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Every so often, a post comes up about how this or that character is a ‘Mary Sue’. I’m sure Rey from Star Wars: The Force Awakens was one of these unfortunate female characters, who certain viewers regard as being too good at things to be believed.

Allow me a moment of rocking in my chair on the porch. I was around when the term Mary Sue was localized to fandom, and in fandom – I think – it had a useful purpose. You see, the thing about fan fiction is that people read it hoping for more of the characters they loved from [whatever the canon is.] If they’re Aragorn fans, they want to see more fic about Aragorn, in which they can revel in how cool he is, feel sorrow for his sorrow and happiness for his joy, etc.

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In a situation like that, I think it’s perfectly valid to resent the introduction of a female character who wasn’t even in the canon stories, who inserts herself into the universe and immediately becomes the focus of the story. Especially when she outshines Aragorn by being better than him at everything, by advising him against the bad choices he makes, being wiser than him about his moments of self doubt, more beloved than him by the good guys and more hated than him by the bad. That wasn’t what you were looking for when you went looking for Aragorn fan fic. It claimed to be Aragorn fanfic, but it was actually Legolas’s-Sister-the-real-heir-of-Lorien fanfic.

As the story misguided you as to who it was actually about, you had every reason to resent it.

However, when you take the female character who is good at everything – who outshines all the other characters, has a cool name and a destiny, who is chosen and favoured and successful – out of fanfic, I think she ceases to be a Mary Sue.

Mary Sue doesn’t just mean ‘a female character who is implausibly good at things.’ Because you know who else can be defined as ‘a character who is implausibly good at things’? The hero. That’s who. The hero, by definition, tends to be that character who always comes through in the end, and often does it by being better than everyone else.

Outside of fanfiction, there are plenty of male characters who are handsome and devastatingly sexy and dangerous and destined for greatness. Or if they’re not destined, they fight their way to greatness anyway.

It’s a classic superhero trope isn’t it? Young man finds himself in some hidden valley/ancient temple/bat-cave and is taught to be a superhero by a secret society who only exist to give him the tools to be great. Then he goes off and fights crime and dazzles high society with his wealth and debonair attitude, while carrying the fate of the world on his shoulders.

No one seems to call James Bond a Mary Sue. We’re just happy to go along with him for a wild ride of a power fantasy in which we vicariously enjoy being awesome.

So, outside fan fiction, I don’t see why you can’t also have a female hero who exists entirely to be badass and better than anyone else. A female character who gets openly admired for that.

In fact, I thought that sounded rather fun. And so Aurora Campos from the Cygnus Five series was born. I wanted her to be the kind of unstoppable force of nature that Hornblower or Jack Aubrey are, but in space. I wanted her to be the kind of person who, when she’s abandoned on a hostile world by her venal bosses, who hope she’ll be murdered and thus be no more embarrassment to them, would go “No. I’m Aurora Campos. You should be afraid of me.” And then take over that world and make it happen.

I suspect she’s a direct descendent of Susan Ivanova from Babylon Five, who initiates a war from the bridge of her battlecruiser with a speech that still makes me want to punch the air. I get to the end of this speech and I have chills even now, so very many years since I saw this first.

“I am Death Incarnate. I am the last living thing you will ever see. God sent me.”

How often do we get to see this? When do we ever get to see women have this kind of crowning moment of awesome? It’s so rare.

And that’s how Aurora came to be. I wanted her to be the kind of character who could pull off a speech like this, because she has the force of will, intelligence and strength to follow through on it.

She’s still not a Mary Sue, for the reasons I’ve given above. She’s a hero. And writing her was such a blast. Such a relief. I hope if you read her, she’ll come as a vicariously enjoyable power fantasy for you too, and that you too will find that something of a breaking of mental chains.

LionessFinalLarge

Mirrored from Alex Beecroft - Author of Gay Historical and Fantasy Fiction.

alex_beecroft: A blue octopus in an armchair, reading a book (Default)

In a move that seems to go against any kind of good economic sense, I’ve made Lioness of Cygnus Five free from today to the 5th of September. I’m only allowed to do this for five days under KDP’s policies, so grab a copy now if you would like one.

If you had time to spare, an honest review would be very appreciated. (It doesn’t have to be a good review. I’d just like to know what you thought.) And if you liked it, and you’d like to tell other people about it, that would be awesome!

LionessFinal133x200

Aurora Campos’s days of heroism are behind her. Deemed a shameful failure, she now captains Froward, a prison transport filled with criminals sent out to colonise new worlds for the Kingdom.

Bryant Jones, technocrat and falsely accused ‘murderer’, is not going to let his future be taken away by this low-tech luddite of a woman and her backward society. He’s staging a break out from Aurora’s brig when the Froward is shot down around them.

Cygnus Five is a failing colony. Starving convicts have taken over and found themselves a spaceship wrecker among the ruins of an abandoned alien city. The only way off-world is the Governor’s launch, sealed in its silo beneath the convicts’ headquarters. But as they team up to capture it, Aurora and Bryant discover love, institutional betrayal and the lurking remnants of a self-destructive alien civilization. Soon they have bigger problems on their hands than their own survival.

When they arrived, Aurora thought she had only her crew to rescue. As it turns out, she has to save the whole world.

Get it here for free!

Mirrored from Alex Beecroft - Author of Gay Historical and Fantasy Fiction.

alex_beecroft: A blue octopus in an armchair, reading a book (Default)

Well, I said I would release it in August, and I have just scraped in.

Bar a bit of formatting and making sure the links worked, it was ready last week, but I had forgotten that I was going on my summer holidays, and I didn’t want to release it while I was away in case something went wrong which I needed to fix. So, here I am back, the links are all tested. Amazon reports zero spelling mistakes, and I think we’re as ready to go as we ever will be.

LionessFinalLarge

You can buy it here

via an extremely cool link that takes you to whatever is the correct Amazon for your country 🙂

Blurb

Aurora Campos’s days of heroism are behind her. Deemed a shameful failure, she now captains Froward, a prison transport filled with criminals sent out to colonise new worlds for the Kingdom.

Bryant Jones, technocrat and falsely accused ‘murderer’, is not going to let his future be taken away by this low-tech luddite of a woman and her backward society. He’s staging a break out from Aurora’s brig when the Froward is shot down around them.

Cygnus Five is a failing colony. Starving convicts have taken over and found themselves a spaceship wrecker among the ruins of an abandoned alien city. The only way off-world is the Governor’s launch, sealed in its silo beneath the convicts’ headquarters. But as they team up to capture it, Aurora and Bryant discover love, institutional betrayal and the lurking remnants of a self-destructive alien civilization. Soon they have bigger problems on their hands than their own survival.

When they arrived, Aurora thought she had only her crew to rescue. As it turns out, she has to save the whole world.

Lioness of Cygnus Five – an excerpt

I’ve made this book a Kindle exclusive, so I can run a giveaway for its launch. If you get it any time during the period 1st-5th of September, it will be free. So if you’re curious about trying my SF/Space Opera, but you’re not sure if you’ll like it, you’ll be able to get it in that period, risk and expense free.

(I’ll remind you again on the 1st when the giveaway actually starts.)

Please, if you do try it and enjoy it, consider leaving me a review on Amazon. I don’t have the backing of a publisher for this one, so I need help getting the word out there about it. Thank you!

Get it here!


Mirrored from Alex Beecroft - Author of Gay Historical and Fantasy Fiction.

alex_beecroft: A blue octopus in an armchair, reading a book (Default)
EcrivainAuxChats

By Morburre – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

This is probably oversharing or something, but what do people think of this as a blurb?

~

Busted to command of prison ship Froward, taking criminals out to colonise new worlds for the Kingdom of Peace, Aurora Campos’s days of heroism are behind her. No more conquering the fleets of the Source Worlds’ soul-less technocrats. She’s a fallen woman, a failure.

Bryant Jones, technocrat and ‘murderer’, is not going to let his future be taken away by some dark ages Neanderthal. He’s staging a break out from Aurora’s brig when the Froward is shot down around them.

The convicts have taken over the penal planet. Shipwrecked on a hostile world, where the only escape route is a single spaceship buried in a guarded silo beneath the convicts’ main building, Aurora and Bryant must work together to survive.

Aurora wants the ship so she can rescue her crew. Bryant just wants off world as soon as possible. Neither of them are expecting the aliens.

~

Interesting? Cliche? Would you want to read it? What would you do differently?


Mirrored from Alex Beecroft - Author of Gay Historical and Fantasy Fiction.

alex_beecroft: A blue octopus in an armchair, reading a book (Default)

OK, that’s maybe not the title I’d have gone for if I’d been going for informational value. I just have the song running through my head at the moment. “Help, I’m alive, my heart keeps beating like a hammer.’ Let me see if I can find it somewhere so you can have it running through your head too.

 

All of which is an enormous aside, because what I mean is ‘Help, I’ve finished the novel I was working on. What should I do next?’

I really want to write some heroines. This is a problem, given that everything I’ve ever published is m/m. If I write some heroine led books, where would I publish them? Who would read them? Why on earth would I be even contemplating starting again from scratch when I should really buckle down and concentrate on writing the books I know people want me to write?

Actually maybe the song is not that inappropriate after all. ‘I tremble. They’re going to eat me alive.’

Why do I do this to myself? Why can’t I settle on anything? Oh god, it’s far more appropriate than I thought, or else it’s my author’s mind turning everything into a metaphor, but look – I’m such a butterfly. I can’t stay on one flower very long.

I could try, though. What do you think? Have you got m/m books you badly want me to write? Any suggestions? Or should I go off and write another Lioness book which no one may ever read? And then that one with the squad of Faerie paranormal investigators? And then whatever comes next?

Speaking of which, I’m badly in need of someone to beta read Lioness of Cygnus 5 for me. It’s an all action sci-fi romp in which a hard-bitten female space captain and a cowardly techno-criminal are shipwrecked on a penal planet and have to work together to survive. Anyone fancy reading it and getting back to me with questions and suggestions for how it can be improved?


Mirrored from Alex Beecroft - Author of Gay Historical and Fantasy Fiction.

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