Staind, Believe

Believe @ Yahoo! Video

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Immortalized in Song

Well, 2009 is starting off with a bang. I’ve been immortalized in song!

John Ottinger over at Grasping for the Wind started his Book Reviewer Meme wherein anyone who wanted to be listed in his blogroll as a book reviewer would run the list of everyone in a post. John Anealio of the SciFi Songs Blog writes a new SF-inspired song every week. Well, Anealio wrote one about the Book Reviewer Meme and Danger Gal is listed at the end. Right at the end, where Anealio slows down the beat. Like SciFiGuy, I think Anealio deserves a SciFi Grammy (what would we call it. . . an Anealio?)

Click here to hear the song and read the words. Also, here is the post about the song on Grasping for the Wind.

Now we just need a video.

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Books Read in 2008

Every year my little group of friends share our lists of the books we’ve read over the course of the previous year. Below is my list from 2008. Many of these books showed up as Danger Gal profiles, so if you’d like additional information on them, check out the Danger Gal archives. For a bit more book-geek fun, peruse my reading lists for 2006 and 2005. And while you’re at it, my friend Berty is the first of my tribe to get his list out.

What’s on my list for 2009? I’m still working through Susan Grant’s backlist, as well as William Gibson’s. Also, I tried to get Linnea Sinclair’s SHADES OF DARK in for 2008, but wasn’t able to. I’m still engrossed in Lara Adrian’s Breed trilogy and just picked up the latest. I also have John’s Scalzi’s AGENT TO THE STARS and GHOST BRIGADES, both of which I’m roughly halfway through. There are at least 15 books sitting next to me right now begging to be read, so I’ve got my work cut out for me.

You can keep tabs on my progress through my Shelfari page. Also, there are a few of us who enjoy talking about Science Fiction Romance in our very own SFR Shelfari forum as well.


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This week’s Danger Gal Friday post profiles Lt. Jodenny Scott from Sandra McDonald’s THE OUTBACK STARS.

Outback StarsLt. Jodenny Scott earned a MacBride Cross for bravery during the tragedy that destroyed her previous ship the T.S.S. Yangtze. The story picks up with Scott frustrated after three months of recovery and desk duty when she pulls out all the stops to be reassigned to the T.S.S. Aral Sea. Scott finds herself embroiled in an existing mess of intrigue that she and Sergeant Teren Myell unravel, all the while discovering an ancient alien device and trying not to fall in love. I agree with Heather Massey’s assessment of this novel as “a terrific mix of accessible military SF, romance, and mystery.” In fact, McDonald has a great tagline on her web site that so very succinctly describes her books: “love. duty. really big spaceships.”

Ships in Scott’s world travel faster than light via an ancient alien system called the Alcheringa. Earth’s climate has been decimated, though some unfortunate people still live there. Many have colonized seven planets called the Seven Sisters. The mythology of the story is taken from Aboriginal Australian mythology and explained by the fact that Australians were the first to discover the Alcheringa and therefore the first to colonize the Seven Sisters, though no one yet has discovered the purpose of three spheres found on each planet called the Mother, Father, and Child Spheres.

Scott definitely qualifies as a Danger Gal in that she’s a decorated officer and, once joining the Yangtze, is put in charge of Underway Stores, the department responsible for all supplies across the entire ship. I thought the Romance and Science Fiction elements were well-balanced and the plot well-executed, but I also admired McDonald’s obvious knowledge of daily life on a Naval vessel. Her bio states that McDonald has in fact served as an officer in the United States Navy and this life experience definitely comes across in the main details of the story.

While fraternization between officers and enlisted is not permitted, it’s clear that in Scott’s world women and men enjoy quite an egalitarian approach to sexuality, though other modes of approach are not extinct. For instance, one female character is suspected of exchanging sexual favors for gifts and another female character is in an abusive relationship. However, Scott encourages the first character to give up her situation because of how it may impact on her career — no mention is made of anyone’s aspirations on the woman’s moral character. The woman in the abusive relationship is helped by several characters, including Scott and Myell.

In a reversal of many Romances I’ve read, it’s the hero, Myell, who has to deal with past physical abuse rather than the heroine. Scott has had her trials and tribulations, but none of them include the stereotypical tropes often given to female characters to support an unwillingness to consider a new romantic relationship. Throughout the story Scott outranks Myell, but never does he demonstrate a problem reporting to a woman or following orders given by her. Scott has emotional baggage to deal with from her losses on board the Yangtze, but her efforts to continue on despite them show a sense of admirable determination. My only criticism in this area is that Scott considers and voices the possibility of giving up her commission in order to continue their relationship, but Myell never talks of making a similar sacrifice. In his defense, Myell is against Scott resigning and before having met her decided he would leave the military when his contract expired in three months.

I appreciated that many of Scott’s and Myell’s superior officers were women, including a very important admiral. Also the Aral Sea is comprised of a multicultural crew that I found refreshing. Overall I very much enjoyed THE OUTBACK STARS, relished reading about Scott’s adventures, and look forward to the next installment in the series.

More information on this novel:

10 Hella Sexy Discoveries in The Outback Stars
SFF World Review
SciFi Weekly Review

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