Greta van der Rol asked in the SFR Brigade's Facebook group a while ago about any scifi romances that don't have a HEA. Someone had commented on her post about 'What do romance readers think of science fiction romance?'
"I was telling my coworker the other day Star Wars wasn’t sci-fi! I’m curious about this genre (which I admit I have never read), how do you get around the fact that most romances (that I know of at least) have happy endings, and most (ok, again, stuff I’ve read) sci-fi does not? Which way do you lean? And are you aware of any sci-fi romances out there that lean more sci-fi in a kind of horrific way, like a robot falling in love with a human and accidentally killing them sort of a thing?"
Now, as far as I'm aware, and from what I've seen in publishers submission guidelines, a HFN is the minimum requirement for ANY romance. Is this because that's what all romance readers want? Is there any kind of market for romances without it?
Greta was kind enough to suggest my SFR short Terms & Conditions Apply as a possible for the reader's request. Some people have commented that my HEA is somewhat...unconventional, and some aren't sure it's even a HFN. But on the other hand, I've had comments by readers who disagree and find it perfectly acceptable as a HEA. One of the benefits of self publishing is not having to conform to publishing requirements or expectations, therefore offering something different (although I think spec fic offers that opportunity as standard if we chose to take it) while maybe running the risk of not finding an audience for it. I enjoy the chance to write things that may not find a home with even the more adventurous small press. But is SFR is already niche enough without aiming for an audience that might be miniscule?
Heather Massey posted not long ago about authors not necessarily pushing the boundaries in SFR as far as we could - Should Science Fiction Romance take more Risks? and Could Science Fiction Romance become a Fearless Leader? Perhaps this reader's request is an example of at least one area we should explore. One thing SFR can offer is diversity. But is a non-HEA ending to a romance a step too far? In horror and dystopia, for example, a non-HEA is probably the expected standard.
What do you think? As a reader would you feel cheated if a romance didn't give you at least a HFN? As a writer, does the idea repel you or intrigue you?
Oh. My. Word. What a week! The controversy over SFR and female SF authors appears to be settling down, with everyone saying what they felt they had to say. I've taken a step away from it now because of a.) my ongoing tour for my YA scifi release - Gethyon - and b.) admin for the SFR Brigade blog hop. Gethyon has received two shiny five star reviews, so I can breathe a bit, lol. As for the blog hop...
We now have 41 participants currently signed up, compared to 30 something last year. Our prize fund is also rapidly approaching a massive $300, with a big bundle of ebooks accumulating. As of this afternoon, the Grand Prizes now stand at -
1st Prize - $150 Amazon or B&N gift card (winner's choice) and an ebook bundle (currently Alien Adoration, Dementional, Wytchfire, Ghost Planet, The Iron Admiral, Games of Command, The Key, Once Upon a Time in Space, Winter Fusion, Wither, Clash, Bayne, Maven, Break Out, Ghost in the Machine, Keir and Terms & Conditions Apply)
2nd Prize - $50 Amazon or B&N gift card (winner's choice)
3rd Prizes - three $25 Amazon or B&N gift cards (given to separate winners and their choice)
A huge, huge thank you to everyone who has contributed so far. This is going to be a fantastic event!
@Laurie 'SFR is its own genre.' Hell, yes! Let's stop using that 'sub' prefix (having proved SFR authors and their works are anything BUT submissive, lol). It's no longer the young offspring of SF and R, but has come of age. :P
@Donna - it is tough finding a place when SFR still seems to be a genre not recognised by some publishers. I know when looking for SFR titles on Amazon a while back, the virtual bookshelf was stuffed full of PNR, clearly not SFR. Time to give us our own shelf!
@Sharon - loved the thank you letter to the romance readers. They know a good story when they read it.
That's it for me! There's only ten more days to the blog hop - I hope you've all marked your calendars!