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Mecha Steampunk

samurai7zy11

Since I’m one of the last authors to post, most of the subjects are taken! Data, C3PO, Terminator and even the Jetson’s maid – Rosie! So I racked my brain to come up with a robot that hasn’t been mentioned. I don’t watch much Sci Fi or read it. I admit to loving Star Trek and Star Wars, but doesn’t everyone? But I do watch anime and read manga…

And boy, do the Japanese love their mechanical heroes, so much that they have a sub-genre called Mecha – A work involving and usually concentrating on all types of large robotic machines.

One anime series I loved was Samurai 7- an older series. It is based on the influential Japanese film – Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai and follows the plot closely. “A farming village decides to stop being lapdogs to roving bandits and sends out some emissaries to find seven samurai who will protect their village from the bandits in exchange for rice. The samurai soon come together to help defend and train the villagers against their would-be attackers.”

One difference from the original movie is there’s a mecha samurai in the group of heroes (see him standing in the back of the group photo). The film has a very steampunk feel to it – fighting mechas and giant air ships floating in the sky.

So check it out. You won’t be disappointed!

Viki Lyn

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Viki Lyn: Award winning author of male/male paranormal and contemporary romances. You can find all of Viki’s books at the following sites: Amazon, All Romance Ebooks and GLBT Bookshelf.


Thou shall not kill.

For archangel Razi-el, he had no choice. He would break God’s commandment again if it were to save Uri-el from a demon’s talons. Yet even God’s most trusted archangel cannot avoid punishment. No longer Razi-el, he is now Izar, a Protector sworn to kill for the angels.

When a Protector kills an angel, Izar is summoned to work alongside Uri-el to capture the killer. Izar is shocked when his bloodlust spikes hot for the archangel. He knows better than to go after forbidden fruit. Refusing to give in to temptation, he ignores his body’s tempestuous arousal for Uri-el until a heated argument turns his blood into molten lust.

As they rush to find the killer, their passion plays into the demon’s plan. Izar will have to make a choice between life and death if he is to save Uri-el again.

http://www.ellorascave.com/sins-of-lust.html

Let Me Take You Apart…

I apologize for the lateness of this post. I’ve been pretty crazed recently…well, more crazed than usual :D…and this morning, having woke up late and I was desperately trying to get ready to go to the EDJ, the reminder about it being my day to post here popped up. Anyone who knows me will have a fairly good idea of what kinds of words were uttered, and I promised myself I’d post when I got home, so here I go!

The-Terminator-terminator-24509187-1920-1080

I think for me the attraction of cyborgs and androids and robots is finding out how they differ from and are the same as we mere humans. I’d love to sit down with the Terminator (as long as he’s not seeing me as a target, thank you very much!) or C-3PO and grill them unmercifully. C3PO_EP3What are the perimeters of your knowledge? How do you temper your strength when necessary? Do you think, or just react to what happens around you? Do you have forethought (I’d say yes, really) and how do you forecast future events? I guess, as a writer, I’m all about the hows and whys. It’s the equivalent, I suppose, of people watching–and yes, when given the chance I’ll grill people too…it’s just the way I am.

But if I’m gonna have to pick one robotic type character to come visit, hands down it’ll be Data.

250px-DataTNGI think everyone already knows I’m a big Trekker, and TNG is my favorite. Data is one of those characters whose arc just got better and better as the seasons progressed. We already knew from very early he was anatomically correct and programmed for sex, but as time went by we also began to see that he was, in every sense of the word, the thinking woman’s android. He paints, loves Sherlock Holmes and has a cat. He fights to be accepted the way all the other sentient beings on the ship are and wants to discover what it means to be human. And he’s looking for love. In short, while he’s male and an android, he was given the kind of arc a woman might have in a story set in a different time period.

I’d like to put that hypothesis to him, and hear what he has to say about it. He would be the kind of guest you stay up all night with, chatting and laughing (well, I’d be laughing. Data may just humor me) and trying to set the worlds to rights. Yes, worlds in the plural. After all, if I’m talking with Data, it means we’ve contacted all those other worlds out there…

I can hardly wait!

Three Kinds of Robot in the World

I was introduced to science fiction early in life. Early enough that it’s possible I thought the first moon shot was just another TV show when first I saw it. Amusing as that may be, it meant that my first exposure to robots/cyborgs was as bad guys. During that era, robots embodied humanity’s fears of burgeoning technology and change. Atom bombs weren’t new anymore. They were still terrifying – maybe more so – because twenty + years after watching them in action, the species was still counting the ongoing cost of having unleashed them. Couple that with the fears inspired by a seemingly unending Cold War and the late 60s/early 70s were a nearly psychotic blend of unbridled optimism and puckered up fear.

Leave it to someone as bright as Isaac Asimov to come up with the Three Laws of Robotics:

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction,   allow a human being to come to harm.
  2.  A robot must obey orders   given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with   the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as   such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

Great laws, right? They ended up becoming part of the scifi canon – referenced and acknowledged by other scifi writers all over the place (including tongue in cheek cracks made by one of my least favorite robots in TV: Tweeky from Buck Rogers.) You know why he created these rules, yes? So he could break every single one of them in his stories about robots and then spend his literary time working out the mystery about how and why the Laws were broken or bypassed in any given story. My father suggested that along with Asimov’s Three Laws, there were three kinds of robot story.

  1. A man, a woman and the robot – pseudo-romance wherein the robot believes it loves (and of course ends up having to be destroyed)
  2. The robot that’s going to destroy the world
  3. The robot that’s going to save the world

I have favorites in each category. Among those who intend to save the world, C3P0 is my favorite. This isn’t about sexy. It’s just about fun. C3P0 would play a mean game of Scrabble, I’m sure.

WestworldAmong the robots/cyborgs going to destroy the world, I’m torn. The robots of Westworld or the Borg. Both deliciously bad. One without meaning to be (this is another story where Asimov’s Three Laws were assumed and one of them broken), and the other unrepentantly out to consume us all.

 

I left the ‘man, woman, and a robot’ trope to last because there are two ways (more actually, but we’ll get to that) for that storyline to go. Guy falls for girl. Robot falls for girl. Guy and robot battle one another for girl. In the first of the ways for that to end, the girl is horrified by the attentions of the inhuman ‘monster’. The guy conquers the robot, guy gets girl, everyone but the robot lives happily ever after. My favorite: Edgar the computer from the 1984 movie, Electric Dreams. I’m sorry, the hero of the movie is yummy and all, but Edgar had a sterling sense of humor and of the absurd. He was way more fun.

GamesofCommandThe other ending for this comes from modern romance novels. The robots/cyborgs ARE the heroes of the romance story. And my all time favorite is Linnea Sinclair’s cyborg hero Kel-Paten from her novel Games of Command. Smexy and yummy. The story is also a super fun read. This is my favorite of her books. And the hero of this story is easily my fav cyborg. Anywhere. He could come knocking on my door just about any day.

As for the other possible story permutations I mentioned – has anyone done a story where the robot falls for the guy and not the girl? Do robots *have* gender? What about a robot that falls for BOTH? So many possibilities out there on the edges of questioning what makes us unique and human.

I. Love. Robots.

Lost in Space Jonathan Harris & Robot 1967
My love of robots and other mechanical people started young–very young–with the TV show Lost in Space.  Admitting that dates me, but I remember running around the block, waving my arms and screaming “Danger, Danger Will Robinson,” because “the Robot” (sort of like “the Doctor”, okay its a stretch) was, and remains, my favorite character from the show.  The Robot signified, at least to me, how to befriend someone very different, the increasing importance of mechanical devices in our life and the need to think deeply about that, and the assumption that mechanical devices are are friends–usually.
Gort
The next set of robots that clanked into my life exacerbated my fangirl leaning toward mechanical characters.  I discovered old movies and from those classics, Robby the Robot (Forbidden Planet) and Gort (The Day the Earth Stood Still) stood out. Like the Robot, both remained subject to humanoid direction, but both were mechanical beings in places where machines or humanoid mechanical creations were not all good.

The machine became the answer to the machine. 

This theme now permeates culture.  And what a key questions we struggle with now are: “Where are the lines, specifically how much do machines serves us and at what point do we go to far? At what point, does sentience come into play?

Forbiddenplanetposter
Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot, Philip K. Dick’s Do Android’s Dream of Electric Sheep (aka Blade Runner) take on these themes and remain relevant reads and films trying to answer these questions, as do many others.  Answers are not easy and they are getting more complex.

On TV, enter Data on Star Trek TNG, a fully mechanical being, who seems to have a soul, pitted against the Borg, an integration of machine and biological matter, which does not while connected to the hive mind.  Now that we’ve hit the 21st century struggle, the question of what it means to be human when we rely increasingly on machines, which are getting smarter, faster, cheaper, is starting to loom large?

And what threats do they present? Terminator took that question head on as does Transformers. In both, we see machine vs machine as a core underlying message.

Bumblebee

Now, as we move firmly into the digital age, with an increasing reliance on bytes and metal, these questions are even more pressing. I still love robots, but will they love us?  What do you think?  (spooky music plays in the background).

Sabrina Garie is on a journey to create the most kick-ass heroine in romance fiction. Meet Jocelyn, a single mom who gets a second chance at love in her newest book Next Move available from Ellora’s Cave and Amazon.

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