Angry Robot Books is excited to announce our latest acquisition, World Rights from Sam Copeland (Rogers, Coleridge and White Literary Agency) for Susan Murray’s The Waterborne Blade (October 2014), the opening volume of an intriguing medieval fantasy series for fans of Trudi Canavan, Karen Miller and Gail Z Martin.

Angry Robot Books is delighted to have obtained Susan’s wonderful debut novel, in which an exiled queen must protect her unborn child during a civil war by drawing on dark powers she can neither understand nor control. The as-yet untitled sequel will be released in summer of 2015.

Susan Murray: “I’m thrilled to find myself working with the dynamic team at Angry Robot. With so many talented authors on their list I imagined my novel’s chances of acceptance lay somewhere between slim and none. Never have I been more happy to be wrong.”

The Waterborne Blade:

The citadel has long been the stronghold of Highkell. All that is about to change because the traitor, Vasic, is marching on the capital. Against her better judgement, Queen Alwenna allows herself to be spirited away by one of the Crown’s most trusted servants, safe from the clutches of the throne’s would-be usurper.

Fleeing across country, she quickly comes to learn that her pampered existence has ill-equipped her for survival away from the comforts of the court. Alwenna must toughen up, and fast, if she is even to make it to a place of safety. But she has an even loftier aim – for after dreaming of her husband’s impending death, Alwenna knows she must turn around and head back to Highkell to save the land she loves, and the husband who adores her, or die in the attempt.

But Vasic the traitor is waiting. And this was all just as he planned.

Susan Murray photo 11 3 14About Susan: After spending her formative years falling off ponies Susan moved on to rock climbing, mountains proving marginally less unpredictable than horses. Along the way she acquired a rugby-playing husband, soon followed by two daughters and a succession of rundown houses. Cumulative wear and tear prompted her to return to study, settling unfinished business with an Open University Humanities degree. She lives with her family in rural Cumbria where she writes fantasy and science fiction with occasional forays into other genres.

Welcome Susan on Twitter: @pulpthorn

 

 

Rights Queries: Please contact Rights Executive Ellena Johnstone for all rights queries: ellena.johnstone@ospreypublishing.com

Categories : AR Authors
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Mar
22

Angry Robot Squares Game

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squares

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past month or so, you’ll have seen variations on the 2048 squares game.

Here, then is the Angry Robot version. Click on the image to play this at usvst3m.com.

HOW TO PLAY: Use your arrow keys to move the tiles. When two identical tiles touch, they merge and become the next level of tile. Get a tile to the eleventh level to win.

Enjoy… :-)

Categories : Angry Robot, Game
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Afternoon fellow robots!

Today we’re bringing you a round up of what people have been saying about the ultimate divine comedy: Last God Standing by Michael Boatman.

When we announced our signing of the actor and writer back in June of last year it was genuinely difficult to tell who was more excited. So it is with great pleasure that we can start bringing you some reviews of his fantastic book!

Have a look at what people said and when you’ve read it too, leave us a comment to let us know what you thought.

Last God Standing by Michael Boatman

Last God Standing by Michael Boatman“Reading this book was definitely an interesting experience. If you are a someone who likes to read about gods, gods fighting, zombies, parallel worlds, voodoo and so forth, this is definitely a book for you.” – Open Book Society 

“For me, “Last God Standing” was an enjoyable book which, while not being perfect, marks Boatman as an interesting author with a huge potential. It’ll be interesting seeing where he goes next. One thing is certain – I’m sure it’ll be mad as hell.” – upcoming4.me 

“I really could not put this novel down. Not for the internal questions that arise out of religious processes or the characters or the story line but it was just plane funny. I love sarcastic wit and Lando does a great job delivering. I look forward to more from this author and perhaps more challenging discussions.” – Koeur’s Book Reviews

“There is, needless to say, quite a lot going on but it is to the author’s credit that at no point does it feel rushed or crammed. There are moments that will make you chuckle, touching moments and one’s to make you laugh out loud (the restaurant scene with his girlfriend and her family is a work of comedy genius in my opinion). The other plus for me is that although the main character is God the book itself is not overly religious or preachy – just a good fun read that I will happily recommend to anyone.” – Andy Angel 

“In all honesty, I don’t think this book will be for everyone, but if you enjoy a bit of comedy, a bit of divinity, a bit of gratuitous carnage and some general silliness in your reading, I would recommend giving this one a go.” – The Book Shelf Gargoyle 

“It’s a fun read and God is relatable for the first time. He’s a young man in love, wanting to follow his dream and just once make his parents proud.” – Elizabeth Amber Love (Goodreads)

The Sequel to Last God Standing, Who Wants to Be the Prince of Darkness? Comes out in 2015

Categories : Angry Robot, Round Ups
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This month we talk to Adam Christopher about Russian dopplegangers. As well as his new book, Hang Wire.

Hang Wire Buying Info:

UK Print & Ebook
Amazon.co.uk | Book Depository | Waterstones | WHSmith

North American Print & Ebook
Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | BarnesandNoble.com | IndieBound.org

Global DRM-Free Epub Ebook
Robot Trading Company

Categories : AR Authors, Podcast
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Nexus by Ramez Naam

The shortlist of this year’s Arthur C Clarke Award was announced this evening in London, and we’re absolutely delighted to announce that – yet again – we have a book nominated.

NEXUS by Ramez Naam joins a very strong shortlist, which also includes God’s War by new Angry Robot author, Kameron Hurley.

The full shortlist is:

~ Nexus by Ramez Naam (Angry Robot)
God’s War by Kameron Hurley (Del Rey)
The Machine by James Smythe (Blue Door)
Ancillary Justice by Anne Leckie (Orbit)
The Disestablishment of Paradise by Phillip Mann (Gollancz)
The Adjacent by Christopher Priest (Gollancz)

The winner will be announced at a ceremony on Thursday May 1st at the Royal Society, London, and will be presented with a cheque for £2,014 (approx US$3,338) and the award itself, a commemorative bookend. But especially the cash.

Congratulations to all the finalists (especially Ramez and Kameron, of course).

It appears we have not lived and fought in vain!

Categories : AR Authors, Awards
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Back in February Andy Remic offered a free Wolf Pack to reviewers and bloggers who had reviewed his fantastic fantasy novel The Iron Wolves.

The pack included a lollypop, five bookmarks, a signed photo and an Iron Wolves t-shirt! (Modelled very impressively at the time by Mr Remic himself).

Wolf Pack Promo

Now the Wolf Pack has begun to return to their leader (with bloggers and reviewers receiving their t-shirts) and we can bring you first photo of one being worn by someone who didn’t write the book: Phil Witvliet of Grimdark reader with his dog Pluto!

Phil Witvliet & Pluto - wolf pack

Hopefully we’ll see more wolves returning home in the future so we can bring you photos of the entire pack, but for now we think Phil and Pluto set a high bar for the others!

*Once again we use the term “Modelled” in the broadest possible sense*

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Two of our Angry Robot authors, Joseph D’Lacey and Rod Duncan, will be giving readings at the ‘Tastes and Tales’ event in Rugby on the 22nd March and there are still a few tickets left!

Taking place at the Delish Deli and Kitchen from 7.30pm, the event promises to be “an evening of tasty treats and gruesome tales” that you won’t want to miss!

Check out the event poster below for all the information.

TasteTalesPoster

And just in case you can’t get a ticket, make sure to get yourselves over to Joseph and Rod’s author pages for information on when their new books are coming out.

Categories : Angry Robot
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If you’ve seen our recent hints, you’ll know we’re pretty excited about this cover and revealing it to you. Craig had some fantastic promos created, and just to tease you before the big reveal, here’s a quick peek at them again:

 

The Shadow Master

July 2014

In a land riven with plague, in the infamous Walled City, two families vie for control – the Medicis with their genius inventor Leonardo; the Lorraines with Galileo, the most brilliant alchemist of his generation.

And when two star-crossed lovers, one from either house, threaten the status quo, a third, shadowy power – one that forever seems a step ahead of all of the familial warring – plots and schemes, and bides its time, ready for the moment to attack…

TheShadowMaster-144dpi

Cover art by Steve Stone.

{ click to see the full loveliness }

Categories : Angry Robot, Cover Art
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Today’s International Women’s Day Post is written by Kameron Hurley, hope you all enjoy!

I’ll Make the Pancakes: On Opting In – and Out – of the Writing Game

A doodle of The Author, Kameron Hurley

Kameron Hurley

I’ve been loudly asserting my opinion on the internet and in print for fifteen years, and it never gets any easier.

It gets better.

Not the treatment, no– there will always be trolls, shitty emails, digs at appearance, calls for sources and “evidence” to back up your expertise (which only counts if it comes from dudes), folks who assume you write genres you don’t; there will be fewer opportunities for reviews; colleagues on panels who start conversations with “I don’t want to be sexist but…”, and covers for your gritty SF book that come out looking like a Tampax ad. Those things are going to be there for some time, to some extent. And every few years, you’ll fight for respectability and a voice from a new generation of folks who don’t know your work or credentials and thus judge you exclusively on gender and appearance as determined by whatever the media machine says you are. And you’ll have to prove yourself all over again.

It sucks. It’s hard. If you stay in the game, though, I promise you’ll get very good at it. You’ll get pretty good at writing, too. And business.  Those are the parts that get better.  You get tougher, and more jaded, and angrier as you become a better, more vocal and more respected writer.

But you’ll also get pretty tired

I don’t judge women who leave this game. I knew a lot of feminist bloggers from the early days of blogging who closed up shop after wave after wave of abuse, stalkers, threats, and real life incidents where “internet threat” became “in your fucking face threat.” I know women who wrote hard SF or epic fantasy who threw in the towel, or went to genres like urban fantasy or romance that were far more welcoming to women authors. I know women who shrugged and just went through buckets of male and gender-neutral pseudonyms, and then snickered at everyone behind their hands.

So I’m not going to tell you to stay in this game.

Instead, I’m going to tell you I know it’s hard.

And I’m going to tell you why, despite that bullshit, I’m still here.

#

I was at WisCon, a big feminist SF convention, in May 2006 when Joanna Russ did what I believe was her last public interview. Russ was in ill health, so did the interview over the phone with Sam Delany. By this time, Russ was one of my heroes. I found her to be the most angry and vehement of the feminist SF writers I’d read; compared to Russ, LeGuin was boringly conservative.

Russ expressed the white-hot rage I felt at realizing the game was rigged against me from the start, and that no matter how equal I believed I was, the world was going to treat me like a woman, whether I liked it or not. The Female Man is so raging, teeth-gnashing nuts that I couldn’t get through it the first couple of times I tried. The title also gave voice to something I felt all the time – that I was a human, a man – not in the sense that I felt disassociated from my female body, but in the sense that I, too, had bought that women were somehow “other” and I wasn’t “other” so I must be a man, a real human too, right? I’d internalized an astonishing amount of misogyny growing up that I didn’t even recognize until my early 20s

I bought a lot of divide-and-conquer politics when I was younger, putting women into camps: here are the butch, strong women. Here are the weak, feminine, useless women, the kind they showed on TV as always needing rescuing. I was never Willi; I was always Indiana Jones.  I strove to be part of the “human” camp of women, the strong, butch ones. But because my body was coded female, I was never, ever assumed to have the kind of knowledge or credibility that a man would have. To those who didn’t know me, no matter how much I butched up, or tried to “prove” my geek credentials, or masculine sensibilities, I was always just a woman on first blush. I got passed up for raises. I got relegated to admin jobs. I got money offers less than that of male colleagues.

What I learned was that I had to work harder than the guys. I had to assume that when people looked at me, they’d automatically give me crappier offers. They’d assume I was stupider than I was. They’d pay attention to me less.  They’d judge me by gender, by looks, by weight, before anything else. I automatically started every interaction at a disadvantage.

In some ways, realizing this made things easier. I no longer worked on the assumption of equality. I always assumed I was starting ten steps behind. I learned I had to fight harder, shout louder, and demand more just to get five extra steps ahead, so I wasn’t starting quite so behind in the eyes of those who passed judgment on me, from bosses to colleagues to new friends. Even in my writing career, people made certain assumptions. I remember being asked at a baby shower once if I wrote children’s books. I found it difficult to even respond to that, because I’d just published a science-fantasy noir book about a bisexual bounty hunter who lops off people’s heads for a living. There is of course nothing wrong with writing children’s books, but I couldn’t help but wonder what that person would assume I wrote if I presented as a dude.

For a while I became smitten with the idea of “power feminism” or the popular “lean-in” culture that passes for mainstream white feminism right now.  We just needed to be smarter, faster, better. We needed to ask for raises, demand better treatment.  Sexism was our fault, for buying into the misogyny ourselves, and operating like we were at a disadvantage.

But what much of that “lean-in” culture doesn’t acknowledge is that we do, in fact, operate at a disadvantage heaped on us by the assumptions of people in power, and thus some are able to “lean-in” more than others. If I’m working a retail job and demand $10.50 an hour instead of $10, in most cases they’ll be happy enough to let me go and replace me with some other hard-up person for $10 an hour. No contest.  That’s the game. That’s how it’s rigged. And this doesn’t even touch on how someone will react to this assertion if you’re also a person of color, or gay, or trans, or an immigrant, or acting “too uppity” for how they believe someone of your “kind” should behave.  In some cases, “acting uppity” will be met not with mere job loss or scowling, but violence.

You can fight all you want for individual wins, and fight to be the “exceptional” woman, but so long as there’s institutionalized oppression, bias, and unregulated, out-of-control capitalism that treats people as disposable objects, you’re an exception, not a rule.  So long as the people with the power – to hire and fire you, approve or deny your loan, or write up your speeding ticket – look at you through the lens of institutionalized racism, sexism, homophobia, or any other –ism they’ve learned from stories, videos, media, and other biased individuals, a single win means nothing.

We cannot effect true change alone.

#

Every writer is an island.

Often, we get tangled up in thinking our experiences are somehow singular, that no one before us walked this road or tackled these problems or felt this kind of angry woe at the state of the their chosen profession as a writer of fiction, or anything else. One of the things reading Russ gave me was a sense that I wasn’t on my own. When I read The Female Man or On Strike Against God I saw myself as part of something far bigger than myself.  I wasn’t the only person angry. I wasn’t the only person who faced bullshit assumptions about who I was, what I wanted, what I wrote. And I wasn’t the only one often confused by society’s expectations versus what I actually wanted.

The more women writers I read, from Margaret Atwood and Octavia Butler to Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Toni Morrison, the less alone I felt, and the more I began to see myself as part of something far bigger than myself.

It wasn’t about one woman toiling against the universe. It was about all of us moving together, crying out into some black, inhospitable place that we would not be quiet, we would not go silently, we would not stop speaking, we would not give in.

#

Joanna Russ died in 2011, the year my first book, God’s War, came out.

I remember sitting and staring at the computer and thinking, “Oh God, now what?” because it hadn’t sunk in yet – oh, I could certainly admit and process the news of her death, but I didn’t know what it meant yet. Russ hadn’t really published much work since the late 90’s, due to illness and, I expect, exhaustion at this bullshit game. It’s hard. It’s brutal. It’s no fun.

But even though she hadn’t been in the game for a while, there was some safety and security in knowing she was still alive. That her voice was there.  It existed. Her work was available. She wasn’t going to be shut up.

With her voice there, I realized, I didn’t feel as much pressure to step up.

She was there to do it.

I didn’t have to.

But in that moment, I looked at my book on the shelf, which hadn’t moved many copies yet, or won any awards. It was just my little niche feminist SF book.  I expected it would sell 3,000 copies and disappear.

That did not happen.

But I didn’t know that at the time.

All I knew is that there was no more Joanna Russ, and I was going to have to find another angry, truth-telling, no-bullshit voice that I could count on to rage at the world.

It’s easy to pass this buck, when it occurs to you. It’s easy to point to other writers and say, “Hey, you should do/be that voice.” Or “Hey, why don’t you take up this mantle?” or “You should really…” or “Writers X, Y and Z already have this covered,”  but the fact is that this is a hard gig, and a lot of people drop out of it, and you never know how long they’ll stick around.

I realized I could continue passing the buck, and just point to other writers speaking truth to power, because there were indeed a lot of them.

But there was another option.

Instead of just telling other people to step up…. Well… I could be the one to step up. I could be one of those voices.

Because, shit: I’ve been screaming on the internet for ten years. What’s forty more?

#

I don’t have a lot of spoons for handling this bullshit game, some days. I’ve got a chronic illness. I have a day job. I have book deadlines and marketing calendars and convention appearances. But one thing Russ’s death taught me is that you can’t rely on other folks’s voices always being there. Sometimes it needs to be your voice. Sometimes, if no one else will speak truth to power, or risk speaking out against Big Dude Author X, or say “Fuck my career,” then it has to be you.

There are some days indeed feel like I’m screaming alone on an island, the way a lot of young women writers might feel every time they read the latest bullshit about how they’ll be reviewed less, stocked less, and passed over for more awards than their dude colleagues.

But the fact is I’m not alone. And they’re not either. There’s a huge, angry, passionate group of people who aren’t happy with the status quo, and who actively speak out against it, over 300 of which I follow on Twitter alone. There are massive communities of feminist writers, and no-bullshit writers, men and women and everybody along and outside that continuum, who are speaking up and speaking out.

They are also a lot easier to find today than they were twenty years ago, because the there’s Twitter and Tumblr and Youtube and easy blogging platforms. Access to venues where we can be heard is easier.  It no longer feels like it’s just me lying in bed with a Joanna Russ book, trying to pretend I’m not alone and writing angrily in a notebook. It’s me engaged in active dialogue with like-minded folks – even if we’re often arguing with each other on Twitter, and calling out each others’ shit arguments and blind spots and bullshit.

And just as I take comfort in their voices, sometimes, I realize, it’s my voice that needs to be the comforting one, too. When I can afford the risk, it’s my responsibility to step up. Because if enough people pass the buck, and pretend this is somebody else’s problem, then suddenly it becomes no one’s problem, and we slide backwards, and we go back those ten steps, and we go back to square one.

Sometimes they take the risk; sometimes I do.

We do it together.  We support each other. We argue with each other.

What’s important is that we realize we’re not in this alone.

That’s why I’m still in this game. Because I understand that much of the internet trolling, the shit-flinging, the active and passive acts of oppression, are about pushing me and people like me out. It’s about creating a sandbox narrative that doesn’t include me or people like me.  And I call bullshit.

I can’t guarantee you, young women writers, that things are going to get better. I’m not going to pretend you won’t get trolled, harassed, threatened, or stalked.

But what I can promise you is that you aren’t in this fight alone. You are not speaking out alone, and you and your work and your voice and your passion exists on a long continuum of voices just like yours, who had to fight the same battles you fight, and who are still here, and still in this.

Just like you.

I don’t blame you if it’s too much. I don’t judge you for telling this genre or any other to fuck itself. But if you stay in this, next to me, and next to all the other women and men and all the fabulous plethora of otherwise-identified folks engaged in rewriting the narrative of what science fiction is, we’ll support you, and champion you, and we’ll fight with you.

That’s what I have for you.

Some days, it won’t be enough.

Some days, it’ll be all that gets you up off the floor.

So you pack the guns. I’ll make us some pancakes.

And let’s get back to work.

Categories : Angry Robot
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Part Three of our celebration of International Women’s Day comes from Anne Lyle. Any Doctor Who fans out there are really going to enjoy this one!

Doctor Who Girl

annelyle

Anne Lyle

Last year we celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the world’s longest-running SF TV show. We were also treated to a new Doctor in the shape of Peter Capaldi, whose costume and publicity photos owed more than a little to his 70s predecessor, Jon Pertwee. Perhaps because of this, and of course all the nostalgia-laden documentaries shown last year, I found myself looking back fondly at the Doctor Who of my youth.

Of course some of us have been around since the show’s earliest days, even if we were maybe a bit too young to watch it back when William Hartnell made the role his own. I guess I must have become a regular viewer late in Patrick Troughton’s stint, or early in Jon Pertwee’s, because I have vivid memories of hiding behind the sofa (or at least, my granny’s chair) during the opening credits with the rippling tiger-stripe pattern – I was more spooked by the music than by the show itself!

The first episode I actually recall seeing is “The Green Death” (1972), starring Jon Pertwee as the Third Doctor, but for me the definitive Doctor will always be Number Four, played by the incomparable Tom Baker. He was the longest in the role, and with his immensely long striped scarf remains the iconic image that even non-fans recognise.

Elisabeth-SladenHowever the element of the Fourth Doctor’s reign that stands out for me is his companions. First, of course, there was Sarah Jane Smith. As the companion of Number Three, she had fitted neatly into his predominantly Earth-based episodes in her role as an investigative journalist. The wider-ranging adventures of Number Four finally gave her a chance to venture further afield, but she remained a down-to-earth young woman who stood up to aliens as boldly as she had to rogue scientists. Sarah Jane was a great role model for girls of my generation, and it’s so cool that she eventually went on to have spin-off adventures of her own. Elizabeth Sladen is sorely missed.
Every companion’s time with the Doctor has to come to an end, though. In 1976, he left her in England when he was obliged to return to Gallifrey. He spent one adventure (“The Deadly Assassin”) alone, then in “The Face of Evil” he encountered a savage tribe, survivors of a shipwrecked survey team, and acquired a new companion, Leela.

Tom Baker Doctor WhoOn the face of it, Leela was clearly designed to appeal to the dads in the tea-time audience, with her skimpy leather tunic and long, long legs, but at the same time she resonated with young female viewers like me. Leela didn’t dress in frills and scream at aliens – she drew a knife and attacked them! She wasn’t just a dumb savage, either. Leela was intelligent and a fast learner, providing a strong foil to the Fourth Doctor’s eccentricities. I confess I was disappointed when the writers chose to end her story by marrying her off to a Gallifreyan guardsman, but at least she got to keep K9!

I’m currently rewatching the Tom Baker episodes from the beginning. Yes, they’re a bit stilted, and the shoestring budget makes for some rather comical moments, but they stand the test of time pretty well. I can only hope that the Doctor’s newest incarnation acquires companions who will serve him as well as Sarah Jane and Leela did.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a nine-foot-long scarf to knit…

The Prince of Lies, by Anne Lyle

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Today’s International Women’s Day piece comes from our Philip K Dick Award nominated author Cassandra Clarke!

“Dinosaurs eat man. Woman inherits the earth”

The Author, Cassandra Rose Clarke

Cassandra Rose Clarke

It’s a blazingly hot day, June 1993. I’m nine years old and this memory is the only one I have of that particular summer, although I can certainly fill in the blanks with memories from other years—swimming pools and sprinklers and summer camp enrollment designed to keep TV from melting my brain out through my ears. But those memories are generic. This one’s special.

The whole family’s going to the movies. Me, my mom, my dad, my brother. We pile into the car and drive down to the theater for the first showing at mid-morning, arriving nearly forty minutes early. We’re the only people in the theater for at first. This early-arrival-at-a-morning-show is a scheme of my parents, who frequently go to excessive lengths to avoid “the crowds.” (I won’t see the inside of an amusement park until I’m an adult for this reason.) We settle into the best seats in the theater, Cokes and popcorn at the ready, and wait.

The movie we’re waiting for is Jurassic Park.

There are a handful of movies I remember seeing in the theater, and Jurassic Park is one of the earliest, after The Little Mermaid. At nine years old, I was terrified throughout the entire thing, covering my eyes whenever I thought a dinosaur was about to eat someone, but when I walked out of the theater I was completely enamored. Jurassic Park was now my favorite movie; later, it would be my favorite book as well. I dreamed of becoming a paleontologist and wearing kicky high-waisted shorts like Dr. Sattler, and for the next few years, any trips to the dinosaur exhibit at the Houston Museum of Natural Science were spent ogling up at the big T-Rex skeleton in the entryway, pretending I had a PhD and one of those brushes for dusting dirt away from bones.

Jurassic Park was the first science fiction property to capture attention and earn my love. Like others my age, I grew up watching Star Trek: The Next Generation (and putting my headband over my eyes so I could be Geordi), and as a child I caught Star Wars on TBS one dreary Saturday afternoon, although for years afterward I would confuse it with Cocoon.  Science fiction novels weren’t really on my radar unless they made their way to the Newbery Medal nominee list. But Jurassic Park changed all that. There is a sense of wonder present in that movie which has stuck with me—remember the scene when Dr. Sattler and Dr. Grant see the dinosaurs for the very first time? I still remember the chill I got when I watched their expressions of shock and delight, and that’s the same feeling I get whenever I experience great science fiction, whether I find it on the page, on the screen, or in my imagination.

I originally intended to write this blog post about Dr. Sattler—how she was given the save-the-day scenes in the movie, and had to face down velociraptors and turn the power back on while Dr. Grant was tasked with the more nurturing role of caring for Hammond’s two grandkids. And that’s worth mentioning, although as a kid I didn’t admire her for being Action Girl and Subverting Gender Expectations. Rather, I admired her because she was smart, and pretty, and a scientist. She was the sort of person I wanted to grow up to be—the sort of woman I wanted to grow up to be.

And no, I never became a scientist. I became a writer instead, a science fiction writer. But I do think in some small way, Jurassic Park—and Dr. Ellie Sattler—helped me find that path. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The Mad Scientist's Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke - Feb 2013

Categories : Angry Robot, Guest Posts
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Continuing our celebration of International Women’s Day, today’s piece comes from one of our newest authors – Ishbelle Bee

Ripley

In Space Only Men Scream

 “That’s the only way. We’ll move in pairs. We’ll go step by step and cut off every bulkhead and every vent until we have it cornered. And then we’ll blow it the fuck out into space! Is that acceptable to you?

The Author, Ishbelle Bee

Ishbelle Bee

One of the most influential female characters for me is that of Ellen Ripley from the Alien films franchise. Female power and Queenship are explored through Ripley and her demonic counterpart, the Alien Queen. Male power is usurped, weak and in some cases artificial (androids); their role reduced to ‘food’ for the alien. These themes have inspired my own work and Ripley remains to me, one of the most powerful and iconic female roles I have come across.

The alien is more than phallus; it is also coded as toothed vagina, the monstrous feminine as cannibalistic mother.’ (Creed, 1986, p. 69 Horror and the monstrous-feminine: an imaginary abjection’ Screen 27)

Giger’s Alien Queen as a divine devourer; where humans are edible offerings, is both beautiful and terrifying. Any thought of a degrading stereotypical female role, which entertains the masculine voyeur is squashed underfoot.

It is a shame, therefore, that we are still subjected to female protagonists who resemble little more than blow up sex dolls: gormless, restricted to minimal dialogue, and liable to puncture easily.

Ripley

Sigourney Weaver as Ripley

Categories : Angry Robot, Guest Posts
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Marianne de Pierres provides us with our second piece to celebrate International Women’s Day. Hope you all enjoy! Remember please comment on these posts, we’d love to get your opinions and discuss your views with you!

Story Straws Gathered and Glued

Marianne-de-Pierres-300x300

Marianne de Pierres

At 53 I’m not a young writer, but neither do I feel even slightly old! I have reached stage in my life though, where everything that has gone before has suddenly become something I can write about. It’s quite interesting really. For many years, just living and surviving life was my mantra. I was writing and imagining stories along the way, sure, but they were stories born of desperation and immediacy – whatever was on the edge of my brain and at the tip of my fingers. Story straws gathered and glued together in the heat of now. Lots of tales about women surviving oppression, as I indeed felt that, as both a mother and a woman in a still largely patriarchal society.

More recently, the stories are coming from a different place. They’re a spring bubbling up from a deeper reservoir inside me. Take PEACEMAKER, for instance. The story was inspired by reading the full set of Zane Grey novels at the age of sixteen and Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstock in my twenties – an unlikely combination. My recent Night Creatures YA series turned into an exorcism of old boarding school demons, and just the other day, I just wrote a short story (still unpublished) based on an incident that happened when I was 13. WTF?

With the change, I’m noticing a maturity in my work. For the first time since I became a writer, I have the opportunity to actually think and reflect and even tentatively speculate rather than just lash out and crack whips. Maybe that really is a sign of age. Whatever the case, writing has taken on a meta-appeal for me, as I wait to see what the inner well will let escape and float to the top next. Who needs therapy when a good book will do?

I’d really love to hear from other writers and bloggers on their own thoughts and experiences.

 

Peacemaker by Marianne de Pierres

Categories : Angry Robot
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Here is the first of our posts celebrating International Women’s Day!

Female Protagonists in Traditional Fantasy.

 

The Author, Anna-Kashina

Anna Kashina

Like many fantasy readers, I have grown up reading “The Lord of the Rings”. I adored these books and found myself deeply submerged into the worlds they opened to my imagination. For the longest time I took it for granted that many classical fantasies did not have any major female characters, definitely not among those who drove the events. True, there is Galadriel, and Arwen, and Eowyn, all of them memorable and powerful. But lead characters? Hardly.

 

Some of the newer fantasy books started successfully introducing women as lead characters and slowly expanding on their role. Many attributed this change to the emergence of major female authors, such as Marion Zimmer Bradley with her Darkover series and her all-time bestseller “Mists of Avalon”. Others said that, at least in fantasy, this had to do with the growing audience of female readers. I am not certain what the real reasons are. I have seen authors of both genders use males or females as protagonists, and I know for a fact that female readers enjoy both men and women in leading roles. In my view, this change has more to do with common sense, a realization that the world, even in books, is more complex than we used to believe. I tend to compare it to the change in painting technique, when, in 15th century, artists realized how to use perspective to show dimension. This happened in the society, especially in respect to women. It took longer in fantasy, but came as a natural step in the development of the genre.

These days we expect strong female leads in fantasy, and would feel unnatural reading a book prominently devoid of women. It is very interesting to observe how female point of view has enriched traditional fantasy, bringing a whole new angle into the story and enabling character development in a number of different ways. On a very basic level, leading female characters greatly expand the range of possibilities of what the main character should be all about. In the old days we got used to warriors, or dark mysterious strangers, or regular guys who are unexpectedly landed with the necessity of saving the world. All of these parts can easily be played by females. But more than that, female leads provide the previously missing second half, enabling the complexity of the interaction between sexes—romance, domination, or competition—with no rules in place. As an author, I find all these angles irresistible to explore.

The leading character in “Blades of the Old Empire”—an elite Majat warrior, Kara—seems fairly traditional on the outside. She is a fighter only a few can stand up to, and thus can easily fill the shoes of a traditional warrior type. She is also a beautiful woman many desire, and she can handle unwanted attention without a problem. But, unlike a typical attractive warrior in traditional fantasy, she is not competitive or aggressive. Instead, she has an inner strain that has to do with having to live with the combination of beauty and skill. This makes her enigmatic, an angle that emerged on its own and was so fun to build upon.

Initially I worked off a simple reversal of roles. Instead of the traditional pair, helpless but gifted girl protected by a strong male warrior, I have a gifted young man, not helpless but definitely a regular guy when it comes to fighting, protected by a strong female warrior. Building on this reversal, I found several aspects that enabled new levels of depth in the story. First, to enhance the enigma around Kara, I removed her point of view, showing her entirely through the eyes of a young man who is in love with her. Second, I gave her a nearly impossible problem to work with. And then it was literally down to sitting back and watching how everything about this woman I created feeds the major conflicts in the story. And yes, her point of view is coming, in the second book in the series. This reversal, getting into her head after I already learned so much about her, was even more fun.

As an author I feel fortunate to have entered the scene at the time when women characters are established an expected. I will probably never cease to feel amazed how female perspective in fantasy brings in a unique angle, a new dimension that both authors and readers can appreciate.

Blades Of The Old Empire, by Anna Kashina

Categories : Angry Robot, Guest Posts
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To celebrate International Women’s Day on Saturday the 8th of March we’ll be running a week of daily posts from our fantastic female authors. These posts will be a mix of their favourite female authors, characters or their views on the history of women in Sci-Fi. Tune in tomorrow for the first post from Anna Kashina, and keep an eye out for posts from Madeline Ashby, Ingrid Jonach and Marianne de Pierres amongst others! Everything starts tomorrow and keep an eye for some special posts on Strange Chemistry as well, until then check out the website and tell us what you’re doing to celebrate International Women’s Day.

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Categories : Angry Robot, AR Authors
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