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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

More than a Story: The Influences of an Author

More than a Story: The Influences of an Author
By S.E. Smith

One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish a dictatorship... George Orwell (1903-1950)

This quote is powerful, not just for the words, but for the power behind the meaning it contains. I was originally going to write a different post, one about the strength of having strong characters, but a brief conversation about history quickly changed my focus. Who and what we are is made up of our individual experiences. Even a brief moment can change the direction of our thoughts and in some way our lives. This is why it is important to be a reflective person, one who stops and thinks about the information they are receiving, researches more, and still remains the skeptic, for those that are skeptical are less likely to be influenced by those that have their own agenda.

Authors throughout history have had a powerful influence on the world as a whole. These are the individuals who can capture the stories, the emotions, and the impact of the events that they experience and document them in a way others can understand - whether it be at the present time or in the future. For many authors, they were/are criticized for speaking out about the behavior of those they met or the treatment of other people. 

A personal story that reflects human behavior:

My husband shared this simple story about an account during his younger years. When he was in his late teens he worked for a large company that was developing land that would later become Port St. Lucie. One incident still remains a pertinent reminder of the class division that we are facing almost 45 years later. He and several other of his coworkers were working on installations. They wore uniforms, so they were nicely dressed, but the nature of the job meant that they would get dusty and somewhat dirty. Near their job site was a restaurant that catered to the public. Over the course of a few weeks, they would stop there for lunch until one specific day that still resonates in my husband's mind.

That day came when he and the others were eating and he noticed a table with four men staring at them. One man in particular glared with such distaste, such animosity, that it was impossible to ignore. Those men, and that one in particular, looked down at my husband and the hardworking men he was with as being below them, someone of less worth, less value, thus unworthy of being in that public restaurant having a meal. 

The next day, my husband's boss told him and the others that they were not allowed to eat at the restaurant again because someone had called to complain. In that moment, my husband whom I hadn't met at the time, faced discrimination. 

These stories and others should be shared and should be used as a lesson as to how easy it is to discriminate against another. What disturbed me the most about this story was that one man could have so much influence, while four others stood back and let it happen. This is what happens when people refuse to stand up. This is what happens when people refuse to reflect on what one person’s behavior can do to society. This event happened well over forty years ago, but it still has an impact on the life it touched and the lives my husband shared this story with. As an author, it is my responsibility, my duty to write down these stories to preserve them in the hopes that others will read it, get mad, take a stand, and put themselves in the other person's position - for if you won't stand up for someone else, there will come a time when there is no one to stand up for you.

S.E. Smith is a New York Times/USA TODAY Bestselling Author who encourages readers to reach for the stars and embrace the action, adventure, family, friendship, and true love that is found in the worlds she creates. http://sesmithfl.com






Tuesday, May 23, 2017

SFR - Readers Who Never Knew Science Fiction Romance Could Be So Good!

SFR - Readers Who Never Knew Science Fiction Romance Could Be So Good!
By S.E. Smith

I remember when I received the email asking me to contact a New York Literary Agent like it was yesterday. I was surprised and confused how he could have found me. A phone call clarified it - I had made the USA TODAY Bestseller's List with Hunter's Claim: The Alliance Book 1. 


I later made the New York Times for Twin Dragons: Dragon Lords of Valdier Book 7 and for Dagger's Hope: The Alliance Book 3, as well as, the USA TODAY list more than a dozen times thanks to readers who are loving SFR. What was surprising is I was making the lists in a genre that Traditional Publishers still refuse to recognize! Both publishers and advertising venues like to group SFR in with PNR (Paranormal Romance). Science Fiction Romance authors like myself like to argue that our stories aren't Paranormal, even if the stories contain elements of PNR in it. It is modern SFR. I think one of the sweetest posts I received was from another SFR author who was ecstatic that I had not only made the list with a SFR book, but I did it without having to discount the book price. 

Why am I sharing this amazing story with you? Well, there is a very good reason - Science Fiction Romance if you have never read it or read it years ago is nothing like it used to be. My stories are filled with action, adventure, suspense, humor, and romance. Yes, you get to laugh your head off when the alien is standing there scratching his head and wondering what the heck is going on! The heroines are not the ones being saved, but doing a fair amount of saving themselves. The stories are about finding love in the stars and trying to make it work. It is about friendships, losses, and dealing with families that are like ours, but different. How would you react if your child turned out to be a Dragonling, a tiger cub, or could harness the energy around her? 

SFR is about finding love in a vast universe where we are not alone. Sometimes it is a scary place, sometimes a fun and adventurous one. From first contact to standing up and facing an alien civil war because you believe in the people who are looking to you to help save their worlds, romance among the stars had evolved to a whole new level. Readers who have never read SFR or said they never liked it are now telling me they can't get enough OF it! So, if you haven't picked up a great SFR, you might want to give it a try again. 

For some free SFR to get you started, check out: http://sesmithfl.com/free-books-reads/


S.E. Smith is a New York Times, USA TODAY, International, and Award-Winning Bestselling author of science fiction, fantasy, paranormal, and contemporary works for adults, young adults, and children. She enjoys writing a wide variety of genres that pull her readers into worlds that take them away.

Readers can check out her website at http://sesmithfl.com and chat with her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/se.smith.5.

Highlights:
New York Times Bestselling Author
USA TODAY Bestselling Author
Amazon International Bestselling Author
2016 The Wishing Shelf Book Award Gold Winner and Finalist for YA
2016 Library Journal Best Book - Top 5 Pick
2014 & 2015 RomCon Reader Crown Award Winner
Indie Reader Top 5 Author - Pets in Space Anthology
2014 International TKH Science Fiction Writer of the Year Award Winner
2014 SFR Galaxy Award Winner Best New SFR Series



Monday, April 10, 2017

Seen the movie MILLENNIUM - by Vijaya Schartz

Made in 1989, from an award-winning short story, Millennium features Cheryl Ladd and Kris Kristofferson. 


In this movie, time travelers from a bleak future (one millennium ahead) have lost their reproductive abilities. They go back through time, to abduct passengers of planes about to crash, and replace them by lookalikes, in hopes to restart the Human race.
 The oldest humans alive in the future are kept in tanks with skin grafts and tubes keeping them alive.
 
The hero (Kris Kristofferson) is the crash investigator, baffled by some of the details found in the black box recordings, and by some devices found in the wreckage.
 The heroine (Cheryl Ladd)  is a time traveler observing the investigation. When errors are made, and futuristic devices are left behind, endangering the timeline, the heroine must manipulate the investigator any which way she can, even sexually... which makes for a funny dialogue, as she is inexperienced and unaware of the dating customs of the time.


Watching her eat an apple is priceless. Useless to say they fall in love... which complicates matters... a lot.

I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, including the ending, but although it was optimistic, it deprived the viewer of what kind of future they would have together. I would have liked a glimpse of their happily ever after... just to satisfy the romance reader in me.

Vijaya Schartz, author
Romance with a Kick
Monday, March 13, 2017

FEARLESS HEROINES - by Vijaya Schartz



At one time in my writing career, I looked at the covers of my books and realized on each of them was a young woman with a gun. So I decided I was writing girls with guns, then girls with swords and blasters. Now, as I write in different genres, including medieval fantasy, it's Romance with a Kick.

When we say fearless, we are not talking about the absence of fear. Everyone has fears, it's ingrained in our DNA. Fear protects us from doing dangerous things. Those who have no fear at all die young. When fear threatens to overcome you, the trick consists in finding peace and clarity of mind, despite overwhelming or dangerous circumstances, and overcome fear in order to do what needs to be done.


 

I remember being about twelve, doing handstands in our small apartment, late at night. On the way down, my bare foot hit a heavy ceramic bowl, which broke, and a large shard gouged a hole in the top of my foot. Blood everywhere... for the first time in my life I saw my mother paralyzed by fear, babbling, unable to function. She could hardly breathe, she was so upset she couldn't think clearly. We had no phone, there was no 911 then. We had no car, it was a small town in France.

So, I remembered my martial arts teacher saying "Stay calm. Think. What needs to be done? Do it." So I did. I told my mother to get out of the room. I took a few slow breaths, then calmly asked my sister to get the first aid kit. I cleansed the wound with alcohol and bandaged the foot tightly to stop the flow of blood. Then I cleaned the blood in the living room. The next morning, I walked to the doctor's office and the doctor stitched me up. I carried a big scar on my foot for decades.

 Of course, some of us are thrill seekers. Conquering fear has become a hobby of mine: jumping free fall out of perfectly good planes, braving the river wild, fighting opponents three times my size just to see if I can do it. I have to mention I stand barely 5 feet and a hundred and five pounds (on a good day) and was always picked by my various martial arts teachers for the time honored David and Goliath demonstration.

Skill, speed, balance, training, coordination, foreknowledge of the enemy, endurance, will power, clarity of mind, these are the elements of victory over fear. These are what drives a champion to the Olympic gold, what makes a fictional character worthy, what makes a soldier lethal. Although, in a soldier's case, there is something to be said for a good exoskeleton... especially on alien planets where gravity can play tricks on your balance.

MY TECHNIQUE TO BECOME FEARLESS IN EMERGENCY SITUATIONS:

1 - Take a few slow breaths, calm your mind, slow your heart, stop and focus
2 - What needs to be done?
3 - What's the most effective way to do it?
4 - Got it? Now, Just do it.

You may be tempted to think of the worst that can happen. Forget the consequences. Get over it. Do what needs to be done. Whether or not you become a hero, you'll have the satisfaction of having done the right thing.

It's that simple. I said simple, I never said it would be easy. Good luck.


  Vijaya Schartz
  Romance with a Kick

  http://www.vijayaschartz.com
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Monday, January 16, 2017

Back to Science Fiction... sort of... by Vijaya Schartz

Although I'm itching to write science fiction again, after a long series of medieval fantasy romance, I find it difficult to leave the wonderful world of immortals with strange powers. So, I decided to write a science fiction romance series involving a planet where the inhabitants have angelic abilities.

I call the series: AZURA-5 ANGEL PLANET. Book One will be ANGEL MINE, and it involves a kick-butt female bounty hunter and an angelic alien. I only wrote the first chapter, and I love them already and can't wait to develop their story. I even have these characters in mind. Yes, the big cat is also a character. What do you think? I hope the cover designer for my publisher chooses to use the pictures I selected, or something similar.



Here is the blurb (so far).

What in the frozen hells of Laxxar prompted Fianna to pursue her quarry to this forbidden blue planet? Well, she needs the credits... badly. But as if crashing in the jungle wasn't bad enough, none of her high-tech weapons work. She'll have to go native, after the most wanted felon in five galaxies. It's not just her job. It's personal.

Acielon has never seen an outworlder like this fascinating female, strangely beautiful, and fierce, like the feline predator loping at her side. He always dreamed of exploring the universe, despite the legends... and the interdiction. Is it truly a hellish place of violence, lies and suffering? If it spawned this intriguing creature, it must also be a place of wonders, adventure and excitement...

Fianna's hunter instincts tell her someone is watching. Sheba, her telepathic feline partner, doesn't seem worried... yet, something on Azura isn't quite right.

The book will probably come out in the summer of 2017. In the meantime, you can read my other science fiction romances in ebook or print from these distributors. 

HAPPY READING!

  Vijaya Schartz
  Blasters, Swords, Romance with a Kick
  http://www.vijayaschartz.com
  Amazon - Barnes & Noble -
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Monday, December 19, 2016

99cts holiday discount galore on sci-fi romance - by Vijaya Schartz

99cts holiday galore on sci-fi romance for the holidays - Yay!

ALIEN LOCKDOWN,
 99cts in kindle on Amazon
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00495XUT0


 The year is 3033, and deep in the bowels of the underground galactic prison, something has gone terribly wrong. Rhonda Alendresis never wanted this prison job. When the civilians vanish and an earthquake damages the nuclear reactor, she must go down to repair it with Captain Perfect himself, Cole Riggeur, who always plays by the rules and never trusted a woman in his life. But deep in the underground penitentiary, the most wicked convicts in the Galaxy are loose, and a treacherous shape-shifter plans his revenge. Disconnected from the Garrison, against impossible odds, Cole and Rhonda now face their greatest challenge... trusting each other in order to survive.


RELICS, 
Ancient Enemy Book 2
99cts in kindle now at:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004GNECGK 

The year is 2023, and an alien invader has infiltrated the human race. In a dangerous future threatened by aliens and infiltrated by hybrids, archeologist Celene Dupres witnesses her father's murder. Vowing to avenge him and retrieve his precious alien relics, she finds the perfect ally and protector. But the man she trusts, the man with whom she is falling in love, is the secret agent sent to kill her. Kin, however is more than a killing machine. Despite his love for Celene, can he accomplish his gruesome mission, and save humanity from the threat embedded in her DNA?

"RELICS is an intense thrill ride of a futuristic romance; I highly recommend it." Marlene Breakfield - Paranormal Romance



 KICKING BOTS
Ancient Enemy Book 3
99cts in kindle at:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004NEW1HO




Dr. Melissa Campbell, researcher at the San Francisco Center for Disease Control, requests help to protect her precious vaccine, one that could end the deadly alien plague. She didn't expect a crazy renegade like Bennett for a bodyguard. She hates military types, and this genetically enhanced super-soldier is pure testosterone, hot-headed, quick-tempered, impulsive, and downright impossible. But these are dangerous times with riots in the streets, and rumors of alien invasion. In a breathless race against time, experience the decisive battle for humankind, one that will decide whether Earth belongs to humanity, or to a powerful alien race.

"Begins with a bang and keeps the fireworks coming. As much as Melissa and Bennett try to fight their feelings for each other, it is too strong for them to deny... but he cannot let that prevent him from doing his job.... Can they override their programming in time to save the human race? - Sensual Reads - 4.5 stars - Sultry


SNATCHED 
99cts in kindle now at:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004QZ9V78



Snatched from a post-apocalyptic battlefield by galactic traders, Zania is sold to a clandestine ring of fighting Amazons on a planet lush with green jungles and teeming with deadly felines. She resents the gorgeous and overzealous Viking champion, Svend, who saves her life but too easily accepts his slavery. Adulated by a woman who claims to know her, hated by the jealous Amazon queen who fancies Svend, Zania seeks escape... But Svend knows the price of rebellion. And on this seemingly peaceful planet, ruled and defended by machines, nothing is what it seems... Among the rumbles of a volcano threatening to explode, insurrection is brewing, and no one is safe...

"Action from the first page... ripe with hidden agendas, evil villains, toothy tigers, brave heroes, and cowardly sneaks.... exploding volcanoes... be swept away in an escapade of intense science fiction excitement." Coffee Time Romance


CHECKMATE
Archangel Book 2
99cts in kindle now at:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004KKY6CY



to quench his vengeful lust for the Archangel who scattered his remains at the edge of the universe, the Reptilian ruler orders the sacrificial death of Michael's teenage daughter. Half human and a full fledged Archangel on his father's home world, Michael must return to Earth to save his daughter from fiendish claws, and his native planet from enslavement or worse... But the way home is fraught with dangers, some more insidious than others. Nothing prepared Michael for the kind of trial he must face, when his rambunctious past catches up with him at the worst possible time...

"Sword-and-shield adventure... aliens and angels and dreams truer than life and depraved shapeshifters and evil sorcerers and parallel universes... Funny and sad and very intelligent." --The Book Reader Magazine

Vijaya Schartz
 Blasters, Swords, Romance with a Kick
 http://www.vijayaschartz.com
 Amazon - Barnes & Noble - All Romance eBooks -



Monday, October 24, 2016

Holidays in Space - by Vijaya Schartz


It's getting close to the holidays. Looking for a story with a holiday theme that is romance and science fiction? Look no further. The Space Station Borealis is celebrating, but other things are going on. 


Black Dragon
Borealis novella from Desert Breeze Publishing
by Vijaya Schartz
In kindle HERE
Everywhere in eBook
 
A gambler is cheating in a den of the Borealis space station, and Lieutenant Zara Frankel intends to catch him in the act. She always gets her man, but this one could prove more than she can handle.

Captain Czerno Drake, code name Black Dragon, has come under cover to break his innocent uncle from the most secure penitentiary in the galaxy, on the Borealis space station. He will stop at nothing to succeed, even enrolling the help of the lovely straight arrow TPP enforcer. When Zara realizes that she’s been used by a shrewd but seductive rebel, her reaction surprises everyone, most of all herself.

"I love the Borealis novellas, and in particular, this one by Vijaya Schartz. As always, her action-packed, well-plotted out prose kept me glued to the pages of Black Dragon from start to finish." TwoLips Reviews 5-kisses review and a RECOMMENDED READ
 
Also read: AKIRA'S CHOICE
Borealis novella from Desert Breeze Publishing
In kindle HERE
Everywhere in eBook 
 
When bounty hunter Akira Karyudo accepted her assignment, something didn't add up. Why would the Trans Planetary Protectorate want a kidnapped orphan dead or alive?

She will get to the truth once she finds the boy, and the no good SOB who snatched him from a psychiatric hospital. With her cheetah, Freckles, a genetically enhanced feline retriever, Akira sets out to flush them out of the bowels of the BOREALIS space station. But when she finds her fugitives, the kidnapper is not what she expects.

Markku, a decorated rebel soldier, stole his nephew from the authorities, who performed painful experiments on the boy. Stuck on Borealis, he protects the child, but how can he shield him from the horribly dangerous conditions in the lawless sublevels of the decrepit space station?

Akira faces the worst moral dilemma of her career. Law or justice, duty or love. She can't have it both ways.

"Wow! If readers want to see and feel and believe they are in deep space, then "Borealis IX: Akira's Choice" is the perfect choice! With a touch of romance, the vivid descriptions and beautifully developed characters masterfully presented by Schartz create a virtual world that invite the reader not merely to observe, but to walk amongst them and participate... This is a delicate art, and Schartz wields her weapons with precision and skill. Banzai!" 5 stars - exceptional - recommended read - Ind'tale Magazine
 
Vijaya Schartz
Romance with a Kick
Monday, September 26, 2016

Brand new covers for CRUSADER and CHECKMATE by Vijaya Schartz

Once in a while, my Canadian publisher, Books We Love, surprises me with fresh new covers for some of my older titles. I was thrilled to see these two offerings for my Archangel twin books. 

CRUSADER
Archangel Book One

In kindle HERE
Good and Evil have many faces,
not all of them human...

Michael Tanner, proud, brash, irreverent, half Native American, and single father, doesn't believe in aliens. When a Blue Angel claims to have fathered him, Michael knows his drinking has gone haywire... But a seductive Prince of Darkness born of a nightmare now targets Michael’s family. When his girlfriend disappears and characters from his dreams suddenly materialize to threaten his daughter, Michael must come out of denial and overcome his weaknesses, to face the unbelievable mystery of his birth and fulfill his unique destiny.

Fantastic Read ! This is one you'll be sorry to see end, and like me you'll be looking forward to the next book in the series. B&N Nook review - Five stars


"Brilliant! A must-read book! Relationships, angels, aliens and seduction... even Satanism... kept this reviewer riveted... compelling fantasy... you won't want to put it down... superior... enthralls, and, at the same time, awakens!" Metaphysical Reviews - Five Stars

"Crusader tells an age-old tale of good versus evil. Excellent. This one is a true keeper. Schartz pens a mighty fine tale primed to read through in one sitting." Curled Up With a Good Book - Five Stars

"...engaging and fast-paced... harmonious mix of enticing story... where real people do extraordinary things... humorous and hopeful... fluid and entertaining... quick and often droll dialogue... a marvelous tale of good and evil..." The Charlotte Austin Review - Five Stars

"...Lavishly described, expertly written with stirring descriptions that take one's breath away.  Author Schartz has written a solidly absorbing, old-fashioned science fiction novel of good and evil, yes and no, the one and the many." The Book Reader



CHECKMATE
Archangel Book two
Find it in kindle HERE


Former bad boy Michael Tanner is in a lot of trouble, and being an archangel hardly helps at all

To quench his vengeful lust for the Archangel who scattered his remains at the edge of the universe, the Reptilian ruler orders the sacrificial death of Michael's teenage daughter. Half human and a full-fledged Archangel on his father's home world, Michael and his mate must return to Earth to save his daughter from fiendish claws, and his native planet from enslavement or worse... But the way home is fraught with dangers, some more insidious than others. Nothing prepared Michael for the kind of trial he must face, when his rambunctious past catches up with him at the worst possible time...

"Sword-and-shield adventure... aliens and angels and dreams truer than life and depraved shapeshifters and evil sorcerers and parallel universes... Funny and sad and very intelligent." The Book Reader

"...charm that keeps you reading... A fun piece of escapism... hours of sheer entertainment." Rapport Magazine

"You will be hooked... a good read from start to finish." Alan Caruba - BookViews

"Rollicks right along at a good clip... a fun concoction and a fast, zippy read... Really, this one is among the most pleasurable." Writer’s Digest

"Wickedly insightful. Grab this today along with the prequel, Archangel Crusader." Five stars - Curled up With a Good Book
Vijaya Schartz
  Blasters, Swords, Romance with a Kick
  http://www.vijayaschartz.com
  Amazon - Barnes & Noble - All Romance eBooks -
Monday, August 29, 2016

I miss writing sci-fi - by Vijaya Schartz

Coming out of writing a long medieval fantasy series, I am itching for writing science fiction again. I miss by kick-butt heroines of sci-fi, my girls in uniform, my futuristic bounty hunters, the fascination of space and alien cultures.

I like writing in different genres and I have a habit of mixing them, which creates marketing nightmares for my publishers. But I like my stories to be original, different and unique. I write what I would want to read. In the Curse of the Lost Isle (from BWL), featuring a family of immortal ladies with Fae gifts, I mixed authentic legends with known history and romance. In the Chronicles of Kassouk and in the Borealis series (from Desert Breeze Publishing), I mixed science fiction with romance, and several of my characters have paranormal abilities… sometimes created through technology.


I also wrote a few contemporary romances, but always with a twist, like reincarnation, a shape shifter, or a thriller element. Whether writing about the past, the present, or the future, my main constants are action, adventure, and romance. I also have a predilection for cats, as they pop up as secondary characters almost everywhere (except in medieval times, but I do have a major dog character in Damsel of the Hawk).
I would also like my next project to be a series. Like a reader, after I fall in love with a created world, I enjoy spending time in it. But I may choose to make these series shorter. Maybe three or four books, not six or eight like in my two latest series. It’s difficult to promote Book seven or eight to new readers who haven’t read any of the other books… even if it’s a standalone.



Standalone is another requisite of mine. I like my series to be readable out of order, so each book should be a complete story as much as possible. As a reader, I hate cliffhanger endings and would never do that to my readers. I had to cut longer books into two parts before, not by choice, and although I still gave the first book a satisfying ending, I couldn’t tie up all the loose ends or resolve all the conflicts at the end, since that happened in the second book. It deeply bothered me. From the reviews, I know it bothered a few of my readers as well.


Now, for the time and place: Medieval? Futuristic? Contemporary? Post apocalyptic? On a space station? On an alien planet? In an alternate universe? I have used all of these in the past. Is there any other option?
As for the characters, I have a predilection for strong, kick-butt heroines. I also really enjoyed writing immortals. I once flirted with the idea of writing a series featuring angels, and I am still considering it. They could be fallen angels seeking redemption, or guardians of the human kind. Or, they could be aliens, alien/human hybrids, or AI (artificial intelligence), but I already featured a synthetic being in Black Dragon (Borealis series).

   

So, my new writing project should definitely be a series with strong heroines, romance, action, adventure, and cats (you can never have too many of those). Each novel should be a complete story, and the series should lend itself to a different hero and heroine for each story. So, the constant would be the world in which the characters evolve.

 In other words, writing a series revolves around creating a world in which strong, captivating characters can fight for what is just and good, and in the process, find their happily ever after. Writing this post helped me order my thoughts. Starting next year, look for the start of a new sci-fi romance series involving strong kick-butt heroines and gorgeous aliens with angel power. Now, back to finishing the Curse of the Lost Isle medieval series.

 


Vijaya Schartz
  Blasters, Swords, Romance with a Kick
  http://www.vijayaschartz.com
  Amazon - Barnes & Noble - All Romance eBooks 

Monday, August 1, 2016

STAR TREK BEYOND - a movie review by Vijaya Schartz


Three years into the five year voyage of exploration, the Enterprise docks onto one of the federation's space stations and we get a taste of what this space station looks like. These scenes were filmed in Dubai, which lends its architecture to futuristic movies. What I found fascinating was the way the tall buildings all pointed to the center of the artificial open sphere, and how at the top the unreliable gravity played tricks on the unwary. Logical, but fascinating nevertheless.


The inciting incident is weak. The damsel in distress begging the federation to rescue her crew was obviously setting a trap. No responsible captain would have rushed without at least investigating. When Kirk said he guessed it was a trap early on, but not early enough, that was a gross understatement.


I liked that new female characters were given an important role. Love this new ally, who kicks butts and takes names, and I like the fact that at the end she plans to join Star Fleet. I hope we see her again.


The male villain had an interesting history, but not clearly explained. I won't spoil the story for you, but I don't understand what prompted his physical transformation. It lacked clarity and didn't seem to make much sense. Was he an alien from the start posing as a human? Or did something happen to him while he was on the alien planet?


Costumes, makeup and special effects were impeccable and breathtaking, as usual... even though I didn't see the movie in 3D.
I enjoyed the fact that the characters were made more human. Bones had a better presence than in the previous movie, and his character in opposition to Spok was funny and interesting, like in the original series, which is what I liked about him. 
I enjoyed the motorcycle scene. Quite a stunt, and so fitting for Kirk. Only he would come up with such a dare-devil idea for a distraction.

I enjoyed seeing all the regular characters. 


We also revisited an old federation ship
It was somewhat sad to see Chekov again played by Anton Yelchin, who was killed by his own car in his driveway when the parking brake failed. it happened shortly before the movie release. Rumor has it that his role will not be recast in future movies.

R.I.P. Anton Yelchin - here in the role of Chekov
As for Uhura, her love affair with Spok is still going strong. And on a different note, we learn in this movie that Mr. Sulu is gay. Possibly a wink to the original Mr. Sulu, George Takei.

How many times and in how many ways can we destroy the Enterprise? This seems to be the recurring theme on all Star Trek movies. This time in particular, I can't see how they could have possibly salvaged anything after the destruction, or retrieved any of the pieces. Yet, curiously enough, at the end of the movie, somewhat by magic, the ship is restored to its pristine state... ready for the next adventure. 

I enjoyed the movie. Hope you do, too.

Vijaya Schartz
Blasters, Swords, Romance with a Kick

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