Female Scientists Had Sex, Too, So Where Are Their Biopics?

A recent Deadline article shared the news about a forthcoming television show: Albert Einstein “Warts and All”: Ron Howard On His NatGeo Series ‘Genius’ – Contenders Emmys. The article begins by describing director Ron Howard’s search for, what was to him, a satisfying depiction of Albert Einstein for a visual medium:

Over the years when filmmaker Ron Howard read treatments on Albert Einstein, he never felt the character was reflected completely for a two-hour movie.

As I read the article, a number of statements jumped out at me. Taken together, they imply that one of the main reasons screenwriter Noah Pink’s approach possibly appealed to Howard was its depiction of Einstein as some sort of sex god:

* “said Howard in that it portrayed the burgeoning scientist and his younger libido.”

* “he was free thinking, a Bohemian”

* “He loved women”

* “earned his doctorate while pursuing women”

Wow, that’s a lot of focus on Einstein’s sex life. Ooh, how salacious! How naughty! How very innovative to put Einstein, his cock, and sex in the same story!

“What was the most enticing was diving into aspects of the Einstein you didn’t know,” said Howard

Hmm, I thought Einstein’s active sex life was a pretty well known fact? Frankly, I’m surprised no one thought about including it in an Einstein biopic before now. Funny how that detail was what nabbed Ron Howard’s attention—as well as his time and company’s money.

I’m all for a “warts and all” approach to historical figures like Einstein and sure, throw in some sex because scientists are human, too (a fact about which many sci-fi romance authors are well aware, heh), but this particular interpretation of Albert Einstein’s life reeks of exploitation of the story’s female characters. The article seems to promise them as young, nubile receptacles for Einstein’s penis. So, um, yay for the show’s cishet male audience? Are female viewers supposed to, I don’t know, view Einstein as this virile lover with super genius semen? Are we supposed to fantasize about him making love to us? Or were we as an audience even considered at all in the story’s development phase?

Given that the article (and, I’m guessing, Ron Howard) took pains to point out that part of the story focuses squarely on Einstein’s “libido” I have zero expectations that Einstein’s sexual adventures will be treated with much nuance or that his lovers will have any kind of agency in the story. In fact, there seems to be a heavy implication that they’ll be reduced to their sex appeal because gosh darn it, a brilliant man like him has insatiable carnal needs. Naturally, this aspect of his life demands star treatment amirite?!

One of the promotional trailers even has a montage of Einstein having sex: “Albert Einstein was many things, but monogamous was not one of them.”

If a similar approach (a big “if”) was taken for a non-monogamous female scientist, would there be an equivalent strong sense of interest and celebration behind it? Even if such a story refrained from shaming her for being sexually active, would viewers?

Even if it’s true that Einstein rogered like a rabbit, the problem isn’t with this particular movie. The problem is the overall pattern it helps perpetuate about whose stories get to be told as well as which ones are given the vast marketing support of major Hollywood corporate entities.

For one thing, we rarely get movies or shows about the lives of historical female scientists, especially from powerhouse companies like Ron Howard’s Imagine Entertainment. For another, even if such stories were filmed on a regular basis, it’s highly unlikely said female scientist characters would be portrayed as having active, robust sex lives. Given who currently holds the reins of power in Hollywood, I can’t imagine a similar movie made about, say, Marie Curie.

Or about scientist Gabrielle-Emilie Le Tonnelier de Breteuil (pictured at the top of this post). Check out this little nugget about her life:

…the daughter of the French court’s chief of protocol, [she] married the marquis du Chatelet in 1725. She lived the life of a courtier and bore three children. But at age 27, she began studying mathematics seriously and then branched into physics. This interest intensified as she began an affair with the philosopher Voltaire, who also had a love of science.

A forbidden romance and a hot, lusty affair?! That’s a movie waiting to happen if there ever was one. I would love to see her life portrayed in a movie (especially by an all-female filmmaker team and told through the female gaze). Sex sells, so why hasn’t anyone given this project the green light?

Marie Maynard Daly
Marie Maynard Daly

Or how about a biopic covering the life of Marie Maynard Daly? She was the first African-American woman to earn a Ph.D. in chemistry. Or Patricia Bath, the “the first African-American woman doctor to receive a patent for a medical purpose.” Both women married and it would be incredibly easy to spice up their biopics with lots of romance and the hot sex both woman undoubtedly had while achieving scientific greatness right and left.

I can hear some of you now, wanting to point out that none of the above women are as famous as Einstein. Correct, but we all know why: history routinely glosses over the existence of female scientists, so they rarely have a chance to become famous. So that’s another problem on top of many others when it comes to the representation of female scientists in film and television. Hollywood only wants to focus on famous historical figures, and if our culture doesn’t boost others up through various means, then they don’t receive the movies and television treatments. The cycle perpetuates itself.

Regardless, there’s absolutely no inherent reason that more TV shows and films can’t focus on “warts and all” portrayals of female scientists, including their horny sides. If there are going to be movies about scientists having sex, I want ones that not only feature female scientists front and center, but also ones wherein they take charge of their sex lives and enjoy making love. Those are the films that will get this female viewer’s money and time. And I’ll wait for them as long as it takes.

Interview With C.S. Wilde, Author of FROM THE STARS

New sci-fi romance alert: Author C.S. Wilde’s FROM THE STARS has launched! It’s a story in the vein of “alien falls to Earth” but with a gender twist: the alien is female!

And if you’re a fan of books by Sarah J. Maas, John Green and Patricia Briggs, the author indicated to me that FROM THE STARS is particularly up your alley!

To help celebrate the release, I invited C.S. Wilde to chat with me in an interview so we could learn more about her book. First, the blurb:

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.

***

And now my interview with C.S. Wilde!

Galaxy Express 2.0: When did you know you wanted to become a writer?

C.S. Wilde: When I was eight, I really loved drawing. At some point, I started creating stories behind the characters I drew, and that’s how it all started.

GE: What inspired FROM THE STARS?

C.S.: Initially, it was a submission to a short-story contest, but it became way too big for that, so voilá.

GE: James sounds like an adorkable geek! If he went to a comic book convention, what booths and/or panels would he visit? 

C.S.: James loves all things Marvel, Spider-man being his favorite, so he’d freak out with the upcoming Spidey movie for sure. But he’s also a closeted Batman fan, because, Batman.

GE: Without going into spoilers, tell us a few tidbits about the society Miriam comes from. 

C.S.: Whisars are a developed civilization which faced its great filter millions of years ago. That event happened because of emotions, so love, hate, etc, literally brought them to the brink of extinction. After that, they cleverly decided strong emotions should be forbidden, but no one said it’d be easy.

GE: Describe a few of your favorite sci-fi romance stories in books, films, and/or television.

C.S.: BOOKS: I’d say it has to be Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart. It’s so brutal and complex, I absolutely love it. I do aim to write a story like that one day. Problem is, I’m a sucker for happy endings, so, let’s see how that plays out.

FILMS: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Wall-E are by far my favorites.

GE: What’s the coolest science fiction collectible you own?

C.S.: I had a pretty awesome Boga and a little Obi-Wan figurine, and I was crazy about them. Here’s a pic.

imageBut after I moved out, my mom gave it away to a child in need, so it’s in a better place now.

GE: What else can readers look forward to in this series?

C.S.: What they always find in my books: a lot of action and love stories larger than life.

GE: Where can readers find you?

C.S.: www.cswilde.com

About the author

cswilde_picC.S. Wilde wrote her first Fantasy novel when she was eight. That book was absolutely terrible, but her mother told her it was awesome, so she kept writing. Now a grown up (though many will beg to differ), C. S. Wilde writes about fantastic worlds, love stories larger than life and epic battles. A Rio de Janeiro native, she currently spends her days in Switzerland. She also, quite obviously, sucks at writing an author bio. She finds it awkward that she must write this in the third person and hopes you won’t notice.

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

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.

***

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

***

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

Twitter hashtags: #PetsInSpace #cyborgpets

Happy reading!

Sci-Fi Romance Re-release News: THE OPHELIA PROPHECY by Sharon Lynn Fisher

File this under good sci-fi romance bargain news: Sharon Lynn Fisher’s THE OPHELIA PROPHECY has a brand new cover, is available to Kindle Unlimited subscribers, and has a lower ebook price!

If you’re new to THE OPHELIA PROPHECY, here’s the description:

Sci-fi romance from the author of RWA RITA-nominated Ghost Planet…

Sworn enemies. Dark secrets. One last hope for peace.

Asha and Pax — strangers and enemies — find themselves stranded together on the border of the last human city, neither with a memory of how they got there.

Asha is an archivist working to preserve humanity’s most valuable resource — information — viewed as the only means of resurrecting their society.

Pax is Manti, his Scarab ship a menacing presence in the skies over Sanctuary, keeping the last dregs of humanity in check.

Neither of them is really what they seem, and what humanity believes about the Manti is a lie.

With their hearts and fates on a collision course, they must unlock each other’s secrets and forge a bond of trust before a rekindled conflict pushes their two races into repeating the mistakes of the past.

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Cover design by Danielle Fine

For more information about THE OPHELIA PROPHECY, visit Sharon Lynn Fisher’s web site, follow her on Twitter: @sharonfisher, and subscribe to her newsletter.

Blogging About DC’s LEGENDS OF TOMORROW AT SF Signal

My latest SF Signal post is about how I went from being mildly interested in the CW superhero show DC’s LEGENDS OF TOMORROW to becoming a full-fledged fan. Find out which episode changed my mind and why!

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow Is Smarter Than It Looks