Launching Romance into the stars.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Time to Get Your Geek-Sexy On!

I want to talk a moment about science fiction romance. When I say science fiction, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind?
Do you think cheesy science fiction television from the sixties and seventies? Ships and space? Aliens?
Yes, science fiction romance is that, but it’s also something else, a story with science and love. Many readers shy away because of the tag and common misconceptions. If you’re one of those readers avoiding this sub-genre of romance because of these misconceptions, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Let’s look at some of the “common” misconceptions.
Common Misconceptions:
1.  All science fiction takes place on a ship.

Truth be told, many of the science fiction erotic romances I’ve read lately are planet based, some even take place on Earth. Here’s an excerpt from a planet based romance called, Courtesan Boot Camp:

            She stopped in front of the tall door and stared at it for several seconds before she found her courage. Shay cleared her throat. “Open,” she spoke in her most commanding tone. Stepping forward on instinct, she smacked face first into the hard surface, which had failed to vaporize as expected.

            Shay reached up and rubbed the tip of her nose. What kind of freaking planet is this?

She poked it and cleared her throat. “Open.” The door didn’t move. Shay glanced around for a button, or something, anything to activate the mechanism that opened it. Lever? Fuck. Nothing but a round thingy. She bit her lip again. Certainly nothing as primitive as….

            You have to turn the round thingy, honey. This time Milos’s voice came through by brainwave, telepathy, or whatever he was using to annoy the shit out of her.

            “Stay out of my head.”

            Turn the knob. Open the door. It’s not rocket science.

            “I know rocket science. I don’t need your instructions.”

            Of course you don’t, the voice in her head said again.

            “You’re an asshole!”

            “Nice language.”

            Shay lifted her chin to look in the face of…dear gods. Dark hair, green eyes, strong jaw and chin. The man standing in the doorway had looks that would melt a woman where she stood. And she’d just called him an asshole, or he thought she did. Her mouth dropped open.

Outside of the Ruellan prince, he had to be the most attractive man she’d ever seen, and even then, he might even be more handsome than Tavin. He had a good four inches on her, making her five feet nine feel petite. The tall drink of Dominus wore loose-fitting pants like her martial arts instructors, and no shirt, unlike her martial arts instructors.

            On his chest, he bore a tattoo of a Ruellan military insignia from a spec-ops unit made up of Toric soldiers—for-hire mercenaries. The tattoo, a dragon-like creature known an avenger, whipped its tail around, moving across the surface of his skin through a nanite-infusing technology. The nanites were housed in microscopic beads that made up the ink used by the artist. They were programmed to change the color inside each bead, going from clear to any hue in the spectrum within a micro-second, creating a moving picture that could travel from head to toe on its host, if the person had been tattooed in that manner. A lengthy and painful process, Shay had only ever seen pictures of it before.

            The avenger opened its mouth as though it were roaring and slipped down his chest, across his abs in a serpent-like, undulating motion, sliding back up onto the opposite shoulder, where it wrapped its tail around his arm before freezing in place.

            It was not uncommon for a Toric to be tattooed in such a manner. The general population of the mongrels had a touch of sadism, making her wonder if what Milos told her were true—that he didn’t like anyone.

Most Toric were mixed breeds, with roots on every planet in the galaxy. Full-blooded Torics were rare and most often were advisors to royalty, or like the little asshole, Milos, close to the royals.

            And dear gods, abs like that really existed in more than airbrushed images in holo-mags. Her head began to spin and Shay grabbed his arm to keep from swooning.

He glanced down at her hand and back up to her face. “I hope your manners are better than I’ve seen thus far.”

            She yanked her hand off. Heat flushed through her body, certainly turning her a nice cherry red. Again, an inappropriate response for a Ruellan courtesan. “Oh shit.” Followed by another—she was making a stellar impression.

The corner of his mouth twitched. Are you coming inside?

She sucked in a breath and stepped inside. Fantastic, another mind-reader. “Dayne?”

“At your service.”
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2.  All science fiction romance has freaky aliens.
Actually, many authors prefer humans as their heroes and heroines, or a sub-species that are not much different than what we’re familiar with. Take a moment to check out the best-selling science fiction League series by paranormal author, Sherrilyn Kenyon.

Not only is she only known for her smexy vampire hunters and immortals, she writes science fiction romance with humans and humanoid subspecies as the primary heroes. Same goes for Susan Grant, Linnea Sinclair and a dozen other well known New York Times Bestsellers.
Even the popular young adult science fiction romance novels, I Am Number Four and The Hunger Games, have humanoid characters. One the alien race blends in on Earth, hiding and fighting for the survival of their sub-species. The other is dystopian, a form of science fiction and about post war humans controlled by the government through the Hunger Games and annual slaughter of their children. Neither is considered paranormal, even though things that happen in them could be tagged as such.
Here’s an excerpt from a human-based science fiction romance called, Rebel Souls: 

New Xiera Port docks, ten years before….

            “Come with me, Duchess.”

            Ava snapped awake and stared into the lapis depths of Brodie Mark’s eyes.

            “We’ll make history today.” He straddled her hips with his hands pressed into her bunk on each side of her head, leaning in with his lips inches from hers.

            “I’m not dressed and if that was a pass, it was really bad.” The New Xieran summer had been hotter than usual and the scorching afternoon baked the air in her cabin, forcing her to strip to the thin T-shirt and her skivvies. Sometime during her nap, the sheet had worked down to her knees, exposing the naked flesh of her thighs and her belly, where her shirt had bunched up.

            “Not a pass.” His smile started as a twitch in the corners of his mouth and quickly spread to his whole face. Jewels twinkled from around her hips and navel, reflecting in Brodie’s gaze. “And it’s more than obvious you’re not dressed, Duchess.”

            “Brodie,” Ava gasped and grabbed the sheets. She yanked as hard as she could in an attempt to cover her body. Best friend or not, he didn’t need to see her nearly naked. “You’re not supposed to be here—when I’m alone.” She shoved his shoulder, pushing him back. “Uncle Theo will kill you if he finds you in here.”

            Brodie shrugged, knowing there was little chance of that. Her uncle had left for a meeting and told Ava to stay put. She’d soon grown bored and dropped into sleep only to be woken by the twenty-year-old heartthrob.

            “I’m serious. You shouldn’t be in here.”

            “I know,” he said. “But you’re always safe with me. And when you’re not with me….” He pulled a medallion on a long chain from his pocket and dangled it before her. It spun around, glinting in the light pouring through her cabin’s portal window. “I have a surprise.” He dropped it on her chest between her breasts and leaned back in, pressing closer, until Ava’s breath caught in her throat. “Today is special—monumental.”

            “It is, is it?”

            His tangled hair hung in a mass of dreadlocks around his face and dirt smudged his left jaw. It didn’t temper his devastating looks. Many an innocent girl lost her virginity to Brodie at the crook of a finger, and Ava was determined not to be one of them.

            She tugged her gaze from his and stared at the open door to her quarters, anything to get her mind off him. “You need to get out of here before my uncle comes back.”

            “I will if you come with me.”

            Ava turned back to him. “My uncle will kick my ass if I leave the ship.”

            “What is it the Terrans say? Damned if you do—damned if you don’t?” He cocked his head and gave her a wicked grin. The muscles in her thighs clenched and her heart began to race. Two years older, Brodie had been the leader of a pack of feral children. Now a man, he’d joined the resistance and had quickly climbed the ranks. Taller by a foot and twice as strong, he could easily force Ava to come along, but instead, he asked with excitement beaming from his eyes. “You know you want to.”

            Ava snorted and fought the smile that tugged at the corners of her mouth. “Brodie Mark, you’re likely to get me into trouble.”

            He sat back on his heels and laughed. “I am trouble.” Brodie was as tough as a seasoned soldier and twice as lethal. He’d been forced to fend for himself and had killed to survive since the age of five. Brodie had very few things he valued, and those few things governed his honor code. That code meant he’d never harm a Rebel, or those that served the cause. Most of all he’d never harm her. Going with him should be safe.

            She’d first met him on the street as he’d followed a target when he was twelve. She’d tagged along, wanting to get a closer look at his blaster rifle. Brodie told her to go away, but Ava had been persistent, dogging his heels until he’d spun around and knocked her flat. “Not this time. It’s too dangerous for little girls. Someday when you’re older.”

“I’m not a little girl. I’m ten.”

            His gaze swept over her as he stared down. “You look like a baby.”

            “I’m a Frost, not a baby.”

            Brodie’s eyes had popped wide. He gave her a curt nod. “Be safe, Duchess. Go home. You can come another time. I promise, I’ll come and get you when you’re ready.”

It had been the first time he’d called her that, his pet name.

            It had taken her years to realize it wasn’t a nickname, but a title, one she’d hold if her mother hadn’t murdered her husband and run off with her father.

            “Well, are you coming?” Ava pulled out of her memories and stared Brodie in the eyes. She bit her lip, debating whether it would be worth the trouble she’d get into. Seeming to sense her indecision, he gave her his best pouty face. Ava’s heart skipped, and she fought the giggle. Puppy dog eyes looked ridiculous on the dangerous Rebel. She should tell him.

            “Well, Duchess?” Charm, charisma, and heat rolled off him.

             He knew she couldn’t say no.
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3.  Science fiction is only for geeks.

Smart is the new sexy!
Let’s talk about geeks for a moment, shall we. Natalie Portman, the actress who plays Padme Skywalker in the Star Wars series speaks five languages and has a degree from Harvard. How's that for a sexy geek? And she’s wrapped up in a pretty bow. Still not convinced geeks can be hot? Other geek hotties:  Cindy Crawford, Aishwarya Rai, Kate Beckinsale, Matt Damon, Sharon Stone, Claire Danes, Geena Davis, and Will Smith, who won a scholarship to MIT, but pursued a music career instead. This list goes on and on. So, I double dog dare you to try a little science fiction and not see all the sexy in it. 

I guess the point I’m trying to make is that if you love military, paranormal or unusual worlds and exciting plots in your love stories, you cannot go wrong with a little science fiction romance. One commenter on this blog will win a $20.00 gift certificate to  All you have to do is leave a comment on this post. I will draw a winner on Friday and announce them on my Saturday post next week. You have until Thursday at midnight to enter.


Jessica E. Subject said...

You definitely do bust those misconceptions in your stories as do many science fiction romances. It's an exciting genre to be a part of. :)

Pippa Jay said...

I've had people read my science fiction romance and tell me they've been surprised to find they enjoyed it because science fiction isn't their thing. Most are scared by the scifi tag, expecting long scientific explanations or terms.

D L Jackson said...

You're absolutely right, Pippa. Science fiction isn't all nuts and bolts. The worlds that can be built, the stories that can be told within them are infinate. To say it's not your thing, is to say nothing appeals, because science fiction romance really has it all.

Jessica, I was really excited lately to have a reader tell me they are changing their perception about science fiction. Courtesan Boot Camp was nothing like what they expected. Yes I love the red shirts and pulp science fiction, but I also love the suspense, the world building, romantic tension and new places I can create and take people. Many of my novels take place on planets for this reason. There is so much I can introduce you to on the ground. You don't have to fly through the stars to experience science fiction. And I can promise you don't need a degree in rocket science to enjoy it. It's fun, one of the most creative genres out there, because you are not confined to any rules. With myth like vampires and shifters, their are preconceived rules that people feel must be followed to qualify the story as legitimate. Vampires are undead, they drink blood. Weres shift their shape. When you build your own worlds and myths, you can throw those rules out the window and make your own, giving a deeper, more creative universe to your readers.

Jessica E. Subject said...

So true, DL! The sky, or should I say the universe, it the limit. :)

Like you and Pippa, I've had readers who don't generally read science fiction (romance or not), read my books and then look for more SFR. It's a genre I love.

Cassandra Dean said...

What a great post, DL. Yay for busting misconceptions! Science Fiction is way more than the stereotype and it's awesomesauce you're declaring that loud and proud! :D

Liza O'Connor said...

I agree that Sci Fi needs to loosen its shackles. But I hope you weren't calling Star Trek (the original) cheesy, because for its time, it presented many quantum physic concepts that the general audience and most scientist thought impossible, which have now proven otherwise.

D L Jackson said...

Lol. No, I said cheesy, not Star trek. I was thinking more along the lines of space ships on wires on Sat morning television. *grins* Barbarella, and other such, travesties.
I lurv Star Trek. Not only was the science ahead of its time, but they way they presented a future society was as well. Racism did not exist in that show, even though it was present in society at the time. They pushed all kinds of envelopes. Which is pretty awesome foward thinking.

D L Jackson said...

Lol. No, I said cheesy, not Star trek. I was thinking more along the lines of space ships on wires on Sat morning television. *grins* Barbarella, and other such, travesties.
I lurv Star Trek. Not only was the science ahead of its time, but they way they presented a future society was as well. Racism did not exist in that show, even though it was present in society at the time. They pushed all kinds of envelopes. Which is pretty awesome foward thinking.

Diane Burton said...

What a great post. Like the rest of you, I write sci-fi rom because I love what I can do. As DL said, I get to make my own world with my own rules. I, too, have had readers say they never read sci-fi and are amazed that they enjoyed my book(s). Let's hear it for the sexy geeks.

Wishing you all the best, Diane

D L Jackson said...

Casandra Dean, you are the winner of the $20.00 ThinkGeek Gift Certificate. I'll be sending it soon.

Cassandra Dean said...

Oh wow, thanks so much, DL! :D