Tag Archives: Linnea Sinclair

Linnea Sinclair’s Steamy Sci-Fi Saga

UPDATE:  A different version of this review appears in the May-June (2009) issue of Fort Myers Magazine. See Ft.Myers magazine – Linnea Sinclair

Hope’s Folly, the latest title by Neapolitan Linnea Sinclair, is a rapid-fire romp through futuristic political intrigue and high-risk passion. Aboard an aging and compromised spacecraft, Admiral Philip Guthrie attempts to thwart the plans of the corrupt Imperial forces. The Imperial leadership, against which the seriously wounded Guthrie has rebelled, is attempting to kill or capture him, and Guthrie, a leader of the newly independent Alliance Fleet, must use the only opportunity available, a failing antique craft smelling of oranges from its recent use as a cargo vessel.  To raise this conflict to a higher power, Sinclair puts a determined, talented, and attractive Alliance sub-lieutenant, Rya Bennton, under Guthrie’s command – and man she had fantasized about since childhood when she knew him as the best friend of her father – then an Alliance leader.

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Sinclair’s imagined world is drawn successfully on many levels. First of all, there is her confident delineation of the shipboard technology – and especially the weaponry – that makes up the world of Philip, Rya, and the other characters. Tension builds around fixing the failed systems of “Hope’s Folly” in advance of an ultimate confrontation with Imperial might. Sinclair’s sure-handedness in describing the spacecraft’s myriad problems with power generation, armaments and defenses, guidance, and communication make this race against time credible and palpable to the reader.  Though for some readers there may be too much space given over to detailing the futuristic hardware, most will enjoy it. No Tom Clancy reader would find Sinclair’s techno-imaginings unwelcome.

Additionally, Sinclair lends sensuality to the hand weapons worn and wielded by Philip and Rya. Rya, especially, is attuned to the eroticism of weaponry. In “Hope’s Folly,” the weapon is as much embraced as worn. It hugs the body and is sometimes joined with it. The curves of the hand weapons and the curves of Sub-Lieutenant Rya Bennton are matched in shape, in seductive power, in explosive potential.

The tug of war between decorum and passion keeps the romantic intrigue smoldering. As the daughter of his best friend, as his military subordinate, and as a women 16 years his junior, Rya would seem off-limits to the smitten Admiral Guthrie. But Rya’s boldness raises the intensity of Guthrie’s temptation. Her proximity to him as the Folly’s chief security officer allows her to impress him with her skills and character while making each accessible to the other. Add the psychology of wartime, the sense that there may not be a future, and the postponement of pleasure seems a fool’s gamble. By alternating which of the main characters is the controlling consciousness of the narrative, Sinclair builds the reader’s appreciation of both Philip’s and Rya’s dilemma. There is a sure-handedness in the way the author enters the thoughts and emotions of her characters that makes them – at least during immersion in the story – convincing and compelling.

A good-sized cast of minor characters populates the closed world of Hope’s Folly. These include a suspected Imperial mole, a by-the-book commander who cracks under stressful circumstances, and several versatile specialist officers who perform their duties bravely. Each minor character is effectively drawn, and each participates in the range of perspectives on the dangers confronting this mission and the Alliance. Sinclair individualizes them with aplomb, and she weaves them into a cohesive team under Admiral Guthrie’s charismatic but sometimes challengeable command. Not the least of these characters is the mysterious Captain Folly, a feline who prowls the spacecraft. As Sinclair’s readers know, a cat always figures in her fiction, and this one seems to embody the spirit of “Hope’s Folly,” at once its mascot and namesake.

With Hope’s Folly, Linnea Sinclair builds on a secure reputation as a leading fashioner of science fiction romance. She straddles and blends these genres with a unique bravura and wit. Already a multiple winner of major literary awards in her field, Sinclair is likely to add to her collection with this latest title, due out from Bantam Books in late February.  linnea-sinclair

Linnea Sinclair will be the lead-off speaker at the Naples Writer’s Conference associated with the Naples Press Club’s 7th Annual Authors and Books Festival. The Conference, held on April 4 and 5 at the von Liebig Art Center in downtown Naples, will offer workshops on the craft and business of writing. Pre-registration is required. Authors and publishers will be exhibiting, selling, and signing their books throughout the Festival. This book fair, which includes entertainment, is open to the public at no charge. For more information visit the website http://www.authorsandbooksfestival.org or call (239) 593-1488.

SEE ALSO:  Linnea Sinclair and Linnea Sinclair (2)

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BOOK BEAT 59 – Linnea Sinclair (2)

BOOK BEAT   Naples Sun Times   December 5-11, 2007

by Philip K. Jason

So, imagine yourself as a gorgeous, hardbodied chick – good-looking and toned because, like most of your kind, you’ve been genetically engineered a bit. You are a commander bucking for captain in a space warrior career in which there is still a bit of a glass ceiling for women. Your mission takes you to the low-class dirt planet, Earth, far from your own world of sophisticated technological advances and intergalactic transport. The subservient, robotic creatures that your scientists have devised, for “good reasons” of course, have undergone alterations and are now a threat – and Earth has become their breeding ground. Indeed, an Agent previously sent to report on these Zombies has instead been silenced by them.

You have been raised to think of Earthlings as inferior beings, and in many ways they are. Still, these “nils,” as they are patronizingly called, are not so very different from your people. Many of them speak a language that (conveniently) is almost identical to a language known to the humans in your world (or galaxy or system or whatever it is). They have a rudimentary technology, and their security organizations are not unlike the Guardian Force in which you serve. Their projectile weapons are unexpectedly effective when your advanced armaments are compromised. As you later discover, they have, by comparison, an abundance of delicious fresh water as well as bliss-inspiring foods like peanut butter and pizza.

How backward could they be? 

Or pretend you are a homicide detective who works out of Bahia Vista – a mid-sized city on the Gulf Coast of Florida that could easily be mistaken for St. Petersburg. Ready for vacation, you are plunged into a strange case involving a mummified corpse and unusual computer-like gadgetry. Low and behold, this edgy, alluring alien babe named Jorie Mikkalah comes into your life, becoming a reluctant and mysterious partner in the mummy case, which suddenly turns into a crisis of cosmic dimensions.

It is a romance? Is it sci-fi fantasy? Is it satire? RITA-award winner Linnea Sinclair’s “The Down Home Zombie Blues” is all three. Most of all, it is great fun.

In watching the conjoined missions of Sergeant Theo Petrakos and Commander Jorie Mikkalah unfold, readers will find themselves readily accepting the premises that Sinclair offers. The author works two sides of the street in order to make her “what if” believable within the covers of the book. On the one hand, she herself has done the imagining and pretending in such detail – has created such a rich texture of circumstance and sensory experience and human psychology – that it is easy to suspend disbelief and join the adventure.

Beyond the credibility factor is Sinclair’s engaging flight of whimsy. The Tampa-St. Pete Florida that is the novel’s main setting takes on new dimensions as she embroiders it with the alien perspective of Jorie and her shipmates. Sinclair has fun with her genre as well, paying homage to the “Star Trek” and “Star Wars” sagas through light-hearted allusions. It’s as if Theo Petrakos knows something about how Jorie’s spacecraft travels because he has grown up on Star Trek episodes. Jorie wonders how Theo, a nil, can grasp such advanced principles. And there is a Wookie-like being in a walk-on part.

Those of us who have watched enough “Star Trek” know how often viewers were teased with relationships or at least temptations between Captain Kirk and alien super-femmes. Sinclair has developed something like that, though Theo is not from the future. He is fully one of us. High-spirited sex spices Sinclair’s novel, which also probes serious relationship issues such as loyalty to the yearnings of the heart versus one’s responsibilities to duty and to the codes of one’s civilization. These two attractive figures wrestle with such conflicts in credible and meaningful ways.

But let me not turn “The Down Home Zombie Blues” into something heavy. Through her dynamic and well-conceived major characters, her rounded supporting cast, her engaging and far-ranging vision, her narrative skill, and her playful tone, Neapolitan Linnea Sinclair has provided a lively and provocative entertainment. And I haven’t even told you about the Tresh or the veterinarian, or that the title song is included.

Philip K. Jason, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus of English from the United States Naval Academy.  A poet, critic, and free-lance writer with twenty books to his credit, this “Dr. Phil” chairs the annual Naples Writers’ Conference presented by the Naples Press Club.

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