Tuesday, September 30, 2008

SFR What is it? What ISN'T it?

Science Fiction Romance covers a lot of ground for a subgenre niche. But what is it exactly? Or can it even be described in exact terms? Do you feel there no boundaries on that universe or are the sector lines clearly drawn? We'd love to hear your opinions.

For the sake of discussion, here are several blurbs for books defined as Science Fiction Romance using the Amazon search feature. Would you consider these to be Science Fiction Romance? Why or why not? Would you be interested in reading the book? Why or why not?

Eye of the Beholder by Stacey Klemstein
Echelon Press Publishing (February 29, 2008)
240 pages
Some women would be thrilled to have a troublesome ex-lover mysteriously disappear, but when he's an alien-human hybrid and you are supposed to be his leader...the rules change. Zara Mitchell fears the worst when Caelan vanishes while investigating a hate group...one that might have information about the strange female Observer they've been seeking. But Asha, Zara's rival and only available source for help, claims it's too dangerous to attempt a rescue. Desperate to locate Caelan and hoping against hope for a little luck, Zara strikes out on her own. Unfortunately, luck deserts her (just like everyone else) when she walks straight into a trap, one set just for her. Now, with the leader of the Observer Council breathing down her neck, and Caelan's time running out, Zara has to summon courage and strategy skills beyond anything she's ever known to save Caelan, herself and our world.

Star-Crossed by Marilyn Byerly
Hard Shell Word Factory (September 2000)
304 pages
Earthman Tristan Mallory discovers that on Arden, men are sex slaves. He has no intention of belonging to anyone, not even beautiful Mara d'Jorel. Mara despises the harem system and has refused to participate, but her heart won't allow anyone else to own Tristan, To give Tristan the freedom her world denies, she must risk everything, her reputation, home, and her freedom and life. Her greatest risk is losing Tristan's love to another woman. Tristan's friend Kellen is acquired as a bed slave by vicious Cadaran d'Hasta, head of Arden's Internal Security, who has used the lives and deaths of thousands of men to gain her power. Intelligent and amoral, she'll do anything to destroy him and Tristan and any woman weak enough to love them. With the help of a local intelligent alien who resembles an Earth cat and Dorian Dalia, Tristan's long-time romantic interest, Tristan, Mara, and Kellen escape the planet. Through the vast emptiness of space and the most primitive of human colonies, they seek freedom, but Cadaran is always one step behind them.

The Islander: A Romance of the Future by Charles Whittlesey
Lulu (February 20, 2008)
372 pages
In 2155 there are two Americas: one for the wealthy and one for the poor. The wealthy control most of the land and all the technology, while the poor lead short and squalid lives confined to the remnants of America's collapsed cities, known as Islands. The two cultures collide when Galen Fairchild, a young Islander, falls in love with Mata Vandermere, the daughter of a prosperous family from the modern city of Stratis. Like Romeo and Juliet, Galen and Mata struggle to stay together in the face of daunting opposition from family, friends, and many other forces. Their troubles finally lead them into the ghostlike ruins of downtown Minneapolis, where no Islander dares to go. Inside the crumbling skyscrapers, they discover a strange power linked to Galen's past, which not only changes his life forever, but also pits the two cultures against each other with cataclysmic results.

The Quest (The Rystani Series, Book 4) by Susan Kearney
Tor Paranormal Romance (June 27, 2006)
352 pages
A warrior on a mission

Kirek of Rystan's objective is to destroy the Federation's deadliest enemy, but he needs help. When assistance comes in the form of a sexy and irresistible space pilot , he takes on a second goal--to win her heart.

A woman with a plan

Captain Angel Taylor's going after the biggest salvage haul in her career. Fiercely independent, she can't imagine a life with Kirek, a traditional Rystani warrior with extraordinary psi powers -- but he has seductive skills she can't resist.

The Quest

Teaming up, Angel and Kirek risk their lives to fight the evil Zin empire -- but Kirek's biggest battle of all is to win Angel's love.


  1. I'll take these one at a time.

    Eye of the Beholder: This looks like pretty good SFR to me. It looks a little heroine-centric for my tastes, like the dude is the damsel in distress, but I'd probably pick it up if I saw good buzz about it.

    Star-Crossed: I'm wondering how this book didn't end up with a title with the word "slave" in it. It seems to me like a role reversal story, and I always enjoy those so long as the women still act like women and the men still act like men. This one does have a little irk of mine going though. Is there some universal law in SFR that names have to start with d'something-or-other?

    The Islander:

    The last line makes me wonder if this is genre romance romance. I doubt it. This looks like straight SF to me with a love theme. I doubt this one ends happily with the references to Romeo and Juliet, and the cataclysm going on.

    The Quest:

    This looks like an old school Space Opera. I love Space Operas.


  2. Eye of - sounds like fantasy to me and no I wouldn't read. Nothing that appeals here.

    Star-crossed - slightly nore sci fi but no I wouldn't read. I don't like the idea of the alien cat thing. Main reason for rejecting -I like strong alpha men not sex slaves.

    The islander - fantasy more than sci fi and doesn't appeal. Romeo and Juliet has been done to death and I know its in a lot of stories and thats fine but I don't like to see it in a blurb.

    The quest - well put off by the fact that it's book 4 - It DOES sound like sci fi but nothing different enough about this to make me buy or read.

  3. Boy flick,

    You're hard to please. What works for you?


  4. Jess, thanks for your insightful feedback. (BTW, can I borrow a sentence or two of your comments to add to a Sound Off post on Friday?)

    Barbara, thanks for your comments too. None of these hooked you? I'm just a pushover when it comes to blurbs. I want to read everything. *sigh* And then there's reality. Well, you know. My Leaning Tower of TBR is legendary.

  5. Borrow anything you like. I'm glad I'm contributing. Let me know if there's anything else you need. I sent a shout out to my writer's groups about SFR week. I said they should come check it out.



Thank you for chiming in! We love to see your comments. (All comments are moderated so spam can be terminated!)