BEFORE MAKO CAME YOKO – Free #Kindle Days (July 1-2, 2015)

Free Kindle Days Before Mako Do you like Science Fiction? Did you enjoy Pacific Rim? Are complex female characters important to you? Then, you don’t want to miss out on the free Kindle days for Before Mako Came Yoko: Comparative Study of Pacific Rim and Yoko Tsuno. You can get it for free on Amazon, today and tomorrow! Enjoy

In 2013, Mako Mori, from Guillermo Del Toro’s Science Fiction movie ‘Pacific Rim’, provoked extensive fan engagement. Much praise was given to the character because of her personality and her unique narrative. Yet, a character very similar to Mako emerged decades prior to her: Yoko Tsuno, the main character from the eponymous comic book series created by Belgian author Roger Leloup. Mako and Yoko having much in common, including their Japanese and scientific background, as well as their composite close circles.

The Digital Quill Answers: “Which literary character is most like you?”

Which literary character is most like you?

While I relate a lot to Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter series, I must say Jo March from Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I have lost count of how many times I read the book, mostly because of Jo. The way she is a writer at heart and struggles to find her place without giving up on her dreams mean a lot to me. What is interesting is that watching her grow up even during the sequel, Good Wives, makes her still resonate so much with me. I read Little Women for the first time when I was ten or so, and since then Jo has remained a character I feel a bond with, even now that I am thirty.

As a side note, I can also say that I loved Winona Ryder’s portrayal of Jo March in the Little Women 1994 movie adaptation! I owned it on VHS before getting it on DVD. The same, I read my French edition of the book so much, I had to throw it away because it had completely fell apart. My parents gifted me a beautiful English edition with both Little Women and Good Wives that I have carefully kept since then. I think it also made for one of the first books I read in English.

Background by Rose B. Fischer.

Background by Rose B. Fischer.

Connecting Through Star Wars, Part III: Bonding as Podcasters by Johnamarie Macias

In fact, online is how a lot fans become friends, couples, and even parents themselves. Take MakingStarWars.net’s Jason and Amanda Ward, for example. They initially became friends through a Star Wars forum in 2003, and today, they’re loving parents of two children, showering them with all things Star Wars. They’re the perfect example of how Star Wars transcends distance, and later on, connects through the generations–like me and my mom.

Her first experience with Star Wars was on the big screen in the late 70s, and even though she didn’t become a hardcord fan, it made an impression long enough to affect me when I eventually came into the picture.

“The reason I said yes without thinking–without questioning–it’s because as children grow older, they tend to have and develop their own relationships and their own lives,” my mom said during the fan question portion of one of our podcasts, where a listener had asked us what we had enjoyed the most about starting Rebels Chat. “It is more difficult for a parent to hold onto that relationship–that connection–that they may have had when the children were ten, twelve. That closeness. So if it takes 45 minutes [or] an hour of being silly, of hearing my so-full-of-herself daughter saying all these names that I have no freaking clue what she’s talking about, then you know what? I’ll take that opportunity anytime without thinking it. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.”

Without a doubt, my favorite experience about podcasting with my mom is that I get to spend more time with her, talking about the thing I love most. Not everyone gets Star Wars, but the people who do, like my mom, go the extra mile to make that connection. It’s that common thread that binds us, much like the Force, and keeps us together.

My mom and I enjoying the Star Wars Rebels season one finale.

My mom and I enjoying the Star Wars Rebels season one finale.

***

Johnamarie is the owner of TheWookieeGunner.com. She is a content contributor for Making Star Wars, Star Wars Report, and Fangirl Next Door. She is also a co-host on “Now, This Is Podcasting!” and “Rebels Chat”.

One Lovely Blog Award

Thank you so very much to K. L. Allendoerfer for nominating me for One Lovely Blog Award! If you don’t know her blog yet, you should check it out.

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The rules for accepting the 2015 One Lovely Blog Award are:

  • Thank and link back to the person who nominated you.
  • Share 7 things about yourself.
  • Nominate 15 other bloggers and comment on their blogs to let them know.

Seven Things about Myself:

  1. I never regretted getting into indie publishing.
  2. I commonly read two books at the same time: one fiction and one nonfiction.
  3. The only MMORPG I love is Star Wars: The Old Republic.
  4. My desktop computer’s name is Kanan and my laptop’s is Sheridan.
  5. I started vidding 10 years ago.
  6. It took me two attempts before enjoying both Tumblr and Goodreads.
  7. I’ve had my desk since I was 9 years old.

I am not going to nominate anyone in particular but any of my readers are welcome to snag this award and share it on their own blogs! Thank you for following/liking/sharing/commenting!

Next Week on the Blog

June has been a  wonderful month for this blog and there is still more in store for the rest of the summer! See what is going to happen next week:

On Tuesday, Johnamarie Macias returns with the third and last installation of her series Connecting Through Star Wars.

On Wednesday and Thursday, Before Mako Came Yoko: Comparative Study of Pacific Rim and Yoko Tsuno, will be available for free on Kindle.

On Thursday, The Digital Quill Answers returns!

And if you missed it earlier this week, I wrote about Star Wars: The Old Republic on Comparative Geeks.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Photo Credit: Caspe Sparsoe.

Photo Credit: Caspe Sparsoe.

#SciFi Women Interviews: Neelu Raut

Welcome to June 2015’s edition of #SciFi Women Interviews! Today, I am happy to talk Science Fiction, women and cybercultures with Neelu Raut! I met this lovely lady during a conference in Oxford, during summer 2012.

Neelu Raut.

Neelu Raut.

Neelu Raut is faculty for P.G Courses in English Literature. Her areas of interest include Creative writing, various aspects of English Literature, Value Education through games, Counselling and Outbound learning. Concerned by the decline in interest in Humanities, she is also engaged in research for her Doctorate Degree in the area of innovative methodology of facilitating Language Learning but according to her, she indulges any opportunity that distracts her from its eventual conclusion!

She has taught the entire spectrum from KG (Kindergarten) to PG (Post Graduation). She has been recognised as an Examiner for Trinity College, London and conducts workshops for training the trainers as resource person for Orient Black Swan.

Consumed by wanderlust and passion for creative writing she is mostly freelancing these days, while working on various creative writing projects at the moment. Writing, compiling and editing, cover designs and various aspects of book creation consume her time. She maintains that having a finger in every pie lands her head in a big mess at times! Writing for her brings a catharsis as well as, draws into her reserves. Travelling, listening to music watching romantic comedies and spending time with the family helps recharge her batteries!

NG: How were you first introduced to science fiction?

NEELU: First of all Natacha, please allow me to thank you for having given me a chance to share my thoughts and feelings with a world beyond my own; I think every writer is a closet exhibitionist; we haven’t truly felt/written or expressed anything till at least one other person in this whole wide world hasn’t read it… And before we become the exhibitionist, we are the true voyeurs… We are readers!!!

My own introduction to the world of reading was very interesting. My mother had a reward system and we were two siblings, if either one of us were “good” during the week, we bought a book! This ensured a book per week sometimes even two …these books could be of our choice, gradually, we were introduced to any different genres from incredibly exciting graphic novels to honest to goodness classics. Science fiction also being one of them. On hind sight, what a smart way to get kids hooked on to reading!!!We were introduced to all the wonders of reading at a very thrilling young age.

Actually, even if there’s not much a parent can do to make a child wonder actively, reading ensures that the child gets images ….thanks for bringing back a deluge of happy memories.

NG: What are your top 3 favourites for Science Fiction books, TV shows and movies?

NEELU: Guess growing up in the 80’s ensures Star Trek as a pat first on my list… barely in the fourth and fifth grade, I think every girl had her favourite character for a crush… Personally I was always torn between Capt. Kirk and Dr. Mc Coy. Now I look at pictures of William Shatner and De Forest Kelly and wonder what was wrong with me… I was completely besotted by them! I always knew in my lil head that no matter what crisis befell upon the Star Ship Enterprise, they’d make it alright….yet the complications were interesting and constantly kept me on the edge of my seat, one very interesting episode had Mr Spock falling in love, it was scary and exciting at the same time!!!

Okay… The Sci-fi movie that I was in love with completely; was the one with the time machine, called Back to the Future, with Michael J. Fox. The idea that one could go back to one’s past and make the Future better. Think about how amazing the whole gambit was to a growing mind…so idealistic and uncompromising. How remarkable it was to be amazed!

I thought we could stop wars, and make our world a much better by avoiding the crazy mistakes and re – write history; assuage the demons that haunted our world…

Ok the book now; I think that would have to be, 1984 by George Orwell may be because he has an Indian connection. *laughs*

But seriously, it could easily have been 2084 and the tag of Sci Fi would have been redundant …it just missed the mark by some hundred years and was so sadly accurate .Ironically, the horrors of the dystopian 1984 when first released, are the ideas and concepts present in the society we live in today and have been so seriously subsumed by culture that many parts of the book that decades ago would have been horrendous invasions of privacy; simply detail what amount to the average day of life for a 2015 person.

NG: Which Science Fiction authors have been most inspiring to you?

NEELU: I can’t call him a strict writer of the genre but Richard Bach’s philosophy about the existence of life in alternate planes of reality that he brings about in his books such as One and A bridge across forever held amazing sense of possibilities to my young mind when I first stumbled upon his work ; in fact these kind of endless planes of existence are also supported by Quantum mechanics .The many-worlds interpretation that asserts and implies that all possible alternate histories and futures are real, each representing an actual “world”. I find that truly stimulating and knowing that science has supported such poetic likelihoods, makes me feel much validated. And to think that it’s not fiction at all!

That numerous potentialities lie about in any situation, makes me ache with joyous expectation.

Think about the Butterfly Effect, In Chaos theory, or The quantum-mechanical “Schrödinger’s cat” paradox….every step of the way in our journey of life, there’s a chance we might get again to make a change ,to acknowledge that we could have made another/better choices, that by trying again, we might have landed another totally real alternate reality!!!

What can be more inspiring?

But of course life and day to day reality cured me much like Bach of the concept of Soulmates (he divorced Leslie after all! )…but the fact that in another universe I co-exist with many of my own self-actualized versions… Wow! How enthralling is that…!!!

NG: Which influence does Science Fiction have on your writing?

NEELU: Mostly it gives my flight of fantasy greater horizons to take wing…I get to imagine scenarios which would otherwise be improbable and highly unconvincing .for instance, the Invisible Man is a fantasy every person has , observing people without being noticed, getting to know what they talk about when you’re not around, who will cry at your funeral? Just being the “Invisible Man” makes all that possible! Or how about going back and forth between time? Future and past and various parts of the present! Or the Curious case of Benjamin Button…begin your life old, keep getting younger and finally end up as a dream in someone’s eyes…

NG: Is Science Fiction popular in India?

NEELU: Yes, I would think so. Mostly because we are as ancient as we are young. If the older generation thrived on mythological tales which had flying monkeys and airborne transport; which ask us to believe in children born to famous parents by either consuming a certain fruit or memorizing a certain God. To my mind it’s all some or the other type of Sci-Fi. And just because they had no term to explain IVF these tales were perpetuated. The modern society has taken quite well to the genre too. Not only because many Indians have the access to the international trends and most books and movies are finding parallel releases, hence fan following ensues. To answer your question, yes, indeed Science Fiction is quite popular in India.

NG: What is Science Fiction’s responsibility in diverse and inclusive representation?

NEELU: Natacha, I am not sure whether or not avenues for creative expression should be made socially answerable or responsible since it’s these fora are the only meant for an individual’s personal expression. Like Walter Patter’s claim of “Art for Art’s sake”… Such discourses should not be held responsible for anything as serious as inclusive representation unless they are spreading malice and anarchy or are aimed at ethnic cleansing of some sort. It would take away the spontaneity of creation .

NG: Do you believe that Science Fiction is a genre welcoming to complex female characters?

NEELU: I’m afraid that I would sound like a stuck record again since I feel such a welcome or condemned state of female characters is cohesive with the writer’s personal sensitivity and sensibilities. However, I do think that patriarchal upbringing , questions a girl who makes ‘boy like’ choices , or likes the stereotype masculine products or even if she is good at Mathematics or has interest in science or Sci–Fi , by the same perfunctory we end up buying dolls for girls and GI Joes for boys.

There’s no denying that the token temptress for the titillation effect or the damsel in distress to appease the male protagonist’s ego still remains – the female character. The scenario can’t remain so dismal either, a diehard optimist that I am, tells me that the more female writers enter the foray of Sci-Fi, the greater would be the acceptability of such female subject positions which have been portrayed as positive role models and have a dynamic contribution towards the plot development and profundity of the subject matter. And you know this WILL happen, in our own life time; since truths inspire most fiction, the greater the number of women who will break various glass ceilings, the better roles they’d be accorded to in creative writing, including Sci-Fi!!!

To that let’s just say, “Amen!”

NG: What do you think of the evolution of cyberspace?

NEELU: I think that the evolution of cyberspace has been quite spectacular and remarkable!

Through the years we have heard sweeping statements about how everything of any significance was invented or discovered in the twentieth century. Including rail and airways, automobiles, other means of communication; it was only the internet applications which developed and pushed its boundaries in the twenty first century. Cyberspace has evolved as expansively as it has permeated deep.

There was a time when to make an outstation call you had to book one with the telephone department, only the very rich or the corner drug store even had a phone! Sending letters was way cheaper than calling. Within our lifetimes we have seen the opposite of that being true…

Had some one back then said that there will come a time when you could even see the person you called, and that instead of clearing your throat before answering the call you’d check if your hair was fine, it would have sounded like a scenario straight out of Sci-fi!

However, cyberspace has changed everything today with its all-pervading omnipresence. Come to think of it never before this age has everything in everyone’s life been so well documented with ocular proof at that!

Putting statuses about every moment of one’s life, has been quite unprecedented, wonder how much value addition it has to my life to know that my friend just go tout of the shower; but cyberspace has evolved such that the presence of other people in our lives which never leaves us truly alone.

*sigh* yet there are more lonely people today with several means of communication than there ever have been through the several centuries without such facilities… but that’s another digression where we’ll go another day. I’m sorry for taking your answer through that meandering stream of wondering aloud… But I constantly feel the need for fora that ought to discuss the effects of such a humongous human development in virtual spaces

NG: Do you believe that cyberspace is welcoming to women?

NEELU: Probably not!

For I think that women deal with similar situations in Cyberspace that we do in real life like those of unwanted attention or stalkers. Thankfully most Social networking sites do have means to shut out such elements.

For me Cyberspaces have also evolved from the anonymous chat rooms where But I still remember the rush of meeting someone I liked. My problem back then was also the same; women could not really express themselves freely in that anonymous space either; the moment they knew we were “f” (the introductions used to go m/27 or f/32 at times a location also was part of an oblique info)

The next they wanted to know was “bra-size?”

So, to feel interested in the communication one had to somehow avoid a/s/l questions and completely ban video chat!!!

Your question whether women are welcome in cyberspace?

I’d say only those who somehow fit the myogenic approval check lists are… a certain bra size that’s sometimes larger than the I.Qs of the people setting these rules…

NG: How can Science Fiction and cyberspaces be empowering for women?

NEELU: I think if more women work consciously towards eradicating the rampant internalised misogyny in their real lives, women empowerment would be our lived experience; as also in Cyberspace. If more women writers join forces to create a dynamic space for themselves then Science Fiction would definitely become a congregation of empowered women. For us to have more empowered cyberspaces we need to form our own safe havens where we can freely discuss our issues without the fear of judgement. Be it Spousal trouble or brittle nails, tuition issues of children or pre wedding blues, the crisis of nothing to wear or the trauma of existential superficiality, we need spaces of our own where to discuss our issues, just put our thoughts out in the sphere of expression. We might not even discuss our problems with the obvious goal of having to find a solution…just having articulated what we feel, rids us of the stress we have become masters at disguising.

NG: Thank you very much for this conversation, Neelu! I am certain my readers will enjoy reading it and learning more about you!

Background by Rose B. Fischer.

Background by Rose B. Fischer.

The Digital Quill Answers: “Are there any genres, or subjects you would never write about as an author?”

Are there any genres, or subjects you would never write about as an author?

I don’t think I would ever write poetry because I am comfortable only with prose.

In terms of genres, I would never write horror (some elements can show up in certain stories but I couldn’t write an actual horror one). I would never write erotica either, or anything with graphic sex scenes. I makes me too uncomfortable and I normally write PG-13 stories.

Subject-wise, I am unsure if there is anything I would never write about.

Background by Rose B. Fischer.

Background by Rose B. Fischer.

Announcing Free Kindle Days (July 1-2, 2015) for BEFORE MAKO CAME YOKO

Free Kindle Days Before MakoDo you like Science Fiction? Did you enjoy Pacific Rim? Are complex female characters important to you? Then, you won’t want to miss out on the free Kindle days for Before Mako Came Yoko: Comparative Study of Pacific Rim and Yoko Tsuno.

On July 1 and 2, this short nonfiction read will be available for free on Amazon.

In 2013, Mako Mori, from Guillermo Del Toro’s Science Fiction movie ‘Pacific Rim’, provoked extensive fan engagement. Much praise was given to the character because of her personality and her unique narrative. Yet, a character very similar to Mako emerged decades prior to her: Yoko Tsuno, the main character from the eponymous comic book series created by Belgian author Roger Leloup.

Mako and Yoko having much in common, including their Japanese and scientific background, as well as their composite close circles.

Rose B. Fischer: Fangirls Just Wanna Have Fun (Discussing the Lighter Side of Fanfiction)

Designed by Rose B. Fischer.

Designed by Rose B. Fischer.

Previously, I shared about a long-running fanfiction series that I write called Vader’s Cat. For anyone who’s just checking in, it’s a humorous series about an orange cat who adopts Darth Vader. I wrote the first story in the series as a gag. I was trying to cheer up a friend who was going through a difficult family situation.

She found some abandoned kittens in real life, and we were joking about how we thought a kitten would do wonders for Lord Vader. Later, I mentioned it to Natacha. One thing led to another, and I wrote Cracking the Dark Lord in a couple of hours. At first, I only intended to share the story with a small group of friends: Natacha, our mutual friend Sarah who was the person I wrote it for, and Jess, who’s been my roleplay partner in Star Wars for 10 years.

They all liked it so much (and laughed so hard) that I changed my mind and posted the story to the internet.  The reaction was unexpected and overwhelming.  I had more comments from readers asking for further cat stories than I had ever gotten on another piece of fiction — even my epics that run hundreds of chapters. Most of the commenters wanted to see A New Hope era cat fics, so I wrote a couple more that basically follow the plot of A New Hope up until the confrontation between Obi-Wan and Vader. Reaction to the stories was staggering by comparison to my previous works.  People wanted more Cat.  But I had a problem.  Obi-Wan just couldn’t die in a series meant to be funny.  So, after talking it over with Natacha, I found a way to save Obi-Wan, get in some marvelous banter and a “Run, Luke!” to boot.

I figured that would be it.  I could end it there.  But comments kept pouring in. The stories didn’t take much effort to write and they actually cheered me up when I was having a hard time with my more intensive writing projects. So, I kept going.

Of course, I couldn’t give every reader exactly what he or she wanted to see.  I couldn’t produce Cat stories on demand or devote my life to writing them, but I loved the sense that what I was writing made other people happy — happy enough to comment and say so.  That’s my favorite aspect of the project, and one of my favorite things about writing fanfiction at all.

The stories bring enjoyment to people.  I can’t think of many better reasons to do something than to bring happiness to others.

***

Rose B. Fischer is speculative fiction author and creative entrepreneur. Her current project is The Foxes of Synn, a low-tech science fantasy serial. Click here for more information. She is a survivor of domestic violence who lives with multiple disabilities. In the early 2000s, she became homeless after leaving her abusive spouse. She later entered a transitional housing program while attending college. These experiences inspired her to begin writing non-fiction, and have had lasting impacts on her approach to fiction writing. She publishes science fiction, science fantasy, horror, and biographical essays. On her website, she writes about the intersection of storytelling, social responsibility, art, and pop culture in the internet age. She also offers custom designs and templates for indie authors, musicians, and other muse-herders. Her website, rosebfischer.com, features a growing collection of free and pay to use stock art, as well as tutorials and many other features for writers, artists, readers, and viewers.