We’re in the final days of the Kickstarter Drive to fund “Women in Practical Armor,” a most excellent anthology of fantasy short stories about strong, bold, properly-equipped women warriors coming soon to a book dealer near you.
I can say “most excellent” because one of my stories is in the book. Okay, so I’ve got a little bias, but you can check out the Kickstarter page to see the full table of contents – got some well-known names among the authors and editors.
The book has hit its base funding goal, which is neeeeat. So it’s going to be published, it’s going to be promoted. The WIPA Legion will march. But we’re not done yet. Evil Girlfriend Media has big plans for this book. They want it to go far. We all do. So we’re still asking for help to support this book is it can make the biggest splash when it hits the marketplace.
Lots of new content and rewards have been opened up as we broke stretch goal after stretch goal; killer t-shirts, key chains, free ebooks, discounts on extra copies for donors, “chainmail” coifs, personal sonnets, even a crown.
Heck, if you donate at the Ducal level, you get a signed copy of the anthology, a whole slew of goodies, AND a signed copy of my book BREAK! – a rowdy adventure into a world of magical technology, shamanism and hordes of demons who love you all SO MUCH they just wanna gobble you up and suck you dry. This contributor level is still open – we’ve got room for 2 more Dukes.
But why? Why do I care? Why should anyone give a crap? Why should you drop a few bucks into this fund drive?
Aside from the fact that, at $12 or more, you’re essentially pre-ordering your copy of this kickin’ anthology, and that’s not a bad price for a collection of great stories?
Yeah, aside from that.
Well, because women are awesome.
There’s a long history of female warriors portrayed on posters, book covers, video games, movies, magazines, heavy metal records, etc. in stupid armor. Steel bikinis. Spiked iron g-strings. Or, my favorite, nothing but pauldrons and gauntlets. Because who needs vital organs, anyway? Dudes get all kinds of burly armor, making them look all puffy and huge and manly. But female characters… not so much. It puts out the idea that, when it comes to characterization, sex appeal matters more for female characters than realism. Artists and consumers are more interested in seeing women as objects than as believable, capable combatants.
This book we’re working on is an attempt to challenge our cultural portrayal of female warriors, and indeed of women in all roles. We don’t want to accept that the first and most important aspect of a female character’s personality is her sex appeal.
What about cunning?
What about valor?
what about strategic brilliance?
What about killer instinct?
Joi de vivre? Battle-lust? Tunnel vision? A keen love of breaking things? Grace under fire? Might? Tenacity?
All traits we give to male characters. But to female character we seem to say “Sure, you can have some of that, but first you gotta be sexy. Your tits are, in fact, more important to your character-development than your character is.”
The WIPA anthology says “Dookie to that.”
Interlude – Let’s imagine a conversation between two fantasy heroes, and the artist painting them for a game manual. You’ll need to flex a little imagination, but if you’ve made it this far, I expect that won’t be an issue for you. Feel free to grab a friend and read in parts.
Reesha of the Dark Crevice – Slayer of Many, Distractor of All: Hey, wait, hold on. This scene we’re in, we’re meant to be fighting this slimy, toothy ummm…
Herbert Wankbrush – (renowned game-manual artist): Undead Fungus Dragon.
Reesha: (aside) ugh, shit, what next? (aloud) Right, so we’re to kill it.
Bogris ThrobHammer – Him Who Smashes: Gonna smash it!
Reesha: And it means to do us in, too, right?
Herbert: Well, yeah, I mean… monster. Y’know?
Bogris: Smashin’ monstas!
Reesha: (gestures to herself and Bogris) And we came out adventurin’, I assume. We would have expected trouble. Perhaps we even came out specifically to kill this half-rotten shroom-lizard. Right?
Herbert: Uh, yeah, well, yeah, s’ppose you did.
Reesha: (points at Bogris) Then why’s he armored up like a fortress and I’ve barely got on two steel yarmulkes and a handkerchief?
Reesha: The boots are good, the boots are good. Yeah, perfect, if I didn’t expect to do much more than stand on a corner at midnight. Wouldn’t get sore feet as long as business was good. These boots are meant for sticking up in the air, not trudging through swamps.
Herbert: But they’re very flexible, made of nearly-impenetr-
Reesha: They’re hooker boots, is what I’m sayin’. Is it too much to expect that a warrior like I seem to be (shakes her very large sword) would have suited up before battle? And THIS is not armor. I’m fit to get my asscheeks bitten off! You’ve got real-live female Army Rangers now, and I can tell you you won’t see them kitting up in Kevlar bikinis before jumping into combat. So wet your brush and put something protective on me.
Herbert: I don’t have to stand for this. I’m a professional. I’ve been commissioned. This is what the developers want, what the players want, and frankly it’s what I want. Bollocks to practicality. Everyone’s happier and buys more crap when you’ve got you tits out.
Bogris: I likes dem too. Makes me fink of smashin’!
Reesha: So the entirety of your clientele ain’t got brains beyond a monkey, eh? Glandular stimulation’s the only thing that appeals to them? And you, apparently.
Herbert: Now see here you—
Reesha: What about your gamers who spend hours developing characters, who dive in and live inside their characters more deeply than most authors? What about thee half of humanity – half your audience – that’s female? What about boys and girls with enough intellect to ask for a believable character? What about anyone who’s ever made fun of stupid things in mass-media. Look at the internet – EVERYONE does that. What about feminists? What about your mum, your sister, your daughter who’s got no heroes but idiot sluts in lingerarmor? Grow some self-respect. Grow some brains to overpower your balls. And give me some bloody armor so I can vanquish this monster with my squishy bits still intact for the post-adventure heroic revelry, right?
EXTRA SPECIAL UPDATE!!!
While I was writing this, the fund drive hit $15k, which makes me want to squeal like a schoolgirl, like this:
The $20k stretch goal has been unlocked, and it’s pure chance that the little skit above touched on the subject of footwear. If the fund hits $20k, it’ll jump-start the production of WIPA’s sequel:
Check out the details, and all the other info at the Kickstarter page16:00. As for me, my head’s already buzzin’ with story ideas!