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PASSENGERS Trailer Screams “Sci-Fi Romance,” But Will It Deliver?

For folks like me who love niche genres and venues in the world of entertainment, it’s surreal to watch a trailer for a big budget mainstream film when one is actually a member of the target audience for said film. That was the case with me when I watched the first official trailer for Sony Picture’s PASSENGERS, a romantic space opera adventure starring Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt.

Here’s the trailer in case you missed it:

I’ve been covering the development of PASSENGERS for a few years now because as we all know, it’s extremely super rare for Hollywood studios to release a blockbuster sci-fi romance (especially one that has been described as such in the media). This one will have a December 21, 2016 release, just in time for the holidays.

However, there’s still a caveat since we don’t know if the romance’s ending will be upbeat and fall within romance genre conventions. That probably won’t be an issue for non-romance moviegoers, but for romance fans it will mean everything. I wrote a post about this issue for Heroes and Heartbreakers called Passengers and the Questionable Promise of Sci-Fi Romance Films. Here’s the gist of it:

Sci-fi romance books are great, but many of us enjoy an SF flavored romance on TV or in theaters as well. Unfortunately, these types of shows and movies are rare, at least in terms of the stories’ adherence to genre conventions. Not only that, many are helmed and/or produced by men—hardly the same folks who know genre romance inside and out. So when news of a blockbuster movie like Passengers emerges, it creates a conundrum for romance fans.

Even if it’s necessary to still keep our expectations in check, the PASSENGERS trailer certainly reveals a strong integration of SF and romance elements. This story looks like it would fall apart if you removed either one. So that aspect shows promise regarding what to expect story-wise even if there’s still no definite indication about an HEA/HFN.

The trailer features pretty sets, sparkly technology, and attractive stars—aggressively attractive, in fact, but this is Hollywood so what else is new? The trailer also sets up a mystery as to why the hibernation pods malfunctioned and we can clearly expect some action sequences as well.

PassengersI’m disappointed the filmmakers didn’t use this story as an opportunity to feature a diverse couple, or at least an interracial one. Nothing about the couple in the trailer indicates that they had to be white. Furthermore, what we know about the story so far only contributes to the harmful narrative that in the science fiction genre at least, diversity doesn’t seem to exist in the future.

As a female viewer, I’m also a little wary about how the romance will be handled as well as whether or not director Morten Tyldum will rely on the male gaze when it comes to the depiction of Jennifer Lawrence’s character. When I settle down to read SFR books, I feel pretty safe because most of the genre’s female authors frequently tell their stories through the lens of the female/gender inclusive gaze. I haven’t had the same such luck with male directors/screenwriters, so currently the strongest emotion I can commit to regarding PASSENGERS is cautious optimism.

I’m delighted that a movie like PASSENGERS has been made, but I also feel sad I can’t muster more excitement for it, especially since it’s a tentpole movie, will open during a time that studios reserve for films with Oscar potential, and will likely be released in tons of theaters. That’s not to say I won’t keep an open mind. For SFR, I always do.

Thanks for reading! We’ll meet here again during my next round of coverage…!

Re-release News: Sharon Lynn Fisher’s GHOST PLANET

Author Sharon Lynn Fisher’s GHOST PLANET is being re-released for the Kindle with a shiny new cover! Also, through September 23, 2016, you can buy it for just $0.99!

If you’re new to GHOST PLANET, here’s the blurb:

Psychologist Elizabeth Cole prepared for the worst when she accepted a job on a newly discovered world–a world where every colonist is tethered to an alien who manifests in the form of a dead loved one. But she never expected she’d struggle with the requirement to shun these “ghosts.” She never expected to be so attracted to the charming Irishman assigned as her supervisor. And she certainly never expected to discover she died in a transport crash en route to the planet.

Reincarnated as a ghost, Elizabeth is symbiotically linked to her supervisor, Murphy–creator of the Ghost Protocol, which forbids him to acknowledge or interact with her. Confused and alone–oppressed by her ghost status and tormented by forbidden love–Elizabeth works to unlock the secrets of her own existence.

But her quest for answers lands her in a tug-of-war between powerful interests, and she soon finds herself a pawn in the struggle for control of the planet…a struggle that could separate her forever from the man that she loves.

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Read more about the re-release in the author’s announcement post at Spacefreighters Lounge.

To learn more about Sharon Lynn Fisher, visit her Web site and follow her on Twitter: @SharonFisher

Now Showing At Heather Massey’s Steampunk Cafe: An Interview With Anne Renwick, Author of THE GOLDEN SPIDER

This month at the Coffee Time Romance Steampunk site, I interviewed author Ann Renwick, author of a new steampunk romance called THE GOLDEN SPIDER. This book features a scientist couple and the interview is chock full of other information as well. Happy reading!

Sci-Fi Romance Alert: FROM THE STARS by C.S. Wilde

Coming soon: author C.S. Wilde’s FROM THE STARS, the first novella in a new sci-fi romance series. Here’s the description:

To twenty-four-year-old James Bauman, the idea of a perfect weekend revolves around watching Star Trek and playing video games. If he had to fight an actual Klingon, he’d run away screaming like a hysterical little girl.

All of that changes when he falls for Miriam Haworth, the most incredibly amazing woman he’s ever met. If only she was human, things would be a lot easier.

Miriam Haworth cannot love, but this won’t stop her from trying. She must be careful, though. Strong emotions are forbidden in the whisar Empire. If the council discovers that she’s trying to fall in love with an earthling, they’ll pull her heart out. Literally.

James will do everything in his power to show Miriam what love is, but if he succeeds, the wrath of an ancient alien race might crash upon him… and doom Miriam forever.

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FROM THE STARS will release on 10/22/16. In the meantime, you can follow C.S. Wilde on her blog, Twitter, and Facebook to learn more about her work.

New at Heather Massey’s Steampunk Cafe: Caitlin Like’s MAIDEN OF THE MACHINE

Do you enjoy webcomics? Spunky heroines? Airships? Lady pirates? Dapper gents and mystery galore? Then look no further: at Coffee Time Romance’s Steampunk site, I’m blogging about artist Caitlin Like’s MAIDEN OF THE MACHINE.

I read all of what’s available so far of this gothic adventure and while I can’t speak to an HEA, it has strong appeal for sci-fi romance and steampunk/steampunk romance readers. Head on over to to my post to discover if MAIDEN OF THE MACHINE is an airship you want to fly on!

Announcing PETS IN SPACE, a Sci-Fi Romance Anthology

Pet lovers, rejoice! On October 11, 2016, you can enjoy a furrylicious new sci-fi romance anthology featuring sci-fi romance, pets, and space adventures called PETS IN SPACE. Below are all kinds of informational treats so you can learn all about it.

Anthology description

Even an alien needs a pet…

Join the adventure as nine pet loving sci-fi romance authors take you out of this world and pull you into their action-packed stories filled with suspense, laughter, and romance. The alien pets have an agenda that will capture the hearts of those they touch. Follow along as they work side by side to help stop a genetically-engineered creature from destroying the Earth to finding a lost dragon; life is never the same after their pets decide to get involved. Can the animals win the day or will the stars shine just a little less brightly?

New York Times, USA TODAY, Award Winning, and Best selling authors have nine original, never-released stories that will capture your imagination and help a worthy charity. Come join us as we take you on nine amazing adventures that will change the way you look at your pet!

10% of the first month’s profits go to Hero-Dogs.org. Hero Dogs raises and trains service dogs and places them free of charge with US Veterans to improve quality of life and restore independence.

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Story blurbs

A MATE FOR MATRIX: CYBORG PROTECTION UNIT

By S.E. Smith (New York Times/USA TODAY Bestselling Author)

Matrix Roma is a member of the elite Zion military Cyborg Protection Unit. Matrix gets more than he bargains for when his cyborg partner, a hybrid Wolfhound named K-Nine, goes missing and ends up finding a mate for Matrix in the middle of a deadly mission on an unknown planet called Earth.

Website

Facebook

Twitter: @SESmithFL

STRAY

By Susan Grant (New York Times/USA TODAY Bestselling, and RITA Award Winning Author)

Interplanetary Marine Lt. Lukas Frank has a lot in common with a street dog named Bang-Bang; they both started off as scrappy orphans fighting to survive—and beat the odds. Things change when Bang-Bang leads Lukas to starpilot Capt. Carlynn Riga. The tough war hero learns what it means to surrender — his heart. Lukas’s struggles with PTSD threaten to tear the three of them apart, but nothing threatens them more than when Carlynn goes missing on a mission. Can a scarred marine and his unlikely canine partner find Carlynn and bring her home, or will he lose everything he’s finally found worth fighting for?

Website:

Facebook:

FB Handle: @Author.Susan.Grant

Twitter: @flyerdreamer

SPARK OF ATTRACTION

By Cara Bristol (USA TODAY Bestselling Author)

Memory: intact. Cognitive function: enhanced. Emotion: erased. After becoming a cyborg, Captain Dante Stone didn’t think he’d ever feel again, until a traumatized young woman and a ball of synthetic fur named Sparky helped him to love.

Website

Facebook

Twitter: @CaraBristol

THE REAL DRAGON

By Pauline Baird Jones

Emma Standish didn’t think her day could get any worse. Her dad is marrying his boss, her dragon suddenly came back talking and typing, and it’s her fault the Earth, or at least ten square miles of Texas, is going to be destroyed. That’s what happens when you forget something very, very important. Luckily for her, she’s got the love of her life that she can’t remember and her dragon by her side. Who needs to worry when you’re having a day like this?

Website

Facebook

FB Handle: @AuthorPaulineBairdJones

Twitter: @PaulineBJones

STAR CRUISE: STOWAWAY

By Veronica Scott

Cargo Master Owen Embersson is shocked when the Nebula Zephyr’s ship’s cat and her alien sidekick, Midorri, alert him to the presence of a stowaway. He has no idea of the dangerous complications to come – nor does he anticipate falling hard for the woman whose life he now holds in his hands. Life aboard the Nebula Zephyr has just become more interesting – and deadly.

Website

Facebook

FB Handle: @VeronicaScottAuthor

Twitter: @VScottTheAuthor

STARDOG

By Laurie A. Green

Navigator Taro Shall has a mission no one wants – find a way to eradicate snakes on a starship. He never expects to find the answer to his problem in a charming street vendor named Adini. His already unusual mission becomes more complicated when he suddenly acquires an adorable StarDog that soon sweeps him and Adini into the maw of a brewing insurrection.

Website

Facebook

Twitter: @SFRLaurie

SPIKE

By Alexis Glynn Latner

Young Roboticist Ten Jaxdown has to deploy, and possibly sacrifice, the swarm of investigative robots that he has invented and cares about more than anything else in the star system. It may be the only hope for those depending on him and his robots to save them. Yet, even as frantic preparations for the unprecedented deep-space rescue mission are set in motion, it could all be threatened by sabotage.

Anastasia Steed is an intrepid young mission designer. She steps forward with an idea that can improve the odds of the mission. Neither she nor Ten expect the assistance they receive from a very unusual pet. A pet that will bring together two alienated human beings who didn’t realize they needed each other. Can Ten and Anastasia discover who is behind the sabotage, save the mission, and discover what is evolving between them? With a little bit of unusual help, anything is possible.

Website

SPACE RANGER

By Lea Kirk

Graig Roble is the Senior Commander of security for the Guardian Fleet. His expertise as a weapons specialist and combat master is his world, what he was born to do – or so he thought until he finds his resolve and focus inexplicably wavering. Even returning to his position aboard the Atlantis can’t save him; if anything, it has left him questioning his own motives. He never thought that could happen until he met Simone Campbell.

Simone’s focus is on her home world – Earth. She thought her life was full with her research as a botanist. After all, she always believed that helping the people of her world become self-sufficient should take all of her concentration – except it doesn’t. There is one man that keeps pulling her attention, and her heart, away from her job.

Graig’s gift of a puppy to keep her company does more than that, it keeps him in her dreams. How can such a simple gift bring her comfort and make her long for more? Graig and Simone are about to find out that sometimes love can blossom from the smallest, furriest ties.

Website

Facebook

FB Handle: @ProphecySeriesFunPage

Twitter: @LeaKirkWrites

ESCAPE RUN

By Carysa Locke

Teegan’s job as a hunter is to track down the Talented, those driven insane by their gifts. She and Ember, her psychically gifted fox, have tracked dozens of people for Cole, the man who works to rehabilitate and recover these troubled souls. When one of Cole’s most dangerous patients escapes, Teegan and Ember are on a hunt that could prove fatal if she doesn’t keep her focus on her mission. Unfortunately, Cole is proving one distraction that might make this her last hunt if she can’t do that.

Can Teegan keep her heart and mind in the game long enough to save an entire planet’s population, or will her distraction lead to heartache – and possibly death for everyone?

Website

Facebook

FB Handle: @carysalocke

Twitter: @carysalocke

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Want to learn more? Watch the PETS IN SPACE book trailer on YouTube.

Twitter hashtags: #PetsInSpace #cyborgpets

Happy reading!