Archive for the ‘Token Girl’ Category

Jo Vs Jo

Posted by Crystal On February 25, 2014 ADD COMMENTS

My name is Jo and my very good friend’s name is Jo.  I shall refer to myself as, Jo1, and my friend as, Jo2.  Jo2 can wear any clothes at all.  Pants, skirts, dresses, blouses, tank tops, even ponchos!  I on the other hand am restricted mainly to long pants (shorts in summer), shirts, t-shirts, jumpers, jackets.  All with sensible shoes of course.

Jo2 can walk down the street in a nice skirt and some strappy shoes; if I do the same I get some strange looks.  At times some sniggers.  On the odd occasion I have even copped abuse.  Once I was even threatened with violence!  So, okay my legs are a little hairy.  Shaving gives me a rash, and I can’t stand the pain of waxing.  So why should I anyhow?  I grow hair on my legs.  Why should I have to go through some pain to wear something I’m comfortable in?

Bizarrely it’s okay for me to wear shorts. I’m not sure why people assume I’m gay if I have hairy legs in a skirt, but not in a decent pair of cargo shorts. God forbid if I ever put on a nice three-quarter pant though!

Do you want to know what the difference between me and Jo2 are?  The big difference?  Jo2 has an ‘ine’ on the end of her name.  That’s right her name is Josephine and my name is Joseph.


The First

Posted by Crystal On January 29, 2014 1 COMMENT

I was one of the first to turn.

They said come to the hospital if you had flu like symptoms. I had been suffering with a bug for days that wouldn’t go. Whether that was The Virus, or I acquired that later is up for conjecture. The Virus has since mutated and there is no incubation period.  Once bitten, you turn.

I was lying in the hospital bed. My fever had become dangerously high.  Somewhere in the back of my feverish mind I was hoping it would kill the bug.  I didn’t yet know what we were dealing with. No one did.

Later that night, I died.  At least my body did. The Virus that swam on in my system was still alive and took its opportunity to mutate my cells, forcing my body to become its vehicle. They should’ve burned the body, but they didn’t know.  How could they know?

I remember my eyes opening and I could see the light coming through the sheet that covered my face. My hand seemed to rise of it’s own accord and pulled the sheet from my body. My body then lurched up off the bed, startling some nurses.  It lurched toward them. They were the first victims.

It is a small blessing that whatever the part of my brain this spark of me lives, cannot receive signals from my physical body.  I watched in horror as my body ripped into these nurses like Henry the eighth ripped into a turkey leg.  I could see the squashy grey matter of their brains in my hand, but not feel it. Or taste it.

The virus seemed to be sated, as it sat by and watched the last nurse writhe in agony on the floor. She had been bitten in the neck.  I was fascinated and sickened at the same time to realise how quickly the Virus had mutated. The nurse was turning right before me.  She looked at me with pleading eyes. It wasn’t long before those eyes were as cold and dead as mine. I wept inside, but no tears appeared on my face.

There were many times I tried to take control of my own body. All in vein…  My body was to all intents and purposes, dead.  The virus was just using it as a vessel. Like a person taking the bus.  I don’t know how enough of my brain survived for me to be trapped inside.  It is a torture I wouldn’t wish on anyone and yet I’m afraid that for everyone that turns at my hand, there is another soul trapped inside a cold decomposing, god-awful smelling body.  I’m not sure if I can smell my own decomposing flesh or it’s just psychosomatic.

I do not know if the others like me are trapped inside their own bodies or if they are just walking automatons.  I have no way of communicating. We tend to recognise each other for what we are and leave each other alone. I’m not sure if that recognition is on the viruses part, or mine. I don’t know how much of my brain is left to make rational thought.

I wondered if the people fighting us could see the despair in my eyes. Probably not, in fact I don’t even think I have both of them any more. I’m not entirely sure how I’m able to see. Some sort of trick on the part the virus to torture my soul some more as I lurch after more and more victims.

As much as I tend to anthropomorphise the virus, I know it’s not smart. It runs on survival instinct alone. My biggest hope is that sooner or later I will cop a bullet to the face or an axe though the head.

My brain, you must destroy my brain!


I’ve been thinking about this for a long time. Not to write as a post, but just been mulling it over in the back of my mind.  Sometimes opinions form quickly, sometimes they take time, like a snowball rolling down the hill. Gathering bits as it goes along becoming more cohesive over time. That’s what’s been happening here.

On the podcast we have our review sections. I’d like to think I’ve always tried to be fair. I’m sure some of our loyal listeners could probably point to episode X and point out that I said something that totally contradicts what I’m about to say here. I can’t remember every single thing I’ve ever said on the podcast. So I’d like to think nothing I’ve said would contradict the opinion I’m about to share with you, but I could be wrong. As I say, this has been long forming in my mind. If you do detect something that contradicts this, bear in mind I’m a woman & I’m allowed to change my mind! Ha Ha. And I’m human and part of growing older is learning forming opinions based on what you’ve learned, growing & moving on. No one should be anchored by something they’ve said in the past. Unless of course it’s damning, like a confession or something.


Girl Geeks

Posted by Crystal On November 16, 2012 4 COMMENTS

Given the recent ‘girls in cosplay’ controversy, I thought I’d put in my two cents worth about what it’s like to be a girl-geek or girl-nerd.

Firstly can we just drop the girl bit?  I mean, that part’s kinda obvious.  If you walked up to me in the street you wouldn’t have to double check that I was a girl (at least I hope not!).

Secondly, why do we feel the need to label ourselves geek or nerd? Because it’s cool now?  I guess.  People on the outskirts of ‘accepted’ social circles, especially at school, have always felt the longing or need to fit in. Some not as much as others I grant you, but I would have liked to fit in at school. Then again, looking back at it, I’m kinda glad I didn’t. Possibly not the best to be ‘one of us’ when the ‘us’ consisted of girls who felt the need to celebrate their stupidity as if it was the coolest thing in the world. At school, I was often called ‘Posh’, with a derogatory sort of tone, as if to say ‘not one of us cool kids’. Most of the time I found this quite amusing, considering my family had very little money and I was attending a state-run school in a low-income suburb.  (Those who have heard me speak on the podcast, know I don’t sound posh).  I did snap one day and said to all of them, ‘You only call me that because I’m smarter than the rest of you!’  Which shut them up for a bit, because they weren’t used to me talking back to them. I’m quite sure that some of them were at least as smart as me, they just didn’t apply themselves (you know you’re getting old when you start to uses phrases like that), and it would mark them as outcast if they showed any sign of being interested in learning.

I digress somewhat, so back to the topic at hand;  The question was why do we feel the need to label ourselves?  I don’t really remember being called ‘geek’ or ‘nerd’ at school. Perhaps ‘nerd’ a couple of times. They were more American terms, and if they were used here back in the 80’s it was in the same derogatory sense. Now, thanks to nerd-culture exploding onto the popular scene with TV shows like the Big Bang Theory and the Internet worming its way into everybody’s everyday lives, suddenly everyone is proud to be a nerd or a geek.  And if you’re not one you’re happy to know one. Personally I don’t know anyone who is pretending to be a nerd or geek. Though I have seen murmurs on the interwebs about this occurring. The most notorious one recently is the hot girls/guys dressing up in sexy outfits to attend ‘our’ cons. ‘Our’ cons, people! The ‘cool’ people are invading our cons!!!  Meh, I don’t really care to be honest with you.  Aren’t these cons all about celebrating the things you enjoy most?  If the thing you enjoy most is parading around in a sexy geek costume and being ogled, then why not?  I would suggest you don’t do it at an event labelled ‘family friendly’ but otherwise, who am I to judge?

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Coolhunting by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Posted by Crystal On April 17, 2012 ADD COMMENTS

I read a story recently that blew me away, and I don’t use that phrase lightly.  I actually sat back after finishing it and said, “Wow!” out loud. The story, or novella to be accurate, is called Coolhunting and it will come as no surprise that it is by my favourite author, Kristine Kathryn Rusch. It is a part of a collection called ‘Five Short Novels’ that I bought from the iTunes book shop some time ago, but have only just gotten around to reading.

It begins with the story’s protagonist, Steffie, doing what she does best – coolhunting.  The opening scene is skilfully written to, not only to introduce you to Steffie but also explain what coolhunting is all about. It reminded me of William Gibson’s novel Pattern Recognition, and Steffie strongly reminded me of Gibson’s character, ‘Cayce Pollard’. Their style is similar, they do similar work, and both appear to be loners, outside the norm.  However, although I read Pattern Recognition first, it was published in 2003, whereas Coolhunting was first published in ‘Science Fiction Age’, July, 1998.   Whether or not Gibson got some inspiration from Rusch’s story, I can’t tell you, but I enjoyed making the comparison.

Though the characters, Steffie & Cayce, are similar and what they do for a living is similar, the stories are completely different. Much to my enjoyment!

This is the first Kristine Kathryn Rusch story I’ve read that I immediately identified as ‘cyber-punk’ (although there are many cyber-punk elements in her Retrieval Artist series), which immediately made me dive into the story.  The core of this story is buried under layers, and as she reveals each layer you are immersed more and more into the not-to-distant future universe she’s created.  So much so, that it wasn’t until after I read the story and was reflecting on it later, that the true horror of KD’s situation (Steffie’s sister) really set in.

What happens to KD is so horrendous; you wonder how it was allowed to happen.  How could people do something like that?  It speaks toward the society the characters live in and, I realise as I write this, that it has as much to say about listening to, and conforming to the wills and whims of society rather than thinking for yourself. Much like Ray Bradbury’s classic Fahrenheit 451.

I have deliberately not explained what coolhunting entails in this futuristic world (though if you’ve read Pattern Recognition, you may have some idea) or explained what KD’s situation is, as I feel it will detract from the experience of reading this story if you know these things before hand.

This is a rich immersive story that draws you in and takes you on tangents you don’t expect. I have read many of Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s works, (including many written under her pen names), and, out of a mountain of great works, this is my stand out favourite to date. I would dearly, dearly love to see this expanded into a full novel if she hasn’t already done so.

As of this writing, ‘Five Short Novels’ by Kristine Kathryn Rusch is still available from the iTunes book shop so please look it up. And don’t forget, Coolhunting is only one of the five stories on offer, so there’s four other excellent tales in there for you to enjoy.

5 Lukes