Saturday, April 30, 2011
Congratulations to you both! Please send your snail mail address to sfrgalaxy "at" gmail.com (subject line: Poken) and I will forward the information to the author.
Thanks to all who entered and for such a great discussion about time travel!
Thursday, April 28, 2011
In the year 1974, a new anime series debuted in Japan that drew a line from the far reaches of outer space to the infinite depths of the human heart. Space Battleship Yamato brought Japan's best artists, writers, and filmmakers together under a new genre called "Space Adventure Roman," and they created a shock wave that can still be heard today. Spanning ten years, the saga incorporated three TV series (known to the English-speaking world as Star Blazers) and five magnificent, monumental movies that not only made box-office history, they also inspired the 'anime boom' that brought us some of the most exciting entertainment in the world! Yamato's mission was to save humankind and bring peace to the universe.—from Star Blazers: The Official Web Site of the Star Blazers Animated Series
If one thing has influenced my journey aboard The Galaxy Express above all others, it’s SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO (Japanese title: UCHUU SENKAN YAMATO / 宇宙戦艦ヤマト).
The brainchild of illustrator Leiji Matsumoto and producer Yoshinobu Nishizaki, SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO regaled viewers with the adventures of Yamato and her crew in a battle to save Earth from a brutal alien invasion.
Think: an epic space saga like STAR WARS, except that the Japanese creators beat George Lucas to the punch. Here’s the enthusiastic description of the basic premise from Star Blazers.com:
In the year 2199, Earth was threatened by a deadly interstellar empire, and humankind was driven underground with only one year to live. Then from space came a message of hope, and an ancient fighting spirit would be revived to answer it!If this is the first time you’re hearing about the series, the other main thing you need to know is that the show also featured a romance between tortured hero Kodai Susumu (Derek Wildstar in STAR BLAZERS) and heroine Mori Yuki (Nova). More on those two later.
The epic SF adventure that created a generation of anime fans begins here, with the first Yamato TV series! Planet Earth is counting down its final days to extinction at the hands of the mysterious Gamilas Empire. Space Battleship Yamato, the first to break the speed of light, embarks on a journey to Iscandar with the mission to retrieve the Cosmo Cleaner D, a radiation removal system which will hopefully rescue the Earth. What awaits Yamato is humankind's first-ever journey of 296,000 light years.
While I’d love nothing more than to wax nostalgic about each and every episode and film, that would take years. Instead, the purpose of this post is to share the monumental impact that the show had on me. Because it changed my life in ways I’m still discovering.
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
But what if someone were to take an interest in SFR? What kind of expectations should he/she be armed with before taking the plunge? In order to answer—or attempt to answer—that question, I’d like to take a moment and study a chapter or two from the life of one of Hollywood’s most innovative filmmakers.
In addition to my usual science fiction romance fare, I’m in the middle of reading Beverly Gray’s ROGER CORMAN: An Unauthorized Biography of the Godfather of Indie Filmmaking. If you’ve never heard of Roger Corman, he’s often known at large for churning out cheap (but profitable) bad films. There’s lots of great material to discover about Roger Corman in this book, but one quote in particular really stood out for me.
One of Roger Corman’s filmmaker “graduates” was reported to have never shown “his Corman pictures…as samples of his work.” The reason? “Not because they’re bad movies, but because maybe people don’t know how to watch those movies.” (pg. 181)
That quote prompted me to reflect on how I approach a Roger Corman film (BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS being a prime example since it’s my favorite film of his to date). I have to approach them with a certain mind set. Here’s why:
Sunday, April 24, 2011
The story in question—an action-adventure space opera romance—had some of my favorite character types and a setting I enjoy. Despite the uncomplicated plot, I looked forward to visiting a new futuristic playground.
The very basics are this: Hero and heroine, who on the surface are from opposite sides of the cosmic tracks, are charged with the rescue of another character. It’s this other character that I’d like to focus on. More specifically, what sometimes doesn’t happen regarding this character.
When an author sets up an external plot wherein someone needs to be rescued or in other cases, a villain requires vanquishing, I become invested in the fate of the character and/or the villain being defeated. However, in some stories I've read the hero and heroine seem to develop amnesia mid-way through the story about the person who needs to be rescued. I get this feeling even though they are clearly on their way to save the day.
Sometimes it’s because once the characters are traveling (usually together in a claustrophobic space craft, sexual hijinks ensue, natch), they don’t discuss the mission—or this other character—much. Or even think about him/her. They tend to become seriously distracted by their burgeoning romance/mental lusting/sexual tension/hot sex with each other. Which in and of itself is fine—I’m not knocking that particular structure (as long as it isn’t boring, that is!). But when I’m worrying about the fate of this other character more than the hero and heroine seem to be, I start getting frustrated.
Here's the story blurb:
A sexy alien with secrets to hide, an irresistible reporter determined to expose the truth; when resistance succumbs to temptation, they are forced to pay the price of discovery.
On the hunt for a juicy story and a promotion, Erin Price is determined to prove she can move beyond her past mistakes. An eerie Victorian house in the middle of nowhere and a sexy stranger hiding secrets could be her ticket to success. Racing against time and a competing journalist, Erin breaks every rule to be near the stranger. When she discovers the truth, she’ll be forced to decide if her career is more important than her heart.
Drakor has nothing but contempt for Earth after his best friend disappeared on the planet during a previous assignment. When his family accepts a critical mission to find a cure for bone crippling disease at home, Drakor is forced to return to the planet he despises. As his birthday nears, Drakor is losing time to find his life mate. Will his encounters with a nosy reporter change his opinion of Earth and is his deep attraction to her proof that his true life-mate is human? When a series of failures force Drakor to take his family and run, will he leave behind the only person he can ever love?
Friday, April 22, 2011
If you leave a comment at the post, you'll be entered for a chance to win one of two gift certificates to Red Sage Publishing.
Thursday, April 21, 2011
|Image via View From The Potting Shed
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
The RT BookReviews blog posted coverage of Linnea Sinclair's Intergalactic Bar & Grille at the 2011 RT Booklovers Convention. Highlights include a variety of author news including:
* teasers from Marcella Burnard regarding her next release, ENEMY GAMES
* details about a free erotic SFR re-release from Cricket Starr
* Nathalie Gray's latest sale, a cyberpunk romance to Samhain Publishing.
There's lots more, too, so please do check it out.
Speaking of Nathalie Gray, she recently blogged about being the recipient of two Readers' Choice Awards for her covers (visit her cover artist page www.kanaxa.com to see more of her work). Congratulations!
Speaking of II: Author Kylie Griffin interviewed author Marcella Burnard.
Samhain Publishing has put out a special call for its Superhero Romance Anthology. Submission guidelines here. Definitely an opportunity for authors of science fiction romance! (Thanks to Lilly Cain for the alert).
In other publisher news, the editors of Carina Press posted updates about what they're seeking in submissions. SFR (especially steampunk) made the list. From the comments, there seems to be quite a bit of interest in this subgenre. Boo-yah!
Red Sage Publishing will also consider sci-fi romance of various heat levels. Check out this surprising paragraph from its submission guidelines:
As Red Sage’s first authors created erotic romance, this is where our heart is, so we want romance stories, which are erotic. Therefore a majority of what we publish will be romance and erotica. We also feel readers want variety. Sometimes you like erotic and sometimes you just want a great mystery or science fiction story or even something else. Surprise us and come up with something completely different!
Sunday, April 17, 2011
I also often find myself dispairing over the lack of truly excellent space opera romance, but I, too, shall venture forth undaunted.
Saturday, April 16, 2011
There are a few sci-fi romance related posts in the mix. For example, whose follicle-challenged scalp do you find sexier—that of Captain Jean Luc Picard from STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION or Assistant Director Skinner from THE X-FILES? Cast your vote in Choice #5: To Baldly Go…
And speaking of THE X-FILES, Sophie Brown explores the dynamics of Mulder and Scully’s (non) physical relationship in No Sex, Please, We’re Mulder & Scully:
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Back in May 2010, I blogged about the fact that THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU, a film adapted from a 1954 story by Philip K. Dick (“Adjustment Team”) was being billed as a “science fiction romance.” I was so excited, in fact, that I made a commitment to “pony up the cash to see it in the theater,” (a big deal for me since these days I usually reserve my cash for blockbuster films like AVATAR or director Christopher Nolan’s Batman films). But since this film was specifically categorized as SFR, I happily took the plunge.
Here’s the story blurb from the official site:
Do we control our destiny, or do unseen forces manipulate us? Matt Damon stars in the thriller The Adjustment Bureau as a man who glimpses the future Fate has planned for him and realizes he wants something else. To get it, he must pursue the only woman he's ever loved across, under and through the streets of modern-day New York.
On the brink of winning a seat in the U.S. Senate, ambitious politician David Norris (Damon) meets beautiful contemporary ballet dancer Elise Sellas (Emily Blunt)—a woman like none he's ever known. But just as he realizes he's falling for her, mysterious men conspire to keep the two apart.
David learns he is up against the agents of Fate itself—the men of The Adjustment Bureau—who will do everything in their considerable power to prevent David and Elise from being together. In the face of overwhelming odds, he must either let her go and accept a predetermined path…or risk everything to defy Fate and be with her.
Since my original post, I avoided reading about the film and didn’t even revisit the trailer in order to approach it with as few expectations as possible. I did feel some trepidation regarding how the romance would be handled since it’s difficult to discern elements like chemistry from a trailer. And learning that the heroine Elise Sellas (Emily Blunt) was a dancer made me wonder if she’d be little more than ornamentation. A past experience with a ballerina heroine in SFR had left me rather cold.
Admittedly, it was a thrill to go into a movie knowing the filmmakers or the marketing team or both wanted me to expect a science fiction romance. I’m sure there was a bounce in my step as I entered the theater. Unfortunately, in some ways, a sci-fi romance wasn’t exactly what they delivered.
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Most publishers won’t even consider a sf romance, or any type of romance, unless it’s told from a woman’s POV. It just won’t sell…
His comment prompted me to ask:
But what about science fiction romance entirely from the hero’s POV? Why wouldn’t publishers consider this type of story? Are readers truly that averse?
Sunday, April 10, 2011
The trailer looked interesting but the pose of the two protagonists on the cover is bad. I wish they would stop diminishing powerful women by giving them submissive sexual stances.
I had three reactions to Ms. Andreadis’ comment. The first is that yes, sometimes there’s a disconnect between powerful, progressive heroines in science fiction romance stories and the submissive ones on covers featuring a couple. Given a choice, I’d rather see a hero and heroine presented as equals, regardless of whatever scene is being played out. Even if all kick-butt heroines are fans of the missionary position, showing that element on a cover over and over again isn’t going to sell me on them.
Catch my eye with their unique characteristics; sell me on the romance between two equals.
The second reaction I had is that in romance stories there’s a focus on the validity of the heroine’s sexual needs. One reason a romance hero is considered heroic is because he’s all about giving the heroine pleasure and putting her needs first. The illustration on THE SPIRAL PATH isn’t about submissive behavior when considered in the context of the story. Having read this novella, I can tell you that hero Mitch Yoshida doesn’t subjugate Lara Soto or diminish her power at all. The image is probably meant to convey that he loves her and is selflessly giving her all the pleasure he can. If that was the intent, it’s certainly backed up by the story.
Unfortunately, many SFR covers are more concerned with “sex sells” than with any other aspect of a story. On the other hand, heat level is a valid element to portray in a cover when the story has love scenes, especially spicy/erotic ones. A question arises, then, as to whether heat level can be conveyed more often without diminishing powerful heroines.
In sci-fi romance cover news, Pauline Baird Jones recently revealed the cover for STEAMROLLED (April 2011), the fourth book in her space opera-steampunk mashup series:
Clearly, L&L Dreamspell made a real effort with this cover. The couple conveys romance as well as setting. The colors are in line with other current steampunk romance releases, which is a plus as far as branding the subgenre as a whole. Plus, the “transmogrification” time machine from the story makes an appearance in the background. Sweet.
Saturday, April 9, 2011
Thursday, April 7, 2011
Published in 1985 ‘Dushau’ tells the story of Krinata, a human research scientist, who works with a species of beings called the Dushau. When Krinata’s Dushau colleagues are scapegoated and imprisoned as a political ploy by the Allegiancy’s Emperor, Krinata breaks ranks, busts them out and flees with them. Many adventures ensue as Jindigar, a Dushau prince, and Krinata dash about the universe rescuing Dushau and their allies from certain death and trying to find safe haven for the survivors.
It was a fun and engaging read. Being that it won the Romantic Times award for Science Fiction in 1985, I was curious to see how Lichtenberg handled this particular romance. The Dushau, though somewhat humanoid in their appearance (they walk upright, they have arms, legs, etc) are also much larger than humans, are blue, and covered in soft fur. Romances with aliens who are so similar to humans that the differences are imperceptible are all very well. Lichtenberg doesn’t go so easy on herself. The Dushau are almost immortal, as well as having telepathic powers, and have an ancient culture than no human has come close to understanding. I loved the detail that they are evolutionarily descended from carrion-eaters. Humans, as predators, simply cannot grasp their mindset. Fascinating stuff!
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
But if your eyes just glazed over at my mention of ménage, check this out:
Per my usual spoiler-avoidance mode, I steered clear of the book’s page at Samhain until after I finished it, which meant that I discovered on my own that while THE SLIPSTREAM CON features a ménage romance, it’s a bona fide “sweet” romance (and tagged as such at the publisher’s site). Color me shocked since from what I’ve seen and heard, such a phenomenon is rare-with-a-capital-R-rare in the world of romance and erotic romance e-publishers. A rather refreshing twist for which I applaud the authors and their editor.
Visit Samhain Publishing to read an excerpt. Beyond that, here are a few non-spoiler details about some of the story’s key elements:
The three main characters are bounty hunters Tel and Vanya, who are married, and their target Kellen Frey, galactic con artist extraordinaire. Needless to say, with this type of heist story, there’s lots of crossing and double crossing that keep the reader guessing as to where this three-way relationship is headed—or not.
The story is character driven in that Tel, Vanya, and Frey take time to process their mutual attraction both internally and through dialogue. You’ll also encounter a character with a secret past and skeletons in the closet. On the skiffy side, there’s a superhuman character with a neat nanotech angle, although this aspect isn’t the main focus of the story. Maybe for a future book? Hint, hint.
At any rate, I invited the authors aboard for an interview so we could learn more about their work and they kindly accepted. Without further ado, I’d like to introduce you to S. Reesa Herberth and Michelle Moore:
Sunday, April 3, 2011
COLLISION COURSE - Zoe Archer
Mara Skiren is a scavenger, a black-market dealer. Blackmailed into helping Commander Kell Frayne infiltrate a treacherous corner of the galaxy, Mara learns that her biggest danger is from her sexy, by-the-book partner. She’s a loner with more than a few battle scars on her heart, but something about Commander Frayne stirs up her long-buried need for an intimate connection.
An ace pilot for the elite Black Wraith Squadron, Kell’s mission is to rescue a lost pilot and ship. Unable to deny his attraction to the beautiful, rebellious woman , he decides bedding her would cool his ardor. But one taste is not nearly enough, and he finds himself sharing more of his real self with Mara than he has with anyone.
With deadly criminals on their heels and an increasingly dangerous assignment to complete, he’s starting to wonder…. If they survived, could he let her go? And will Mara want to stay?
Read the excerpt.
THE TWISTED TALE OF STORMY GALE - Christine Bell
On a mission to recover the time travel mechanism stolen from her brother Bacon, time pirate Stormy Gale finds herself in a battle of wits with The Loony Duke of Leister and a battle of hearts with a man from her past.
As a young girl in 19th century London, Stormy spent her time on the streets. Discarded by her family, she and the other Fenchurch Street urchins struggled every day just to get enough to eat. Then, Professor Gilly Green blew into town and swept Stormy and her brother away on a journey through time, to the 20th century where he raised them as his own. Sixteen years later, she is grown and has embraced a life of adventure. She's a modern day Robin Hood hell-bent on righting the wrongs in the world and...she's an absolute mess. When she embarks on yet another escapade through time, things don't go according to plan. She finds herself in 1836 New England running an ill-conceived con on a madman in order to get back what is rightfully hers. Her adventure lands her in hot water as she winds up shackled to a bed in The Loony Duke of Leister's torture chambers. Little does she know that the Loony Duke is someone from her past, who is going to turn her life upside down.
Read the excerpt.
Saturday, April 2, 2011
There’s a new look for the Galaxy Express on the horizon. I’ve teamed up with my engineer and together we’ve rebuilt the site from the ground up for a code-tastic relaunch.
So what can you, my intrepid readers, expect? Aside from a spiffy new look, you’ll find the revamp:
* Easier to read, easier to navigate
* Offers you more viewing options for mobile devices
* Has faster loading times, thanks to a complete under-the-hood overhaul
In short, it’s the future and it’ll be here soon. Join me, won’t you?