04.14.14 // Notable Scientists: Modern Chemists
Written by Adrienne M. Roehrich, Manager of Editorial Services
Double X Science runs a series called Notable Women in Science. As the chemistry editor at Double X Science, I write the series. GeekGirlCon is excited to post the series here on our blog, with minor modifications.
Our next installment of notable women in science brings us to chemists. Many of these women were born in the early part of the 20th century and forged their paths in tough times. All are still inspiring others today. Presented in no particular order:
Catherine Clarke Fenselau is a pioneer in mass spectrometry. Born in 1939, her interested in science was apparent before her 10th grade. She was encouraged to attend a women’s college, which at the time gave what she called “a special opportunity for serious-minded young women.” She graduated from Bryn Mawr with her A.B. in chemistry in 1961. Her graduate work at Stanford introduced her to the technology she would become known for, receiving her Ph.D. in analytical chemistry in 1965. Dr. Fenselau and her husband took positions at the Johns Hopkins University Medical School, at which time she had two sons. Johns Hopkins was under a mandate to accept female students and have female faculty at the time. Dr. Fenselau was made aware of the disparity of the treatment of male and female faculty, when in the 1970s the equal opportunity laws came into effect and she received an unexplained 25% raise. Her research resided in mass spectrometry, specifically in its use in biology. She became known as an anti-cancer researcher. Dr. Fenselau spoke often to chemists about feminism and goals, such as equal pay, opening closed career opportunities to women, and achieving the bonuses often only awarded to men. She has worked as an editor on several scientific journals. Some of her awards include the Garvan Medal, Maryland Chemist Award, and NIH Merit Award. Having proper help at work and at home, and having supportive mentors and spouse has helped her achieve her success.
Elizabeth Amy Kreiser Weisburger is considered a real-lifemedical sleuth. Born in 1924, Dr. Weisburger was one of 10 children and schooled at home for her early education. She received her B.S. in chemistry, cum laude, Phi Alpha Epsilon from Lebanon Valley College. She received her Ph.D. in organic chemistry in 1947 from the University of Cincinnati. She married and had three children. Her research has caused her to be proclaimed a pioneer in the field of chemical carcinogenesis. She balanced her busy life of working at the NCI, committee work, giving lectures, attending meetings, writing and reviewing papers while caring for children with the aid of housekeepers and nursery childcare. Some of her awards include the Garvan Medal and the HillebrandPrize. Her life philosophy is summed up with “Don’t take life so seriously; you’ll never get out of it alive.”
Helen M. Free is a major contributor to science and science education. Born in 1923, Ms. Free attended the College of Wooster, graduating with honors and a B.S. in 1944. In 1978, she earned a M.A. from Central Michigan University. In the meantime, she worked as a chemist at Miles Laboratories. She developed clinical effective and easy to use laboratory tests. She worked her way up through the company and also held an adjunct professor position at Indiana University, South Bend. Ms. Free has used her time to be active in professional societies and has served as president for the American Association for Clinical Chemistry and the American Chemical Society. Her awards include the Garvan Medal, a Distinguished Alumni Award from Wooster, and is the first recipient of the Public Outreach Award bearing her name.
Jeanette Grasselli Brown is an industry researcher and director. Born in 1929, she graduated summa cum laude with her B.S. from Ohio University in 1950 and received her M.S. in 1958 from Western Reserve University. She worked at Standard Oil of Ohio (now BP of America), and became the first woman director of corporate research there. She has received numerous awards including the Garvan Medal, Ohio Women’s Hall of Fame, and the Fisher Award in Analytical Chemistry. She has published 75 papers in scientific journals, written 9 books, and received 7 honorary Doctorate of Science degrees. She is an activist for the future of women in science.
Jean’ne Marie Shreeve is an important fluorine chemist. Born in 1933, she encountered sexism through her mother’s inability to be employed despite her training as a schoolteacher. Dr. Shreeve graduated with a B.A. from Montana State University in 1953, followed by an M.S. in 1956 from the University of Minnesota, and a Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry in 1961 from the University of Washington. After graduating, she worked her way through the professorial ranks at the University of Idaho. Besides her own research, Dr. Shreeve has devoted herself to educating other chemists. Some of her awards include U.S. Ramsey Fellow, Alfred P. Sloan Fellow, and Garvan Medal.
Joyce Jacobson Kaufman is distinguished in many fields. Born in 1929, she was reading before the age of 2 and was a voracious reader as a child. This led to her reading the biography of Marie Curie, which inspired her to be a chemist. Dr. Kaufman received her B.S., M.A., and Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Johns Hopkins University in 1949, 1959, and 1960, respectively. She married and had a daughter. Her research in the application of quantum mechanics to chemistry, biology, and medicine led to her renown in several fields. She has also spent much time in service positions. Her awards include the Martin Company Gold Medal for Outstanding Scientific Accomplishments (received 3 times), the Garvan Medal, and honored as one of ten Outstanding Women in the State of Maryland.
Madeleine M. Joullie is known for elegant research and inspirational teaching. Born in 1927, her early life in Brazil was overly-protective, so her father encouraged her to attend school in the U.S.A. She received her B.Sc. from Simmons College in 1949, and her M.Sc. and Ph.D. in chemistry in 1950 and 1953, respectively, from the University of Pennsylvania. She then worked her way through the professorial ranks at the University of Pennsylvania. Initially, only the women graduate students would work with her, and they were few and far between. She has explored many research avenues over the course of her career. Her awards include the Garvan Medal, the American Cyanamid Faculty Award, the Henry HillAward, and the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching.
Marjorie Caserio is a researcher, educator, author, andacademic administrator. Born in 1929, she entered university with the goal of becoming a podiatrist in order to generic income. She received several rejections from colleges due to her gender, and eventually was accepted to be the only woman in her class. She received her B.S. from Chelsea College, University of London in 1950 and an M.A. and Ph.D from Bryn Mawr in 1951 and 1956. Dr. Caserio is co-author of one of the most popular organic chemistry textbooks in the chemistry during the 1960s and 1970s. Her awards include the Garvan Medal and John S. Guggenheim Foundation Fellow.
Mary Lowe Good has won several awards and is a public servant. Born in 1931, she was supported in her aspirations by her parents. She received her B.S. in 1950 from the University of Central Arkansas, which was then the Arkansas State Teachers College. She went on to receive her M.S. and Ph.D. in inorganic and radiochemistry from the University of Arkansas in 1953 and 1955. Her career began in academic, but an appointment to the National Science Foundation by President Carter changed the course of her career. She served the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, and president of the American Chemical Society and Zonta International Foundation. Some of her awards include Garvan Medal, CharlesLathrop Parsons Award, and 18 honorary doctorates.
Ruth Mary Roan Benerito is an academic and government scientist. Born in 1916, she began college at the age of 15 at Sophie Newcomb College, the women’s college of Tulane and received her B.S. in 1935. She received her M.S. from Tulane University in 1938, which she worked half-time while working another job at the same time. She taught at Tulane and its colleges before going to the University of Chicago to get her Ph.D. in 1948 in physical chemistry, again working on a part-time basis. Her career oscillated between academia and industry, earning her a large number of awards, including the Federal Women’s Award, the Southern Chemist Award, and inducted as a Fellow into the American Institute of Chemists and Iota Sigma Pi.
- The Garvan Medal is an award from the American Chemical Society to recognize distinguished service to chemistry by women chemists.
- The Maryland Chemist Award recognizes and honors its members for outstanding achievement in the fields of chemistry.
- The NIH Merit Award is a symbol of scientific achievement in the research community.
- The Hillebrand Prize is awarded for original contributions to the science of chemistry.
- The Distinguished Alumni Award from Wooster is presented annually to alumni who have distinguished themselves in one of more of the following area: professional career; service to humanity; and service to Wooster.
- Helen M. Free Award recognizes outstanding achievements in the field of public outreach.
- Ohio Women’s Hall of Fame provides public recognition of contributions made to the growth and progress of Ohio and the nation.
- The Fisher Award in Analytical Chemistry recognizes outstanding contributions to the field of analytical chemistry.
- U.S. Ramsey Fellow is no longer offered.
- Alfred P. Sloan Fellow is awarded to scientists and scholars of outstanding promise.
- Outstanding Women in the State of Maryland awards women under the age of 40 for their achievements already made in an early career.
- The American Cyanamid Faculty Award
- The Henry Hill Award recognizes distinguished service to professionalism.
- The Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching
- John S. Guggenheim Foundation Fellow is awarded for demonstrating outstanding scholarship.
- Charles Lathrop Parsons Award recognizes outstanding public service.
- The Federal Women’s Award
- The Southern Chemist Award
- The American Institute of Chemists advances the chemical sciences by establishing high professional standards of practice and to emphasize the professional, ethical, economic, and social status of its members for the benefit of society as a whole.
- Iota Sigma Pi is a national honor society for women in chemistry.
Much of the information for this post came from the book Notable Women in the Physical Sciences: A Biographical Dictionary edited by Benjamin F. Shearer and Barbara S. Shearer.
04.9.14 // Guest Blogging for GeekGirlCon
We are always looking for awesome geeky blog posts for the GeekGirlCon blog. You could be our next guest blogger!
GeekGirlCon is dedicated to recognizing and celebrating the contribution of women in all aspects of geek culture. Connect with GeekGirlCon through social media (Twitter and Facebook) and meet other geeks at events and our annual convention. GeekGirlCon ‘14 is October 11 and 12, 2014.
GeekGirlCon’s audience is mainly composed of geeky girls and women. Here’s a short list of the most frequently used keywords that they would look at:
* Geek Girl/GeekGirls * Conventions *Sci-Fi *Geeky Parenting
* Cosplay * Geek Culture *Crafts * Books
* Gaming * Fantasy *Nerds *Anime/Manga
1. Length: Posts should be 600 to 2000 words and stick to one topic or idea.
Image courtesy of Creative Commons License
2. Title: The post title should be under 60 characters and contain the person or concept featured in the post to help grab readers’ attention. While quirky titles are fun, a straightforward title containing a target keyword can often be more effective than a catchy title.
Please use the following at the top of your post:
Title: Blah Blah Women or Something with proper case
by Your Name, Where People Know You From
3. Beginning: Clearly state your main point at the beginning of your post and include supporting information in subsequent paragraphs.
4. Tone: Posts should be written for a wide audience and steer clear of jargon or technical language. Use conversational language and explain things clearly by providing background information on a subject and by using specific examples to illustrate a point.
5. Show, Don’t Tell: What does this mean? “Showing” allows the reader to follow you into the moment—to see and feel and experience what you have.
6. Keep Their Attention: People rarely read pages word-by-word. Generally, readers scan a page, picking out individual words and sentences. To help readers find the most important points in your blog, use the following tools:
Short paragraphs and short sentences
One idea per paragraph
7. Link, Link, Link! A strong blog post includes links to other sites and blogs.
8. Multimedia is Good: Whenever possible, incorporate multimedia features, including embedded videos, images, and infographics. The goal is to have at least one visual element per blog post. The shorter the video, the more likely people will watch it from start to finish. We have a strict no-stealing policy, so only legally free-to-share images are acceptable. Please cite all multimedia sources.
9. Closing: Encourage reader interaction by providing a clear call to action, such as asking readers to sign an online pledge, post their thoughts in the comments section, or share the piece with their networks on Twitter or Facebook.
10. Search Engine Optimization: Ensure your post is optimized for search engines through these steps:
Identify your target keyword for each post by thinking about what phrase people would use to search for this topic.
Use a target keyword in your first paragraph and two to three more times in the post.
Instead of writing something like “Learn more” for hyperlinked text, use more descriptive language related to the target keywords.
We encourage creativity when writing for GeekGirlCon, and we also require that all posts be in alignment with our mission statement. We have final say on what gets released on behalf of the organization and reserve the right to edit, reject, and ask for revisions on all posts and ideas.
Image Courtesy of Creative Commons License
If you have any questions, please contact:
Manager of Editorial Services
Thanks and happy writing!
Would anyone in the world be surprised to learn that several staff members of GeekGirlCon are huge fans of other conventions as well? No? Didn’t think so. Where comic books, cosplay, pop culture, and nerdy fandoms combine, we geeks will surely coalesce!
For this month’s Ask GeekGirlCon, a few GeekGirlCon staffers offered info on their favorite parts of another convention set here in Seattle, Emerald City Comicon. It took place March 28-30, and took over many of our lives – in a good way — for three magical days!
Staff Copy Writer SG-1 enjoyed several aspects of ECCC this year. “My favorite part about Emerald City Comicon is usually sitting in the large main room, seeing the actors from various television shows and movies who come to speak to the fans. Some of the fans’ questions are awkward, at best, and some–mostly the little kids–are absolutely adorable. This year’s lineup was no exception, but it’s so long you need to go to the website and check it out for yourself. My favorite guest presentations were Richard Dean Anderson, Alan Tudyk, Mark Sheppard, Karl Urban, Ron Perlman (that VOICE…), Kris Holden-Reid, John de Lancie, Michael Dorn, Jim Beaver, and Stephen Amell. Instead of having local radio personalities moderating these panels, ECCC brought in actress Clare Kramer, best known as Glory of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame. She was definitely an improvement over the radio personalities!
“This year, my absolute favorite parts about ECCC were intertwined with sharing the experience with my friends: my friend Heidi, who I met at ECCC several years ago; my friend Phil, who is the knowledge base of everything Star Trek; my adorable friend Blyss, who now lives in Portland and I never get to see; and especially my roommate, Kevin, whom I’ve known since high school and who finally moved to Seattle last year. Spending time with my friends was truly the best part of Emerald City Comicon; seeing the actors I admired took a backseat to that, and for the first time, it made the whole weekend seem complete.”
Exhibitor Services Manager Kris Panchyk has had a multitude of fantastic experiences at Emerald City Comicon. “This was my sixth year working as a Department minion for the Photo Booth area of ECCC,” she explains, “and I have to say that my favorite part covers a couple of different areas. Firstly, I get to see the wonderful and imaginative costumes on attendees — there are so many, and from so many different fandoms! Secondly, talking to the attendees, even for a brief time, and they’re all excited about who they get to meet. And thirdly, seeing them come out after getting their pictures taken — so excited, some crying, some laughing, all so happy; it makes all of the hard work worth it! I’d pick a picture to share, but I started here and there are way, way too many awesome ones to pick from!”
Executive Director of GeekGirlCon Amanda Powter not only had fun at the event this year, but also made exciting plans for 2015. “I had a great time attending ECCC this year. They mailed out their badges for attendees ahead of time, which I think made a huge difference in how easy it was to get in. I thought the packed panel on The Changing Role of the Character of Color was interesting and generated excellent dialogue, thanks to the fabulous panelists Jennifer K. Stuller, Dr. Raychelle Burks, and Kristine Hassell. However, I think my favorite thing has to be the mind-boggling Exhibitor hall(s)/floor/space and Artist Alley. It was unsurprisingly packed, but well organized for browsing and serendipity — my new nail wraps from Espionage Cosmetics were my first purchase, and after picking up some amazing exclusive items, resisting a leather Mario or Luigi hat, and meeting some of my favorite artists, I finally succumbed to my long desire to have a Geek Chic table of my very own (well, in a year).”
Adrienne Roehrich, Manager of Editorial Services and Vice President of the Board, states, “I thoroughly enjoyed myself this year at ECCC. I went with my husband and he bought some books and got them signed by a musician he is a fan of in both music and comics. He says chatting with Claudio Sanchez and getting those items, including 2 records, signed was his highlight this year. I purchased a set of comics for my daughter about teaching English in Japan, which she enjoyed a lot.
“I attended panels discussing important topics and panels with celebs. My favorite part, though, was not one instant, but rather the collection of conversations I had with so many people. I caught up with old friends I only ever see at Cons, and met new people. The discussions I had this year were lovely and many involved the representation of under-represented people in comics and media. These were very cool conversations and were definitely my favorite part of Emerald City Comic-Con. A couple of these conversations led to purchases for myself (see image). You may see a review from me on these in the future.”
Kristine Hassell, Social Media Manager and President of the Board, got to be involved with Emerald City Comicon 2014 in a very exciting way. “My favourite part of ECCC this year was actually participating as a panelist with friends and fellow GeekGirlCon sisters Dr. Raychelle Burks and Jennifer K. Stuller! When I met them outside our room and realized people were queued up for us, it made me feel special and excited to share my views. It definitely whetted my appetite for speaking at other local conventions about diversity in media, and I’m already kicking around panels to pitch for #GGC14!”
As a Copy Writer for GeekGirlCon, I love supporting artists of all mediums, and my two favorite parts of Emerald City Comicon involved revered comic book writers. Thanks to a fantastic friend of mine, I was offered the chance to volunteer at the Image Comics booth, a humbling honor in my book! Chatting with people about the writing of greats like Kelly Sue DeConnick, Greg Rucka, and Brian K. Vaughan was awesome, to say the least.
My other favorite experience at Emerald City Comicon was getting to meet one of my real-life heroes. Dan Parent has been an artist and writer of Archie Comics for two decades now, and my family has countless works of his thanks to our obsession with the Riverdale crew. My siblings and I devoured and discussed Archie comics as we grew up, and still frequently reference them to this day. Little did I know that so many were written and drawn by Dan Parent, and that one day I’d be able to thank him in person for inspiring me to read so much as a child!
I was able to chat with Dan for about fifteen minutes at the Con and am still beaming from it. He is the creator of Kevin Keller, Riverdale’s very first gay character, and I was thrilled to purchase and have Dan sign a hardcover trade of Kevin’s stories. Dan is also currently working with writer, actress, and feminist Lena Dunham (another hero of mine) as she crafts a Girls-esque story for the gang. Cheers to an amazing artist who is doing great things for this classic and beloved comic book series!
What was your favorite part of Emerald City Comicon this year? Do you plan to attend it in 2015?
Written by Sarah “SG-1” Grant, GGC Copy Writer
Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow?
This is something of a personal mantra for me. I make a list of things I need to get done on a day like today–a day I have off from work–and I immediately start planning how I can get these things done on a different day, rather than the one where I know I have free time. Instead of thinking to myself, “It’s Thursday, my day off! I can:
- clean the kitchen
- do my laundry
- vacuum the apartment
- write something for GeekGirlCon
- write my 500 words of fiction for the day
- fold and put away the clean laundry
- make that doctor appointment I’ve been meaning to make
- go to the gym
- take a nap
- brush the cat.
Out of this list, I will generally do a little kitchen stuff, plan to do laundry another day, write for GeekGirlCon, and take a nap. I spend the rest of all that potentially productive time, watching TV, reading a book (or fanfiction online), sleeping more, or something else just as completely unproductive. I also spend time mentally beating myself up for being so lazy, which just makes me feel great about myself. [sarcasm!]
This post, in fact, is the product of procrastination. I was going to write it yesterday, but it didn’t happen: too many Walking Dead episodes to watch. I did actually clean the kitchen, and I did go to the gym. I count yesterday as pretty productive, list aside.
My question is always the same: how do I stop procrastinating and get something done? Here are my usual answers, which almost always work:
- Set a timer. Whether it’s the downtime I have to watch an episode of Lost Girl, or the amount of time I will take to clean the kitchen. This breaks things up into manageable chunks. An episode of Lost Girl is about 45 minutes of time, including fast forwarding through the commercials; if I spend 20 minutes in the kitchen, I can get a lot done, and still have energy to do the next thing on my list.
- Give myself a reward for finishing a task. My reward for finishing a gym workout is a nice long shower; my reward for writing my 500 fiction words is 30 minutes reading a book. Occasionally I will reward myself for something really awesome with ice cream, but I have found that rewarding myself with food isn’t very good for my health after a while. Just ask my doctor!
- Use a brightly colored pen to check off items on your checklist. Mine is purple, which contrasts nicely with the black ink I always write with. It’s cheerful, it’s not at all alarming, and it’s concrete evidence that another item is complete.
- Don’t let other people’s lists and lives get you down. Just because you don’t clean the whole house, top to bottom, corners and baseboards included, twice a week, doesn’t mean your to do list is any less important. It’s important to you, and that makes it just as valuable as someone else’s list.
- Understand that when someone helpfully tells you, “You just need to do it!”, that it works for them. That doesn’t mean it has to work for you.
The most important thing I’ve learned from working my lists is this: mentally berating myself will not make me get things more things done tomorrow. It will make me feel badly about myself, which will pull me down into laziness and depression faster than anything else I know. It might sound a little cliched, but being kind and forgiving yourself for not getting everything done is one of the best ways to keep an open, positive mind about the rest of your life. Whenever I remember this, everything seems brighter all of a sudden, and it makes handling the rest of my life so much easier.
Do you have a favorite solution for procrastination?
04.2.14 // International Children’s Book Day
Written by Adrienne M. Roehrich, Manager of Editorial Services
Today, April 2, 2014 is International Children’s Book Day. Established in 1967, the holiday falls on or near Hans Christian Andersen’s birthday, the 2nd of April. Ostensibly, it is meant to encourage a love of reading and highlight children’s books. It is also an opportunity to turn a critical eye towards children’s book and their representation of people.
When I look back at the books I loved most as a little kid, they included:
The Poky Little Puppy A Big Golden Book – representation male, animal
Where the Sidewalk Ends, A Light in the Attic, and Falling Up by Shel Silverstein – I’m not going to go through the poems, but there were poems about boys and girls and animals, all the depictions in the illustrations seem to be white people
McElligot’s Pool by Dr. Suess – ‘young man’ main character, drawn as white
Giants Come in Different Sizes by Jolly Roger Bradfield – all main characters are male and apparently German, based upon umlaut usage, or British, based upon names. There are a few images of female characters.
Richard Scarry’s Peasant Pig and the Terrible Dragon – all the characters are animals, the cast seems fairly evenly split as male and female, but the major players are male.
Dr. Suess’s Sleep Book by Dr. Suess – a variety of genders in made-up species
According to my favorites, there was a slight advantage to the boys, and other groups of people were not so well represented. A study in 2011 looking at the representation of gender in books found that in children’s books written from 1900 to 2000, male characters had a central role in 57 percent of books published per year while female characters were at 31 percent. This value did not get better over the century, and in fact, it was worse mid-century. Another more recent study has found that in the literature children read in their school textbooks, male characters outnumber female characters in both text and visual representation. As I pointed out in the books I listed of my own interest, even when characters are female, they are doing stereotypically female things.
I didn’t go into my favorite books where the text outweighed the illustrations, such as Bunnicula by James and Deborah Howe or The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White or A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. But these books are characterized in the above studies as well, and also show the same gender disparities.
What about race or disabilities? What about sexual orientation? To address the latter, I found one study directly exploring the representation of sexualities other than heterosexual in children’s literature. Considering so many children’s stories actually have a romance or an arranged marriage between a male and a female character, I would expect that heteronormative experiences are the huge majority of any sexuality presented.
There have been studies of the representation of disabilities – and a wide range of disabilities in children’s books. You guessed it, they are hugely under-represented. And the disabilities shown do not reflect those that most children see in their peers in elementary schools. Sadly, children’s books are where the tropes of characters with disabilities start. These tropes include being support characters, inspirational, “pitiful or pathetic, or a burden and incapable of fully participating in the events of everyday life.” For those who are disabled reading this, this is not the reflection that is healthy. And for those who are able, seeing only these stories is also unhealthy for learning about others.
Studies of the representation of both disability and race have been done. In general, when you find children’s stories with disability represented, the percentage of those with non-white races depicted is very low. In fact, the percent of children’s books depicting any race that is not white is low.
As every single study or article linked above says, it is important for children to see representations of themselves, and positive representations of themselves in the literature they read.
Stellaluna by Janell Cannon was not a book of my childhood, but it is a book I read to my kids and have kept because I liked it so. The main bat character is female, but it does not live up to a fully diverse cast. Do you have some examples of inclusive children’s books?
03.31.14 // Frozen – With Spoilers
Written by Adrienne M. Roehrich, Manager of Editorial Services
When the DVD/Blue-Ray release of Frozen occurred, my social media timelines filled with parents posting that they were watching the movie that night with their kids. When it was premiered in theaters on Thanksgiving, I heard mostly positive reviews from so many sources, parents and non-parents alike, I thought I’d see it if I could. So, within a weekend or so of the DVD release, we had a family movie night and watched the Blue-Ray of Frozen. Mostly my fourteen-year-old daughter, who was the only one of all her friends to not have seen it yet, and I were the ones interested in watching. However, my husband and thirteen-year-old son were happy to do family movie night with a Disney movie.
I am someone who really dislikes spoilers. If I don’t think I’m ever going to see or read or consume a thing, I don’t worry about them. Initially, Frozen was one of those things. However, what I had read caused me to want to see Frozen, and I had some spoilers. While I normally try to write spoiler-free reviews, I’m going to assume that since the movie was in theaters Thanksgiving 2013 and released for home video March 18, 2014, if you are interested in the movie, you’ve seen it already.
Loosely based on Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen, the story focuses on a pair of sisters. I felt like it was really the younger sister’s story more than the Snow Queen sister, but it was definitely their story together. The opening scenes introduce us to the culture and Kristoff and Sven, which is sort of too bad because it had me wondering who this character (Kristoff) was in the grand scheme of things pretty far into the movie.
The initial scene that sets the premise for the story of Anna getting Elsa to play with her Snow Queen powers, leading to the accident that requires the separation of two girls previously inseparable is very touching. It was very hard to watch Anna try so hard to get her sister back. However, I don’t think the isolation of Elsa and how she felt was as well displayed.
Of course, the parents die. The parents always die in Disney movies. (Every time parents die in film I always recall seeing The Lion King in theaters and a child a row or so away screaming “Not the Daddy! Not the Daddy!”) As a kid, I actually didn’t mind that so much, but as a parent it’s a little rougher.
The love song portion with Anna and Hans confused me. It seemed ill-fitting for the message I had received from sources, but I held on for the ride. I’d heard the Prince was a terrible person, but like Anna, I kind of bought it during the love song. Spoiler: don’t buy it. It’s an interesting nod to the oddity of all previous Disney movies where during one song, the girl and guy fall in love.
One of our film watchers did not really get into the movie until Kristoff and Sven came back on the scene with some real lines. This was because he could identify with a guy having a friend that didn’t talk, but he used a funny voice for to make up lines. For my family, Kristoff was a good source of humor, along with Olaf. Anna also had her moments. The adults in the family thought her “trust fall” line was well done. Likely a little out of character if I must analyze, since it’s doubtful this isolated princess ever did trust fall exercises.
I’ll admit, I thought Olaf melting to help Anna stay warm might do the trick to save her. I’m very happy with Anna saving herself by sacrificing herself for her sister. I’ll also admit that I didn’t get why everyone loved “Let It Go” so much until seeing it sung in the movie with what it truly meant. Now I get it.
I’m not thrilled or even okay with the diversity of the cast (either as drawn or as voiced.) I’ll give Disney their small steps of at least getting some women-power in there, but they have huge racism issues to overcome since their early days and continuing through the current day. There are also body size issues in this movie. Disney draws all the “good” guys in culturally idealized body shapes for both women and men. The only non-idealized bodies are by those who are plotting bad things (or are made of snow).
I’ve encountered several people who also watched Frozen after the DVD release for the first time and they were disappointed or at least not wowed the way one would expect based on the theatrical release noise. This is why: it was over-hyped. For those who went to a theatrical release expecting a typical Disney movie and got something that focused on two women as central characters and self-saving, this is a huge step forward and was amazing and cool. For those of us who listened to months of how awesome this is, it doesn’t live up. I spent the entire movie up until the actual sacrifice/savior scene wondering when the movie was going to live up to the hype. That’s extremely late in a movie for that. And then it wasn’t, oh wow! It was, oh, that’s why people liked this so much. Yeah, it shouldn’t be that intellectual.
Overall, this is a good movie. If you have a child with death-fears, maybe not this movie or any Disney movie where the parents die on-screen. But I think this is suitable for all ages and all genders (although some are not represented).
03.28.14 // April 2014 Geek About Town
April is just around the corner and we’ve got some geeky activities for you! Keep on reading for a month full of geekery!
Wednesday, April 2: Books on Tap
At 7:30 pm on the first Wednesday of each month, join us for “Books on Tap”, literary pub trivia, team and word games (21 and over only).
Thursday, April 3: Burke Trivia Night at College Inn Pub
The Burke Museum presents a monthly pub quiz for science buffs, culture gurus, and museum lovers. Bring your friends to the College Inn Pub and test your knowledge of the natural world. Compete with other teams for drink vouchers and other prizes.
Saturday, April 5: International Tabletop Day
International TableTop Day is a celebration for ALL the fans of tabletop gaming, board games, card games, RPGs… if it’s a game of any sort, it counts! Come together in a global celebration where you can participate in a common purpose of spending time together and having fun.
GeekGirlCon will be hanging out all day long with our friends at Card Kingdom. Bring a game to play or check out a title from the hundreds that Card Kingdom has on tap. Staffers will be there with some of our amazing Special Agents to run games for as long as they will allow us (translation: from noon until close). As a bonus, Andy from the The 8 Hour Gamer has promised to run RPGs all day long. Andy successfully ran RPGs for our last two conventions and his table was always packed with gamers of all skill sets.
TTD 2013 was a huge success. There were over 3,100 gaming events in 64 countries worldwide, including every state and province in North America and every continent on the planet! Researchers in Antarctica were playing games too. For one day, let us all come together, put down our worries and play more games to make International TableTop Day 2014 even bigger!
Saturday, April 5: Seattle Astronomical Society Star Parties
The SAS organizes monthly star parties at Green Lake and Paramount Park which are free and open to the public. People of all ages and background, including children, are welcome. These events offer to all the opportunity for telescopic viewing of sky objects as well as educational interaction of experienced.
Saturday, April 5: Judith Skillman
Kick off National Poetry Month by joining us for a reading, discussion and signing with award-winning American poet Judith Skillman.
Monday, April 7: Seattle BioMed Seminar: Pamela Bjorkman, Ph.D.
As part of our Global Infectious Disease Seminar Series, we are pleased to announce a presentation by Pamela Bjorkman, Ph.D., “Structure-based design of improved passive immunotherapy reagents for HIV treatment and/or prevention”.
Wednesday, April 9: SEAWear: Seattle’s Wearable Tech and Biohacking Meetup
This is a group for anyone interested in wearable technology, biohacking/biosensors, and meeting others who are passionate about learning and building within this space. This is for big thinkers and driven creators, so technical and non-technical types are equally welcome. I started this group for other innovators, hackers, and entrepreneurs who are interested in pushing current technologies to better track and optimize ourselves and the changing world around us.
Wednesday, April 9: Kate Ascher, The Evolution of Transportation
Recent months have seen the Ports of Tacoma and Seattle sharing information in an unprecedented manner which could potentially change the face of sea transportation in the Puget Sound. In her newest book, Columbia University’s Kate Ascher explains the policies, practices and basic mechanics of transportation via ocean, roadways and the sky.
Friday, April 11: Youth Speaks Seattle Grand Slam
Spoken word, immense creativity, and aspiring young artists. These are the characteristics of a poetry slam. In the culmination of the 2014 season, Arts Corps presents the annual Youth Speaks Seattle Grand Slam. A group of 12 finalists will compete one last time in a showcase of the next generation of Seattle poets. The finalists will perform all-original works of love, loss, resistance, and survival. Five talented poets will emerge from this judged competition, moving on to represent Seattle at the 2014 International Brave New Voices Festival in Philadelphia. The event is hosted by Grammy Award-winner and YSS alum Hollis Wong-Wear. Youth Speaks is a collective for young aspiring poets which offers mentoring programs, year-long slams, open mic nights, and workshops in local schools.
Tuesday, April 15: LUNAFEST.
Incredibly diverse in style and content, LUNAFEST is united by a common thread of exceptional storytelling – by, for and about women. Join LUNA Bar + Reel Grrls for the Seattle premiere of LUNAFEST, a festival of nine inspiring short films by women filmmakers, for women, and help support Reel Grrls and Breast Cancer Fund (100% of proceeds go back to them!!!). This fun-filled night will kick off with a reception, complete with bites from Grim’s + Po Dog, drinks from CLIF Family Winery + Hilliard Beer, blow outs from Gene Juarez Salon + Spa and lots of other fun surprises! Nine inspiring films will follow –They will compel discussion, make you laugh, tug at your heartstrings and motivate you to make a difference in your community. We’ll top it off the evening with a (jam-packed) goodie bag for you to take home. Ticket prices include two drink tickets, bites and a goodie bag full of treats from our sponsors! This is an all-ages show and boys are welcome too!
Wednesday, April 16: Why Selfies? Why Introverts? Why now?
For the first time ever, Bumbershoot’s popular Words & Ideas series “Why This? Why That? Why Now?” premieres outside of the festival. Do selfies communicate the purest depiction of the present? Are introverts the next evolution of pop idol? Hosted by Bumbershoot moderator John Roderick, the evening will highlight current cultural trends, as well as announce the 2014 Theatre, Spectacles, Visual Arts, and Words & Ideas programming. Occurring every Labor Day Weekend, Bumbershoot celebrates the diversity of music, dance, theatre, literature, visual arts, and other creative programming happening locally, nationally, and internationally.
Thursday, April 17: An Evening with Gillian Flynn
Marriage can be a real killer. One of the most critically acclaimed suspense writers of our time, New York Timesbestseller Gillian Flynn, takes that statement to its darkest place in her most recent novel, Gone Girl, about a marriage gone terribly, terribly wrong. As the Washington Post proclaimed, Flynn’s work “draws you in and keeps you reading with the force of a pure but nasty addiction.” In addition to Gone Girl, Flynn has written Sharp Objects (2007) and Dark Places (2010).
Thursday, April 17 – Sunday, April 20: Norwescon
Norwescon is the Pacific Northwest’s Premiere Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention and one of the largest regional Science Fiction and Fantasy conventions in the United States. While maintaining a primarily literary focus, Norwescon is large enough to provide a venue for many of the other aspects of Science Fiction and Fantasy and the interests of its fans such as anime, costuming, art, gaming, and much, much more.
Saturday, April 19: Seattle Poetry Slam Presents Seattle Grand Slam
The power of language shines in this yearly poetry showcase featuring some of the best slam poets around. Artists come together on a weekly basis for these judged poetry slams, and the top eight from this year will come together for the Grand Slam at Town Hall. Poets must perform all-original work, stay within a time limit, and refrain from using props or costumes. Highly entertaining, this diverse array of slammers and topics make this a can’t-miss competition.
Monday, April 21: Act Submissions for Fussy Cloud Puppet Slam Volume 8
It’s Spring! Time for another volume of the Fussy Cloud Puppet Slam. We are seeking adult puppet pieces up to 8 minutes long. (“adult” as in “not for children”; “blue” material is acceptable but not required.) Whether you are new to puppetry or have performed at our slam before, we invite you to submit. Whether you have a finished piece to debut, an idea to workshop, or a puppet classic, we want to hear from you! Fussy Cloud is a place to be creative, quirky and experimental. Show info: Fussy Cloud Puppet Slam Volume 8, When: Saturday, May 31 at 8:00 pm, Where: Theatre Puget Sound’s Theatre4, 305 Harrison St Seattle, WA 98109 If you would be interested in participating please provide us with the following information: Description of your piece (story line, type of puppets used, how many puppeteers, general mood, etc); Approx. Length; Video link (if possible); Performance photos (attach to email). Please send all information and inquiries to: fussycloudpuppetslam@
Thursday, April 24: Starships and Sorcery Book Club
Bellevue Bookstore: Reading Cherie Priest’s Boneshaker
Thursday, April 24: STEM: Science Uncorked
Come learn about the other “stem” education at Science Uncorked. Enjoy an evening sampling some of Washington’s finest wines while exploring the science straight from the vine. Find out why wine glasses come in different shapes and sizes. Learn about the chemistry of wine. Discover the proper technique for smelling your wine before tasting. And enjoy delicious appetizers paired perfectly with various wine selections.
Monday, April 28: Annette Lu: A Feminist’s Fight for Taiwan
Annette Lu’s powerful memoir tells Taiwan’s political history through her personal story, from impoverished beginnings as a shopkeeper’s daughter to her eventual election as Vice President of Taiwan. Surviving cancer and imprisonment, Lu became the first female Vice President of Taiwan in 2000, the signal achievement in her quest for gender equality, human, rights, and political reform.
Do you have a geeky event to plug? Email Shubz Blalack. We are happy to feature events outside of the Seattle Metro area!
Please note: GeekGirlCon reserves the right to approve or deny any event submissions. All submissions must be in alignment with GeekGirlCon’s Mission Statement.
Written by AJ Dent, GeekGirlCon Staff Copy Writer
Looking back at my childhood, I can remember the exact moment when I learned that intelligence is often seen as dangerous — especially when it comes to women. When I was about ten years old, I was reading an Archie comic book that featured a story with Josie and the Pussycats. In order to set up the story about to unfold, the narrator introduced each character with their picture and a couple lines about their personality.
The narrator described Melodie, the band’s drummer, as a ditzy but well-meaning girl with plenty of sex appeal. She bore an excited smile and wide blue eyes. Next, Josie was presented as the level-headed lead singer of the group, looking calm and sweet as she walked down a sidewalk. Finally, they talk about Valerie, a multi-instrumentalist who is most often seen playing the guitar or the tambourine in the comics. Valerie is depicted with a smirk on her face, and though I can’t quote the story word for word (nor find it anywhere online, unfortunately), I specifically remember them saying that while Josie was “lovable”, Valerie is “likeable” — because she’s “too clever”.
The tale goes on to show Valerie solve yet another problem the three have encountered, her usual role within the group’s dynamic. The reason Valerie’s smarts aren’t valued as much as they should be is because she can constantly see through people, and isn’t scared to use sarcasm to rebuff them.
While there have been many versions of Valerie throughout the years, including one in a hilarious 2001 musical comedy, and though her last name seems to switch back and forth between “Smith” and “Brown”, her admirable characteristics always stay the same. She’s fiercely funny, confident as can be, and the most booksmart of the Pussycat trio, especially when it comes to science and auto mechanics.
In real life, Valerie is actually the very first black character to appear in Archie comics. In 1969, she seamlessly became part of their scene during a story in which Josie and Melody were on the hunt for a replacement band member. Within moments of Valerie showing up, the girls were impressed by her friendly demeanor and musicianship. Over the next year, the gang’s hijinks and hits grew so popular IRL, the idea of a cartoon television show was pitched. This resulted in Hanna-Barbera getting into a three-week standoff with producer Danny Janssen, as the TV moguls wanted to make the character of Valerie a caucasian woman. Janssen protested the switch and refused to back down, and the company finally relented, making Valerie the very first black recurring cartoon character in a television show series. This young, headstrong female from Riverdale has quite the impressive resume!
In this show, much as in the comics, Valerie is very Velma-like, solving mysteries and cracking codes far more often than her friends, thanks to her high I.Q. However, unlike her Scooby-Doo equivalent, she is not portrayed in traditionally “nerdy” fashion. She is street-smart, sassy, and stylish all at once! (I am all about geek chic, but to see an ultra-bright person without glasses in a 1970s cartoon was almost unheard of!)
I have always admired Valerie for her sharp mind, witty remarks, music skills, and playful nature. She is a fantastic friend to Josie and Melody, and a well-rounded strong female character I believe anyone can look up to. (She also recently made waves in the world of comics when she and Archie fell in love, got married, and had a daughter together.) Plus, I will forever love her for demonstrating that intelligence in a woman may be feared by the weak — and there’s no reason to let those people hold you down!
Which strong female characters do you revere? Do you have a favorite Pussycat?
03.21.14 // Meeting Denise Crosby at GeekGirlCon ’13
Written by Sarah ”SG-1″ Grant, GeekGirlCon Copy Writer
I found out that Denise Crosby wanted to come to GeekGirlCon ‘13 a few weeks before it was announced to the general public last year. As the primary Copy Writer working on the programming book, I was asked to keep a very firm lid on it before the announcement was made. I couldn’t even tell my mom.
Those were some of the longest weeks of my life.
As a Star Trek: The Next Generation fan from its beginnings in 1987, I was excited beyond belief! I had attended Star Trek conventions from 1988 through 1994 (and now you know how old I am!), but I had never attended a convention with Denise Crosby as the featured guest. I think I assumed I never would, as I had stopped attending conventions.
When Denise walked onto the stage for her panel at GeekGirlCon ‘13, I felt the same thing I had felt at every other convention: heart-pounding excitement! I like to think that I’ve grown as a person since those early days, when I would see a celebrity and nearly pass out. As it turns out, not so much! I listened with rapt attention as she was interviewed by GeekGirlCon returnee and KUOW news reporter Jamala Henderson, and I learned quite a bit more about Denise Crosby than I ever knew.
Denise Crosby came from a show business family which includes her father, Dennis Crosby, and her grandparents, crooner/actor Bing Crosby and actress Dixie Lee. She ran away from that business when she was younger; it’s a very tough business to be in. Denise said in her panel discussion that, “You can be a great actor, but suck at the business.” Denise wanted to be a journalist; she wrote for her school paper, and she continues to be a news junkie. But she tried out for a school play in college on a whim, loved it, stumbled into getting an acting teacher, and there was no going back. She discovered that what most fascinates her about acting getting to go into worlds and paths you know nothing about, doing it safely, representing a person or character, and being able to come back to her normal life.
Jamala asked Denise to complete a sentence: You know you have to be an actor when… Denise replied, “You have no other skills.” We all laughed at that for a while, and then she said more seriously, “When you walk on a stage and it’s empowering instead of frightening.”
I had always heard that Denise quit in the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation after a fight with Star Trek’s creator, Gene Roddenberry, about her ever-shrinking cast role. However, Denise explained that the decision to leave the series was part of an evolving discussion with Gene regarding the direction of the storyline in the series. Gene’s idea was to run The Next Generation as he had run the original series: all about the captain and his friends. In the original series, that meant Captain Kirk, Commander Spock, and Doctor McCoy (William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, and DeForest Kelley); in the The Next Generation, the main trio was split into a quartet: Captain Picard, Commander Riker, Lieutenant Commander Data, and Dr. Crusher (Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner, and Gates McFadden). All the other characters in both shows were merely supporting characters whose stories were told briefly, and then dismissed as the development among the main characters became paramount. Gene agreed with Denise that her part wouldn’t offer her much future growth, and he supported her decision to leave to seek other opportunities.
Later in the series, Denise and then-producer Rick Berman thought up a way to bring Lieutenant Yar back, and both Denise and the fans were thrilled with the results. (See ST:TNG episodes “Yesterday’s Enterprise”, “The Mind’s Eye”, “Redemption I”, “Redemption II”, and “Unification II”).
During the interview, Denise spoke about the steady acting work she has had, both in television and movies, since she started working as an actor in the early 1980’s. She has had guest spots in television shows like Days of Our Lives, LA Law, The Adventures of Brisco County Jr., Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, The Drew Carey Show, The X-Files, Bones, Mad Men, and most recently, Ray Donovan (Showtime). She has also starred in feature films like Curse of the Pink Panther, Pet Sematary, and Deep Impact, along with many TV movies and short films.
One of the other questions Denise was asked regarded how aging has affected the parts being offered. She said something that I wrote down word for word, because it had such an impact on me: “The culture we live in breeds insecurity, especially if you base your worth on your looks.”
Denise’s age certainly hasn’t affected the way her fans admire her. Those of you who attended GeekGirlCon ‘13 probably saw that Denise had her own table in the dealer’s room, closest to the rest of the meet-and-greet area. I walked past that table quite a few times both Saturday and Sunday of GeekGirlCon ‘13, and she was almost always speaking with someone, taking pictures with fans, or autographing pictures and memorabilia. I finally got up the nerve to go meet her toward the end of the day on Sunday, and she was charming, funny, and very sweet. I asked her if she had been enjoying her time, and she answered very enthusiastically that it was her best convention experience ever. I told her that, as a copy writer, I don’t have a lot of say in who we invite, but that I would love to see her back again. Denise said, “I’d love to come every year! I could be the Wil Wheaton of GeekGirlCon!”
Dear readers, Denise Crosby, someone I always admired as an actress, secured her place in my heart that day. I really hope she comes back to a GeekGirlCon in the future!
Who do YOU want to see at GeekGirlCon ’14?
03.19.14 // Bringing Strong Female Characters to Life: Interview with ChronoBlade Developers Joya and Jordan Patz
The ChronoBlade crew – image courtesy of nWay Games
Quick, think of your favorite female video game character!
Now, ponder these questions about said character: Does she wear a bow? Is she dressed in pink? Would her figure be proportionally impossible for an actual human?
If you answer yes to any of the above, it doesn’t necessarily guarantee that the character was borne of sexist ideology. But unfortunately, that’s usually the case. Bows, pink clothing, voluptuous figures — all are great in real life, but the systematic usage of these tropes in the media is insidious, and can be damaging to how women are viewed.
With that in mind, it’s always extra awesome to come across a dynamic fictional female — one whom you’d respect and definitely want on your side. Imagine my excitement, then, when I discovered that in ChronoBlade — an online, free-to-play action role playing game developed by nWay Games — there are actually two strong female characters!
In the Multiverse of ChronoBlade, the evil Chronarch Imperium is set on the annihilation of all other worlds and their citizens. In the face of this threat, a band of four heroes from different dimensions forms to fight against the Chronarchs’ rampage. These four are the playable characters in the game, and include heroines Lophi and Thera. Developing their unique skills and learning their personalities, players can explore the Multiverse and learn how to battle and best the Chronarchs.
Far from fitting into stereotypes, Lophi and Thera are characters with distinct personalities, a variety of skills, and non-exploited figures.
Lophi - image courtesy of nWay Games
GeekGirlCon had the honor of interviewing two of ChronoBlade’s developers about the process of creating Lophi and Thera, and how they hope these two heroines will impact fans of this rad role-playing game.
Artist Joya Patz, armed with a BAS in Visual Effects and a passion for art, has battled her way through the fantastical lands of film and next-gen gesture technology, to finally find a home in games. Using her past knowledge of the strange and arcane, she creates astonishing combat and environmental visual effects. She currently works at nWay as their Senior VFX Artist.
A veteran designer of hybrid games, artist Jordan Patz has created several projects based on new game models or involving experimental hardware as well as the usual faire of FPS games, RPGs, and arcade style games. When he is not rebuilding vintage arcade cabinets he writes story, designs systems and builds content for ChronoBlade.
GeekGirlCon: What do you believe makes a strong female character? How about a strong male character? In what ways are they similar, and are there ways in which they differ?
Jordan: “For both male and female characters, strong internal motivations and a cohesive personality is what gives them the strength we look for in our heroes. Although recognizable hero stereotypes inevitably come with assumptions concerning their characteristics, often the “strongest” characters are the ones that defy their archetype. In building our characters we always attempt to create dynamic but cohesive characters with internal struggle.
For example, Thera is the group’s tactician and leader on the ground. She’s merciless, totally bent on destroying the Chronarchs no matter the cost. But in her time with the Pact she starts to feel connected to them. She sees there’s something worth protecting there beyond their value as fighters against the Chronarchs. Now she’ll have to chose when to risk their lives for the end goal.
Lophi, for all her childishness, is no less a strong character. Her laughter hides the shame of knowing that some of what’s wrong in the multiverse is her fault. She let loose a destructive force that is ravaging the multiverse. She will have to hide that fact from her Pact allies or risk being turned away.”
Lophi in her armor - image courtesy of nWay Games
GeekGirlCon: What led to the decision to feature two playable female characters and two playable male characters in Chronoblade?
Jordan: “ChronoBlade is a game about wildly different realities fighting together, so naturally we wanted to give players the most diverse options as characters. We built our four initial characters to be the types of characters we wanted to play, not just in terms of combat but also for an interesting character makeup within a team. Aurok is our gruff stoic hero, Lophi is our energetic, enthusiastic and enigmatic hero, Lucas our playboy-rogue, and Thera our tough, military-trained tactician. Together they form a family that will never be boring, especially considering what the multiverse has to throw at them.”
GeekGirlCon: What challenges did you face in creating the female characters’ battle strengths and weaknesses? Did the challenges differ in degree at all from constructing the males?
Joya: “For all of our characters, we strove to define their battle mechanics more on their origin stories and weapons than on their genders. Lophi, being a portal-jumping, shadow summoner, has high speed and more AOEs than her teammates, but also less power. Thera, being a high-ranking Minoan military general, is one of the most powerful characters on her team, but lacks the speed that Lophi and Lucas possess. The male champions were constructed in the same fashion, their Power to Speed ratio matching what you would expect from their back stories and weaponry.”
Thera - image courtesy of nWay Games
GeekGirlCon: What challenges were faced in creating the female characters’ physical traits? Was the process significantly different from those for the males?
Joya: “ChronoBlade is a Multiplayer, Side-Scrolling ARPG with many enemies and VFXs constantly appearing on screen, so it was critical to gameplay to give our characters strong silhouettes that vastly differ from each other. We wanted each character’s physical traits, at least in part, to emphasize some of their personality and fighting styles. Thera is the tall, muscular, and proud Amazonian spear-wielder, while Aurok is the battle-hardened, ultra-calloused, Viking pugilist.”
GeekGirlCon: How did you avoid over-sexualizing or pigeon-holing the female characters?
Joya: “With ChronoBlade, we set out to make a fun and unique experience for players, from combat to narrative. We put a lot of time and effort into developing each character and how they would fit into the larger picture as the story progresses. None of us likes one dimensional characters, male or female. Lophi and Thera were not created to fill a required character trope, but are integral to the evolving story line. These are not princesses that need rescuing, but two champions on the path to save the multiverse.”
Thera in her armor - image courtesy of nWay Games
GeekGirlCon: Are there any video game characters from your childhood that you feel have influenced your adulthood? How do you hope the characters you have created in ChronoBlade will influence players of the game?
Jordan: “Samus from Metroid was always a favorite of mine, especially early in her saga. There was something eye opening when I found out the silent, blaster wielding, power-armored hero, scorching their way through the darkest, least hospitable alien world imaginable, wasn’t a boy.
The characters in ChronoBlade are more than just archetypes; their backgrounds and personal perspectives are reflected in their attacks, the equipment they wear, as well as the choices they’ll make through the story. We hope Thera and Lophi will be remembered by our players as the nuanced personalities they are rather than as often happens: the tall one and the short one.
I often hear kids talking about their favorite characters on buses. Someday I hope to hear: ‘Lophi is my favorite, she’s such a kid under all her crazy powers. She’s always laughing while she beats up monsters. A little creepy too, I can’t wait to see her world!’ That’s the ultimate win.”
Lophi dominating! – Image courtesy of nWay Games
GeekGirlCon: What do you hope that players will get out of having not only a wide variety of characters and traits to play, but out of these specific characters?
Jordan: We hope that all our characters include something unique, endearing and memorable. Although they have huge hands, cast spells, and punch the faces off horrific beasties, they have human motivations. They’ll all change over the course of ChronoBlade’s narrative, not all for the better, but always for plausible reasons. We hope our players can connect with them on some level even as they slash their way through the multiverse, one step at a time, on a gore-paved road of their own construction.”
Thanks so much, Joya and Jordan, for sharing your insight and talents with us, and cheers to everyone at nWay Games for these fantastic female characters! It’s truly encouraging to see ladies like these kicking butt and setting higher standards for video games across the board.
Now that you know how quality Lophi and Thera are, go have a blast playing the game!
Interested in scoring some Chronoblade swag? Stay tuned for details of a merch giveaway at an upcoming GeekGirlCon event! In the meantime, get ready to learn about and spend time with more admirable women by picking up your passes to GeekGirlCon ‘14!