Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Guest Post and #Giveaway with Diane Dooley

Motherhood in Science Fiction

I love to read and watch science fiction, particularly space opera, and I’m always kind of surprised that there isn’t more emphasis on the future of motherhood, the family group, parenthood, etc. A major theme in space opera is space travel and colonization of new planets. The first people on a new planet may very well be scientists, explorers, military types, but at some point the goal is usually to provide a habitable planet that will then be colonized by people who are, presumably, boldly going and popping out the future generations. I would imagine that on lengthy space journeys, too, people will still be doing what comes naturally.

I’ve encountered several characters whose role as a mother is a large part of their identity - think Sarah Connor from the Terminator franchise - and I do love these characters. They’re always so determined and fierce in defense of their children that they make for extremely dynamic and active characters. Watching Sarah change from a rather timid girl to the warrior she became was fascinating, and I can enjoy this type of character over and over again.

But sometimes I long for a quieter story; one in which the female character struggles with her identity as a mother, rather than picking up a really big gun and blowing her child’s enemies to smithereens. I’m as protective a mother as the next, I guess, but in my real life I often struggle with the demands of children and the difficulty of retaining my identity as a person in the face of constant demands of raising the offspring.

My recent release, Blue Nebula, from Carina Press very much deals with this kind of interpersonal struggle. Sola de la Vega has an enemy that she must destroy if she is ever to know safety and happiness, but she’s also pregnant, and is not having the easiest time with her pregnancy. It’s, erm, challenging to be a kick-ass mutha with a really big gun when you keep getting laid low by morning sickness. Sola also has a very protective husband to deal with. Captain Javan Rhodes would much rather they left the intergalactic shenanigans to other people. And just to complicate the parenthood issues even more, the enemy Sola must destroy is her own father. The story follows Sola as she attempts to deal with all these difficulties, and the poor thing doesn’t have an easy time with any of them, I’m afraid. *grin* 

Blue Nebula is the sequel to Blue Galaxy, also from Carina Press. Although both books stand alone I do recommend you read Blue Galaxy, in which Sola and Javan meet and fall in love, first. I am therefore giving away an e-copy of both books to a random commenter on this post. To enter the giveaway please answer the following question: who is your favorite mother in science fiction, books or film? Remember to include your contact info. 

Thanks, Pippa, for hosting me! 

Blurb: Sola de la Vega is on a mission to save the galaxy, and nothing will sway her. Not even the pleas of her beloved husband, Captain Javan Rhodes, to keep herself and their unborn child safe. Fitted with a series of technological "enhancements" entwined with her central nervous system, Sola is not fully human. Her father is the undisputed leader of Earth, and Sola is driven to put an end to his genocidal rule--before he can follow through with his plans to consolidate power over the universe into the hands of the aristocracy. Despite Javan's fears for her safety, and coping with a difficult pregnancy, Sola's quest has become an obsession she cannot control. Compelled to choose, duty must come before her love for Javan. And when Sola joins forces with Destin Grady--her father's sworn enemy--in a plot to execute the dictator and seize power, she soon uncovers secrets from the past that have her facing a future she never could have imagined... 

32,000 words 
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Diane Dooley writes science fiction, romance and horror - sometimes all in the same story. You can keep tabs on her website for current and future releases, check out the links to her short stories on her blog or interact with her on Facebook or Twitter. She blogs at Contact: Infinite Futures and is also a regular contributor to The Galaxy Express.


  1. Great post, Diane! And excellent topic!

    Having read Blue Galaxy, I'm really looking forward to reading Blue Nebula. From your blurb it sounds like a fantastic read!

    I suspect that motherhood isn't often dealt with in SFR because they're romances and the motherhood is seen as coming after the HEA. (Though all of my manuscripts to date include them.)

    My favorite mother in SFR literature would have to be Cordelia Naismith Vorkosigan of Lois McMaster Bujold's Cordelia's Honor (Barrayan). She's an absolutely ferocious mother who's maternal instincts save the life of her son. He, of course, goes on to become one of the most endearing heroes in SFR--Miles Naismith Vorkosigan.

    In film, a close second to Sarah Connor would be Ellen Ripley. That may come as a surprise, but because several important scenes were cut from the original Alien sequel, many people don't realize her intense bond with Newt was because she'd left a daughter behind on Earth when she set out on the Nostromo. Her escape on the shuttle resulted in her being left adrift in space for some 50 years before she was located by a salvage team and resuscitated by Weyland Corporation.

    During her extended hypersleep session her daughter aged and died, but Ripley's maternal instincts transferred to Newt and resulted in her bold rescue of the young girl from the clutches of the aliens and the Alien Queen.

    I think it's sad Hollywood didn't think enough of Ripley's maternal character arc to include all the scenes in the final version. (Motherhood actually became a strong theme in later sequels.)

    Thanks for guest blogging with us on Spacefreighters today!

  2. I've thought about this a lot. What fascinates me is the thought that the first woman on the planet is going to be military, from an advanced society where possibly reproduction is more a matter of science than emotion. But the means of scientific reproduction isn't available so survival of the species is up to the woman conceiving. And then you have the issue of it's one thing to successfully carry a child to term, another to raise said child well.
    Also, how differently would you protect your homeland when it's a matter of YOUR child surviving as opposed to "the children."
    Hmmm. Especially if the society you left intentionally removed the familial ties by discouraging parenthood as opposed to reproductive efforts.
    The wind might be blowing my brains around today. Must. Finish. Current. Projects.

  3. Of course, my fav kick butt is Sarah Connor, but my favorite quiet mother is Superman's adopted mom, Martha Kent.

    She was such a rock for Clark Kent as he grew and searched for his purpose in life.

  4. Oh Laurie beat me to it with Sigourney Weaver's character! As the mum of a pregnant daughter - due to give birth on the 10th November - I've had many weeks of listening to my baby moan about how bad she feels, baby kicking, can't lie down, can't sit down, can't take an aspirin, can't concentrate etc etc - She didn't get morning sickness but has had Braxton hicks for months! There's a lot to think about when you introduce pregnant characters into stories let alone those with actual children.

  5. And here I was looking for a good book to read tonight. I'm off to buy BLUE GALAXY.

    My favorite mom in SFR has to be Cordelia, going through the pregnancy, struggling with her son, protecting her family through everything... also beheading someone. I appreciate that in a mom role model.

    And I write Mom Fiction, Tabitha/Zephyr Girl is the mother of 4 in EVEN VILLAINS FALL IN LOVE, and it was a hard sell trying to convince people that there could be a romance after the wedding and after the kids. For many people the romance ends at "I do." but that implies that there's never any dates with your spouse, never any ups or downs. I find that heartbreaking.

    There needs to be more Mom-fic in the world.

  6. I have to be honest, it never really occurred to me to consider the "arrival" of progeny in the whole Space Opera thing. Usually. That makes this a new paradigm for me and one I really should investigate, further.

  7. I don't want to give away any spoilers, but I've just dealt with this subject in a recent MS. To me, motherhood seems a natural conclusion to at least some romances, although I can understand that might not appeal to some romance readers.
    My favourite scifi mother is Aeryn Sun from Farscape who gave birth in the middle of a battle but kept fighting. I don't know how she managed to aim straight! >.<

  8. Sounds like an awesome book.

    Good luck with your release.


  9. Thanks for the terrific post Diane!

    Most of my fave SF moms have been mentioned--Sarah Connor at No.1, Cordelia, Ellen Ripley--even Martha Kent (great find there!) But in the final season of J.J. Abrams' FRINGE, kick-ass FBI agent Olivia Dunham has become mother to kick-ass future-Fringe agent Henrietta Dunham-Bishop. It's complicated, but VERY cool!

    Actually, in other romance subgenres, kids aren't that unusual. They often show up in the epilogue, at least. Romantic suspense has a few moms who kick ass (I'm thinking Maggie Shayne's heroines, among others.) So why not SFR?

  10. it too late to comment? Loved your favorite mother in SF is Cordelia Naismith Vorkosigan, Miles Vorkosigan's mom. She collected the head of her enemy and brought it home in a shopping bag! Good luckto with thethe new release!

    Cheers, TK

    tesskanthony at gmail dot com

  11. Thanks for the wonderful comments, everyone!

    I am so embarrassed to say that I have not yet read the Vorkosigan saga. On the other hand, I have my pick of ten books for Christmas. I'm so looking forward to them. Can't wait to meet Cordelia - she sounds awesome!

  12. I'm so excited to connect with women who love Bujold's Vorkosigan saga. You're my people! Can't wait to read your work.

  13. Thanks again to Pippa Jay and Spacefreighters Lounge for hosting me.

    Winner of the giveaway is TK Anthony. I'll be in touch, TK!


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