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Geek love: Book uncovers dating lives of female fantasy fans

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Call it the romance of the nerds.

A group of girl geeks will unveil a collection of nerdy love stories next week, telling tales of romance, sex, and dating from a previously unheard female perspective — women who pledge allegiance to Tolkien, science-fiction shows, and comic books. But the writers of “The Secret Loves of Geek Girls,” which launches at Dumbo’s Powerhouse Arena on Jan. 11, say the anthology is also a love letter to fandom, and the way it celebrates devotion to pop culture.

“Whatever you’re obsessed with is a good thing and is celebrated,” said Crystal Skillman, a Boerum Hill playwright who will speak at the book launch. “That’s what geek culture means to me.”

In the book, Skillman shares her story of falling for her husband, comic book writer Fred Van Lente, and subsequently falling for the fun-filled, ultra-inclusive world of comic book nerds. Based on that experience, she also wrote a play titled “Geek,” which takes place at a science-fiction convention.

Among the book’s contributors is famed sci-fi novelist Margaret Atwood, who contributed a hand-drawn comic about discovering both comic books and boys at a young age, plus a humorous take on her early misadventures in dating. The anthology’s collisions of romance and nerdom — told in both prose and comic form, and spanning all ages and orientations — include tales of finding love at a gaming convention and incorporating fan obsessions in the bedroom.

The collection — like the world of geeks itself — is a way for women who share niche interests to meet over their obsessions and talk about love with others who understand their perspective, said Skillman.

“I think it’s the kind of book that you pick up and you don’t feel alone,” she said.

“The Secret Loves of Geek Girls” book launch at Powerhouse Arena [37 Main St. between Water and Front streets in Dumbo, (718) 666–3049, www.powerhousearena.com]. Jan. 11, 7–9 pm. Free.

Reach reporter Allegra Hobbs at ahobbs@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–8312.
Updated 5:48 pm, July 9, 2018
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