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Science Fiction Romance
What is the Science Fiction Romance Genre?
Initially, this seems like an “off” combination – the hard and true facts of science versus the escapism and “fluff” of romance. The tendency of science fiction to eschew personal relationships and the romance genre’s reliance on them do not really seem like a match made in heaven. However, the characters which drive both genres can find some common ground – people who are very different are challenged by new and unique situations; technology is viewed as both wonderful and terrifying.
Most science fiction romance is written by romance writers for romance readers, so they have the same workable formula, but like paranormal romance, they put it in different and unique settings (although a true science fiction fan would probably argue about that – to clarify, the settings are new and unique for the romance genre). This means overdone science fiction concepts (computer-controlled humans or prisoners exiled to another planet) are brand spankin’ new for romance readers!
What to Expect in the Science Fiction Romance Genre
- A central love story drives the plot
- There is an emotionally satisfying (and positive) ending
- There is a focus on the psychology of the people involved and how to create connections between them while the universe seemingly plots against them
- Introduces concepts and ideas that can change how we live our lives
Science Fiction Romance Characteristics
- Level of Angst
The level of angst in this genre is relatively high due to the plot line; inevitably the characters are seeking to escape from a literal destruction of the/a world, and finding time to get together can be challenging.
- Character Development
Honestly, some of the characters are laughable in this genre, but it doesn’t really matter since the stories are mostly plot driven. Depending on the specific author, some of the novels have great character development and some of the novels kind of throw away the characters in favor of the situation.
- Plot Strength
The plot strength is very high in this genre. The writer – regardless of their writing perspective – needs to make the “otherworld” palatable and interesting to the reader. The scenes and situations are often very creative.
- Romantic Tension
The level of romantic tension is pretty high in this genre. We are never quite sure what will happen to the characters, and there is nothing like the end of the world to get the juices flowing (literally)!
- Level of Eros
Pretty high. Honestly it is intriguing to see how these novels develop the sex scenes. Sometimes it is between humans, sometimes between non-humans, sometimes between a human and a non-human. It creates some interesting dynamics. To quote one of my favorite books on this topic: “We don’t need to eat. We don’t need to sleep. How are we ever going to stop?” (Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer)
- Prose Quality
The prose quality in this genre is usually very strong. It requires a lot of creativity, strong plots and an interesting overall story in order to draw in the traditional romance reader and have them buy into the scientific scenarios.
Related Romance Subgenres
The main subgenre for this genre is paranormal romance and maybe romantic suspense.
Science Fiction Romance isn't for you if
You like “real life” scenarios. You like a straightforward storyline, and prefer traditional romance
Science Fiction Romance is totally for you if
You enjoy the supernatural/paranormal, action-adventure romance, and you enjoy unique situations
- 1 A Glimmer of Guile (2014)
By Mary Patterson Thornburg. Tells the story of woman who can influence thoughts and behaviors, make water boil just by thinking about it, and all kinds of other cool things - all of which are linked, of course, to her remaining a virgin. But, when she is ordered to find the king’s teenaged son and her mentor who have both disappeared, she faces powers of all kinds which threaten her body, her soul, and her heart.
- 2 Ten Days (2013)
By Olivia Mayfield. Is the story about a girl who lives in a world where every aspect of life is run by machines. However, when those machines start to fail, she is terrified of what will happen, and turns to her best friend to figure out what to do to save themselves, and everything they have ever known.
- 3 Divergent (2011)
By Veronica Roth. Is the first novel in the trilogy which became a blockbuster. It is a dystopian novel about a girl who lives in a futuristic Chicago. When the children come of age they are forced to choose their destiny and while some choose to stay with their families, others choose to leave and find another path. Tris chooses a different, and difficult path, and finds love in the most unexpected of places, and with the most unexpected of people. Note: There is barely even a kiss in this book so it doesn’t meet the traditional definition of a romance novel, but there is a lot of sexual tension and the relationship between the two main characters is definitely hot!
- 4 A Gypsy’s Kiss (2015)
By Susan Griscom. Is the story of a woman who can see 12 hours of someone’s future just by touching them. It has had a serious impact on her ability to love or even date. Her social life has become restricted to tarot-card reading at parties. Enter the hot hockey player with different color eyes who has his own gift – and when he finds himself being stalked he turns to the campus gypsy for help.
- 5 Taste of Passion (2013)
By Renae Jones.Taste of Passion (2013) is about an empath who can taste emotions. Lonely and bored after being forced into an early retirement, she meets a doctor who intrigues more than just her mind. He challenges her long held beliefs, and surprises her into defending her ways. They come together in passion, but need to find some common ground if they are to stay together, although it looks like that might be more difficult out of the bedroom than in it.
- 6 Finders Keepers (2005)
By Linnea Sinclair. is the story of a space trader making some not-so-legal adjustments to her spacecraft when an unexpected visitor literally crashes into her woefully underequipped craft. He is an important military officer and she believes he would never be interested in her. Circumstances intervene when they are forced to work together to rescue a friend, and she finds that the differences between them are not as apparent as she thought.
- 7 Switched (2016)
By Evangeline Anderson. Tells the story of a warrior and a girl who encounter one another when they end up switched in one another’s bodies. Supposedly only bonded mates are able to be switched…but they have never met one another, except in his dreams. Hmmm…
- 8 Barbarian’s Mate (2016)
By Ruby Dixon. Is about a planet where everyone’s “hunky soulmate” is chosen for them. So why is her designated soulmate her least favorite person/alien on the planet? To make it even more confusing he is spending a lot of time trying to prove that he isn’t…
- 9 Alien Hostage (2016)
By Tracy St. John. Is the story of a heroine who wants to fall in love, but her past keeps her from getting too involved. However, when she and her three year old cousin are kidnapped, her love life takes a back seat to survival as she finds herself caught in the middle of a battle between different alien clans. But you know what they say…when you least expect it…
- 10 Overload Flux (2013)
By Carol Van Natta. Tells the story of a (male) forensic investigator with some hidden talents who is trying to find out who is stealing the vaccine for a galaxy-wide pandemic. Paired with a (female) security specialist with some hidden talents of her own, he needs to decide if he can trust her before it is too late for both of them.
Publicly Ranked Version of the List21 items >>
- Emma (Jane Austen)
- Saving Grace (Julie Garwood)
- Persuasion (Jane Austen)
- Katherine (Anya Seton)
- Ravished (Amanda Quick)