Marvelette Missives – The Secret Loves of Geek Girls

You can never be sure what to expect from an anthology, especially when it’s nonfiction on a single theme. And to be honest, an anthology about love isn’t typically in my wheelhouse. But The Secret Loves of Geek Girls is not what anyone would consider typical. 

First published in 2015, with an updated version in 2016, this is a collection of essays, comics and illustrated stories by “geek girls”, women in the geek community, both on the creator side and the fan side. Probably the most recognizable name involved is Margaret Atwood, but there’s also Trina Robbins, Noelle Stevenson (Nimona and Lumberjanes comics), Marjorie Liu (Dirk & Steele novels and Monstress comics), Marguerite Bennett (writer for Marvel and DC)… and a few dozen more. It’s a varied and fantastic collection of women of all ages and in all realms of geekdom.

It was interesting to read these personal tales and they’re not all about romance in the classic sense. Yes, some are about falling in love with fellow geeks, developing relationships in person and online, finding a soul mate through shared fandoms. But other pieces explore falling in love with a fandom, with characters and building on that to become a true geek. There are some sad stories too, about missed connections and opportunities or simply lost loves. And the collection covers the spectrum of orientations and relationship styles. I liked the essays and stories best that explored the personal history of the writer and her fandom. I could identify with a lot of it, and it’s both surprising (and not) that so many of our journeys into geekdom have so many similarities.

For geeks, this is a collection to savor. It’s not a book you should pick up and read all at once, like you would a novel. I think it works best to read one or two pieces, then sit back and consider how you relate to them. And despite the title, The Secret Loves of Geek Girls isn’t just for female readers. Guys may not connect on all the levels, but I think many could enjoy and understand the geek journeys in a lot of these pieces. So let’s make sure these loves don’t stay secret!

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