About Me

My photo
Author of queer, wry sci fi/fantasy books. On Amazon.
Editor of all fiction genres.

Friday 13 December 2013

On Nerds, Geeks, and Cultural Paradigm Shifts

Hello, hello.

So John Cheese of Cracked wrote this article on ‘the death of nerds’.

I generally try to be objective and balanced on my blog. This time, objectivity and balance are getting defenestrated.

I will spare you the descriptions of my sad childhood as an overweight girl in a small and conservative Bible Belt town. I will not go into being physically inept and being picked on for my vocabulary and being intensely lonely. I will skim over the pressure to be a doctor from my parents and the fact that I counted the balance of years until I could go to university.

Instead, I will tell you about feeling like a hero when I learned to play D&D. I will tell you about goofy girls in fandoms and sonic screwdrivers and discovering that other people like mythology and folklore. I will tell you about social justice blogs and my friends across the world and the way it feels when I can talk to someone about something we both like without apology or explanation.

Being a geek or nerd is about community and connection. Self esteem issues and body hate and isolationism are not the boundaries of nerddom. And as a statistically above-average student who played cello, I know enough about the differences between nerds and geeks to say they do not matter.

So you know nothing, John Cheese. You wrote a poem about the No True Scotsman fallacy and your own self-esteem issues.  If you feel the need to be picked on to certify your geekdom as genuine, fine. But the girls who got picked on as a result of the boys getting picked on, the people of colour who got squeezed out of everything,  and everyone else who did not fit into the Victimized Dude Club—we are glad the walls are coming down. Mainstream geekdom is one of the best things that has happened in the course of my life.

Having a social life and being attractive and fit do not make one less of a geek. And you can imbibe my micturations,  you oort cloud of oananistic, coprophagic Ptolemaic logic.

Monday 9 December 2013

The Book of Paul Trailer

Hello hello!

This one's a bit of a fluffy post--insofar as a post can be fluffy. Check out the trailer for The Book of Paul by Richard Long. It made my top ten list last year, and it's definitely a recommended read. 

Welcome to The Book of Paul Amazing, Astounding Video Blast.

With production values matching that of a movie, the Book of Paul trailer is as epic as the book!


"Everything you've ever believed about yourself...about the description of reality you've clung to so stubbornly all your life...all of it...every bit of it...is an illusion."


In the rubble-strewn wasteland of Alphabet City, a squalid tenement conceals a treasure "beyond all imagining"-- an immaculately preserved, fifth century codex. The sole repository of ancient Hermetic lore, it contains the alchemical rituals for transforming thought into substance, transmuting matter at will...and attaining eternal life.
When Rose, a sex and pain addicted East Village tattoo artist has a torrid encounter with Martin, a battle-hardened loner, they discover they are unwitting pawns on opposing sides of a battle that has shaped the course of human history. At the center of the conflict is Paul, the villainous overlord of an underground feudal society, who guards the book's occult secrets in preparation for the fulfillment of an apocalyptic prophecy.
The action is relentless as Rose and Martin fight to escape Paul's clutches and Martin's destiny as the chosen recipient of Paul's sinister legacy. Science and magic, mythology and technology converge in a monumental battle where the stakes couldn't be higher: control of the ultimate power in the universe--the Maelstrom.
The Book of Paul is the first of seven volumes in a sweeping mythological narrative tracing the mystical connections between Hermes Trismegistus in ancient Egypt, Sophia, the female counterpart of Christ, and the Celtic druids of Clan Kelly.

Retweet and share!

a Rafflecopter giveaway Meet Richard Paul

Richard Long writes to exorcise the demons of his past and manifest the dreams of his future.
His debut novel, The Book of Paul, is a dark, thrilling, and psychologically rich supernatural horror/thriller that blends mythology, science and mystery into a page-turning addiction.
Richard is also writing a YA novel, The Dream Palace, primarily so that his children can read his books.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife, two amazing children and their wicked black cat, Merlin.
Find and Follow Richard:

Twitter | Facebook | Website | Pinterest | Tumblr

Join the Street Team

Spine_key_cross.1.1 Also make sure to check out the other projects Richard Long is taking part in this week!
The Book of Paul
Promotion of The Book of Paul Trailer Blast brought to you by:Finishing-Fairies-small-banner


Thanks for dropping by the nest once again. Don't miss any of the phuquerie. Find Michelle on TwitterFacebook, and on Tumblr. More interviews and witty commentaries are coming. Keep checking back to see those surprise posts, too. This is your darling SciFiMagpie, over and out! 

Sunday 8 December 2013

Completely Snowed; How 'Frozen' Fixed The Princess Franchises (Girlcember Part 3)

Hello hello!

So, we've finally gotten to Frozen. I've kept you waiting long enough; for the cap on this series about Disney, let's talk about the one that fixed them all. Now, if you haven't seen Frozen yet, there will be 


With that out of the way, let's do a really fast run-down!

I would love to gush on about the plot, the brilliant twist of having a prince as a villain, the well-designed alternate love interest that actually avoided a triangle, the nod to the importance of consent in a kiss, the establishment of it being possible to save the day without a man, the relationship between the two sisters, the exploration of being an introvert vs an extrovert and how coiling into yourself is bad, the depiction of love developing through conversation organically, the idea that parents can mean well and screw up, and the fact that we now have a powerful female queen who is not evil but is a bitchin' ass mage of the first water. I could mention the gorgeous visual design, the proper use of 3D, and the nice historical flavour details (though there were some anachronisms). I don't have to to gush about every detail, but I'm going to hit on the big ones. 

Source.  I promise the annoying snowman isn't as bad as you'd think.

Real girls: We can has them?

The biggest thing that was fixed is that the princesses are based on an updated understanding of femininity. Anna has no self-doubt about her ability to rescue her sister. When we first see her as an adult, she is drooling on her pillow and her hair is an enormous floofy mess. She likes chocolate! She elbows people in the face, yet can scale rooftops when necessary! (And the clumsiness comes about when she's self-conscious or not paying attention--well done, Disney!) She even makes a bad decision over a boy and is too trusting! I love the fact that she's a bit dumb, too--doesn't always clue into things that are obvious. Finally, she has no doubt about whether she can club a wolf, scare it off with a flaming blanket, or talk sense into her sister. When she finds out her prince isn't so charming after all, she punches him off the side of a boat. She's genuinely brave, warm-hearted, and kind. There are consequences for her actions, but she never gives up on people. She's not just a princess, she's a hero--and somehow, she's not excessively perfect or annoying. And as for her sister...

That One Time Disney had a non-evil queen with magic powers

Let's talk about Elsa as well, the charming and powerful introvert. She's reserved, has been taught a bad habit of keeping her emotions to herself, and isn't forced to marry anyone. Her sister's princessly duties are dealt with, and so are Elsa's. It tears her up that she's hurting her kingdom and her people, but she doesn't know how to stop it. In order to deal with the story, though, she has to not only accept herself and her gift, she has to embrace it publicly and be okay with who she is. This is an awesome self-discovery story, very inspiring for anyone trying to 'come out' as an artist, a person who fits in the QUILTBAG categories, or anyone who has a gift that they don't know how to live with. There are naysayers and people who call her 'monster', but the whole thing is handled with a lot of grace and subtlety. That's good, because the two sisters actually get enough screen time for us to see how their personal stories progress without one of the two being sidelined.

Oh, and HOLY SHIT AWESOME MAGICAL POWERS THAT ARE ACTUALLY DEADLY. I don't need to say anything else about that.

Source. Sure, she looks cute, but fucking ice spikes, man. 

Jane Austen would be proud: how Frozen references Sense and Sensibility

I am a noted Jane Austen fan, and while S&S is not my favorite, I squeed when I realised that Frozen had lifted some of its plot from this excellent novel. The older, restrained, introvert sister Elinor? Sounds like Elsa. The young, impetuous sister who falls in love too fast, to her detriment? Marianne and Anna--that can't be a coincidence. If it is, I'll eat my hat (and my hat collection is fantastic, I'll have you know). There's also the fact that thematically, Elsa's introversion and emotional restraint backfire, while Anna's impetuosity and romantic nature also lead her into trouble. It was a nice dichotomy and a great reference. 

Oh yeah, the plot and the other things

I could spend this entire post talking about the fact that they used the 3D subtly and properly. It felt like it was really snowing, I caught myself wiping away water when it splashed, and I could have sworn the theatre got cold a few times. They used colour themes properly. Since the setting involved white people, Disney relaxed and went all out with the design. They almost never drop the ball on design, but this was still exceptionally beautiful. 

The music was better than it has been in any Disney movie for a long-ass time, with Idina Menzel's chops shown off to full advantage. (There was onion-cutting, as I said.) And oh god, they remembered how musicals work; the songs didn't feel forced, unlike in TPaTF. 

There were also references to my childhood favorite from Fox and Don Bluth, Anastasia. At one point, I looked at the tousle-haired, grumpy blond Kristoff and said to Andrey, "they made a Disney prince version of you!" Both male love interests and the bait-and-switch villain were sympathetic--subtly, they made the grumpy old British guy with the mustache both sympathetic and a villain--and they didn't fuck up the trolls too badly. There were satires on marriage, some important lessons about believing in yourself and not falling for love at first sight, and a really solid lesson on family that built on Brave's foundation. I don't even need to say that it passed the Bechdel, but hell, I'll give it points for that. Oh, and they worked in imperfection with the parents! 

Source.  I like to believe this guy actually gored those annoying fucking moose from Brother Bear to death in a cut scene, because this reindeer actually makes sense.

Okay, so 'perfect' might be a strong word...

I can't really ignore the whole cultural appropriation thing or the fact that Disney once again played it safe. While it has been confirmed that Kristoff is Saami, the portrayal of one of the indigenous peoples of the Scandinavian countries has been met with ire from both Tumblr and people of Saami descent. I can understand and sympathize with that--Disney does, after all, have a long and storied record of culture-mangling.

However, I think a lot of the angry Tumblrites missed something--Disney is making an honest effort in this case. A Saami composer was involved with the film, and Kristoff is an incredibly normal character. He is a reindeer herder, but there was nothing about him that--to my admittedly North American mind--flagged him as a horribly offensive stereotype. Not only that, he plays a love interest, not just a side-kick, and as noted above, he was an excellent character. So really, Disney mucked it up, but they're trying. They're actually trying now, you guys. Not to mention that they're implying a princess will be marrying this minority character from a population met with discrimination. Oh, and the actor? Yes, he's white, but he's the first openly gay voice actor to play a Disney prince.

Final Verdict?

If you haven't clued in that I honestly give this movie a perfect 10/10, let me make that explicit. I listed off the things that worked in a rushed paragraph at the start, but let me make it clear--this was pretty much a perfect movie. Half an hour of discussion with my fellow history-geek boyfriend, and the only real nitpicks were historical niceties like the incorrect (?) lack of guns for the approximately 19th century setting and some possible anachronisms with the paintings. And yes, they're both perfectly beautiful, but do we really need to go over the 'Disney makes girls look perfect' thing again? Extra points for the minimal showing of cleavage, though. I will also mention that the thing about Elsa remembering was sort of...cut, I guess, but enh, I can forgive them a dropped plot thread when everything else was so tight. 

So, is this a good holiday movie? Definitely. You can even watch it in summer, and you don't have to be in the mood for Christmas to watch it, either! 


Thanks for dropping by the nest once again. Don't miss any of the phuquerie. Find Michelle on TwitterFacebook, and on Tumblr. More interviews and witty commentaries are coming. Keep checking back to see those surprise posts, too. This is your darling SciFiMagpie, over and out! 

Wednesday 4 December 2013

Princess Movies, TNG: Disney's Continuation of Its Princess Franchise (Girlcember Part 2)

Hello hello!

Well, let's continue with Girlcember. Now, you might want to refer to this post if you're not sure why I'm mentioning really old Disney Princess movies, but in order to explain why Frozen is a significant achievement, I felt the need to go through the past. So, here's a quick rundown of other recent princess movies! Do note, for those of you who are sticklers, that this list has a proper count of which movies are 'official' princess movies and which ones 'don't count'. So, if you haven't watched some of these, be aware of


Now, with that out of the way, let's do a really fast run-down! Then, finally, on Sunday, we'll get to Frozen. 

Precursors, Part 3: Not Brave Enough

Oh, Brave. My Celtic heritage--Scottish, Irish, and French blood are all in my lineage--is something I'm proud of. I was pretty excited about a bow-wielding Scots princess. What I got was a box of tropes. While her relationship with her mother is excellent and well done, and Merida herself is pretty charming, the rebellious princess cliche kept slapping the audience in the face. It was handled well, including the beauty standards issues and the humanity of her parents, but that awkward ending where we're reassured that Merida will marry when she's ready kind of spoiled the whole thing for me. I loved her father's character, and her little brothers were actually done really well, but enh. 

I guess it comes down to that tropes thing and the lack of courage thing. Merida has her bow, sure, but basically it's love that saves the day. I don't even think she hurt the bear with her bow. Add in a Tarzan-level lackluster sound-track, and you have an awkward step down in quality from Pixar's usual faire. I know Merida is beloved on the internets, and I do like her, but there was so much more they could have done with this movie. 

Source. And that's even BEFORE we get to that damn Merida prettification fiasco.

Precursors, Part 4: Tangled--a bit too smooth, actually

I'm probably going to get hell for this one, too, but Tangled was another near miss. It's like Disney got drunk at the Xmas party and did its best Dreamworks impression. I mean, really. They had a strong Anastasia dynamic with Flynn--come on, tell me you can't see some Dmitri in there, and yes I know Anastasia is from Fox--and he comes off as the inferior male-pregnancy fanfic lovechild of Miguel and Tulio from Road to El Dorado (which is a much smarter movie than people think). I liked Rapunzel, especially when her hair was cut, but she's still...enh. She invented astronomy in her spare time and named her chameleon after a famous scientist and philosopher. Her superpower is hair parkour and wielding a frying pan as it was not meant to be...weld? I think it might be a sneaky reference to The Frying-Pan of Doom by Patricia Wrede. It's literally in TV Tropes, but I'm okay with the frying pan. Anyway--movie completely ignored that Rapunzel is a natural-born scientist. She got the crown and started experimenting with its purpose. She figured out that it could be used to heal and produce light. Someone get this woman a lab! But, of course, along comes a decidedly annoying dude and her dream becomes...him. 

And let's not talk about the embarassment of Mother Goethel. Shame on you, Disney, you can do better with villains, and you came so close. The music was wedged in, there were references to Shrek and The Little Mermaid shoehorned in (the boat scene), and over all...it was okay, even good in some places, but it felt forced. Like Hercules and other parody-toned movies, Disney is just no good at satirizing itself in a cynical way, and that really comes across here.

Fortunately, on Sunday we'll learn how Disney managed to learn from these mistakes for Frozen. And oh, thank goodness it did. We finally have an heir to the 90s Disney renaissance, and I'm pretty sure that Frozen might be able to bring a new one in. Why? You'll have to find out this weekend!


Thanks for dropping by the nest once again. Don't miss any of the phuquerie. Find Michelle on TwitterFacebook, and on Tumblr. More interviews and witty commentaries are coming. Keep checking back to see those surprise posts, too. This is your darling SciFiMagpie, over and out! 

Sunday 1 December 2013

A Princess and a Problem: Disney's Next-Gen Princess Movies (Girlcember Part 1)

Hello hello!

Sorry for the intermittent posts. You do not want to know how many manuscripts I have edited in the last couple of months. No, really, you DON'T.

Tonight, I got the chance to see Frozen with my boyfriend Andrey and his brilliant little sister. I was expecting it to be okay. Probably about Brave good, or Princess and the Frog good--that is, mediocre for Disney but not childhood-shatteringly bad.

What I got was a masterpiece that made my inner feminist jump up and down in glee, made my inner twelve-year-old jump up and down in glee, and my almost twenty-four-year-old outer self curse the bastard who had been cutting onions in the theatre.

Now, this is an analysis, so it goes without saying that there will be


...so turn back before it's too late if you haven't seen the movies yet! 

Right. Good? Good. 

I would love to gush about the movie, its design, and everything amazing, but in order to make sense of why it's so special, we need context. Serious context. Are you ready? Then let's kick off Girlcember with an analysis of why Frozen is so solid, and why its predecessors just didn't work. We're doing this in stages, and let's flash back to 2009.

Source.  So close, and yet so far.

Precursors, Part 1: The Princess and the Fail 

In addition to the numerous equality issues (link) regarding the portrayal of the African American MC--who spent most of the movie as a frog--TPaTF suffers from a mixture of both too much effort and too little. Disney's history with PoC--Princesses of Colour as well as People of Colour, in this case--is noticeably spotty. This movie, for me, had 'try-hard' written all over it. I was nervous but excited for the setting. I love jazz, equality issues, and Disney, so what could go wrong?

Well...everything, I guess. While Naveen was a noticeably excellent and well-developed hero, Tiana was kinda thin. She works her butt off, but the movie's endorsement of workaholic behavior, skirting around equality issues, and her excessively perfect personality just didn't make it gel. As with Ariel, she doesn't really grow or experience a serious challenge that requires her to change. Again, it's not bad, and it's worth marathoning, but the company was so scared of doing something offensive that it managed to be offensively bland instead. I appreciate that she was a hard-working and intelligent young woman, and that she earned everything she got, with the prince basically being a nice bonus. I liked that they had time and fantastic reasons to fall in love, and although it was inaccurate and a bit...ah, how do we put this?...stereotypical in the way it portrayed voodoun, I thought the various kinds of magic were pretty neat. That was a nice change, at least. That's a good description of the movie, though; 'nice'. But that's about it. 

 Source. Again, so close, but so far.

Precursors, Part 2: I Know It's Cheating, but Let's Mention Enchanted Anyway 

Enchanted came out in that really awkward period where Disney was trying to...I don't know, pretend its princess movies weren't a thing, I guess. There were piles and heaps of criticism of the princesses, particularly by White Women's Issues Weekly, but even I've done a post on issues with them.

I admit that I liked Enchanted, especially in the vicious bits of satire--I howl every time the rats and cockroaches and pigeons come up in that animal friend singing scene. I love the fairy tale prince. However, the queen, Nancy, and the single father love interest--I can't even be arsed to look up his name--were bland. The movie makes fun of Disney's heritage, but Giselle never does anything violent or really that subversive. Sure, she holds a sword and sort of accidentally knocks the bad CGI dragon off, but her purity is never questioned. I like the reversals and the satire and the whole-hearted goofiness of its parts, but it leans on tropes, and that injures the whole. I do like that it dealt with divorce, actual work, and differing ideas of beauty--Giselle, for example, sees the beauty in 'ordinary' women and manages to make the 'looking at the world with naive eyes' thing work. However, it plays the whole game too safe and yet manages to be too cynical in the same stroke. So, I like the movie, but like TPaTF, it's uncomfortable with itself.

So, I don't want to cram in too many ideas and mess up the length; let's tackle Brave and Tangled in the next post, and then, finally, we'll talk about Frozen and why I think it's the crowning achievement. 

See you soon!


Thanks for dropping by the nest once again. Don't miss any of the phuquerie. Find Michelle on TwitterFacebook, and on Tumblr. More interviews and witty commentaries are coming. Keep checking back to see those surprise posts, too. This is your darling SciFiMagpie, over and out! 

Sunday 10 November 2013

Breaking Bad, Part 3--I'm Over The Feels Now

Hello hello, and welcome back for the final installment!

So; a couple of weeks ago, I mainlined Breaking Bad. I thought two posts would be enough, but I realized there was one tantalizing issue I hadn't explored fully. In fact, I hadn't seen much of it around the internet. That issue is simple--what about the women? While the mens are running around getting blow'd up and taking down gangsters, what are the female cast members doing?

At this point, I have to dock a mark or two from the series. It's still excellent, but in spite of some very good moves, there were a lot of genre cliches. Gilligan, like Steven Moffat of Doctor Who and Sherlock fame, seems to have a problem I've noticed in quite a few male writers otherwise known for quality--they can write an interesting woman, but they can really only write one woman, or perhaps two or three if they're skilled. I do quite like both Moffat and Gilligan's writing, but this really does bother me. And that's not the only thing.

 Let's go through the named female characters and get started with the one that bothered me most: Jane. Obviously, I'm leaving out Walter's principal/colleague person because I can't remember her actually doing anything other than responding to Walter, Wendy the hooker, the receptionist at Saul's, and a few of the drop-in mothers, etc. Now, I'm going to remind you all that there are going to be


So if you haven't seen the show, really, either watch it and finish it, or be prepared for the fact that you're going to learn some stuff that might seriously spoil plot twists.

Source. The lovely and doomed Jane.

Jane Margolis 

As soon as she showed up in series 2--I mean season 2, sorry, I've been watching a lot of British television--I knew she was dead meat. She was flirting with Jesse, she was a Cute But Remote Goth Girl, and she was an ex-junkie. In other words, dead meat. She did get an interesting character arc, I suppose. I mean, I really enjoyed it, but it certainly couldn't be called unpredictable. As her storyline went on, I remember muttering at the computer, "please don't make her into a Girlfriend in a Fridge. Please don't make her into a Girlfriend in a Fridge." And guess what? They did. There is nothing I can say about this other than to express my disdain that Gilligan introduced a character for the sole purpose of killing her off for Jesse Pinkman's personal development. BOO BOO SHAME BOO. That's awfully cheap.

Gretchen Schwartz

This character was interesting, in that she was presented a few times in the first season and had a pretty interesting role--the 'might-have-been' girlfriend of Walter White. She was actually a really interesting character, both condescending and sympathetic. (My, that word interesting comes up a lot.) However, after a truly undeserved tongue-lashing from Walter, she complete disappeared. BYE! *waves* That is, until the final season, when she was one half of a human plot-device by way of the Elliots. I'm assuming something happened with the actress, but I liked her and hoped to see more of her than we did. Her writing was unfortunately quite thin, and the moments where she was unsympathetic seemed really contrived. Oh, well. At least the worst thing that happened to her was a laser pointer and some embarrassment.

Lydia Rodarte-Quayle 

Oh, Lydia. Just in case you thought Marie was too laid back and sympathetic, we got...Lydia! I almost liked Lydia; she was a love-to-hate character, but without Marie's moments of compassion. I enjoyed the fact that she was in a position of power, but what did one of our only mover-and-shaker characters do? Cringe, cry, and moan to manipulate the d00dz, of course, even leveraging her child to guilt Walter. She was even grossed out by dead bodies. Really, Lids? Really? Even Joss Whedon did a decent job of making the Black Widow playful in The Avengers, and made a point of giving her a chance to get the upper hand on Loki. And considering she was one of the weakest characters, that's saying something. Lydia was whiny, underpowered, and a wuss. I was really, really hoping she'd pull out a gun and go all cold, but nope. I'm pretty sure there's not a single person who didn't cheer when she got a packet of ricin-laced Stevia. Would have been nice to get some sympathetic moments, especially since she was deviously clever, but nope.

Women, according to Vince Gilligan.

Marie Schrader

Oh, Marie. For all the complaining about Skyler, which we'll get to in a moment, it was Marie that bothered me. Her character development was so...fragmented and inconsistent. What a disappointment. In addition to being annoyingly high-strung (sometimes humorously so), she was loyal, protective, and a completely reactive character. Sure, there are women like this, and the actress did a great job, but it would have been nice to see her do more. Be more sympathetic. I'm not saying she needed combat boots and a big-ass gun (though that would have been hilarious and awesome), but just...something. I can't imagine her with Hank, and all of her desires (except for that neat shoplifting plot) were reactive. I do have to give her character points for the love and concern she showed, but she was kind of a human plot-complication. She showed up to annoy people and express concern. That was it. However, I do have some kind things to say about her sister.

Skyler White 

Skyler, who started as an uptight failing writer and stay-at-home pregnant mom, was one of the best and most interesting characters on the show. Where Gilligan often rewrote the same 'almost nice, mostly neurotic' female character several times, he actually succeeded with Skyler. She's willing to be devious and even enjoyed it, was capable of being aggressive, and actually showed some backbone when Walter was abusive. Her daughter Holly popped in and out (did I mention that I hate human McGuffins?) at plot convenience, but Skyler actually tried to go out and do things. Did she succeed? Enh. However, that lack of success made her interesting! She had feelings about things that weren't related to Walter! She argued! She was unethical, but had a moral compass and struggled with it! The only thing that really bugged me was the way she had interests in writing and the plot was completely dropped in the rest of the show. (Writers don't work like that. I smell a failed plot thread.) Sure, she was bitchy, but most of the time, Walt really deserved her tongue-lashing. It's a cliche to have a female character act as the voice of decency in a wasteland, but her character brought life and personality to the role. Not merely a soapbox or a plot device, but a person, and an imperfect one at that. Skyler White is actually my favorite Breaking Bad character.

Final Verdict

So, in addition to the 'rewritng the same woman' thing I've highlighted, my biggest complaint with the show is probably the lack of women with self-determination. All of the female characters above are attached to a man in some way. Lydia was attached to Mike (platonically) and was a villain; the rest were all romantically involved with male main characters in some way. I will give the show points for not resorting to cheap sexytimes that were out of character, but it was still so disappointing to see these interesting male characters complimented by half-deflated women. 

Women, according to most writers in Hollywood. I'm probably going to get in trouble for this. 


So, as always, how would I fix it? My recommendation would have been to add a couple more female characters in there. It wouldn't have killed them to gender-swap a few minor characters. Yes, it was a realistic show about crime, and that's a misogynistic field, but if you can buy a Gatling-gun in a car trunk and a Walter White plan actually working at the end of the series, a couple of women shouldn't break your suspension of disbelief that much. That's just silly. I'm not saying Jesse should have been female (though that would have been interesting!) or that Hank and Marie could have been gender-swapped too, but--no, wait, that's exactly what I'm saying. Wimmenz don't always stick around the home to annoy their husbands. There's also more to us as a broad category than being pool sluts, inconvenient girlfriends, wistful exes, or villainous cry-babies.

Come on, Hollywood. We can work with this. Show us the goods. And while you're at it, maybe sneak a few gay people in through the side entrance? It would cost absolutely nothing to have more inclusive roles in TV, and would add so much to the possiblities and diversity of the cast, that I really hope we seem more stuff in the future. Orange is the New Black, which I have not watched, is apparently an imperfect show--but even touching on some issues has really made for interesting stuff and plenty of audience attention.

So, finally, stop using female characters as cheap character development black boxes, give the wimmenz some self-determination, and let ladies out of the home and into non-traditional roles. I'd prefer not to see tokenism here, but hell, at this point, anything would be nice for a change. Will it break immersion for some people? Maybe. However, it could also be a talking point, and when people are talking about your creative work, that is a Good Thing.  Imagine that--thinking! Dialogue! Ultimately, I don't think being entertained should mean clicking the 'off switch' for one's higher cerebral functions. I didn't hate the show, and I still quite liked it, but this theme left me more disappointed than 'the greatest show in the history of TV' should have. 


Thanks for dropping by the nest once again. Don't miss any of the phuquerie. Find Michelle on TwitterFacebook, and on Tumblr. More interviews and witty commentaries are coming. Keep checking back to see those surprise posts, too. This is your darling SciFiMagpie, over and out! 

Monday 28 October 2013

Breaking Bad: A Brief Analysis, And--OH GOD MY FEELS (Part 2)

Hello hello!

Welcome back to my loose analysis and reaction to Breaking Bad. I'm just going to add the warning and get straight to the good stuff.

Last week, I mentioned SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS, so prepare for those. Now, with the warning over with, get ready for some thinky bits as I explain why the show was ultimately worth the journey, at least for me.

The ultimate villain's journey

Even the ending, which shows the only Walter White plan that ever goes properly, is beautifully symmetrical with the first episode. Walter's character path leaves him somewhere between the kind-hearted and hapless schoolteacher of the first season and the ruthless bastard we see in the final season. The journey to get there--through evil and worsening deeds, rising greed and ruthlessness--costs him everything, including his jobs, his friends, his family, and finally, his life. However, Walter dies as a complete man. If most shows follow a hero's journey, this is surely a villain's journey--through loss and through  the rising price of ambition, hubris and strengths that become faults exacting their toll. Walter was a mechanically adept man and a fine chemist, and his own reliance on his ingenious mind over the good advice or intentions of others was shown clearly throughout.

Another thing that's really interesting about Walter is that there is no Mephistopheles to lead him astray. He gets the idea of cooking meth on his own, and the series consistent, even ham-fisted, about showing that everything bad that happens is basically his fault. He involves himself with criminals. He sanctions the death of children. There's no dark angel talking him into it. At the end, the character confesses to Skyler that he did it all for himself, not his family. As a viewer, one is left with disturbing reflections on how often a noble intent is rationalized to be for someone else's sake when it's really selfish at the core. Hold on, folks; I need to make a note for future works...

There isn't much I can say about this character's path and portrayal--it really is close to perfect, and certainly gave me a lot to think about as it regards a simultaneously sympathetic and despicable villain. There were many times that I wanted to reach through my computer and strangle Walter White, especially when he was abusive towards Skyler. And speaking of strangling...

Source. You can practically see the devil behind the desk.

Holy crap, violence

I wasn't prepared for all the violence, I have to admit. The thing that really got me stewing was that the crimes perpetrated by Walter White and the people he hurt. There is a lot of collateral damage in this series. I have to say, it's probably one of the most effective anti-drug advertisements I've ever seen. The drug users get off lightly compared to the meth cookers. At best, a conviction and a bad drug habit; at worst, various forms of death could be expected.

And when it comes to death, there was a certain glee in the perpetration. Counting the jet, almost three hundred people die over the five seasons. And oh, what deaths--explosions, shoot-outs, a crashed plane, death by bike lock, ricin poisoning, ATM-head-crushing, death by turtle-severed-head bomb, being strangled with a chain, and, of course, death by jury-rigged machine gun in the trunk of a car. That's not counting all the cases of people being slapped, punched, turned into organ slurry with acid after death, or brutal beatings. I do love a black comedy, and I'm not scared of death or violence in general, but I really prefer reading about it to watching it. The unflinching brutality was very disturbing, even if it was somewhat realistic.

Societal commentary 

Other commentators have mentioned that it's a show about making meth, and many stations censored the word 'fuck'. I have to agree that the priorities there seem...confused, to be polite. I do think it's an interesting statement about America that so many people's attention was really captured by this show. There were a lot of similarities to American Beauty (a favorite of mine) in terms of the themes of an ordinary person snapping and changing their priorities, but the emphasis on evil was altogether different than any other 'mid-life crisis' movie or show I've seen or heard about.

It was dropped in the last couple of seasons, but I also really enjoyed the biting commentary on racial profiling with Hispanics. It was most prominent in the first season, but Hank's racist comments, the arrest of the janitor while two middle-class white guys got off scott free, and the looks Hank's partner Gomez gave him from time to time spoke volumes. It was a real shame that all the class stuff really fell by the wayside in later seasons; I missed the incisive commentary on insurance companies and the healthcare system, too. The dynamics of his family and the brilliant depictions of addiction in the first and second season really fell by the wayside after about the third; while Jesse's travails still show the progression, the show sort of lost interest in its earlier topics to focus on how badass Walter becomes. I disapproved.

Final thoughts

All things considered, it was a very enlightening show and very much worth the time. The finale, which I praised in the previous post, was definitely the icing on the cake. Is it the best show ever created? Well, my favorite series is still a toss-up between Farscape and Doctor Who (for the love of the gods, don't make me choose), with Sherlock coming in on their heels, but Breaking Bad does deserve its place in TV history. Give it a watch and weigh in, if you haven't seen it. If you have, I want to hear your thoughts in the comments.


Thanks for dropping by the nest once again. Don't miss any of the phuquerie. Find Michelle on TwitterFacebook, and on Tumblr. More interviews and witty commentaries are coming. Keep checking back to see those surprise posts, too. This is your darling SciFiMagpie, over and out! 

Friday 25 October 2013

Breaking Bad: A Brief Analysis, And--OH GOD MY FEELS (Part 1)

Hello hello!

So, I should clarify something--I don't want TV. I really, really don't watch TV. I haven't had cable in...I don't know, at least eight years? On occasion, I will load a whole bunch of episodes for a series on Netflix, but that's it. This is fine with me, as I save a lot of time and end up reading quite a bit more.

Whenever a cultural phenomenon hits, though, I try to do some cursory investigations. I didn't bother spending time on Honey Boo Boo or Jersey Shore, apart from perhaps a basic summary on Wikipedia, but Breaking Bad was another matter. Intelligensia were flocking to the show, and a bunch of my close friends were losing their minds over it.

I waited for the series to finish, and then I binged on it, as is my preference. I really hate waiting for sequels to things I like. (And yes, the Harry Potter years were agony, thanks so much.) Breaking Bad, frankly, had me dubious. Crime isn't my thing. I like a touch of noire, and I like action, but The Sopranos and that whole genre always left me cold. Sure, I'm fond of Sherlock Holmes stories in all incarnations, and I had a childhood aspiration towards forensic science, but I prefer a nice mediaeval poisoning or a treatise on ancient weapons to a contemporary crime drama. However, writer pals kept insisting it was well-written, well-acted, etc, etc.

Well, I just finished the series tonight, and I'm still processing what I spent the last few weeks watching. I should probably stick a spoilers warning here


 Right. Now that you've had your freak-out, we can continue. So: let's talk basics.

Mechanics of the show

The acting was unquestionably top-notch, and the camera-work was quite good. The acting is, in fact, so perfect that I'm not going to talk about it. There's simply nothing to say about portrayals of characters that are so honest, you can't even see the actor bleeding through underneath .

As for the camera work, well, it was shaky when it needed to be shaky and steady when it needed to be steady. Shots seemed to be framed well, especially in the many desert scenes, and there was a lot of use of visual motifs in the shots. Use of the teddy eye as symbolism for Walter when he was still feeling moral qualms, the colour themes--there were a few times when one felt a bit hit over the head by it, such as the way the plane crash symbolized the breaking of Walter's world, but it was nice to see symbolism.

The other mechanics in the show were pretty good, too. No exploding cars, for instance. There were some factual issues and errors in the last season, but the understanding of addiction was certainly top-notch. The science of the show is something I can't comment on, because frankly, chemistry isn't my area of expertise, but it certainly seemed to be right.

Source.   Yeah, it's cheating, I know.

Literary structure and layers

 I'm reminded of Game of Thrones (which I've read but not seen) in a lot of ways. Most people are familiar with the phrase, "In the Game of Thrones, you win or you die"; Martin repeats it as often as the infamous "Winter Is Coming". The moral structure here reminded me of GoT, but mostly, I found myself thinking of Shakespeare a lot. In Romeo and Juliet, and quite a few other tragedies, there's a real emphasis placed on the accidental casualties who fall as a result of the hero's failure or the villain's machinations. However, this is no case of incompetence or madness, as in Hamlet, or mere cumulative misunderstandings, as in Othello. Rather, I think of Macbeth; Breaking Bad makes us cheer for the villain.

There are casualties and people who don't get what they deserve--the children who die, for instance, are as innocent as the princes of Richard III, and as undeserving--but most of the people who die, particularly in the bloodbath that is the final episode, really deserve what they get. Tuco Salamanca, Gustavo Fring, Todd Alquist, and Lydia Quayle stand out as examples of people who all fall by the hand of poetic justice. Others, such as Mike Ermantrout and Hank Schrader, fell because of their line of duty; then, too, all of the deaths mentioned are nicely foreshadowed and suggested as the characters commit moral crimes along the way. It's noteable that Jesse, like Horatio, does survive; he also consistently made moral choices that avoided the harm of innocents when possible, and that he showed repentance for his crimes far more than any other character.

What does draw my admiration, though, was the use of the proper five-act structure for the seasons, and especially for Walter's character. The seasons themselves--particularly most of three, apart from a couple episodes, and the first half of the fourth--were sometimes lopsided, but they still moved well. I have to complain a bit about Holly being a human McGuffin in a lot of cases, and the way certain elements from the beginning were just dropped (hello, Skyler's literary aspirations) haphazardly, but over all, most elements were tied in well and consistently. It's nice to see a story that follows most of its logical implications through to the very ending of character arcs.

Vince Gilligan, the writer, apparently intended a 'Biblical feel', but the clear themes of consequences didn't require deep analysis to discover. The storytelling was clear enough to convey his message without ham-fistedness (well, most of the time), and that's certainly admirable. Indeed, there were even winks to this--doubting Saul, for example, who hits the road, but never actually goes to Damascus--or becomes a believer, for that matter. If there's a message in Breaking Bad, it's that you must make your own redemption, and if you're lucky, it will work out.

A quick word on characters

As much as people praise the character for being a badass and scold his wife for discouraging his criminal activities (!), I also have to praise Skyler, Walter's foil. She constantly strives for the morally correct decision and actually reacts in a realistic way, the way an overwhelmed partner probably would. I have more than a passing familiarity with stress reactions--both academic and personal--and it was all handled in a very impressive way. She and Jesse Pinkman both count as foils in some respects, but they're dynamic characters, changing in response to circumstances handed to them and unwilling to take Walt's orders without question, especially as time goes on.

The use of other characters as foils for each other--Tuco, Gustavo, and Lydia, for instance--also reflects some of that biblical stuff with a trine structure. Clearly, Gilligan wasn't just sleeping through the board meetings, the way some writers seem to (which is the only way I can excuse some of Steven Moffat and Russel Davies' worst Doctor Who episodes). Mirroring was also evident, such as in Walter Jr's character--he does right by his mother, rejects the father he once adored, and becomes very independent. There are lots of quiet demonstrations of the way the son does not follow the sins of the father, which bodes well for the life of the character after the show, but also plenty of examples of mirror characterization between Jesse and Walter Jr. Even the 'foils' get their own lives and stories.

Now, I did mention feelings, and I'm going to briefly mention that this series will wreck you. It didn't make me cry, to my surprise, but it was quite evocative and disturbing. For more of the how and why, tune in next time!


Thanks for dropping by the nest once again. Don't miss any of the phuquerie. Find Michelle on TwitterFacebook, and on Tumblr. More interviews and witty commentaries are coming. Keep checking back to see those surprise posts, too. This is your darling SciFiMagpie, over and out! 

Monday 14 October 2013

I've Seen Enough Hentai To Know Where This Is Going. Missed It Review: Mandrake (2010)

Hello hello!

 From time to time, I will post a quick review of movies and books I either a) miraculously missed, or b) just discovered, and c) definitely think you should not miss. Or, sometimes, d) think you need to miss as hard as possible, because it is e) embarassingly mediocre or f) soul-scarringly, chew-your-own-nuts-off-to-escape awful. Obviously, this means spoilers.

Tonight's shitastrophic film is Mandrake (2010). 

Source.  For some reason, this insanely bad movie was quite hard to get photos for.


 All right. Well, I needed something to listen to while I edited a project, and what better than a craptacular movie? I will add the note that this means I was distracted while watching the film, so keep that in mind. That said, Mandrake is not exactly a terrifically rich film. I will grant Pandorum this much--it made the pretense of having layers (even though other bloggers disagreed, I still maintain that it was a fantastically stupid movie). 

So, here's the plot--which you won't find on Wikipedia, because this film is that insignificant--some archaeologists go to a jungle in a fictional South-American country for...ph4t l00t, I guess--and there's a dagger they recover with a totally not plastic 30-carat ruby. Then the jungle comes to life and starts attacking them. No, I'm not skimming over the plot; that's really all there is to it.

 The joy in this movie really comes from the effects and the atrocious acting. In the first scene--the mandatory 'some chick running through the woods' shot--we see an unconcerned actress stumbling around and even bum-scooting down a steep hill just before she gets offed in a jump cut. Shortly after, another victim from the camp site--which totally doesn't look like they just took the casting tents and pointed the cameras at them--we see a dude trip over and get pulled into the bushes. All it was missing was a funny horn-honk, and it would have been a classic pratfall from a cartoon. Add in Doctor Exposition, a blonde who is definitely a university researcher, and some disposible, interchangeable protags and baddies, and you have the perfect cast for this goofy 'jungle' jaunt. When I say 'jungle', I mean, 'probably filmed in Florida', of course. This is definitely not a rainforest.

 The casting and writing are just what you'd expect. The female actresses, with no disrespect, look and act like they're trying to make a transition from the adult film industry; the baddies are bad, the good guys are blander than truck-stop diner rice pudding, and so on and so forth. Of course, if you're watching a film called 'Mandrake' (Mandrakes, by the way, don't grow in South America, as far as I know) with CGI vines that attack people and you expect Shakespearean writing, you will be in for a disappointment.

 I do have to mention that there's a throwaway 'fuck the conquistadors' line, and then the movie goes into the standard somewhat racist paradigm where scary first-nations people abduct a bunch of whites. One of the characters actually yells, "you can't do this to me! I'm an American!" So, of course, a wag of the finger for the cheapness of that old trope. But, again, expecting intelligence from this movie is like expecting your dog to do calculus. It involves disparate abilities compared to the goal, and while it's cute, it's not very productive. 

The biggest thing I noticed with this one is that the effects are truly something special. I'm no historian--though I will admit to a real fondness for the area--but the bloopers are obvious and blatant. Let's start with the conquistador, whose breastplate is rusted away and whose skull is perfectly white and intact. Perhaps we should touch on the fact that the movie couldn't be arsed to tell the difference between the indigenous tribespeople and the Aztec--we're shown an indigenous tribe and all the engravings, of course, are Aztec. Then there's the costume designs--I really laughed when I saw those. The indigenous people look like a Spirit Halloween store version of fairy barbarians. Of course, there was an Aztec map--even though Aztecs didn't use paper or cloth, and if it was from a Spanish conquistador, it would have been in Spanish, not just Aztec. I think one of the crowning moments was seeing a North American deer antler on the priest's staff.

Source. Yeah., definitely a high production-value film


 It's been a while since I laughed this hard. Obviously, this movie wasn't supposed to be funny, but between characters' poorly-delivered lines, the beyond-terrible historical inaccuracies, it was just brilliant. I almost think they did this intentionally. Surely a movie this bad was never meant to be taken seriously. Right? Right? Also, there is plenty of room in the pacing for an in-living-room riff track, so this is perfect for a crappy movie night with friends. Hell, even alone, this moldy wonder is pretty entertaining.


If you don't like bad movies, you won't like this. Also, there were plenty of set-ups for tentacle porn, and not a single joke about it, which was actually quite disappointing. In fact, the movie studiously avoids laughs, in a way I can't help finding laudable--it's as though they knew their movie was laughable enough.

Normally, I would wag my finger at mildly sexualizing the death of female characters, but again, this movie is just such an underachiever that I can't bring myself to do it. So, again, if you're in the mood for something insightful and layered, this is not the movie for you.

 Final Verdict

 8 out of 10 for sheer goofiness. I docked a mark or two out of propriety, but the writing, the cast, the monster, and the whole shebang are just too delectably silly to miss. Fire this one up on Netflix and watch it with a few friends. Drink every time it looks like someone's about to be vine-raped, and every time a character spews pointless exposition. If you don't die, make sure to report back.


Thanks for dropping by the nest once again. Don't miss any of the phuquerie. Find Michelle on TwitterFacebook, and on Tumblr. More interviews and witty commentaries are coming. Keep checking back to see those surprise posts, too. This is your darling SciFiMagpie, over and out! 

Friday 4 October 2013

Special Feature--Tracing The Stars by C.E. Kilgore

Hello hello!

Today I have an unusual feature--a release snippet from C.E. Kilgore to celebrate the release of Tracing The Stars! It's an unusual sci fi romance, so buckle your seatbelts--it's going to be a bumpy night!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Excerpt: Tracing The Stars , Chapter 1 – Hankarron gets a rude awakening

Ethan ran to catch up with Brom as the Orellian neared the carved-wood, double doors that lead into the solarium. Judging by the tense state of Brom’s muscles and the barely contained glare of his hazel eyes, Ethan surmised that Hank was about to get an unwanted and loud wake-up call.

Brom pushed open one of the doors and walked into the room, searching it for any sign of the Corwint. The room was dimly lit by the morning light filtered through the tinted acrylicite windows that filled the exterior wall and rounded upward to cover half of the ceiling. It smelled of old wood, musty carpet and whisky.

Brom eyed the empty, overturned bottle of whisky sitting on the carpet next to a high-back chair then looked at an identical, half-full bottle sitting next to a half-empty glass on a side-table. One of Hank’s arms dangled out to the side and gave a small twitch. With a deep breath to try and cool the fire brewing in his gut, Brom approached the chair and hit his hand against the back of it. “Get up.”

“Whoa… what…?” Hank’s brown eyes opened briefly then winced shut as the light in the room made his head pound.

Brom picked up the half-full bottle of whisky with disdain, his large fist tightening around the neck of the bottle. He’d promised Hank’s uncle, Jhonis, that he wouldn’t let the kid follow down the same path as his drunken father. “So, this is what you’re do’n now?”

Hank gave a gruff laugh of annoyance. “Not you, too. Tara pretending to be my mom is enough, thanks.” His hand raised to his temple as the room spun. “What time is it?”

Brom’s fingers clenched their hold on Tara’s jacket. “Time for you to grow the fuck up.”

“What?” Hank rubbed his eyes and attempted to open them again.

Ethan started to speak, but Brom signaled him with a shake of the head to let him handle it. “What did you say to her?”

“None of your business,” Hank grumbled.

“Wrong answer.” Brom set the whisky bottle down then tipped the chair forward and dumped Hank onto the rug. “What did you say to her?”

“The fuck, man?!” Hank tried to get up, but a wave of nausea overtook his body and forced him to stay on his hands and knees as Brom stood over him.

“I won’t ask again, Hank.” Brom hated having to do this. He loved Hankarron like a kid brother, but Tara was more like a daughter. In his world, she would always come first.

“I don’t know.” Hank sat back on his ass and tried to open his eyes again. “We had a fight, but it’s all a bit fuzzy. Everything is a bit fuzzy right now, actually.” Forcing his eyes to open through the pain, he noticed that Ethan was also in the room. “What’s going on? Is she refusing to come out of her room or something?”
Brom tossed Tara’s jacket into Hank’s lap. “She’s gone.”

“What?” Hank looked down at the jacket, his hand timidly running over one of the arms of faded brown canvas. “You sure? You know she’d never leave this behind.”

“Unless she never intends to come back,” Brom corrected.

Hank raised his gaze back up to Brom, trying to put the Orellian’s face into focus. “That doesn’t make any sense.”

Brom took in a slow, deep breath and crossed his arms over his broad chest. “That isn’t just her dad’s jacket, Hank, it’s also a promise. I was there when Garret gave it to her. Something about that mission had him worried, and somehow he knew he wasn’t coming back. He gave Tara his jacket before he left, and he made her and me both promise him something. He made me swear I’d look after her if something went wrong, and he made her promise that she’d always look after the Zera and her crew. Garret loved that damn ship and everyone on it, and so does Tara. The only way she’d ever leave that jacket and her promise to her dad behind is if you asked her to. So, for the last time, what did you say to my little girl?”

Hank’s mind stuttered as he tried to put Brom’s words into some form of comprehension through the alcohol wash swimming in his brain. His vision moved from Brom’s accusing glare down to Tara’s jacket as he struggled to recall what he said the night before. “I,” his voice broke as his eyes widened, looking to the far wall and the shattered glass pieces on the carpet next to it. “I told her to leave.” The hand still clutching the arm of Tara’s jacket started to shake as his voice fell to a frightened whisper. “I told her to leave and not come back.”

“You what?” Brom’s anger exploded as the cap flew off the bottle he had it contained in. “Do you have any idea what you mean to her? Are you really that fucking stupid?!”

“Take a breather, Brom,” Ethan finally stepped in, afraid that Brom may do something they’d all regret. Orellians were admired for their gentle natures and feared for the rare times when they did get angry. “Why would you say something like that to her, Hank?”

Hank tried to stand again, his own defences raising. He made it to his feet but remained stooped over and leaning against the mantle of the fireplace that was centered in the acrylicite wall. “I had my reasons. She’s been lying to me!”

“If this is because of what Jarren said about Orynn,”

“It’s not!” Hank cut Ethan’s words off. “Well, it is, but that’s the least of it. She knew, Ethan! She knew about Jarren and Keith, and about my parents. She’s known for nine damn years and she never bothered to tell me any of it!”

“For a damn good reason!” Brom jumped back into the conversation in Tara’s defense. “We all knew, Hank. Well, about your parents, anyway, but that’s beside the fucking point! You weren’t told because Jhonis wanted you to know the good people your parents were, and they were good people. They just made some bad choices, and Jhonis didn’t want you growin’ up with that hangin’ over you. Neither did Tara. You think it was easy for her to keep all that from you for so long? Goddammit, man, she’s in love with you, and has been since she had pigtails! So pull your selfish, hard head outta your ass and really think about what you said to her.”

“I didn’t mean it!” Hank cursed his hangover as he straightened his back and had to take in a quick breath to stop the urge to vomit. “I mean, I did, but I was pissed off, and I didn’t think she’d actually leave!”
Brom didn’t want to hear the excuses. “Well, how would you feel if the person you were in love with told you to leave and not come back?”

“How would you feel if you found out the girl you love has been lying to you for nine years?!” Hank shouted back, his chest heaving under the dead-weight of his heart and the growing urge to expel the contents of his stomach. “I get it. I overreacted. I said something I shouldn’t have, but I think I have every right to be angry and hurt, so step off your fucking box, Brom, and save it.”

With unsteady strides, he passed Brom to pick up the half empty whisky glass as the Orellian stood still, wide-eyed and staring. “You think I don’t know how long she’s been in love with me? You think I don’t know what a damn idiot I am?” He drank the stale contents of the glass, set it down and poured another. “I know I’m a coward, and I know that she can do a lot better than a fucking loser like me.”

Before Hank could put the full glass to his lips, Ethan knocked it from his hand and it spilled onto the carpet. For a moment, the ghost of the bitter, broken man Hank’s father became near the end had appeared in front of Ethan’s eyes, holding the whisky glass and saying almost those exact same words, except Hank’s father had been speaking about Hank’s mom, Elisen, and her pregnancy.  “I’ll be damned if you follow him down that road.”

C.E.Kilgore on Goodreads

All syndicate links: http://www.cekilgore.com/whispers.php

Author Links:

Author bio:
C.E. Kilgore (1981 - ) has always had a love of romantic stories and science fiction. Although active in the writing community during her undergraduate studies, she chose to focus on her love of history and culture. Graduating with an HBA in History and a BA in Cultural Anthropology, she puts a deep emphasis on creating characters and environments within her writing that are full of both culture and history. The relationship development between characters and the worlds they live in is also an important aspect of her stories. Sarcasm, comedy, hidden "modern" references and subtle hints at underlined universal meanings are common within her writing style, but there is always plenty of action and a darker side lurking just around the corner.

Book Links:

Book 1: Ghost In The Machine – FREE full length novel
Genre: Space Opera / Science Fiction Romance:
All syndicate links: http://www.cekilgore.com/ghost.php
Book Synopsis:
 "Love is like a wormhole. You stumble on to it blindly, it sucks you in and takes you somewhere completely
unexpected. You can’t fight it, because that would tear your ship apart. You can’t control it, either. All you can do is set your thrusters on glide and let it take you where it's going to take you."

Book 2: Whispers From Exile
Genre: Space Opera / Science Fiction Romance:

The Ruisks were once a fierce and proud race with courageous spirits, but after over a century of being held captive under the oppressive leash of the Xen'dari Empire, they have become defeated, hollow shells that bow their heads in submission. Can Larx help his people find their courage again to stand against the oppression, and can he find his own courage to be true to his nature and the callings of his heart?

Book 3: Tracing The Stars
Genre: Space Opera / Science Fiction Romance:
Amazon: Not yet available

Hankarron Eros has loved Tara since she had pigtails, but his fear of losing the strength and support that their friendship provides leads him to keep his heart's desires locked away. When the truth about his family is exposed and leaves him grasping to hold onto his ship, his crew and his sanity, words are spoken that can't be taken back and the presence he had grown so used to having at a convenient reach is gone.
Thanks for dropping by the nest once again. Don't miss any of the phuquerie. Find Michelle on TwitterFacebook, and on Tumblr. More interviews and witty commentaries are coming. Keep checking back to see those surprise posts, too. This is your darling SciFiMagpie, over and out!