Welcome to May! As we all continue social distancing and adjusting to quarantine life, many people have started seeking out new hobbies or activities to pass all of this indoor time. Simultaneously, recent years have seen a surge in popularity for various past-times that were once considered mostly outside the norm.
Specifically, there has been an explosion in popularity for "geeky" hobbies and culture. Comic books used to be on the outskirts of what is considered literature; now they are responsible for generating billions of dollars of revenue at the box office. Star Wars and Star Trek were well-regarded, but in the past decade they have become recurring staples in movie theaters and on television. Video games have become so popular and widespread that they regularly outpace the sales of TV ads and movies. Even the hobby most commonly associated with the generic "nerd in his parents basement," the tabletop role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons, has surged in popularity in recent years due to various video games and its appearance in TV shows like Stranger Things.
While the stereotypes about nerds don't necessarily hold true in the 21st century, there certainly are some common characteristics of the aforementioned activities that actually are quite useful in our current circumstances. Not everyone stuck in doors has an introvert/house cat personality, but diving into a massive comic book universe can be a welcome change of pace from daily routines. And while some people play D&D in person, most groups have had to adjust to virtual sessions– while it isn't quite the same as an in-person interaction, it does provide a useful framework for scheduled social interaction while staying indoors.
But like all hobbies, there are some aspects of geek culture that have been postponed for the foreseeable future. Most notably, dozens of fan conventions have been delayed or cancelled. Ironically, conventions are maybe the biggest counter-argument to the entire "introvert" stereotype that goes along with nerdy hobbies: hundreds to thousands of people all coming together because of their shared passion, whether it's for Star Trek, comics, horror movies, or any of the myriad activities that host annual gatherings.
One of Nine Lions’ earliest projects was specifically focused on sci-fi fandom and convention culture. "Geekerella," written by Ashley Poston, is a modern rom-com retelling of the classic fairy tale Cinderella. Poston keeps the main story beats of the original, but smartly updates the setting and circumstances with a fictional sci-fi series called Starfield, cosplay contests, fandom conventions, and meet-and-greets with the actor who portrays a futuristic Prince Charming. Watch the video below to see how we incorporated these elements into the book trailer!