~Guest Post by Heather Massey
Science Fiction Romance: A Frontier of New Adventures
Science fiction romance has been gaining speed in the past decade, but like an attic treasure, its true value has yet to be discovered in greater numbers. But what is it, exactly?
Sci-fi romance features a love story occurring in a technology-based setting and has a Happily Ever After. It's the intersection of when two people (or three in some cases) of any gender and sexual orientation fall in love and are impacted in some way by science.
Think about the time when online dating services became a reality, and people met and fell in love using that technology. Science fiction romance stories are kind of like that, only set in a futuristic or alternate world.
The SF to romance ratio varies across stories, which means readers can find the SF-romance combinations best suited to their tastes. Here are a few elements you'll generally discover in a science fiction romance:
* A predominate theme of love against the odds
* Scientific wonders/alternate worlds
* Dual-heroic journey (i.e., both the hero and heroine save the day)
* Variety of romance fantasies
* Progressive elements (includes sexual equality; heroines with agency; extraordinary heroines)
* Cerebral adventures (i.e., technology related thematic content)
* Female gaze/neutral gaze (i.e., the text focuses on issues important to women and couples)
* Alternate (non-heteronormative) romances
* Subversive, edgy stories and the potential for pushing even more boundaries
Science fiction romance is also like Ben & Jerry's ice cream (which is to say, yum!). It's a niche subgenre serving adventurous readers who enjoy romance, which is traditionally character-driven, combined with a scientific "sense of wonder." The hybrid possibilities are endless.
For one thing, you'll meet a variety of characters in science fiction romance. They include bounty hunters, scientists, starship captains, aliens, soldiers, spies, hackers, and even futuristic royalty. The beauty of this subgenre is that either gender can inhabit these roles.
Recommended reads: FINDERS KEEPERS (Linnea Sinclair); THE OUTBACK STARS (Sandra McDonald); GHOST PLANET (Sharon Lynn Fisher); MOONSTRUCK (Susan Grant); METAL REIGN (Nathalie Gray); CAUGHT IN AMBER (Cathy Pegau); NIGHTS OF STEEL (Nico Rosso)
There are multiple settings to choose from as well. Space opera, cyberpunk, steampunk, near-future, and superhuman are at your service. As a result, each romance has its own unique flavor.
Recommended reads: RIVETED (Meljean Brook); UNNACCEPTABLE RISK (Jeanette Grey); TOUCHED BY AN ALIEN (Gini Koch); ENEMY WITHIN (Marcella Burnard); PHOENIX RISING (Corrina Lawson); THE KEY (Pauline Baird Jones)
Sci-fi romance delivers a number of romance fantasies. Frequently, the stories explore the concept of the "Other," specifically the idea of meeting and falling in love with someone different from ourselves. It's an entertaining way to glom social commentary about romantic love.
Recommended reads: STELLARNET REBEL (J.L. Hilton); ON WINGS, RISING (Ann Somerville); THE SPIRAL PATH (Lisa Paitz Spindler); THE PHOENIX CODE (Catherine Asaro); BODY ELECTRIC (Susan Squires)
A couple's sexual journey is another area science fiction romance explores. This may be the boldest one of all because as much as non-romantic SF tackles the "What if…?" question, it pales in comparison to how often science fiction romance poses the very same question in the context of romance and the development of a couple's physical, erotic bond.
Recommended reads: CLAIMINGS, TAILS, AND OTHER ALIEN ARTIFACTS (Lyn Gala); SILVER BOUND (Ella Drake); REFUGEES ON URLOON (Melisse Aires); A GIFT FOR BOGGLE (P.J. Schnyder); THE ANTAREN AFFAIR (Erica Anderson); ADVENTURESSES (Angelia Sparrow); IN ENEMY HANDS (K.S. Augustin)
Science fiction romance is alive and well in other mediums, such as film. Here's a short list to get you started:
SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED
TIME AFTER TIME
THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU
And nothing beats the MASS EFFECT space opera videogame series for a "choose your own romantic adventure"!
If you're new to science fiction romance, first of all, welcome! I run a blog called The Galaxy Express and it's a gateway site devoted to this subgenre. In fact, you can access 40 titles that are available for free or for the bargain price of 99 cents. (In the interest of full disclosure, three of the titles are mine). The variety is such that chances are high you'll find a sci-fi romance up your alley.
Thanks for visiting me here at The Serious Reader. Happy reading!
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