Thursday, July 23, 2009

Why I Don't Love All Science Fiction Romance

Good morning, Blog Buds. There's a great post over at Dear Author today you should really check out if you're into or curious about Science Fiction Romance or Paranormal Romance. The writer talks about an SFR novel she loves and then totally hits the nail on the head as to why I love Science Fiction Romance, but really only a select few books and authors in it.

Here's the quote: "This all leads to what I love most about sfr: There are no boundaries to the romance. There is no box to step outside of. Everything is unexpected, so what happens tends to hit harder because you don’t have a guaranteed HEA. So when one comes along, it just feels more potent to me, especially in the hands of someone who can make us feel for her characters each step of the way."


The overwhelming majority of SFR is crammed into the Paranormal Romance mold, which is extremely limiting. For example, the Alpha Male hero is all the rage in PR, but in SFR we like both Captain Kirk AND Mr. Spock. Readers who love any flavor of Science Fiction do so because they love to explore the endless possibilities of existence. A handful of authors manage to work brilliantly within that cramped little box and those are the ones I read. However, until SFR is allowed the freedom and its own identity, it's not going to break out.
Unfortunately, publishers are not taking chances in this economic recession. This means SFR readers will go searching elsewhere for their fix, places besides the New Release aisle. The only way books earn money is through new sales. The loss of sales for SFR will be interpreted as a lack of interest. Less SFR will be published.
But, there is hope. Pop over to The Galaxy Express and learn about the vast array of SFR that is available in older releases and ePublishers. Buy those books *NEW.* Being seen as only a dollar sign doesn't seem right when all the publishing professionals need to do is pop over to the Galaxy Express themselves to learn what readers really want, but that's the way it is.
Actually, there are publishing professionals who do keep an eye on the Galaxy Express. You'll figure out who if you hang out there too and I suggest you send your hard-earned money their way when you need a new read. I don't know about you, but I'm a real human being. Not a dollar sign.


Heather Massey said...

Yes! Yes! Yes!

Thanks for such a passionate post. I, too, read that thought-provoking post at DA. It made me realize that I love romances in SFR that are subtle and "quiet" (i.e., no mental lusting page after page). A little can go a long way in SFR.

And I couldn't agree more about the differences in hero makeup. I'm going to blog about that topic again soon. Also, my first post next week will expand upon your point about SFR being crammed into Paranormal romance mold.

Thanks for the linkage, Kimber An!

Kimber An said...

You're welcome, Heather!

I used the cover art for MOONSTRUCK by Susan Grant because it typifies the cramming SFR problem. Here's an awesome Science Fiction Romance novel which bends and breaks and generally rocks the conventions and it was slapped with cover art which makes the unsuspecting reader believe it's Romantic Suspense.

(((heavy sigh)))

Without talent like Susan's out there in the new releases and you, Heather, keeping up with all things SFR over at the Galaxy Express, I fear this wonderful subgenre would go the way of the dinosaur through no fault of its own. And that would be very sad.

Heather Massey said...

Yah, I could go on and on about covers. But we'll keep fighting the good fight. With blogs, Twitter, and other social media, we have tools now our predecessors didn't. I think they will go a long way toward keeping the genre alive.

That, and the fact that SFR readers and authors are persistent!

Laurie said...

Amen, to all of the above. SFR can be a stronger subgenre if we continue to band together and promote the books we love.

Thanks for an insightful post, Kimber An. I also felt the cover for MOONSTRUCK was deceptive. This trend in "branding" SFR novels/writers as some other romance genre is upsetting.

Sorry I'm late to the party. Your post just popped up on my Google search for Science Fiction Romance.