The crib is everywhere . . .
Edie Sha’nim believes she and her bodyguard lover, Finn, could find refuge from the tyranny of the Crib empire by fleeing to the Fringe worlds. But Edie’s extraordinary cypherteck ability to manipulate the ecology of evolving planets makes her far too valuable for the empire to lose. Recaptured and forced to cooperate—or else she will watch Finn die—Edie is shocked to discover the Crib’s new breed of cypherteck: children. She cannot stand by while the oppressors enslave the innocent, nor can she resist the lure of Scarabaeus, the first world she tried to save, when researchers discover what appears to be an evolving intelligence.
But escape—for Edie, for Finn, and for the exploited young—will require the ultimate sacrifice . . . and a shocking act of rebellion.
Make sure you stick around to the end. We’ll be giving away a copies of Song of Scarabaeus and Children of Scarabaeus plus a signed bookmark to a lucky reader!
Science Fiction: What’s in it for Urban Fantasy fans?
Jackie asked me to talk a bit about urban fantasy and science fiction – is there crossover appeal? Should UF readers give SF a try? Is SF just ray guns and transporter beams and weird physics and alien invasions? Or is there something there that UF readers will enjoy?
What are UF and SF anyway? Wikipedia defines Urban Fantasy as “a sub-genre of Fantasy” with “an urban setting”. Right there we’ve diverged from Science Fiction, which is distinct from Fantasy. In an SF story, the characters know that the technology around them has a scientific, rather than supernatural, basis (even if the author isn’t quite sure how all that technology works). In Fantasy, the characters and the readers know that magic is real.
Urban Fantasy has similarly magical elements. Whether it’s vampires, shapeshifters, zombies, faeries or witches, these beings exist because the supernatural realm is simply assumed to be a real part of our world. UF is distinguished from straight Fantasy because of its urban, and usually contemporary or near-future, setting.
So when it comes to Science Fiction, what’s in it for Urban Fantasy readers? My immediate response to that question is: regardless of genre, it’s all about the characters and story. Personally, I can be persuaded to read almost any genre as long as I want to spend time with the characters. But I have my limits. I don’t like horror because I don’t like what my imagination does with horrific images. I’d rather not put the images into my mind in the first place. Horror is a deal-breaker, but that’s just me. SF might have deal-breaking elements for UF readers – maybe the futuristic setting puts you off because you only want to read about contemporary or historical times, not about a time that hasn’t happened yet. It just doesn’t feel real enough to you. Or maybe you’re just not thrilled by the idea of adventures in space. You prefer to remain earth-bound (including the spirit world, the underworld, etc.).
So what are the similarities between the genres? My first thought is that both UF and a lot of SF is gritty. In reality I like my creature comforts, which is why I haven’t been camping for 25 years, but in stories I love grit and grime. If you like leather-clad vampire hunters roaming the dirty city streets at night, why not try leather-clad spacers with their dirty engine rooms and decaying space ports? If setting is important to you, then you’ll find SF that matches UF for grit. For the ultimate in grit and grime, try C J Cherryh’s Rimrunners – an oldie but a goodie featuring a strong woman, a bit of romance, and a unique voice.
UF often features heroines in jobs that put them right into the thick of a crime scene. They’re journalists, lawyers, cops, private investigators, and coroners. SF also has plenty of mystery-type stories where a crime is the springboard for the plot. If you like procedural stories but don’t want to get bogged down in high-tech explanations, try the Stardoc books by S L Viehl. Another non-spaceship-based story with a mystery, this one with a strong romance, is Close Encounters by Katherine Allred.
Speaking of romance… If you read UF for the romance, SF has that in spades! Linnea Sinclair writes hot science fiction romances (try the Dock Five series, starting with Gabriel’s Ghost). The settings are spaceships, but the tech-talk is minimal. Ann Aguirre’s Grimspace again won’t scare you off with the technology. It concentrates on heart-pounding action, a sassy heroine and a brooding love interest.
Finally, I’ll plug my own books, Song of Scarabaeus and Children of Scarabaeus, as examples of gritty SF where character interactions are at the heart of the story. I envisaged a dystopian future filled with pirate spaceships and hazardous planets. My heroine Edie is a young woman just starting to discover her power, determined to go her own way despite circumstances colluding against her. And she has at her side a sexy bodyguard with a past that also puts him in mortal danger. There’s some tech-talk – the genetic engineering technology I invented is an important part of the story. But between you and me, and from the feedback I’ve been getting, you can skim the details and still love the adventure and the romance.
Sara Creasy grew up in a tumbling-down Victorian house in England, where she tapped out her first stories on a tiny blue typewriter. After moving to southeastern Australia as a teenager, her love of all things fantastical hooked her on science fiction. Meanwhile, in real life, a biology degree led to work as an editor in the educational publishing industry. Creasy was associate editor of Australia’s science fiction and fantasy magazine Aurealis for several years, and her involvement with the SF community inspired her to write her first novel, Song of Scarabaeus. Marriage to an American resulted in a second intercontinental move, and she lived in Arizona for five years. She now lives in Melbourne, Australia.
Want to purchase Sara’s novel?
- Song of Scarabaeus at Amazon or the Book Depository
- Children of Scarabaeus at Amazon or the Book Depository
Contest Time! Sara is giving away a copies of Song of Scarabaeus and Children of Scarabaeus plus a signed bookmark. To enter, all you have to do is answer this one question: What are some of your favorite SF novels? If you haven’t tried an SF novel, why not? Remember, you must answer the question in order to be entered. (US/Canada only)
As always, there’s more ways of getting your name in the hat (remember, these aren’t mandatory to enter, just extra entries):
- +1 for each place you post about today’s contest on your blog, social network, or anywhere you can. Digg it, stumble it, twit it, share it with the world. Wherever you share it, make sure you add a link to it along with your answer.
- +1 to any review you comment on, however, comments must be meaningful. Just give me the title of the review and I’ll be able to figure it out from there.
- +1 If you are a follower of Literary Escapism on Facebook and/or Twitter
- +10 Purchase any novel through LE’s Amazon store or the Book Depository sometime during this contest and send a copy of the receipt VIA email for your purchase to: jackie AT literaryescapism DOT com. Each purchase is worth ten entries.
The winner must post a review of the novel someplace. Whether it is on their own blog, Amazon, GoodReads, LibraryThing or wherever, it doesn’t matter. Just help get the word out.
I have not been contacting winners, so you will need to check back to see if you’ve won.