A topnotch WordPress.com site

Archive for February, 2013

Science and Stereotypes


I strongly advise you all to read this small but perfectly formed blog post on the topic of gender stereotypes in sciences. An article was published in the Guardian online (there’s a link to it in the post above) that was just awful; claimed that it was trying to come up with methods about getting more girls into physics and engineering by giving them science in the form of recipes, jigsaws and saying that “well, maths is supposed to be hard”.

Yes, really.

The Guardian piece also failed to address the lack of boys in biology, psychology, veterinary and general medical sciences, which is efinitely something to be looked into. The fact that the two former subjects are seen as ‘softer’ sciences won’t help, similarly to the myth that veterinary science is all about cute and cuddly animals (which obviously boys can’t like *sarcasm*).

The seems to be a rising trend in the belief that men and women just are fundamentally different (which I have little problem saying as even some medicines has differing levels of efficacy in each sex)- Scientific American Mind did an excellent issue last year on the similarities and differences between the male and female brain and mind.
However, what I hate is that these thoughts are being twisted into the idea that “girls brains just aren’t suited to maths/physics/engineering” (and according to this link http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/art/news/whats-the-biggest-problem-with-women-artists-none-of-them-can-actually-paint-says-georg-baselitz-8484019.html us girls can’t paint/draw/compose music/come up with original ideas/write incredible literature, so maybe we should just give up now. Really people!?!?)

I’d like to think most people would acknowledge that male and female brains are capable of the same potential but from the toys we are given to play with and up through to the education system, these things guide our minds to be better at learning in different ways.
There’s also the obvious social expectations (girls are more empathetic so they just ‘make better’ teachers/nurses etc and these careers are seen as care giving roles which aren’t masculine. Which is rubbish. There are many other careers/roles where this happens again and again, but that would take a long time to list so I will leave it there).

I also don’t want this to veer into the realm of becoming a post about sexism in the past and present world as that is a subject unto itself, but they obviously play a significant part.

So please, before spouting putrid and frankly, out of date ideas, have a thought about how damaging generalisations really are and how our children should have the chance to follow whatever career path they want, regardless of their sex/gender.

“The Genesis”- K. L. Kerr. A Review

No this is not a review of the start of the Bible, but the first in Kerr’s series the “Blood of Ages”

NB: apologies, I like long posts. You have been warned, but will endeavor to stay under 1000 words =]

I was given a Kindle copy of this book by the lovely author herself in return for a review so here it is!

“A Stolen Power. An Unstoppable Corporation. A Vampire God.

 The vampires of Dayson City are preparing for war. Having lived in constant fear of the Archway Corporation for decades, desperation has forced them into action. Their solution is to bring the First vampire, Alistair, back from the dead, a warrior famed for eradicating entire armies in the name of his kind.

 For fledgling vampire Catrina Malinka, the fabled return of some unknown deity falls low on her list of concerns. Between fending off strangers trying to kill her in her dreams, or trying to rein in an uncontrollable power that no one else even understands let alone shares, Catrina is forced to fight her assumed role in the war against Archway, which threatens to send her down a path she doesn’t want to travel.”

So. That’s the blurb. Now, I am not going to lie- when I see vampire books these days my eyes automatically role and my expectations drop. But I agreed to read this book hoping it wouldn’t be our now typical ‘vampire-angst-love fest’.

It did that and more.

What K L Kerr has managed to do is bring back the more horrific aspects of the creatures, the never-ending hunger and pain they live with. Yes the main clan of vamps in this don’t eat and kill but that’s purely a matter of logistics (eventually they’d die out PLUS we humans can be a pain when we find out (read: suspect) about supernatural forces living amongst us.)
The female protagonist is a hit-woman, so it’s nice that she’s not a limp useless woman, waiing for a man to come and take her away; she has a spark and knows her way around a gun and her opponents.

She meets her maker after a hit takes a turn for the worst, her gun jams and someone moves inhumanly fast and does save the day. This character Fox was a major concern for a cliché (attractive, sullen, grating and frankly quite annoying). The difference again in this book is that people call him out on being so rude and at times kind of creepy: there’s a scene where Catrina wakes up to see that Fox has been watching her while she’s been asleep and she makes it VERY clear that that is a pretty creepy thing for a person to do.

Anyway, to move away from what this book ISN’T to what it IS. It is a fast paced type of book, I finished it very quickly and it had a good cinematic quality to it which I really enjoyed. The idea of bringing back the first vampire hasn’t been looked at hugely (I can’t think of any other than in Queen of the Damned) and ‘Alistair’ and Rice’s Akasha share little in common other than their vampiric nature and being…well, evil). The fight scenes are written well, not too much fussing around, but written in good enough detail for a rich imaginative experience.

The humans we encounter in Kerr’s world are mainly the human ‘doners’ in special clubs for vampires who have to be monitored during their feedings, the humans unlucky enough to cross paths with the occasional desperate vampire and lastly, Archway. This is the multi-million company with a special area for eradicating the vampires. As is often the way, I ended up rooting for the vampires as the humans are just so hideous and want to wipe out a species just because they are slightly higher in the food chain. The relationship with Archway and the vampire clans is an interesting one of rules of who you can and can’t kill, for fear of the scale of retaliation.
It is these adversaries that lead the vampires to seek out the original vampire, as he meant to be their greatest warrior, with extra powers that have all but disappeared through the diluting of the blood over generations.

I don’t want to give too much away in regards to the Genesis and the return of their ancestor- suffice it to say, his homecoming isn’t quite what they expect. And Catrina isn’t quite the standard vampire fledgling.

The only negatives I can point out are, in my opinion, a lot of the characters don’t feel fleshed out to me, even Catrina- we know she works for a man who is like a foster father, but why? Who is he? Fox’s life is all mystery as is the presence of the demonic bar staff at a vampire can. However, this can almost be forgiven due to the fact that it is the first in a series so there is time to add the extra details teasingly along the way but it would be nice to be closer to the characters. Something I did like was how the perspectives changed throughout the book (all third person though) so you got to see the events through different eyes and understand their actions better.

Also, maybe it’s due to my love of Buffy and True Blood, but I like the traditions (crosses, silver) although at least Kerr’s vampires don’t sparkle, they blister and burn in sunlight, as they should. The vampires are also really quite young, the elders we meet (Jessie and Jacob) are both a few hundred years old. This isn’t actually a negative, just something I found slightly odd.

All in all, I found this book a lot of fun to read and most importantly, it had me wanting to read the next book! Highly recommend for people who like their vampires with a bit of violence and a lot of mystery and NO TEEN ANGST.



Next Time! Popular Science book review …maybe two! You’ll have to wait and see


The Ramblings of a Foolish Northerner

Chemistry Matters

A blog about chemistry in real life

The Thiessen Review

Helping to find your next great read . . .


we interact, we love, we create

My Guild-type things

4 out of 5 dentists recommend this WordPress.com site

My Microtia Journey

A 21 Year Old's Story About Her Microtia Surgeries

oh heck, goblins

mental health and goblins and stuff

Ben C. Turnbull

Transitioning into science, and other interesting things. @bencturnbull #UG2PhD

Blogging for a Good Book

A suggestion a day from the Williamsburg Regional Library

Books, j'adore

story lovers unite


A topnotch WordPress.com site

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.