03 July 2010

Science Fiction Romance

I've been thinking a lot about science fiction romance (SFR) lately, which appears to be a growing (sub)genre in publishing. The success of the film Avatar has taken SF romance mainstream and it's a trend that I hope continues. I like SF for the same reason that I like historical fiction--it takes me to a completely new world where the rules are different.

Some of my favorite SF has been written by anthropologists, who are trained to think about the details of cultural beliefs and behaviors. Authors such as Mary Doria Russell create entire civilizations with complex and vastly different cultures. This "world building" is what I find most interesting about writing SF romance; the challenge, of course, is to engage your reader in this world and make it believable and accessible while at the same time alien and "other."

My short novel, which releases on Wednesday, July 7th, focuses on gender differences between two societies--a topic ripe for exploration by SF romance writers. How do gender inequalities affect the relationship between the hero and heroine? How will future technological developments affect the ways in which men and women relate? What role will biological differences between males and females have in future societies? How do other societies construct sex and gender?

If you're at all interested in SFR, check out The Galaxy Express, which is run by Heather Massey. I found some new-to-me authors on her website as well as thoughtful and provoking posts that address everything from SFR book covers to the position of SFR in the publishing world as a whole.

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