24 April 2010

Writing Erotic Science Fiction

So yesterday I submitted my first erotic science fiction novel to my wonderful editor, Grace. Since my first short novel was set in the 19th century, science fiction is quite a departure for me. I've been reading it for as long as I can remember, though, and my favorite books are always those that combine science fiction and romance.

Lois McMaster Bujold is an author of space opera who always injects some romance into her stories. I've read her entire Miles Vorkosigan series and love it. Start with Cordelia's Honor if you aren't already a fan. I also like Orson Scott Card and David Weber's Honor Harrington series. All of these authors also create strong female protagonists.

I've tried to write the sort of science fiction that I like to read, so my story features a military hero (gruff, battle-scarred, and devoted to duty) and a heroine who comes from a world where women are no better than chattel. There's a feminist subtext here as well, which I hope readers will recognize and enjoy.

My favorite part of writing SF is the chance to "world build"--create another species or world with its own rituals, language, and social organization. This is where my background in anthropology comes in handy. The novel I've just submitted revolves around language and the idea that language structures thought. In the Antaren language spoken by the heroine, it's impossible to think of herself as a subject. In other words, there is no first-person I or me or my, so the heroine is incapable of putting herself first, asking for what she wants, or asserting authority.

The hero, Avar Rákōsy, is a linguist and he literally gives the heroine the language to express herself. I hope readers will enjoy the exploration of language and self that I've tried to work into the story.

My editor has promised a four-week turnaround on the manuscript, so I'll be counting the days until I hear from her. In publishing time, that's the blink of an eye. But right now, it seems like light years away.


  1. Hi Erica
    I am anxious to read your new release "Not Quite a Lady" and found your comments regarding your next work in progress intriguing. Curious as to how your background in anthropology influences your male-female relations.
    P.S. Love the cover!

  2. Hi Suzette! A lot of my ideas for social organization and male-female relations come from other cultures. For example, my science fiction WIP features an extremely patriarchal society that secludes women. Some of the cultural practices depicted in the story come from real-life societies that I've read about in the anthropological literature. Thanks for the question!