The Ways of Walls and Words April 15, 2015 The Ways of Walls and Words Sabrina Vourvoulias Can the spirit truly be imprisoned? Ballroom Blitz April 1, 2015 Ballroom Blitz Veronica Schanoes Can't stop drinking, can't stop dancing, can't stop smoking, can't even die. Dog March 25, 2015 Dog Bruce McAllister "Watch the dogs when you're down there, David." The Museum and the Music Box March 18, 2015 The Museum and the Music Box Noah Keller History is rotting away, just like the museum.
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Showing posts by: heather massey click to see heather massey's profile
Jan 25 2012 12:00pm

Female Action Stars: You Know You Want Them

In “Death of the Female Action Star,” (link leads to a cached post — the original was taken down) author Joel Shepherd laments the lack of female action stars in big budget Hollywood films. In fact, when a producer shopped around his Cassandra Kresnov series, this was the result:

‘They’re just not interested,’ he [the producer] said. ‘I mention she’s female and that’s the end of the conversation.’

Wow. Like, way to dismiss half of the human race there.

In his post, Mr. Shepherd wonders why A-list actresses don’t address this imbalance more aggressively, but I think the situation is far beyond their ability to solve. In fact, in order to create the conditions that are conducive to female action stars, it’s going to take—cue clichéd phrase—a village. And that starts with questioning our own preconceived notions that a female action star is inherently impossible.

[Dare to dream the possibilities...]

Dec 26 2011 6:02pm

The Manos: The Hands of Fate Blu-ray Project


Manos: The Hands of Fate is a horror film that currently resides at # 3 of IMDb’s Bottom 100 list. If you’ve seen this “hallmark” film, it was almost certainly because of the much-deserved lambasting given to it by Mystery Science Theater 3000.

Every shot of the film is pure amateur hour with continuous continuity errors, out-of-sync sound, and abundant bad acting. When is the last time you watched anything with swarms of moths in the nighttime shots (outside of the occasional YouTube video, that is)? Well, they’re here in all their Mothra-lite glory.

And yet despite the multitude of flaws — or more likely, because of them — one man has taken on the challenge of restoring this paragon of bad cinema for 21st century viewers. By chance, he has stumbled across a rarity among rarities — a workprint of this 1966 film. Fate selected him to restore this classic disaster, but to accomplish this Herculean task, he needs your help.

Who, I’m sure you’re wondering, is this celluloid superhero in our midst?

[Be a part of cinematic history…]

Dec 8 2011 5:00pm

Jacqueline Lichtenberg’s Unto Zeor, Forever: More Than Just Tentacle Sex

Unto Zeor, ForeverI love to read science fiction romance, but I also enjoy studying this subgenre on a more scholarly level. There are trends to explore, covers to analyze, and subtext to discover. Reading for entertainment alone is great, but I also want to actively evaluate stories in terms of their culture, context, and impact.

Exploring the subgenre’s history—especially the more obscure books—yields a lot of interesting information about its origin as well as how it has evolved over the years.

Such is the case with a book I recently read, namely Unto Zeor, Forever by Jacqueline Lichtenberg. This book was initially published by Doubleday in 1978. But thanks to the wonders of digital technology, the author has been releasing the backlist of her Sime~Gen series, of which Unto Zeor, Forever is a part. So, I snagged a copy for my Kindle.

The least you need to know about the story:

[Here there be tentacles...]

Oct 24 2011 4:30pm

Amazing Stories: Rising from the Ashes

Amazing StoriesFew things in science fiction are as iconic as Amazing Stories. When the magazine premiered in 1926, it was the first of its kind to focus solely on science fiction tales.

Its influence is undisputed, helping shape modern-day SF as we know it.

SF juggernauts such as Ursula K. Le Guin (being celebrated this month at The Center For Fiction) Isaac Asimov, and Roger Zelazny had their first stories published in the magazine. Fanzines grew out of the social networking fostered by its letter column. Even Steven Spielberg licensed the name for his 1985 television series. One would think that such an influential and well-known mainstay of science fiction would never, ever die.

But, Amazing Stories amazingly did just that. After nearly eighty years in circulation, it ended.

Now, that’s about to change.

[Help stoke the SF fire…]

Oct 19 2011 1:00pm

Top Ten Geek Girl Sites

Did you hear that explosion? It’s the sound of geek girl sites popping up all over the web!

Geek girl sites are run by women (and sometimes with a few guys in the mix) for geeks of all genders. These sites cover a broad spectrum of SF/F pop culture news. Some of them operate from a specific angle while others simply declare their love of geek culture just because they can.

[Channel your inner geek girl...]

Sep 21 2011 4:00pm

Justin Burks Strikes Sci-Fi Romance Gold with Danger Planet

Danger Planet is a super happy fun animated short by filmmaker Justin Burks. During a routine scan on a distant planet, a young space scout finds romance with a female pilot. But when peril strikes the two star-crossed explorers, he must face what lurks in the darkness of the planet to rescue the girl.

Awesome, eh?

[Learn more about Danger Planet]

Jul 19 2011 5:33pm

Sci-Fi Romance Anthologies: Free of the Ghetto At Last

Songs of Love and DeathHistorically, science fiction romance anthologies have been about as common as woolly mammoth sightings. I know what you’re thinking: it’s a crying shame. Even more scandalous is the fact that there seems to be a “Mammoth Book” of every subgenre except science fiction romance. Where, I beseech you, is the love?

There’s little to report on sci-fi romance anthologies from years past. What I can tell you is that a number of years ago, the dearly departed Science Fiction Romance Newsletter hosted the Zircon Short Speculative Romance Contest.

[Find out what happened next below...]

Jun 2 2011 5:09pm

The Shock And Terror Of It All. James Nguyen’s Birdemic

There are movies, and then there are cinematic experiences that simply must be shared. So move over, Hitchcock, and take your old skool birds with you. Director James Nguyen is the new maestro in town. And if Birdemic: Shock And Terror (2008) is any indication, he’s kicking ass and taking names.

Well, sorta.

Birdemic: Shock And Terror is basically about a guy, a girl, and their epic battle with the deleterious effects of global warming. Said effects take the form of—wait for it—angry birds. But, these are some really, really angry birds.

[And somehow out of this... science fiction romance]

May 10 2011 1:50pm

It’s An Honor Just To Be Nominated: Three Sci-Fi Romances Final in The 2011 RWA Golden Heart Awards

Most days, I’m happy to wear my “proud to love obscure genres” badge, but there are times when I’m itching for some of them to break out. Or at least take a baby step toward some mainstream lovin’. To that end, I’m excited about the opportunity to report on one such event.

First, some background. The goal of the Romance Writers of America Golden Heart contest is “…to promote excellence in the romance genre by recognizing outstanding romance manuscripts.” The Golden Heart is the contest for aspiring authors (as opposed to the RITA, which is for published authors).

This year, three science fiction romance manuscripts finaled in the Golden Heart contest. They are:

[See the nominees...]

Jul 6 2010 2:39pm

Announcing Sharon Lee & Steve Miller’s “Expanding Universe Contest”

The Dragon VariationWhen I think of authors who should be required reading for science fiction and science fiction romance fans, the names of Sharon Lee and Steve Miller come immediately to mind. This writing duo is the team behind the classic and ever-popular Liaden Universe®. This series of “adventurous romantic space opera” holds crossover appeal for both romance and science fiction readers.

To celebrate the release of Mouse and Dragon, Lee and Miller’s thirteenth Liaden novel, the authors are holding a cosmically cool contest. They’re giving away 36 digital copies of The Dragon Variation omnibus, which includes Conflict of Honors, Local Custom and Scout’s Progress. This contest is open to anyone and everyone who has yet to sample the galactic gold (sorry, couldn’t resist) of a Liaden Universe® novel.

[More contest news after the break...]

Jun 17 2010 5:04pm

Romance and Science Fiction, Sittin’ in a Tree…


I know. Romance and science fiction hybrid stories? Scandalous.

But is it really? Isn’t this rather old news, that writers in mainstream, niche, and fan fiction venues have blended romance and science fiction in books, films, television, graphic novels, and even videogames?

In light of runaway blockbuster hybrid films like Avatar, it is rather passé. These days, science fiction romance stories (including romantic SF) are poised to exit the ghetto. Because it’s one thing to say you don’t care for romance-SF blends, and quite another to say they have no place in science fiction...or romance, for that matter.

The cat’s already out of the Han and Leia bag.

[More unleashed SFR brouhaha contained herein...]

Dec 7 2009 3:46pm

Win Free Books with the SFR Holiday Blitz!

If you’re reading this, chances are you like to read genre books. And, there’s an even greater chance that you enjoy reading them when they’re free…! Therefore, I’m cross-posting a Galaxy Express book giveaway announcement at Tor as a way to introduce you to the joys of science fiction romance.

If you think you’re completely unfamiliar with science fiction romance, chances are you’ve sampled a taste without realizing it: Think of the romance in found The Empire Strikes Back. Or, perhaps you’re already a fan of Catherine Asaro’s character-driven hard SF stories. There’s room for all.

[Want to know more...?]

Nov 16 2009 1:02pm

Animated Sexual Shenanigans on Mongo

Princess AuraThe New Adventures of Flash Gordon (1979-1980) is a delicious adaptation of Alex Raymond’s classic comic strip. According to IMDb, the series was originally conceived as a live action vehicle, but NBC opted for a budget-friendly animated one by Saturday morning staple. The serialized format delivered 16 episodes in the first season. I’m assuming you know the basic plot, so if you’re new to this series, beware slight spoilers.

There’s quite a bit to enjoy in this particular adaptation—including better than average animation and some feisty action. But what got my fist pumping the air was the surprisingly high level of sensuality and romance. For a Saturday morning animated show, Flash Gordon practically bleeds with romance if one counts the various love triangles, secret crushes, and reckless lust.

[Here there be Lion Men with ripped abs...]

Oct 21 2009 1:52pm

Steampunk Needs a Shot of—Wait for It—Romance

Absolute League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Vol. 2I lurv me some steampunk when it’s properly polished and gleaming. I love it for all the usual suspects: the brass goggles, its retro-Victorianism, its nostalgia, the brass goggles, automatons, airships, steam powered rifles (and steam powered everything else), its socio-political themes—hang on, did I mention brass goggles?

Yet for all of its wonders, steampunk can feel awful dry at times. There are occasions when I crave a steampunk story solely for its Deep Thoughts, but if it can deliver the same punch with character-driven tales then sign me up! Mixing romance with steampunk is simply one way to add that particular ingredient.

Currently, there is no such subgenre as steampunk romance. Who knew?! I’ll admit, it feels a bit surreal to be discussing a subgenre that may or may not emerge, but steampunk romance is ripe for exploring.

[More steamy goggles after thee break....]

Feb 9 2009 6:39pm

Dear Publishers: Girls Read Comics, Too

Spider-Man Loves Mary JaneEvie Nagy’s PW article “What a Girl Wants is Often a Comic” presents a great overview of comics and the girls who love them. Dark Horse, Slave Labor Graphics, and Oni Press are doing a bang up job of creating stories that range in appeal to everyone from the Hannah Montana mall crowd to the cerebral Persepolis coterie (not an easy thing to do).

But what about the Big Two, DC and Marvel? Sure, there are a few if you look, but apparently the crash and burn of DC’s Minx young adult graphic novel line indicates “…that a market for alternative young adult comics does not exist in the capacity to support an initiative of this kind, if at all.”

Oh, really? Just because the distributor in this case, Random House, was unable to get its coveted shelf placement for these graphic novels, there’s barely a market? R u nuts?

Here’s the deal: Most girls love to read and would adore reading great comics—it’s just that sometimes they don’t even know it yet.

[More on cracking the Mary Jane code...]

Jan 21 2009 6:20pm

Are Comic Books Dying?

Ask the average passerby how much a comic book costs now, and you’ll probably get a price ranging from $1.25 to $2.00 (along with the standard “I remember when they were only 12/35/50 cents” rejoinder, depending upon the person’s age and affability).

What you probably won’t hear is $3.99. And that, my friend, is the newsstand price of many Marvel comics right now.

I know, the price of everything else has skyrocketed, so why should comics be immune? Somehow though, this jump just seems flagrantly wrong. For one, it appears to be vastly exceeding the rate of inflation. Plus, we’re talking about comics, something historically perceived as inexpensive.

Something needs to be done—stat! Everyone has his or her own breaking point on pricing, and I think four bucks not only hurdles across that line, but turns around and spits in its face, too. And judging by the reaction of others, I’m not alone in feeling this way.

Are comics as we know them on a death march?

[I’d Buy That For A Dollar…!]

Jan 6 2009 12:16pm

When Earth is Gone

ContactScience fiction romance author Susan Grant came onto the scene with Contact (2002), and the direct, no frills title suitably fronts a story with a very dark premise.

First Officer Jordan Cady is a commercial airline pilot whose aircraft is captured by an unknown force en route to Hawaii. When the captain dies of a heart attack, Jordan assumes the mantle of captain as well as the responsibility for the lives of her passengers.

Adversity becomes the word of the hour as Jordan and her charges investigate the tragic turn of events. Even more disturbing than the identity of the captors is the catastrophe that follows.

[Spoilers and more below the fold...]

Jan 2 2009 4:11pm

10 Hella Sexy Discoveries in The Outback Stars

The Outback StarsSandra McDonald’s The Outback Stars is military science fiction, but it offers you far more than that. It also boasts an intriguing mystery and a sophisticated romance. If you’ve read it, dig into this post. If not, I’ve endeavored to avoid spoilers.

Our heroine, Lt. Jodenny Scott, is a competent, no-nonsense officer trying to get on with her life after a traumatic event. She’s a real woman with real problems like “personnel” issues, office politics, and a new career move. Yet because of her heroic actions (described in the prologue), she’s also trying to adjust to her extraordinary status.

Our hero, Sergeant Terry Myell, is one of Jodenny’s subordinates. Haunted by a disturbing incident in his past, Terry’s plagued by family skeletons that refuse to rest. Not only that, but he’s cast into a series of strange incidents—both real and hallucinatory—while serving aboard the Aral Sea, the starship in which the story largely occurs.

Faced with two complicated main characters, a forbidden romance, and exotic settings, The Outback Stars is a book I just can’t quit. Therefore, I present a ranking of 10 hella sexy ways the story rocked my world—and how it can do the same for you!

[Find out how after the jump....]

Dec 26 2008 4:40pm

Round 2: Genre Films of 1982 vs. 2008 – The Heavyweights!

1982 vs. 2008 -- Round Two!

And now, our heavyweight bouts…!

In case you missed part one, this post continues pairing up like-minded genre films of 1982 vs. 2008—two of the strongest years to ever grace filmdom’s history books. (A replay of the earlier three bouts is available here without Pay-Per-View.)

Okay, I’ll pipe down as I see we’re ready for the next and final rounds.

[Pass the popcorn and see the results….]

Dec 19 2008 4:25pm

Genre Films of 1982 vs. 2008 – Fight!

'82 vs. '08

In all the annals of geekdom, the year 1982 is our SF nonesuch—debuting classics left and right. From ST II: The Wrath of Khan to Blade Runner, a fan’s cup had truly runneth over by summer’s end ’82.

But now it seems we have another contender entering the ring—a strapping, quick-on-its-feet fighter that’s hungry for victory. Even the most hypercritical would have to begrudgingly admit that 2008 has shaped up to be a great genre year cinematically.

But, how does it compare in the blow-by-blow action against 1982, the leading heavyweight? Let’s cut to the action now….

[More pugilistic prose after the jump.]