SF R Us
There have been several discussions recently on Skiffy Rommer blogs and sites about SF merging into the mainstream and where does that leave SFR? Is SFR really a different species than SF, or will SFR be pulled into the slipstream along with the general genre?
I used to think of SFR as it's own distinct hybrid. Lately, I've been rethinking the whole SF/SFR differential.
What is SFR?
It's character-driven SF with equal parts relational elements and plausible--or at least basic physics with liberal imagination applied--science.
Often the relational elements are interwoven with, affected or influenced by the tech or cultural elements. How does that make it different than Star Trek, Star Wars, Avatar or other popular SF fair? Well....the simple answer is SFR always has to meet the romance rule--a happy resolution to the relationship. Not so in mainstream SF, although SF certainly can have a HEA.
So the question is, is there really a boundary? Have we created an invisible line that doesn't really exist for most readers? Are there fundamental differences between SFR and mainstream SF that relegate it to a different sector of the universe?
I don't think so, Tim.
I think the only difference is the appeal to the audience, and let's face it the SF fan base now has a healthy dose of romance-friendly readers (thank you, Avatar). So maybe we've been wrong. Maybe it's not a whole 'nother animal?
If SF is growing more R-acceptable, then edges of the genre have begun to blurr.
What if we simply erase the theoretical line in the sand?
But...Then What do we Call it?
Does it need a label or have we outgrown the need?
Several years ago, members of the community had a lengthy discussion on The Galaxy Express about what we should call our fave reading and writing matter (you can read the discussions here and again here). At that time, the community was splintered between many nomikers including science fiction romance, speculative romance, futuristic romance, space opera, romantic sci-fi, plain ol' Sci Fi, etc., etc., etc. We made a more or less collective decision to name it, call it, and label it as Science Fiction Romance/Sci-Fi Romance/SFR to consolidate the many tags and help avoid confusion. It made absolute sense at the time.
That was then. This is now.
With the new standing of SF and high tech in modern culture (Have you heard? Geek is the new black), maybe it's time to throw the splinter-group idea to the solar winds.
SFR is SF. The only distinction is the sector of the audience we're targeting.
A subspecies is still part of the collective gene pool, so a subgenre is still a part of the collective genre pool. Right?
I rest my case. :) Do we have any rebuttals?