Tuesday, July 29, 2014

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How I Introduced My Daughter to Science Fiction



[This post isn't directly related to sci-fi romance, but I'm betting geek parents might find it of interest. If you prefer an alternative, check out the blog tour celebrating the release of Pippa Jay's newest SFR release, TETHERED. Or catch up with the latest free issue of the Sci-Fi Romance Quarterly!]

At the Huffington Post, Justin Beach wrote about Why Your Daughters Need More Star Trek (via SF Signal). He begins with a hypothesis:
There has been a great deal of discussion, for many years, about the lack of women in science and technology and how to fix it. Although I haven't been able to find any actual studies or surveys on the topic, I'd like to propose a hypothesis: The lack of women in science and technology begins with a lack of science fiction when they were young.
A related post, and one that provides a much more comprehensive examination of the role women have played in geek culture and science, is Identity Crisis, Part 9: The Legacy of Geek Women (Fandomania):
Although mainstream media and pop culture view geek/nerd society as male-dominated, there’s a long history of female involvement in fandom. Women have played an original or integral part in significant scientific and technology related discoveries and inventions that pre-date any organized fandom or science fiction/comic book related social clubs. Wonder Woman was the first superhero character created to be a role model for females in comic books. Her first appearance was in 1941. She was aimed at an existing audience of female comic book fans. The Oxford Dictionary of Science Fiction dates the coinage of the term “fem fan” or “femme fan” as early as 1944.
Both articles prompted me to reflect on my role not only as a geek woman, but also as a geek mother. They resonated particularly strongly since I'd recently begun introducing science fiction stories to my eight-year old daughter. Here's the rub, though: she's too young for stuff like STAR TREK, STAR WARS, and SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO, likes stories with humor, and prefers girl protagonists.

So how exactly did I spark her interest?

Sunday, July 27, 2014

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Sandal Press' KS Augustin Presents: Building An SFR Small Press

[Heather's note: I saw KS Augustin's store recently and was so intrigued by it that I invited her aboard to blog about her latest venture. It occurred to me an SFR micro-press is yet another way authors of SFR can increase visibility for their books and experiment with niche genre marketing techniques. This post is geared toward indie/hybrid authors, so readers or traditionally published SFR authors may want to give this one a pass, in which case... Bye! Have fun storming the space station!]

Building An SFR Small Press by KS Augustin

If we want our genre to thrive, then I think it's important for SFR authors to embrace the business side of things, in addition to the art and craft.

Okay, so we're all here. The independent writers and publishers of SFR. We're smart, savvy and we all like to be in control. If we didn't, we wouldn't be independent, right? Here goes.

If we look at the internet retail landscape as analogous to the meat retail landscape, we can imagine places like Amazon, Kobo, Google Play, and B&N as being the mega-malls. Our little enterprise can be compared to a small shop. The mega-mall will let us set up shop in their premises but, in return, will have certain rules we have to obey and will charge us a fee to cover their expenses. Assuming we produce quality goods, our success in our little shop depends on our own marketing but also on how efficiently the mega-mall drives traffic to themselves. That's all well and good but the downside is that, because we're a small player with little clout, when the mega-mall owners decide to make certain decisions or change their policies, we have to either put up with it, or get out.

(For my operation, Sandal Press, this bites most often in the area of DRM. No matter my stated preferences, there's really nothing stopping an etailer from slapping DRM on a Sandal Press title that they sell. Short of pulling out of that etailer completely, or spending months trying to sort out a solution via Customer Support (this I have done) there are few other options.)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

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Exclusive Cover Reveal: IN THE VOID by Sheryl Nantus



IN THE VOID (Carina Press) is book #2 of Sheryl Nantus' space opera romance series Tales from the Edge and you, my dear passengers, have an exclusive first look at the cover!


At the risk of jinxing things, I must say that SFR readers are getting positively spoiled with representative covers! I used to blog quite a bit about the lack of such cover images and now ones for books like IN THE VOID are quite common. Yay!

To hold you over until the October 16, 2014 release date, here's the blurb:

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

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My Epic Post On MY LOVE FROM ANOTHER STAR

Image source: DramaFever
So. MY LOVE FROM ANOTHER STAR. Where do I even begin?!

MY LOVE FROM ANOTHER STAR (별에서 온 그대) is so shiny! Shiny, shiny, shiny. It's cracktastic sci-fi romance in the sense that the show has significant flaws, yet manages to entertain in a delightful way. Does it succeed despite the flaws? That'll depend on whether viewers are willing to overlook them.

MY LOVE FROM ANOTHER STAR may also be the first show of its kind, or among the first (i.e., live action sci-fi romance soap opera). While the trope of an alien hero visiting Earth and falling in love with a human woman isn't new--in fact, it's been explored many times in SFR books--its interpretation in a visual medium is still pretty rare.

I'm going to share my experience watching this twenty-one episode show. I'll provide general impressions and tags, but will avoid major spoilers.

MY LOVE FROM ANOTHER STAR originally aired on SBS. To catch you up to speed, here's a description and trailer:

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

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SFR/Steampunk Links, Plus Announcement of Short Hiatus

At the Coffee Time Romance Steampunk page, I'm presenting a roundup of links and titles.

Check out some recent Award Winning Sci-Fi and Paranormal Romance! courtesy of Smart Girls Love SciFi & Paranormal Romance.

SFR Brigade Presents has posted the latest batch of sci-fi romance snippets!

On the book news front, I recently found out about PRISONER (Echo's Wolf #1) by Lia Silver. The blurb tags it as PNR, but also has references genetic engineering. Either it's a PNR-SFR hybrid, or an SFR in disguise. :)

Anyway, one Goodreads review mentioned the hero has a severe dyslexia condition and that the book deals with combat related PTSD. At .99 cents (Amazon U.S.), I couldn't resist. If you're also looking to diversify your SFR/PNR reading, here's the cover and blurb so you can learn more:

Thursday, July 10, 2014

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SFR: A Secret Source of Equal Heroes


Heroine is front and center for the win!

Author Jody Wallace tipped me off about Tasha Robinson's We're Losing All Our Strong Female Characters to Trinity Syndrome. It's an insightful article about the state of female action heroines in film, television, comics, and videogames. Here's a taste:

There’s been a cultural push going on for years now to get female characters in mainstream films some agency, self-respect, confidence, and capability, to make them more than the cringing victims and eventual trophies of 1980s action films, or the grunting, glowering, sexless-yet-sexualized types that followed, modeled on the groundbreaking badass Vasquez in Aliens. The idea of the Strong Female Character—someone with her own identity, agenda, and story purpose—has thoroughly pervaded the conversation about what’s wrong with the way women are often perceived and portrayed today, in comics, videogames, and film especially. Sophia McDougall has intelligently dissected and dismissed the phrase, and artists Kate Beaton, Carly Monardo, Meredith Gran have hilariously lampooned what it often becomes in comics. “Strong Female Character” is just as often used derisively as descriptively, because it’s such a simplistic, low bar to vault, and it’s more a marketing term than a meaningful goal. But just as it remains frustratingly uncommon for films to pass the simple, low-bar Bechdel Test, it’s still rare to see films in the mainstream action/horror/science-fiction/fantasy realm introduce women with any kind of meaningful strength, or women who go past a few simple stereotypes.

Sing it, sistah! While I could easily add a few thousand more words waxing poetic about the importance of compelling heroines with agency, I want to focus on one line in particular from "We're Losing All Our Strong Female Characters to Trinity Syndrome":

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

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Cover Reveal: IN THE DEVIL'S NEBULA By Anna Hackett


How about some action-packed cover action to liven up your summer? Behold the cover and blurb for Anna Hackett's IN THE DEVIL'S NEBULA (Phoenix Adventures #2): 



Sunday, July 6, 2014

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Cli-Fi Sci-Fi Romance



Courtesy of SF Signal's daily link roundup and other Internet surfing, I've been noticing a few more articles than usual about "cli-fi." Like this one: New York Times embraces 'mushrooming' genre of cli-fi:

According to the Times account, novels set against a backdrop of climate change are beginning to make their mark on the literary scene, with books such as The Windup Girl, by Paolo Bacigalupi and Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver.
Cli-fi novels and movies ”fit into a long tradition of speculative fiction that pictures the future after assorted catastrophes,” the Times reported.

Post-apocalyptic science fiction isn’t new. But you may have noticed an uptick in books set in the wake of some kind of major climate disaster. Some call it “cli-fi” — sci-fi infused with the increasingly frightening impacts of climate change. The trope has deep roots, says science fiction scholar Istvan Csicery-Ronay, and plenty of room to grow.


In fact, of late, cli-fi has been creeping out of the fantasy and science fiction sections of bookstores and libraries and into the mainstream.
Yes, there's more! 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

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SFR News & Links For July 2014


Wow, only six months into 2014 and SFR is going strong! Come aboard and peruse this month's new releases, plus a free read!

New releases

REBEL (The Cat Star Chronicles #10) – Cheryl Brooks
 
He helped to find her kidnapped friends. Will he let her steal his heart?

Kimcasha has lived by her wits since she lost her family when she was eight years old. So when three of her friends vanish, she has no fear about using herself as kidnapper's bait, until a stranger foils her plot...

After ten years of selling his services in a brothel, Onca has decided to retire. A refugee of planet Zetith, he has no family, no surname, and no woman-until he rescues a young homeless girl from a kidnapper. Onca helps Kim find her friends, but as their intense attraction deepens, he begins feeling too jaded for someone so innocent. It's up to Kim to convince him otherwise...

HEIRS AND GRACE (Amazing Grace #3) - Misa Buckley