Thursday, November 20, 2014

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How Barbie's I CAN BE A COMPUTER ENGINEER Helps Readers Understand Sci-Fi Romance

Have you heard about the Barbie book fiasco? I CAN BE A COMPUTER ENGINEER by Susan Marenco (Random House, 2010) is a picture book about Barbie's foray into computer engineering. Unfortunately, the story fell far, far short of expectations.

Basically, Barbie is depicted as being unable to execute key tasks associated with creating a video game, and must rely on two fellow male students to complete her assignment:

"I'm only creating the design ideas," Barbie says, laughing. "I'll need Steven's and Brian's help to turn it into a real game!"

Barbie, I don't know why you're laughing. It's not funny.

Read the full rundown at Gizmodo: Barbie F*cks It Up Again.

The Internet fixes Barbie's 'I Can Be a Computer Engineer' picture book (via The Verge) is essential reading because it demonstrates what the book could have--should have--been.*

Kathleen Tuite put together a website called Feminist Hacker Barbie, which allows the public to rewrite the book. The results have been amazing.

Commenters at The Verge have pointed out the book's wonky depiction of computer hardware. I wonder if the illustrator would have taken more care had this been a book aimed at boys.

Mattel's Barbie has since issued an apology, which is good, but frankly the damage has already been done.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

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Cover Reveal: STEAM ME UP, RAWLEY By Angela Quarles

If you enjoy steampunk and new adult romances, then you might be interested in Angela Quarles' forthcoming STEAM ME UP, RAWLEY (Mint Julep & Monocle Chronicles #1; Winter 2015). The Galaxy Express is participating in the author's cover reveal event and you can also enter for a chance to win a digital copy of her time travel romance MUST LOVE BREECHES.

Enjoy the cover of STEAM ME UP, RAWLEY!
Cover design by Kim Killion
Jack the Ripper might be in town. But is marriage more terrifying? 

In an alternate Deep South in 1890, society reporter Adele de la Pointe wants to make her own way in the world, despite her family’s pressure to become a society wife. Hoping to ruin herself as a matrimonial prospect, she seizes the opportunity to cover the recent Jack the Ripper-style murders for the newspaper, but her father's dashing new intern suggests a more terrifying headline—marriage.

Dr. Phillip Rawley’s most daring exploit has been arriving at his new home in America in a hot air balloon. A tolerable sacrifice, if it means he can secure the hand of his new employer’s daughter in a marriage of convenience. But Adele works, she's spirited, and she has an armored pet monkey running her errands. Not only does she not match his notions of a proper lady, she stirs up feelings he’d rather keep in tight control.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

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Blogging At Coffee Time Romance Steampunk Page

At the Coffee Time Romance steampunk site, I'm blogging about the joys of reading STEAMPOWERED II: MORE LESBIAN STEAMPUNK STORIES!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

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How Accessible Is Sci-Fi Romance?

Available as an audio book!
At Spacefreighters Lounge, Laurie A. Green blogged about The Paradox of the SciFi/Romance Fandom. Her post focuses on the question of "… what does the big screen have that books and small screen don't?", but the subsequent comment discussion she and I had made me realize there's another layer to this issue: accessibility.

Does science fiction romance lack a mainstream fandom, in part, because it's not as accessible as it could be?

Here's how I arrived at that question. In the comments, Laurie stated, "As a society, we seem to have acquired collective ADD when it comes to entertainment."

Her comment gave me food for thought, and I responded with the following:

I'm uncomfortable with the idea of applying a mental health diagnosis to the state of how consumers approach entertainment. Technology has led to more entertainment choices because artists can exploit more mediums. Consumers don't have attention deficits as a result--they are simply trying out new things or migrating to new mediums (e.g., network television viewers who now watch shows via streaming).

Print books can be limiting and inaccessible for many readers (some can't hold physical books or have trouble reading the text for one reason or another. Then there are things like prohibitive prices or difficulties traveling to brick and mortar bookstores.). I'd like to see SFR expand into things like podcast stories, more audiobooks, comic books, video games and the like because it'd mean more consumers could enjoy this genre in more accessible ways. In other words, if SFR could tap into more mediums, it might find more fans.

Some SFR readers/fans will find it no matter what and regardless of medium. On the other hand, SFR may experience more growth if creators explore ways of telling the stories that extend beyond the written word. How can SFR go to where the fans are? How can this genre bridge the inaccessibility divide?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

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Less Than Three Press Free Online Serial (Limited-Time Offer)

Here's some sci-fi romance news that'll be easy on your wallet--but you have to act fast!

Less than Three Press is running a serial, sci-fi romance themed anthology called KEEP THE STARS RUNNING. It's edited by Samantha M. Derr and the content is updated weekly. "The Prince and the Programmer" by Cassandra Pierce is the current feature story.