RSS

Tag Archives: science fiction

All the books!

giveaway 3It’s time for a HUGE give away. If you go HERE you can download more than fifty free books from various scifi, fantasy, and horror authors. There are even a few super hero books, and a couple YA books.

My book, Witch’s Sacrifice, is also available for free. Get it now, this is probably one of the few times I will offer it for free.

You can’t go wrong just by checking it out. Plus you can sign up for their roflcopter and try to win a free kindle. More free stuff! I know, it’s amazing!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 24, 2016 in On Writing

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Strong Female Characters

I saw another post asking which stories could use strong female characters, and my answer probably wasn’t what they were looking for: None of them.

Now, before you get up in arms please hear me out, because I do have a reason behind it.

There are already a lot of wonderful books out there with strong female characters as the lead character. A short list:
Aurian by Maggie Furey
Rhapsody: Child of Blood by Elizabeth Haydon
The Hallows Series by Kim Harrison
Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs
The Twenty Sided Sorceress by Annie Bellet
The Little Flame Series by Melissa Lummis
The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige
Magnificent Devices by Shelley Adina
White Trash Zombie by Diana Rowland
Several books in the Xanth Series by Piers Anthony
Anything by Anne McCaffery
Elvenbane by Andre Norton
Several books in the Wool Series by Hugh Howey
The Shambling Guides by Mur Lafferty
Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Hit Girls by Garrett Robinson
Anything from the Buffy the Vampire universe.
Harper Collelly series by Charaine Harris.

And these are just the books that I know of because I’ve personally read them (or watched the movie in the case of Hunger Games). There are over 6,000 books in this list with strong female lead characters, many of which have been on best seller lists, or made into movies. And this isn’t even counting all the strong, wonderful women that play secondary roles in books like Kitiara from Dragonlance Chronicles, Catti-brie from the Dritzzt series, or Hermione from Harry Potter. That’s not even getting into comic books. And I’m sure there are thousands more that aren’t even in that list.

All of the stories in my list are sci-fi and fantasy. That’s because I read a lot of sci-fi and fantasy. But I also know a lot of strong female characters from paranormal romance. I also know of characters from other books, games, and films in many other genres that are strong female characters.

Am I saying we don’t need any more? Of course not, that would be like saying we don’t need more books. I really enjoy reading about strong women doing extraordinary things, and even wrote my own series of books with that in mind so I hope my favorite authors continue writing theirs. I also enjoy reading about mages that slowly go mad, or women who are hell cats and need to be tamed. There are all kinds of books out there, with all kinds of characters, because people come with different attitudes, desires, ideas, and personalities. But I would also encourage more authors to include strong female characters…IF they are a benefit to the story.

Not every story has a woman in it. What if you wrote a story about a man in a men’s shower room? Or a group of men going on a camping trip together? Or a father and son sharing a moment? Or a group of dwarves out to save their mountain? Not every story is going to have a strong female character in it. Not every story is going to have a woman in it. In fact when they added a strong female into The Hobbit some of the fans were less than thrilled with the addition.

A story isn’t always about sex, gender, political correctness, or whatever. Sometimes it’s just a story about a leaf blowing in the wind, or the history of salt, or vampire bunnies. And if a story doesn’t have a female character that doesn’t automatically make it anti-women. Hell, there could be a character in the story that is utterly sexist and the story still might not be about women.

My thought for those looking for strong female characters: Expand your reading list, because there are THOUSANDS of books out there with strong female characters, you just have to be open to finding them. And just so you know, MEN need strong male character role models, too. And both sexes need the ridiculously heroic characters, or the weak ones, or the the psychopathic murderous kings/queens to show them what not to be. It does not take away from your enjoyment of books/films/games/etc because the other sex also has what you are looking for.

And if you think any gender, or genderless, or gender fluid individual needs more characters like them out there: GO WRITE IT! That’s the beauty of the indy world. Anyone can make anything that they think should exist.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on May 21, 2016 in Commentary

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Fiction Tells Truths.

We will be recording our next episode of The Bradbury Challenge in two days. It will be episode 11. That means 11 short stories should have been written. Currently I’m at five finished. Five out of 11, and one novel finished, and a few really close to being finished, seems to be a great place to be right now.
That’s right, I finished writing Witch’s Stand. witchs stand

I’m satisfied with the cover yet, so I can’t revel it at this moment, but it’s getting there.

So what’s in store now that Witch’s Stand is finished? Editing, lots of editing. Plus I have more time to spend writing short stories for the Bradbury Challenge, and I have a few other projects I’m writing plot-lines for right now. I am going to try doing one of them in a complete plotter mode. I haven’t tried doing a really detailed plot-line before, but I think it might help my true goal, getting faster.

As for the stories…
I said at the beginning of this thing that I would write a short story every week and send it to my newsletter. Excuses aside, I didn’t do that. It bothers me that I didn’t do that. More importantly, it bothers me that I haven’t been keeping some sort of writing schedule and getting books out there. What kind of a career can I have if I don’t actually publish anything? Not much of one.

So, no promises. I should promise anything I can’t deliver on. But I am promising to do better.

However, I have written SIX stories, and I am sending the FIFTH story to the list today. I have one story that I never sent out. This was partly because I have been neglecting my news letter, and partly because it’s a really darn long story. All of the other stories have been about 2-3k words. “The Scarab Necklace”, the one I haven’t sent yet, is over 8000 words.

I am also planning on publishing Scarab. I still need to do a final edit, and make sure everything is in order before doing so, but I do want to have it up in a month. So I will probably be sending it as a freebie to my list at some time, and not including it in my regular mailings. I haven’t decided. Let me know if you think of something else that might be more fair.

On to tonight’s story.

I don’t want to tell you much about this story before I share it with you. Let’s just say, I was thinking about the future, and the past. That, combined with a few interesting news articles about biology, lead to this story. Cryptic enough for you?  Read on.

***********

A Child

“I want to have a baby,” Nancy said.

There was no emotion on her face  just a simple statement of truth. I knew this day would come. I saw the signs a long time ago, and chose to ignore them for the sake of her companionship. I loved her, I loved being with her. But you couldn’t stop nature. For decades she had been working in child care, learning about horticulture, and taking night classes for advancement. She was putting herself in the perfect place to have a child.

“Have you already applied?” I asked her.

“No, you’re my husband,” she said, “I wanted to talk to you about it first.” But she was looking down when she said it. She had looked into it even if she hadn’t applied.

“First? Then your mind is set,” I said. “You’ve decided.”

“I have. I would prefer to take this step with you.”

“That’s asking a lot. I’ve always loved you, and stood by you in everything you’ve done. But this is huge.”

(To read more please sign up for the newsletter here.)

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 16, 2016 in On Writing

 

Tags: , , ,

Is Science Fiction Offensive?

Yesterday I posted some links to articles that I found interesting to read, or I thought other people would enjoy. This included a link to an article about the 100 must read sci-fi novels, and how the author, Lutgendorff, thought the list was filled with sexist and offensive books. Simon gave an interesting comment and I started to write my thoughts on the matter. After 300 words or so I thought it would be best if I wrote another blog post.

About half way through the article Lutgendorff brings up a version of the Bechdel test and states that almost all of the books failed. Her standard is a little stricter then the original (at least two women, one in a lead roll, with jobs other then traditionally female roles) but I don’t think many of the books listed would have passed the original test either (has at least two women who talk to each other about something other then men.)

I also agree with her that from today’s view point a lot of the books on this list could be shockingly offensive, especially if you are looking for those offensive things. There are books with rape, incest, and mandatory orgies. (Game of thrones is on this list people! It’s incredibly offensive.)

Before we go on lets just remember that this list was nominated by 5,000 fans and voted on by 60,000. The editors did toss out some of the nominations (because they were young adult, horror, didn’t fit criteria, etc) but otherwise it was all fan made. 60,000 people said this was the top 100 books in SF, not a small group of hetero white men.

Most hardcore science fiction fans will talk about the science in a world, world building, government, technology, and maybe at the bottom of the list will be a discussion about gender and gender politics (unless you’re talking to a trekky as that was very visible in Star Trek). And when we (I say we because I am a HUGE! science fiction nerd) tell you which novels are the best in our genre we are going to point to a lot of classics that shaped the world, changed thinking, or shaped the genre as a whole. This will include novels that might be offensive by today’s standards. In fact sometimes a book that is offensive will shape the world MORE than a book that is completely inoffensive.

Also, keep in mind that many of the books on the list were written before 1970, before female liberation and equality movements. And some of the books she described as offensive were MEANT to be offensive. Take Thomas Covenant who rapes a girl in the first book of that series. It is meant to be jarring and offensive because he is an anti-hero. In later books even he hates himself for what he did and he doesn’t get why people don’t just kill him and be done with it.

And as for her issue with “there are no women in some of these stories”… Okay, she’s right. There aren’t. That doesn’t mean they aren’t good books. If the only offense of the book is that there aren’t female characters in the book, or there are very minor female characters that don’t really contribute to plot, then I don’t find that offensive at all. I’ve read a lot of women’s chick lit that doesn’t have any male characters, or uses men as window dressing for a woman’s fantasies.

I love what one person pointed out in a thread on G+… That the romance genre is guilty of most of the offenses she lists in her. Novels written by women, for women, and filled with all the sexist stuff toward women that Lutgendorff is complaining about. I’ve read books where the main female interest was raped then falls in love with her rapist after being forced to marry him. And it was a very popular book in the romance category.

Going down the list of the 100 top Sci-fi I found myself saying “yes, that’s an awesome book,” and “oh, I can see why that one is on the list.” Time and again they were some of my favorite books growing up, and even now into my adulthood. Books about technological advances, alien creatures, censorship, exploration, and discovery. Amazing books that shaped me into a creative, and curious person who still loves finding out about new things.

Could science fiction use new books that are more female friendly, or directly speak to gender issues? Yes, of course it can. But that doesn’t mean the list of books here is offensive, it just means we have an opportunity to do more.

Science fiction is about exploring the world, the universe, and ultimately ourselves. Exploring gender roles is a wonderful way of doing that, both traditional and more unusual roles, expanding out idea of what is and can be as science fiction has always been known to do.

So yes, I disagree with Ms. Lutgendorff. I don’t find them completely offensive, even if there may have been parts of the books that were offensive when seen through the eyes of 2015. I find the books to be a fair, and wonderful interpretation of the best books in the science fiction genre. And I think we have room for even better books as time continues.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 5, 2015 in Review

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Reading

The last two months I’ve read a lot of books. It’s made me quite happy, so I thought I’d share them with you.

Fortunately the Milk by Neil Gaiman

A very short, humorous read about a father trying to get milk for his children. Fortunately the milk is there right when he needs it to deal with time traveling stegosauruses and pirates.

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

An amazing narrative about Kvoth, an unassuming bar keep that once had a magnificent life. Or so he says.
I listened to this on audiobook and I liked the narrator. He does great voices for each of the character and really helps you get into the story. Plus there are so many twists and turns to follow, and it’s such a long book, that I was happier listening to it then reading it on my phone.

Tiny Quest Staring Princess Sassafras by Matt Youngmark

Cute little paperback I picked up at Norwescon with nice illustrations. It’s a fun read, and a nice collectible.

Zombocalypse Now by Mat Youngmark

A terrible read in the fact that I KEEP DYING! The zombies just like my brains I guess. Great twist on the “Choose your own adventure” style of writing with 70+ endings, only 5 of which you survive in.

Hidden Shadows by SR Gilmore

A girl with no magical powers has to help a sexy guy from another plane of existence try to figure out why the hell there is a baby dragon dropped on his back step. The world building is great, and the tension between the two main characters is very well done.

Murder of Crows by Annie Belle

This is book two in the 20 sided sorceress series. I really liked the first so I picked up the second. There is romance, but I really enjoyed the gamer (table top and RPG) references.

Shaman Tales 1: South Coast by Nathan Lowell which I actually listened to on Podiobooks. It’s also on amazon.

I loved Nathan Lowell’s clipper ship stories so much that I was thrilled to find out he’d written this one. It’s about a fishing village and how they are trying to bring in enough fish to satisfy the corporate planets quota. Lots about commerce, efficiency, fishing, and just the every day life of traders. And then there is the shaman…

PS. If you like chose your own adventure, or text based games, you should look at this week’s Humble Mobile Bundle. It includes some great interactive stories that I’ve been playing in my spare time. You get to read and hand at the same time! https://www.humblebundle.com/mobile

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 22, 2015 in On Writing

 

Tags: , , , , ,

New Shows

A few years back a friend introduced me to “The Guild”. It was an amazingly funny show made by Felicia Day and her friends highlighting some of the ridiculous things about gamers. Being a gamer, of course I loved it.

Now I, like most people, had been watching some awesome videos on youtube before that. People falling off boats into the water. Babies laughing. Hamsters on a piano. You name it, I saw it. But this was the first full fledged show that I’d been introduced to on youtube. It was amazing.

Then there was Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog. To be fair, anything with NPH is awesome, but this was a rather incredible show done during the writers strike. And all available for free on youtube.

I thought I’d share some of my other favorite shows on youtube.

The Guild
Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog
Spooked (Also by Felicia Day)
Space Janitors
Sync: Directors Cut
Plurality
True Skin
H+
Portal: No Escape
Aperture Lab Rat
Post Human
EarthShip
Dark Resurrection
Star Wars: Revelations
Niel’s Puppet Dreams

 
2 Comments

Posted by on June 17, 2014 in On Writing

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Publishing, Gender and Genre

Gender. It’s rarely as cut and dry as male and female in this century, but it still influences a lot of things, and people.

Right now the writers forums, blogs, and news sights are blowing up with articles and commentary about gender roles in SF and fantasy. Articles about women who hide their sex so they can break into the elite ranks of SF, and those that question if they are starved for great women authors, or just sexist. A Tor UK team member even weighed in on the matter, complete with graphs.

4SB4smI will be putting up “Small Bites 4” tomorrow which is Science Fiction. It is the first time I will be sharing my science fiction writing. I’m kind of nervous. I’ve done stories with horror, blood, torture, rape, abuse, and sex. I will never be as nervous about them as I am about something that delves into the science fiction (except maybe erotica).

Why? I chose to use my personal name on my books. “Crissy Moss” isn’t a pen name. It’s me. I kept it because I’m one of a very few people online with that particular name. And it is incredibly feminine. I can’t hide behind “Chris” and still be visible. I chose this.

It’s odd that the two genres that worry me are on complete opposite sides of the spectrum. I am afraid to publish in erotica because I don’t want people to judge me because I am a woman that likes sex. And I am nervous about publishing in SF because I know people will judge me for not being steeped in science enough.

Caring what other people think about us… man or woman, this simple foible is enough to keep people lost, alone, and unable to attain their dreams. This very simple fact is why I won’t sit back and let my stories sit on a hard drive collecting virtual dust. Accolades, comments, and compliments are nice, but being true to yourself is far more important. It’s worth risking one star reviews, flops, and hate mail.

I don’t pretend to know why women aren’t as prominent in the SF/F publishing ranks. I think it is a self perpetuating cycle. Fewer women try to publish in SF, so there are fewer SF books written by women. There are fewer SF books published by women, so fewer women see role models in the SF realm and don’t take the plunge.

I do know that it isn’t just about women. Male authors trying to break into erotica often have to use pseudonyms as well, and they usually have to be female, or non-gender names.

And it’s about readers, too. Readers sometimes wont get past the name on the book.

Gender is more fluid then we think it is. Anatomy doesn’t make us who we are. People can change sexes, or act in non-masculine and non-feminine ways, regardless of the equipment birth gave them. There are even those among us who have no affinity to either sex.

True equality… That’s going to take some time.

Some articles about the subject:

Is the book industry sexist or just starved for great women authors?

Women Who Pretended to Be Men to Publish Scifi Books

SEXISM IN GENRE PUBLISHING: A PUBLISHER’S PERSPECTIVE

The best women authors of science fiction and fantasy

The Greatest Female Sci-Fi/Fantasy Authors of All Time

 
4 Comments

Posted by on July 12, 2013 in Commentary, Copyright

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,