thought Star Wars only needed certain types of fans, other fans reached out. I began to form a circle of friends who shared the same passion for the books, comics, and movies, or who were willing to be open about how others enjoyed the fictional universe. Although the problem hasn’t gone away completely, the anti-bullying message is carrying the day, and female fans have many opportunities to find safe spaces to discuss the franchise and their fandom.

sw-reads-day-ii-logoIn 2010, after years of trying to work within the established message board environment and noting that the products coming from Star Wars licensees were being aimed more toward the men who managed and moderated these sites, I decided women needed a place to voice their opinions as fans and consumers. Having already created a small message board community that promoted respectful discussion, I dove into the world of blogging and started advocating for female fans and the stories they wanted told. The success of my blog led to opportunities to write about Star Wars for Random House’s blog Suvudu, Action Flick Chick, Lucasfilm’s official Star Wars Blog, and the print magazine Star Wars Insider.

Both The Clone Wars supervising director Dave Filoni and voice actress Ashley Eckstein have personally emphasized to me that one of the most important things fans can do is to speak up and ask for what we want. Ultimately, too, fans then have to support their likes by putting their money behind their passions. Her Universe, with its line of geek merchandise, gives female fans a chance to double down on their passion—first by buying geek products, then by displaying our passion by wearing it loud and proud. Her Universe founder Ashley Eckstein used the Year of the Fangirl to help foster a community for female fans.

When I considered the upcoming opportunities for new and old Star Wars fans in the next few years, GeekGirlCon seemed to be a perfect venue to help share the experience of women who had been enjoying adventures in the galaxy far, far away for some time. Our panel “Star Wars: More Than A Boys’ Franchise” will be in Room 301/302 on Sunday, October 20 at 3 p.m. If you are in the mood to share Star Wars with like-minded fans before them, Star Wars Reads Day is Saturday, October 5. For more details of events and locations check StarWars.com.

If you have questions you would like the panel to answer, feel free to leave a comment here. We’ll try to incorporate them into the panel discussion.

Tricia Barr discusses Star Wars, fandom, and strong female characters at FANgirl Blog. Her first novel, Wynde, is a military science fiction tale with a fantastical twist exploring a heroine’s journey. For excerpts and tales of her adventures in creating a fictional universe, hop over to TriciaBarr.com. For updates on all things FANgirl, follow @FANgirlcantina on Twitter.

Winter Downs
“Rock On!”

GeekGirlCon ’12 Preview: Women in Star Wars

We are continuing our GeekGirlCon ’12 panel preview with a look at Star Wars. On Saturday, from 12:30 p.m. to 1:20 p.m., come to Room 204 for From Jedi Princess to Sith Witch: An Exploration of Female Characters in Star Wars. Here’s a description of the panel:

Padmé Amidala and Leia Organa are icons in discussions about female characters in science fiction. Panelists will delve into the representations of females in the Expanded Universe and the recurring theme of the Jedi Princess. As a counterbalance, the Sith witches transcend the stereotypical caricatures often found in fairy tales and the “ordinary” female characters such as bounty hunters, intelligence agents, smugglers, and fighter pilots that capture our imagination without mystical powers.

Presented by Tricia Barr, Ashley Eckstein, Joanne Perrault, Linda Hansen-Raj, Joao Stinson

Princess Leia feeds the secret plans for the Death Star — a planet-killing space station — into R2-D2’s memory banks (Photo from StarWars.com)

Star Wars is amazing because it draws equal numbers of female and male fans. Why is that? Is it because of the strong female characters in the show? Come to this panel to engage in this conversation. This is great timing, as we announced last Monday that Ashley Eckstein will be attending our convention as a guest. She will be joining this amazing panel.

We were able to snag Tricia Barr, moderator of the panel and creator of the FANgirl Blog. Tricia shared some additional details about the panel and talked about what parts of GeekGirlCon ’12 have her excited. Read on!

1. How long have you been a Star Wars fan (and how did you become one)?

I’ve been a Star Wars fan from the beginning. I still remember standing in line to see the movie with my grandparents in 1977. The opening sequence was spectacular. Then there was this princess who wasn’t like any princess I had ever seen before…

Guest Contributor
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Actress and Her Universe Founder Joins GeekGirlCon ‘12 Guests

We might have released our programming last week (Saturday and Sunday), but that doesn’t mean we are done announcing guests for GeekGirlCon ‘12! Today, we are excited to announce the addition of Ashley Eckstein, an amazing actress and entrepreneur.

Eckstein in a Her Universe shirt (left) and Ahsoka Tano (right)

Eckstein currently stars as the voice of Ahsoka Tano in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, the animated television show. Her devotion to Star Wars extends well beyond her years as a voice actor for the show’s four seasons. She currently blogs for The Official Star Wars Blog and is the founder of Her Universe, the first merchandise line exclusively for female science fiction fans. She created the company to provide female fans an equal opportunity to show off their Star Wars pride. Her Universe products have since expanded to other well-known franchises such as Syfy, Doctor Who, and Star Trek.

How cool is that?

Here is what Jennifer K. Stuller, our Programming Creative Director, had to say about this announcement: “We are honored and incredibly excited to have Ashley joining us for GeekGirlCon ‘12. She is a fantastic role model for young girls and women, and the work she does is completely in line with our mission at GeekGirlCon, which is to create a community where women and girls can come together to celebrate who they are, and what they love.”

Eckstein will join other Star Wars fans on Saturday as a member of the panel From Jedi Princess to Sith Witch: An Exploration of Female Characters in Star Wars. She will also be available for media signings and will be featured in the GeekGirlConnections room, where convention guests can network and get mentorship and advice from professionals, who work in their desired career fields.

Read our press release or guest page for more information.

Don’t forget to buy your passes now to catch Ashley and other guests! GeekGirlCon ‘12 will be happening at The Conference Center in downtown Seattle, August 11-12, 2012.

Guest Contributor
“Rock On!”

Links We Loved Last Week

In addition to providing news about our upcoming convention, GeekGirlCon loves sharing the latest and greatest geek news.

Here are some of our favorite geeky links from the week of September 20-26:

Female Armor Sucks, YouTube

Online Gamers Solve AIDS Puzzle that Eluded Scientists, International Business Times

Dad Helps Kids Go Ewok-Spotting, Wired – GeekDad

‘DC Universe Online’ Free-To-Play Starting in October,  Comics Alliance

The History Behind Comic Books and Comic Book Censorship, Neatorama

5 Doctor Who Characters Who Deserve Their Own Spin-Off Series, Blastr

Guest Contributor
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This Week in the History of the Geek

September 3rd
2004 – Wizards of the Coast premieres the tabletop game Star Wars Miniatures by releasing the “Rebel Storm” set. This set focused on the struggle between the Rebels and the Imperials throughout the classic Star Wars trilogy. Only characters from the three original movies (A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi) were included.

September 2nd
1993 – The United States and Russia formally ended decades of competition in space by agreeing to a joint project: the Mir space station. This station became the world’s first constantly inhabited long-term research station in space.

August 29th
1991 – Nintendo released Super Mario Bros. 3 in Europe; it was the last installment of the Mario series made for the Nintendo Entertainment System. This game introduced a number of advances to the Mario series, including the addition of a map screen, mini-games, new power-ups, and enemies. Some other additions included updating Bowser’s character design to add his now token flaming red-hair and the introduction of the Koopalings, Bowser’s litter of hostile kiddies.

August 31st
1895 – Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin patents the rigid airship, known as the Zeppelin.

August 30th
1797 – Mary Shelley was born on this day in 1797. Her Gothic novel Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus is often considered one other earliest science fiction stories. Embracing both Gothic and Romantic elements in this novel, Shelley crafted an enduring tale about the power of science and artificial life that is ever-present across pop-culture genres today.

September 1st
1486 – The first copyright in history was granted in Venice, Italy. It was given to a book that contained the history of the city itself, the Rerum venetarum ab arbe condita opus (The Work of the Founding of the City of Venice) by Marcus Antonius Coccius Sabellicus.

Guest Contributor
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Links We Loved Last Week

In addition to providing news about our upcoming convention, GeekGirlCon loves sharing the latest and greatest geek news.

Here are some links we couldn’t get enough of from the week of July 25-31:

San Diego Comic-Con Cosplay Spotlight: Gender Bent Justice League, LA Weekly Blogs

Harry Potter Spring Teen Comedy, YouTube

Star Wars themed Xbox 360 and Kinect revealed, VideoGamer.com

First Look at Geeks and Gamers Anonymous!!!, Action Flick Chick

William Shatner Leads 3,000 People in a Group-Khannnn, Kotaku

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