Women of Scifi – Writing Beneath a Glass Ceiling #author #scifi #sciencefiction #amwriting

I’m lucky enough to have several scifi authors guest posting on my blog. If you think women don’t write science fiction, you’re in for a surprise. If you wonder how women become scifi authors, you’ll find out from the first author in this series, Anela Deen, whose scifi book Insurrection is available now. Welcome Anela!

Every author will tell you critique groups are essential to the writing process. We need other writers to go over those passionate scribbles and point out the spots that need work. I tend to use online groups because you get a variety of readers and people seem to lean more towards honesty if they aren’t sitting face-to-face with each other. I’ve found them to be full of well-meaning writers looking to support, encourage, and improve each other’s art…that is until I asked for feedback on a Sci-Fi story I wrote.

No Girls Allowed

Let me back up a bit here before I tell you what happened. Last year the Twittersphere lit up with the hashtag  #ThingsOnlyWomenWritersHear. Women tweeted about the gender assumptions they face when it comes to their writing. What stood out to me, having experienced it myself, is the condescension and oftentimes outright belligerence doled out to women who dare to publish in genres viewed as “belonging to men”. Like Science-Fiction.

Anela Deen Guest Post

This is not a new issue, Continue reading

On the Foreseeable Edge of our Future, Heroes Battle a Bloodcurdling Killer in Military Scifi Thriller #scifi #space #bookreview #review

Gripping Military ScifiEdge of the Future is an engrossing military science fiction story set on Earth and nearby space sometime in our future. Mark is a military scientist working on secret projects but not a combat soldier – at least, not until his lab is attacked by a mysterious villain.

Mark and his lab partner are put into protective custody with a pair of elite soldiers and Mark’s counterpart Axel trains him in self-defense. They become friends in a blunt combative manner befitting soldiers. In addition to hand to hand combat, there’s elite armor, cyber-hacks, mind-control, nifty weapons, and spaceships enough to keep a military scifi fan happy. I’ve never been in the military but the details felt very believable and the characters are well developed.

It becomes obvious the villain has not given up and operates a powerful organization that includes cyborgs. I won’t risk spoilers, but this is a powerful, resourceful, and vicious villain who’s willing to go to extremes to get the data she wants.

Especially the second half of the book is fast paced and flows. I read the last 25% in a single sitting – I had to find out how it ended.

There’s a real and satisfying ending – but some characters are still around so a sequel seems possible.

I always enjoy looking for an author’s little quirks. Stone’s characters take a lot of showers – perhaps because they’re sweaty and bloody so often. One quibble I might have is on the Lunar Base – Stone doesn’t show the effects of the Moon’s lower gravity as the characters deal with the good and bad that comes their way. But that’s easy to overlook.

If you like military scifi, this book’s for you.

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Urban Fantasy of Good Battling Evil #urbanfantasy #paranormal #book #review

A cop in modern Albuquerque, with (as one reviewer said) a walk-in closet full of skeletons, is drawn into the battle between good and evil, where evil is magical creatures and monsters including “every god you can name,” and the good is science and reason.

Oddly enough, the forces of good seem to be magical immortals, just like those of evil, but they want to lock evil out of our dimension by helping humans become rational. This may sound intellectual, but the story is easy to read and full of action. I mention some possible emotional “triggers” below – something I haven’t done before. Would you like to see triggers and, if so, which ones?

Most humans have a touch of magic and so are vulnerable to evil, but in a neat reversal of the usual trope, instead of secretly being a wizard or some such thing, the cop may save the world because he has no magic at all inside him. Oddly enough again, this allows him to wield a magic sword.

I found it easy to forgive the oddities because I like the bold premise. The story moves along with flawed characters who (most but not all) grow into heroes.

The first two main characters we meet are exceptionally attractive, and I groaned thinking this was all-too-typical. But there’s actually a point in the story to their good-looks, so kudos! The main immortal good-guy is fabulously wealthy, which helps to keep the plot moving by, for example, producing a private plane when needed.

The cop’s neuroses are explained in a believable manner and the story carried me right along as evil invades our world.

Modest spoilers – Expected amounts of violence and mayhem are present, but also a few possible triggers that you might want to know about. Religious believers may find it offensive to include their god with the evil gods. There’s a little preaching about this idea but it’s not heavy handed. There is rape, torture, and suicide, a child is endangered, and a bisexual character endures harassment at work. What sort of triggers do you think I should mention in a review?

The ending sets up the next book in the series, but isn’t an annoying cliffhanger – though some reviewers on Amazon thought it was too abrupt. Three books are available in the series.

What others are saying
The Edge of Reason earns a respectable, if not overwhelming, 3.5 stars from 23 reviews on Amazon. Those who liked the book enjoyed the provocative premise and the characters, nay-sayers thought the plot twists were trite and predictable.

Live Like a Normal Person Until UFO Memories Absolutely Shatter Your Security #scifi #fantasy #books

feedbackFeedback contains three stories:

  • one set in the Koreas (an unusual choice for science fiction and well done) where a South Korean rescue helicopter goes down behind enemy lines while on a search for survivors of a UFO crash
  • one in New York City where Jason is drawn to an oddly lost young woman, and
  • an epilogue off-world.

They all tie together by the end.

Jason is a physics student and I enjoyed his professor being more interested in the equations he “doodled” on the backs of his homework pages than in the assignment. His best friend talks in vulgar banter all the time, which you may find funny or irritating. Once Jason invites the odd young woman into his apartment to dry off from the rain (it rains a lot in this book), things get rapidly odder.

To avoid spoilers, I’ll simply say physics explains all the bewildering events and apparent inconsistencies that Jason experiences. You’ll recognize the premise involved even if you don’t read much science fiction, but there are satisfying twists at the end.

Peter Cawdron’s book is wildly popular – in the top 3% of its best Amazon kindle category. [UPDATE: It’s over a year since I posted this review and Feedback is still in top 4% of its category of Time Travel – yowzer!] If any of my books did that well, I’d be doing a very big happy dance. Those reviewers who disliked the book generally said the ending was confusing or left events poorly explained. Even some of the reviews Amazon calls “critical” as opposed to “positive” said the book was enjoyable, including some from readers who are not usual science fiction fans.

In addition to some action-oriented violence, possible triggers include a few f-bombs, the best friend’s randy chatter, and torture.

A note on torture:
As most Americans, I was horrified at the Abu Ghraib scandal where members of our military tortured Iraqi prisoners. While individuals must be accountable for their actions, I couldn’t help but feel our nation had let our soldiers down. These men and women were allowed to practice evil in a way that must scar them as well as their victims. Was it poor training? Lack of oversight? Deficient understanding by those in charge?

Or is it a larger cultural issue?

Since Abu Ghraib I’ve become sensitive to torture scenes in TV, movies, and books. I never realized before how pervasive torture is in our entertainment. Even old favorites from my youth, like Star Trek TOS, include torture – though mostly performed by “bad guys” in older shows. Today, even the “good guys” torture, commit violence, or threaten torture to succeed. Now I’ve even got a president who thinks torture is okay.

Are we creating a culture where torture is acceptable? It’s enough to make me wish for the good old fashioned Superman.

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