Friday, May 30, 2014

Let's face it: there aren't enough tech-savvy heroines in sci-fi

There are plenty of girls, but too often they're cast in supporting roles. The dorky genius helper girl. The impossibly hot doctor girl who got her PhD at 22 and wears four-inch heels in the lab. The badass hacker girl who's smart-mouthed and "strong" but has no depth.

Where are the sci-fi stories about brainy young women? I know they're out there, but their numbers pale in comparison to the tales of gallant, irreverent men with nominally smart girlfriends. And those girlfriends are usually flat as a pancake.

I must confess that my Jane Colt character doesn't entirely break into the STEM - that's Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math - fields, since her chosen career is in the arts. I do hint at her braininess (she pilots complex starships, analyzes music, and has no trouble handling the mountain-loads of data her office job dumps on her, albeit she does so grudgingly), but there wasn't really a place in Artificial Absolutes or Synthetic Illusions to showcase her inherent nerdiness (which she, in her insecurity, covers up with a cavalier attitude and, at times, feigned cluelessness).

So when fellow sci-fi author Paige Daniels, who wrote the "Non-Compliance" cyberpunk trilogy, proposed putting together an anthology featuring girls and gadgets, I jumped at the idea. I know I've already talked about this a few times over on my website and on social media, but I realized I haven't written about it on this blog, and I want this announcement to reach the far corners of the Internet, so here I go again!

The anthology will be a collection of young adult sci-fi tales called Brave New Girls, and we're running a Kickstarter this summer to raise money to indie publish it. All revenues will be donated to a scholarship fund through the Society of Women Engineers. We'll each be contributing a story, but the anthology would be no fun if it were all us! We're currently looking for submissions...

Meanwhile, I'm going to take this opportunity to delve into Jane's nerdy past. The story I'm contributing will feature her as an ambitious teenager who's not afraid to turn to tech when she needs to.

This is my first foray into the business side of publishing, but I like to think I've been at this whole book thing long enough to know what I'm doing. Paige and I are both project managers by day, so naturally, we have a detailed plan all laid out to get it all done. Project plan and budget? Check. Website up and running? Check. Online announcements? Check, but we'll keep going at it, since the Internet is a crowded place where one has to shout to be heard.

Next up: the Kickstarter campaign! We're currently working on creating the video, and we've got the donor rewards all planned out, with levels starting at $5 from Interstellar Resident to Hacker Extraordinaire to Alien Benefactor... and a bunch in between. And then there's the Multiverse Deity, for the level that practically funds the whole thing. If anyone wants to step up and claim that title, I will write a sci-fi short story about him/her or a person of his/her choice. I'm not kidding.

So stay tuned... it's going to be a fun ride!


  1. I think you'd enjoy meeting Bobbi January from Michael Shean's latest novel, Redeye.

  2. Thats awesome!! Seriously.. I concur.. I never got the whole I am a neurosurgeona nd wear four inch heels.. I mean you have every right to wear those heels but most doctors prefer not to everyday! I think we are definitely in a movement to see more women that are real and are involved in STEM. I hope we can continue to support girls and women that choose to be in those fields and that they dont have to fit in a mold, but they can make their own!

    Cant wait for this to come out!