Earth to Shawna sci-fi blogger embraces the word ‘nerd’

This week’s Geek Goddess interview showcases one of my favorite bloggers, Shawna, of Earth to Shawna.  I’m a huge fan of her snarky, stylish science-fiction blog, which keeps me up-to-date with all the latest TV, movie, and pop culture happenings in the genre.   Shawna and I have spent hours on Facebook Messenger, chatting about movies, sci-fi, pop culture, feminism, politics, and motherhood. She’s an old-school comic book nerd, convention-goer, bookworm, and self-proclaimed “crazy cat lady” who honed her literary skills as a newspaper copy editor and writer.   If you’re a fan of sci-fi, you must check out her blog, Shawna, of blog Earth to Shawna, at WonderCon in Anaheim.

You started your blog, Earth to Shawna, a year ago. Why did you decide to launch a sci-fi blog?

I started a blog because I wanted to stay in practice with my writing, and I thought it would be fun to write about sci-fi and fantasy specifically because I felt that writing about movies and TV in general was too broad of a subject.

What kind of things are you inspired to blog about?
I am inspired to blog about any movies, TV shows, books and comics, or happenings that seem cool.  I went to WonderCon last year, and also the Guillermo del Toro exhibit at LACMA and I wanted to share that with people. Shawna and her husband, Paul, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art exhibit “Guillermo del Toro: At Home With Monsters.” What do you enjoy most about blogging?

I love writing, and I love researching, and since I blog about one of my favorite subjects, it gives me an opportunity to find out more about the shows and movies I want to see, and the events I want to attend. When I watch a new show that’s really awesome, I want to tell people about it so they can enjoy it too.

You worked at a newspaper for six years as a writer and copy editor. Did you do any writing about sci-fi or other geeky topics when you were a journalist?
I did write about science-fiction TV shows I liked, especially “Battlestar Galactica” because that was when it aired, when I worked at the paper, and I was obsessed with it. I also wrote about the Renaissance Faire.
Have you always been interested in science-fiction? How did that start for you?
My favorite movies when I was a kid were “The Neverending Story,” “The Dark Crystal,” “E.T.,” “Star Wars,” and “Back to the Future.” I loved “Mork & Mindy,” “Wonder Woman,” “Land of the Lost,” and “The Bionic Woman.” But I thought of all those things as mainstream things that everyone liked, not as a genre or a niche.I didn’t think of myself as a sci-fi fan until I got into “Star Trek.” I don’t know why. I guess because a lot of people don’t like it, or see Trek fans as dorks.

When I was a kid, the word nerd had a different connotation than it has today. It used to mean that you were brainy and uncool. I was called a nerd because I liked reading, and I didn’t have the right shoes or the trendy jeans or whatever. At some point the words geek and nerd were reappropriated.  I think you eventually just let it wash over you. You embrace it.

What are some of your favorite sci-fi titles (movies, books, TV shows, etc.)?

My favorite shows are “Battlestar Galactica” and “Game of Thrones.” I’m also loving “The Expanse,” although that one took a little while to suck me in. “Star Trek,” as I said earlier. My favorite sci-fi movies are “The Fifth Element,” “12 Monkeys,” “Guardians of the Galaxy,” the “Star Wars” movies. I really liked “Interstellar,” and “Inception.”

I like dystopian and time travel stuff. I like movies based on Philip K. Dick stories — futuristic stories that sort of mess with your head and ask, “What if … ?” In the comics department, my favorite right now is “Saga.” It’s very imaginative and crazy (and not for kids). I love its unpredictability, and the fact that it’s in this completely different world.
Do your husband and kids share your love of sci-fi and geeky things?
My husband is a huge sci-fi fan. He loves “Alien,” “Predator,” “Planet of the Apes,” “Hellboy.” Our 10-year-old likes “Star Wars” and Star Trek, and he recently started reading “Lord of the Rings.” He also likes watching science and history documentaries, and he likes “Cosmos,” with Neil deGrasse Tyson. My daughter is 8. Her favorites are “My Little Pony” and “Frozen” and she wants to be a ballerina when she grows up, but she also likes gaming and coding, and says things like, “Mom, give me a really hard math problem and I’ll do it in my head.” Shawna and Paul in pirate regalia at the Renaissance Pleasure Faire.

You recently went to WonderCon for the first time, but I understand that you used to go to conventions a lot before you had kids. And if I recall, you even used to dress up. Tell me about some of your experiences at cons or similar events. What were your best cosplay moments?

I think the first one was a Fangoria horror convention. My husband was a big “Hellraiser” fan so he was excited about meeting Clive Barker and Doug Bradley. We went to a “Species” convention, before the movie was even released, and they screened the movie, which was cool. We also went to a “Star Trek” con, and a “Battlestar Galactica” con. We went as Viper pilots, nothing elaborate, but it was still time-consuming to find the right pieces, to make it look authentic rather than something slapped together for a last-minute Halloween party. It made me appreciate the attention to detail that people put into their costumes at these things. Some of them are really amazing. I dress up for the Ren Faire too. Last year, my husband and I went with some friends for pirate weekend and we all wore pirate costumes.

Do you collect anything sci-fi or geek related?
Not really. I buy stuff like Game of Thrones shot glasses and Star Wars T-shirts. I’m not a collector though. My husband is — he has a collection of “Alien” and “Predator” stuff, and “Star Wars” stuff, and lots of action figures which are still in the package.
You’re a pretty voracious reader. I have personally benefited from your book recommendations. Do you tend to gravitate to sci-fi books?
I actually don’t read a ton of sci-fi. I read a lot of different stuff. I read Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn Trilogy (Star Wars expanded universe), when I was a teenager, and I went through a phase of reading all of Anne Rice’s vampire novels. Some newer sci-fi books that I love are “Station Eleven” and “Ready Player One.” I read the “Hunger Games” books, and the “A Song of Ice and Fire” (“Game of Thrones”) books. I’ve given up waiting for George to write another one. You’re a comic book reader, as well. How did you get into that? What are some of your favorite titles?

My favorite thing when I was about 10 or 11 was getting to go to the library or bookstore. I liked “Choose Your Own Adventure” books and “Sweet Valley High,” which drove my mom nuts because she wanted me to read the classics. One day, I picked up some “Archie” comics and that’s how that started. And then later, I discovered comic book stores. I started reading “Cloak and Dagger,” “X-Men,” “Daredevil.” “Watchmen” is great, of course. I was really into “Fables” and “Y: The Last Man” for a while. I love “Saga,” as I mentioned before. I also like “Rat Queens,” and “Descender.”

What are some of your other interests?
I love animals. We have three cats. I’m a crazy cat lady. We also have a German shepherd. I’m passionate about animal rights and human rights and feminism. I don’t really have a lot of hobbies. I like going to concerts, and going to the beach.
Do you have any future plans for Earth to Shawna?
Yes, I need to post more often. I’ve gotten lazy.
As a woman, is there anything you’d like to see change in the world of geek culture or fandoms?

Absolutely! It bugs me that women are so often objectified, especially in comic books. Women are drawn with freakishly large breasts and tiny waists, and are almost always wearing skimpy costumes. One thing I love about “Rat Queens” is they sort of subvert the traditional roles given to woman in sci-fi and fantasy.I also think it’s crazy that movies have been made about almost every superhero you can think of, but it took such a long time for someone to make the “Wonder Woman” movie, which was amazing and I loved it, but I think it’s lame that there was so much pressure and expectation for it, as if we would never see another female superhero film again if it bombed, which is not true of male superhero movies.

I also hate that Hollywood is so male-dominated and sexist, with men making more money and having better roles (behind and in front of the camera). I think even being a fan, as a woman, people don’t take you as seriously. Like when I would go into a comic book store when I was younger and I would be the only woman in there and everyone would look at me like, What are you doing in here? It’s harder for women working in comic books, and in science and tech, and it’s sad that we are still having that conversation, like with the recent scandal at Google.

What’s the next event or big release (movies, comics, TV, etc.) you’re looking forward to?

I’m excited about the film adaptation of “Ready Player One,” because that was such a fun book, but I’m not going to get my hopes up that it’s going to translate to the big screen. I’m excited about “The Last Jedi,” of course. And “Blade Runner 2049.”

You’re really into Game of Thrones. How do you plan to console yourself while you wait for the next and final season?
Watching “Game of Thrones” is so bittersweet, because I love it soooo much but I know it’s going to be over soon. Hopefully another epic TV show will come along and take its place!

When Star Wars: The Force Awakens debuted in theaters, you reviewed the movie with me, which was awesome. Are we going to do it again for The Last Jedi?

Yes, definitely! Let’s do it.

About the Geek Goddess Interviews:

Our top priority at No Man’s Land blog is giving voice to fangirls who boldly pursue their geeky passions in whatever form they may take.

That’s why we chat weekly with a “Geek Goddess” whose devotion to her fandoms manifests itself in unique and inspiring ways — in career, family activities, hobbies, activism, opinions, creative pursuits, and other realms of expression.

We hope these simple snapshots will motivate other women to passionately embrace the fandoms they love and to do so with pride.

I’m always looking for interview subjects, so if you know someone who might be ideal, please respond via the comments, private message, or email, [email protected].

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