Sunday, October 16, 2011

Laurie's Journal

Mission Success

I've got something very exciting to share with you this week, something I stumbled across by accident on Saturday.

Let me set it up for you.

My third novel is actually an old manuscript that I'm working to extensively revise and update. About five years ago I had a male critique partner compare it to Edgar Rice Burrough's The Princess of Mars. Wow. I was floored! 

This weekend we went to see Contagion (good movie and very tense) and the previews included a trailer that looks absolutely amazing. It's called John Carter. I leaned over to David during the previews and said, "OMG, it reminds me of Draxis!" When I got home, I started researching the movie and got all tingly and goosebumpy when I discovered John Carter (of Mars) is actually the 3-D screen adaption of Edgar Rice Burrough's The Princess of Mars. 

Holy Phobos, Batman!

Although the premise and world-building of Draxis is quite different (modern day heroine, distant planet), the similarities are, well...tingly and goosebumpy exciting.

Take a look for yourself and let me know what you think.

You can read more about John Carter here and here.

Is it just me?  Or does this send a little chill up the spine of all Science Fiction Romance writers and authors out there? 

Time to Call a Spade a Spade?

There's been a lot of discussion of late about the direction of SFR. Heather Massey's article If SF is Mainstream, Where's Sci-Fi Romance?  In August, NPR's Your Picks; Top 100 SF, Fantasy Books included Anne McCaffrey's Dragonflight (#33) and Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga (#59) actually a series that began with Shards of Honor/Cordelia's Honor, and Diane Gabaldon's The Outlander Series (#89). All three are widely considered SFR (or SFR blend) by the SFR camp, and there may be many books on that list that also qualify. (I've often argued the case for John Scalzi's Old Man's War series (#74) as being SF with Romantic Elements). So is there really a profound distinction between SF and SFR?

A few years ago there was a big discussion on The Galaxy Express about what we should call our subgenre. Futuristic Romance? Romantic SF? Speculative Romance? The decision at that time was to call a spade a spade. It is what it is--Science Fiction Romance. I admit I was probably one of the more vocal ones supporting that argument. But now...I'm having second thoughts.

There seems to be an oxymoron quality to Science Fiction Romance.  Case in point, a discussion with one of my new coworkers.

She: "So I hear you're a writer?"
Me:  "Yes, I am."
"What do you write?"
"Science Fiction Romance."
"Oh."  Disappointed look. "I don't like those."
"Have you ever read one?"
"Not really sure."
"Have you ever seen the movie Avatar?"
"Oh, many times. Loved it! I love Science Fiction."
"Avatar is Science Fiction Romance."
*lightbulb look* "Oh!"

There seems to be a definite disconnect between Science Fiction (which is perceived as coming into its own as mainstream in recent months) and Science Fiction Romance with readers. Maybe we really should call a spade a spade. Science Fiction Romance is Science Fiction. If the "Romance" part in the subgenre title is turning off readers, even though they love the romantic elements in the story, maybe we should just call it Science Fiction and introduce the romantic element through the blurb? In fact, would we be too cheeky to call it Modern Science Fiction?

Hmm, where does that leave SFR Brigade? Do we go so far as to re-invent the organization and the logo as SF Brigade?

Let me know your thoughts.

Laurie's Link Round-Up

Amazon Expands into SF Publishing 
Click to read more about Amazon's 47North imprint's 15-book launch.

Much ado about Margaret Atwood and "Slip Stream SF":

Wall Street Journal's The Future of SF by Tom Shippey Author Examines the Role of Science Fiction by Margaret Atwood

Thought(s) for the Day

(Borrowed from fellow Starcatcher Kimberly Kincaid's Facebook post.)



  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Thanks for your thoughts, Kaz. If there's a link to the discussion, I'd love to add it to my post. (Could you post a link in a comment?)

    I think this might be a great time to open this up to another discussion.

  3. Timely topic, Laurie. As my thoughts turn toward marketing GHOST PLANET, I find myself thinking about this a lot.

    I am one of those people who was always turned off by the "romance" designation. I had a specific idea about what "romance" was, and no clue of the wide variety of offerings. I think the problem is that many readers share these misconceptions, and that seems a strong argument for shying away from the label.

    You run a couple of risks - will the folks who are ONLY interested in sci-fi if it has a romance ever find it? (How large is that audience, though?) And will sci-fi readers who don't like romantic stories feel they've been tricked? I think we can't worry about that too much. There are plenty of sci-fi stories with romance that are not labeled as such, and I think members of the audience adamantly opposed to romantic stories are likely to read the cover copy before making a purchase.

    I don't think it *hurts* to market a book as SFR to that specific audience. It's important to help those authors and readers connect. But in an author's general marketing, maybe it does make more sense to stick with just "sci-fi."

    Now, with that said, my own book is more of a 50/50 blend. Would this work as well for books that are heavily weighted toward romance?

  4. I tend to think of those stories heavily weighted toward romance with little SF elements other than setting as Futuristics.

    IMHO Ghost Planet is an excellent example of a SF novel with romance that could simply be called SF.

    I'm not a great fan of terms like new age, humanist, etc. Maybe something more along the lines of Science Fiction with Heart? Or a symbol? I like Sharon's SF [heart symbol] on her blog.

  5. Let me do a post on it and I'll put a link in my blog.

  6. The movie looks good and I can see why it gave you goosebumps re Draxis!! Wakes up and doesn't know where he is etc etc

  7. Very cool to see reflections of your story in a movie, and fingers crossed some day it'll be your title on the screen. As to science and romance mixing, it just seems to take some time to get it across that not all science is hard core and that romance is integral to humanity, and aliens, and pretty much anything that breathes, or doesnt breathe. Great post.

  8. That sounds good, Kaz.

    Barb and Arlene, thanks for your comments. David also said he'd love to see Draxis made into a movie. LOL First things first... :)


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