Monthly Archives: January 2016

Advent of Superheroines

Advent of Superheroines

As I sat at my laptop this evening preparing this post, I paused to think about all that we as fans have to look forward to this coming year.  A number of science fiction and fantasy series are coming to theaters, and the possibilities for new books, new comics, and new merchandise are endless.  Batman vs. Superman comes to mind as one epic movie to see, but more importantly this movie will feature my own childhood hero, Wonder Woman, in her first appearance on the big screen.

I grew up watching Linda Carter in her colorful costume, had the Underoos and the lunch box; but her presence was short lived, and I was otherwise disappointed in the lack of female action heroes.  There were others in comics, such as Batgirl, Supergirl, and Isis, but none of these had quite the same impact.

Wonder Woman was a hero in her own right.  She didn’t rely on the help of a male hero; rather she looked out for and often rescued Steven Trevor.  She was kind, smart, and completely independent, all while wearing gorgeous costumes.  She took pride in being a woman; after all, she was Princess of the all-female society The Amazons.  In a word, she was a perfect role model for a little girl who wanted to be a girl and yet stand on her own two feet.

The upcoming movie features the Amazon Princess, played by Gal Gadot, as she joins forces with Superman and Batman, something she has done before only in comics, followed by the release of her own movie in 2017.

For a female fan of female action heroes, there have been very few movies devoted to these women at this point.  Supergirl had her own movie in the 1980s, which was moderately successful, and now her character graces the small screen each week.

However, the closest thing we have had in a long time to a major female action movie character is the Black Widow in the Avengers series, played by Scarlett Johansson.  Her character has appeared in four movies to date, but has yet to be featured in a movie of her own.   Will we see a Black Widow movie?  Only time will tell, as that franchise continues to be popular with fans of all ages and genders.

Meanwhile, we have to take our female heroes where we can find them, usually fighting alongside the men.  At least they have gorgeous guys to look at while saving the world.

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Crossovers-Guilty Little Pleasures

Crossovers-Guilty Little Pleasures

Who among fans of science fiction and fantasy hasn’t indulged in, or at least fantasized about, a crossover between our favorite characters/universes/series?  Under what circumstances could our favorites meet and interact?  Could they work together, forge friendships, fall in love?  Who would win in a fight?

Fortunately, writers of TV shows, comic books, cartoons, and movies seem to be just as interested as fans in the “what ifs”.  For this reason, crossovers have existed for as long as media has been around.  Take for example the crossover between Adam West’s Batman and The Green Hornet.  Granted, these two shows are vastly different from later incarnations, but the fact remains that intermingling the casts of two popular shows heightened the excitement for audiences and left them longing for more.

Movie producers and writers have used crossovers to varying effects, from mixing characters from completely different universes for the purpose of epic battles, such as with Alien vs. Predator or Freddie vs. Jason, or to allow characters from the same universe to join forces, such as The Avengers, which combined the stars of Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, and Thor.

Television producers and writers have likewise combined the characters from various shows, like the recent two-part collaboration between the casts of Bones and Sleepy Hollow, where the main characters of each visited each other on their home turf and conducted joint investigations into murder and the supernatural.

For those avid fans who have yet to find their perfect crossover done by the professionals, check out your favorite site of fanfiction.  There are plenty of aspiring writers out there who share their vision and imagination, and devote pages to their favorite combinations of characters in either canon or completely original situations.

What are your thoughts on crossovers? Do you enjoy them, or hate the deviation from canon?  Is there a particular one you would love to see?

Please send me your comments.  I would love to see them and share them with other readers.

Amy

Anatomy of : A Supernatural Story

Anatomy of: A Supernatural Story

Long before Stephanie Meyers brought us Twilight, many people were fascinated by “creatures of the night.”  The legends surrounding these beings have been around for centuries, and have evolved over time.  Unexplained events, rumors, and just good old storytelling have contributed to the legends, and Hollywood has run with them.

When I set out to write my story “The Road Ahead is Dark,” I wasn’t necessarily planning to add such a creature.  I began with a recurring dream based on a place I often travelled when I lived in Jefferson City, Tennessee, 30 minutes from Sevierville and the entrance to The Great Smoky Mountains.  There was a road leading through nearby Dandridge that wound upward into the foothills, away from civilization, surrounded by trees on both sides.  At the time it was a two-lane highway, though that may have changed: I haven’t been back in a while.

The road was really lovely; a perfect example of the scenery of the area, until one morning in late October when I had reason to travel it while in a deep fog.  The road, isolated as it was, had no lights along it, and with visibility limited to the next curve, seemed to continue indefinitely.   This road made an impression on me, which I realized sometime later when I began to dream about it.  In my dream, the road never ended, never varied, and it was this sense of traveling in a never-ending circle that I wanted to include in my story.

I began the story with the main character travelling an isolated road, unsure if she is awake or dreaming, and continued with the events that led her to be in this situation.  Herein lay the supernatural element, and what could be more appropriate than a loved one who may or may not be a newly made supernatural creature.  The transformation in itself is left vague, because the central theme was to be on the main character/potential victim, and whether she was awake, dreaming, or had simply lost her mind.  I hate giving everything away, so I’ll simply leave that part for readers to make their own decisions, as I post “The Road Ahead is Dark” publically in the near future.

Book Review-From New York to Dallas

Lieutenant Eve Dallas is on the trail of an escaped serial killer with whom she has a history. She follows him from New York city to Dallas, Texas, her husband Roarke at her side. Not only does she confront the murderer, but also his mentor, her own long-lost mother. In my opinion this is one of the best books of the “In Death” series by Nora Roberts under the pen name J.D. Robb. Roberts fills in the blanks about Eve’s angst-filled backstory, while at the same time delivering a wonderful tale of triumph over adversity with plenty of action and a juicy mystery. What could be better!

Living Vicariously-My Favorite Movie Fight Scenes

Who among science fiction and fantasy fans doesn’t love a good fight scene?  The epic battle of Good vs. Evil, whether it is against monsters or aliens, speaks to us on so many levels.  Who hasn’t gasped as a costumed hero is dealt a potentially fatal blow or cheered when the good guy finally, after an epic battle, defeats the bad guy once and for all?

I grew up on heroes, and lived vicariously through them.  I was amazed when The Dread Pirate Roberts dueled against Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride, though we weren’t entirely sure then which of them was the hero and which was the villain.  The scene combined spectacular fencing skills with humor and irreverence only Mel Brooks could produce.

When Leo and Trinity decided to go against the unbeatable agents to save Morpheus, I really didn’t understand what they were up against, until the scene in the bank that had security like an airport terminal.  Guns, guns, more guns, and shooting the guards midway through a one-handed cartwheel.  Cool.

I wanted to jump to my feet when Legolas used a shield as a skate board to fly down the stairs while shooting arrows, and Aragorn went over the cliff while fighting orcs in The Two Towers.  No matter how many times we’ve seen those movies; my family still likes to jump to our favorite parts.

My whole family did jump to our feet and cheer when we watched the Avengers come together to take out the alien horde. (Luckily we were watching at home on our 3-D DVD player.)  Then we laughed when The Hulk used Loki as a rag doll.  A Norse god is just no match for a gamma-radiated human.

Why do these things excite us so?  Is it because the characters we root for are doing things we could only dream about?  Or do they inspire us, with their bravery and selflessness, to be better versions of ourselves, to stand up to the obstacles in our lives?  I don’t think for most of us it’s because we want to go about our day in a cape and tights.  Whatever the reason, we will continue cheering for our fictional heroes as long as writers and movie producers keep creating them.

 

Anatomy of a Ghost Story

Anatomy of a Ghost Story

It’s funny how things can inspire us in unexpected ways.  Last spring my husband surprised me with a trip to a bed-and-breakfast on the outskirts of Gatlinburg, Tennessee.  The place we stayed, called The Seven Gables Inn, was a beautiful Victorian-style hotel for adults-no children under the age of thirteen allowed.  There were wrap-around porches with rockers and a hammock, gorgeous gardens dotted with benches, and a gazebo with a swing.  All in all, a perfect retreat of nature and relaxation.

This memory of this hotel stayed in the back of my mind until several months ago, when I began a short story for an assignment that called for a piece heavily driven by dialogue.   I wanted to do a relationship story, but since I primarily write sci-fi and speculative fiction, I had to put my own twist on this romance.  In short, I wanted the characters to be haunted.

I began by placing my couple in a spot very similar to the hotel I had visited, but before I was finished the setting had changed drastically.  No longer the immaculate representation of a past era where I stayed, the inn transformed under my imagination to someplace far less settling.  I had a vision of an abandoned mansion, one that had for long years sat empty.  What if my characters were the first humans to set foot there in decades?  Would they bring their problems with them, and what else would they find there?  And, also, why would a couple willingly stay in such a place?

I decided to offer this story as a sample to my readers, and will post it for free both in part on this website and its entirety on my Goodreads site over the next week.  Please check out the sample and the link on my “Upcoming Works” page for “The Couple’s Retreat, and I welcome your feedback.

Thanks,

Amy Caudill