Science Fiction Romance (SciFiRom) is a growing genre. It was interesting to see that up until about five years ago, there were actually very few authors that wrote it. Science Fiction (SciFi) has always been one of those areas where it is either pure science or pure fiction, but seldom was romance mixed into the storyline as the main concept.
I think one of the best examples of Science Fiction starting to cross the boundaries was Star Trek. There was the SciFi mixed with action, adventure, and the occasional romance that made viewers want more. Then, there was Star Wars. This was an epic romance without viewers realizing as it contained a love story that would eventually help shape how the entire saga came about.
Today’s SciFiRom is bolder, fresher, and filled with more of everything viewers have been wanting: action, adventure, suspense, humor, and yes, ROMANCE! It is okay for aliens to be the good guys and for humans and aliens to fall in love and go on fantastic adventures that we can only do in our imaginations.
Just like Star Trek, Star Wars, and many other sci-fi movies, the physics behind space travel and conquering vast distances, language barriers, and the evolution of the living form doesn’t have to be completely and utterly scientifically explained. No, some of it can just be accepted as it can happen.
It really isn’t such an unbelievable stretch of the imagination. Look at the technology we have now that at one time was only featured in stories or in movies – sliding doors and cell phones, anyone? No, today’s amateur astronomers are out searching along with the universities and governments for life out among the stars. The more we learn, the closer we get to understanding the possibilities that there really is life out there somewhere.
So, that brings about the question – Why does writing SFR work? The answer is easy, really. If you write a story that draws the reader into it, and make it seem plausible, the readers will follow your characters to the ends of the universe and beyond. I know there are others out there, like me, that believe deep down that we aren’t alone. Besides that, who doesn’t love a great romance?
Over the last decade there have been a lot of changes to the publishing world. Traditionally, anyone dreaming of becoming an author often had a long and tedious journey ahead of them. Just like today, there were no guarantees that the work of the author would be well received. The difference from previous years was the screening process an author was required to go through. During that time, there were few authors that wrote Science Fiction Romance, or SFR.
Science Fiction stories were different. The genre was, and still is in a large part, dominated by male authors who focus on the science aspect of the story. SFR is different. Here, the readers are given both science and romance. The stories contain aspects of science, alien worlds, different modes of transportation, and such, but also contain a romantic element to them. Wow! For those of us that enjoy that combination of action, adventure, fantasy, and romance this is out of this world reading, no pun intended.
Wait a minute! Action… Adventure… Fantasy… and Romance? Isn’t that what Star Trek, Star Wars, and a dozen other successful television and movies have in them? I grew up loving anything to do with SFR, even before it was called that. The million dollar question was how does a writer write a successful Science Fiction Action Romance. Well, I don’t know about the million dollars, but I’ll give you my two cents on it… with passion!
To write a successful science fiction action romance you have to have a world and characters that seem real. If you are having the romance, the characters have to be compatible with each other. Yes, you can have shifters, but when the characters come together they need to be in a form that is believable. Wait a moment… Shifters! Isn’t that paranormal? Yes, it is, but the beautiful thing about science fiction is that you can make your species anything you want as long as the rules you build in work. So, build worlds and characters that work together.
Your characters and their interaction with each other is important. I believe every character throughout the story is important. The smallest one can make the difference from an okay story to a fabulous one. It is also important to balance your dialogue with your description. Let the readers build the world in their minds by giving them just enough information without breaking into a college lecture on the dynamics of the atmospheric molecular structures and astrophysics.
Your characters also have to be able to communicate with each other. How they do that is up to you. Just make sure that whatever method you come up with makes sense. In Outlander (the scifi movie), the aliens had a machine that poured the information into their brains. I’ve had everything from the human heroine learning the language to magical spells to implanted translators.
I love action and adventure. When developing a story, remember that not all plots have to be from an internal conflict. Science Fiction Action Romance is the perfect setting for outside conflict to pull the readers in. When you think of it, just the thought of space travel has enough hazards involved. Whatever happens in space, you either fix it or die. The same concept applies if you are on an alien planet. Now, throw in all the other things like cultural differences, tribal mentality, differences in technology, greed, power, corruption and love. It is the perfect mix for an action-filled story.
You have your world, you have your characters, you have your action – now what? You listen to the characters as they share their amazing journey through the stars. Remember, you don’t have to have all the rules for the universe you’ve built in book one. Let it grow throughout the series, because if you write a fascinating world, your readers will want another book in that world based on one of the characters you have introduced (this is why ALL characters are super important for the story; they carry on in that world).
There is a reason shows and movies like Star Trek and Star Wars are so popular. Readers, whether male or female, crave the unknown action, adventure, suspense, and romance of far away worlds. They want to know what it would be like to journey to another world and live the life of a space pirate or be a member of the Alliance.
So, the next time you step outside on a clear night and look up at the stars ask yourself “What if…?” and let the characters take you to another world you’ll never forget.
Space – the final frontier. Wow! Just those words send a shiver down my spine. Why? LOL, my answer: Why not?
Movies and television shows have helped fuel the fascination about space and intergalactic travel for generations. Books and movies bring to life the question that if we were ever visited, would the aliens be good or bad. Viewers have grown up watching Lost in Space and Star Trek to a resurgence of Star Wars that tantalize a new generation of Science Fiction fans; thus proving that humans love the idea of not being alone at the same time as we are terrified of finding out that we are.
For me, writing Science Fiction and Urban Fantasy is a lot like having your driver’s license when you reach sixteen years old and can drive alone for the first time, restricted only by the cash in your pocket and the strict words from your parents to be home on time, ringing in your ears. The road is in front of you and there are a million places you want to go. Writing SF and UF are just like that, only this time my imagination is the limit.
When I was a kid one of my favorite things to do at night was lie out on the driveway and look up at the stars. It was beautiful, mysterious, and filled with unbelievable objects that NASA was just discovering. My parents took my brothers, sister, and I over to Cape Kennedy to watch the launches. I did the same with my kids when they were little.
There was just something magical, and heartbreaking, about watching the Apollo and Shuttle launches. I remember exactly where I was when both the Challenger and the Columbia exploded. I remember my first night launch of the Atlantis and how the night sky lit up and the delayed rumble shook under my feet and in the air as it shot skyward.
For me, it proved that space travel was possible at the same time showing the dangers involved. Some of you may remember those events as well. For those that can’t, you’ve been fortunate enough to grow up with the beautiful images from the Hubble Space Telescope and the amazing imaginations of the film makers that bring it to life through incredible special effects.
Over the years, my fascination with space has not changed. I continue to stare up at the sky and wonder. Today, we live in a time defined by advanced technology in astronomy. The last decade has become known as the Age of the Amateur Astronomer. Why? Because of the development of more powerful, cost effective telescopes, computer applications including Google Sky, and astrophotography that isn’t limited to NASA or universities any longer thanks to the development of digital photography. I believe if there is life out there it will probably be found – by an amateur astronomer.
So, to answer the question as to why it is so fascinating, the answer for me is simple; there is a whole universe out there for me to explore. Does space travel have to make sense in the stories and movies that I read and watch? To a certain degree, but not necessarily if you can make the story entwined within it believable. We are just infants in this amazing universe; a grain of sand in the vast desert. The one thing I love is it is my desert and I’m that grain of sand moving through it. I can dream up my starships, my aliens, my worlds, and I can live in them for as long as I want. My aliens can be good or bad, after all, we are aliens as well.
The key is to open your mind and your heart and discover what it means to be alive among the stars. The next time you take a walk outside at night, turn off the lights and look up at the stars. You’ll discover a whole new universe.