Month: August 2016

Marta Martinez Saves the World

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A while ago, Jacob Haddon of Apokrupha and I were chatting on Facebook, as we do, about the rhetoric around women in sci-fi and fantasy.  How few there are in the field, that there is a backlash when women speak out, and the Hugos.  The talk turned somehow to Godzilla (as it can) and a rant, probably from me, how even big monster narratives were being taken away from those who created them, in this case Godzilla being created as a response to the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and turned into another vehicle to show how amazing white males are.  I likened Jurassic Park to a continuation of the motif.

Then I asked, “If a woman’s place is in the kitchen, what happens when the kitchen attacks?” and the joke suddenly began to form into a reality.  What if women DID own the apocalypse?  What if we took those marginalized by society, the cat lady, the female engineer, the fat woman, and showed how they can kick ass just as much as everyone else?  What if we didn’t flip the script as much as just show how strong women can be and how they can fight off big monsters just like the boys can and not just be the prize at the end of the battle?

Thus was born Kaiju Revisited, a series of big monster novellas wherein women kick ass.  There is an awesome line-up of female authors on board, which thoroughly excites me.

As does my novella, my first non-short story, kicking off the series.  Wherein the kitchen DOES attack and the female engineering student, and her cat, go out to save the world.

Marta Martinez Saves The World was a lot of fun for me to write.  I just let myself loose, let my influences shine, and let Marta Martinez, a marginalized female engineering student, take center stage.  I hope the fun shines through and you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.  And I hope you read the rest of the issues, and clamor for more so we can keep it going.  Because the big monster sandbox is big enough for all of us, and baby it’s time to start playin’.

Movie Review: Star Trek Beyond

Synopsis:  After a failed diplomatic attempt by Capt. Kirk that looked straight out of MIB, the Enterprise takes on a mission past the nebula to rescue a ship.  Once they get through the nebula they are attacked viciously be a swarm of ships that move like bees and the Enterprise is destroyed, landing on a nearby planet, and the crew taken hostage.

Because this is an action movie, and a male one at that, Kirk finds a motorcycle on this abandoned planet.  Scottie finds a female engineer who has fixed up a former federation ship, the USS Franklin, and together, motorcycle and engineer girl (who can kick ass) save the crew, find the bigger plot that the big baddie named Krall wants to do, and save the federation.

There’s also a bit of stuff about both Kirk and Spock getting offered jobs off Enterprise.  Nods to the original spock, Leonard Nimoy dying and this causing a crisis for current world spock as the last Vulcan, and a dedication to Anton Yelchin.

The Good:  Action!  Humour!  It’s funny, with self-referential jokes that had some people laughing way harder than I was.  For instance, Kirk says that his life feels episodic, and Star Trek was episodic TV and these movies are episodic, get it?  That opening scene when Kirk tries to be an ambassador to little puppy aliens and fails is funny!  He’s attacked by puppy aliens, and one gets named and stays on the ship.  Did I mention the action?  Things get blown up, a lot.  There’s hand to hand combat.  Aliens.  The main bad guy, Krall, wants to destroy the federation and all the aliens speak English, which is awesome.  Because in the future all aliens speak English all the time.  It just makes things easier.

The cast, as always, is having fun.  Especially Karl Urban as Bones, Chris Pine as Kirk, Simon Pegg as Scottie, and Zachary Quinto as Spock.  Those far are digging it and it shows and it makes them fun to watch.

The Bad:  This film doesn’t think it has enough to stand on its own yet.  As a franchise reboot, the film is trying to tell us that it’s good, which makes it – eh.  They talk of Spock and show a picture of the original Star Trek crew.  There are a lot of callbacks to legitimize themselves, and not only wasn’t needed it didn’t let the cast get out of the shadow and fully into their own groove.

The camera work was one twirl away from shaky cam.  While I didn’t vomit and leave the theater as happens with full on shaky, I found myself getting dizzy.  Half the time I wondered if they thought this was the interactive write at Universal Studios that was being filmed instead of a movie.  Really, it turned a LOT and made it hard to see the action.

They had Idris Elba in the cast and squandered him.  I can go all objectify-y and say when you have someone that fine keep him out of make-up, or I can say that when you have an actor that awesome why just make him grunt his lines out and so one note?  There was no room for range in the character, and Elba got the range.  I’m sure for him it’s a great paycheck, for this gal it was a waste of an awesome actor.

The story was basic- it was a draft story, not a fully fledged one.  “Let’s – have them crash on a planet.  Yeah, yeah, do that.  Maybe have Spock and Uhura fight. yeah, yeah, that.  And then she’s captured, and he finds her, but we have her save him because – twist, she’s the girl, right?  yeah – that.  okay, then let’s make the bad guy- I Know!  a twist at the end about who he is.  Let’s Shyamalan this motherf*cker of a film.”

And that’s how it was made.   Ideas thrown and what stuck to the wall stuck.  There was the potential for great commentary on the creation of the federation and implications of its creation in the future.  For talk about the price of peace and what happens to those indoctrinated to war for peace when there are no more wars.  But that went to the wayside for explosions and. . .more explosions.

The Female:  This film really made me realize that modern media just cannot have women talk to one another.  Each group had a woman in it, among many many men, but no group had more than one who could speak.

Uhura:  Of the Enterprise group she’s the female.  A love interest to Spock.  A communications expert who wasn’t needed because everyone spoke English.  She’s captured, Spock is motivated to save her, she finds him first, they kiss at the end.

Jaylah:  Some white alien with white hair (long and flowy, because we have to find her attractive) and black markings on her face who speaks English but with an accent.  She’s of the crashed team along with Scotty and Kirk.  She is the Deux ex femina leading them to the deux ex machina- the USS Franklin they can fix to free everyone.  Her  parents are dead, she’s alone, she knows how to fight and is good with electronics.

Commodore Paris:  She’s of the Space Station team. She speaks mainly with Kirk and doesn’t exist elsewhere.

And never the woman shall meet.

Overall:  It was like a good episode of the old show.  A dizzying popcorn flick of motorcycles and man rescues and tons of jokes between friends that we all get because, having grown up on Star Trek, they’re our friends, too.