My next guest blogger is JC Hay, author of His Lowborn Heart, a Science Fiction Romance. He discusses some of the wonderful things that the romance genre lends to the science fiction genre when the two are combined to produce one amazing story. Welcome, JC! [Also: be sure to check back tomorrow… I’m going to reveal the new cover for WHITE HEART OF JUSTICE!]
What Can Romance Offer Science Fiction?
There have been a few posts lately about what Science Fiction offers to Romance as a genre, and I (obviously) agree that like any speculative genre, it offers new and interesting ways to look at relationships, and new challenges to overcome on the road to ‘happily ever after.’ What I haven’t seen a lot of, however, is that the opposite is also true – Romance has a lot to offer to Science Fiction. Indeed, without it, the genre can feel as soulless and empty as any interstellar void.
Foremost, Romance offers a way to humanize the future. Science Fiction is the language of the possible, but too often we find loving descriptions of fantastic advances in technology, with little understanding of how the changes affect our ability to relate to each other. In the last decade, “friend” has taken on an entirely new definition thanks to Facebook and the Internet. As we push our ‘constantly connected’ lifestyle into the future, how does that blur the line for our other relationships? Is a long distance romance possible between two people separated by light years? What if they never meet in the flesh?
Romance lets us explore the impact of cultural differences as well – not just through literally alien cultures, but through different directions of our own culture. With our own plugged in society, and the media’s constant focus on seconds of our attention; how does that change our approach to each other? (Actually, that could be a fun story – a cyber-blogger transmitting her life and focused on her ratings, finds her Mr. Right, and the ‘audience’ hates him. Or gets stuck with the ‘Mr. Right’ that her ratings have decided on, rather than her. Put that in my To-Write file!)
Most important to me, Romance gives the characters of Science Fiction something to believe in. In sweeping space epics, and tales of galactic empires at war, it’s too easy to focus on the distance and see it in large scale. But Romance brings us into the individual lives of the people; it lets us see how these grand plots disrupt and interrupt their lives, and how their love can keep them fighting against otherwise insurmountable odds. We care about an upstart rebellion, not because the Empire is Evil, but because a feisty princess and her sardonic pirate captain manage to find each other in the rubble. Romance makes us care about their futures, and thus our own. And that’s what Science Fiction was wanting all along.
About JC Hay
JC Hay writes romantic science fiction and space opera, because the coolest gadgets in the world are useless without someone to share them. In addition to Romance Writers of America, he is also a proud member of the SFR Brigade (for Science Fiction Romance), and the Fantasy, Futuristic, and Paranormal Romance chapter of RWA. His newest space opera, His Lowborn Heart, is coming in December from Lyrical Press. JC Hay is on Twitter, Facebook, and sometimes even http://jchay.com.
Are you a fan of SFR? JC’s post reminds me that I need to mix a little more of that sub-genre into my TBR pile. I’ve really enjoyed the SFRs I’ve read. Feel free to share your favorites in the comments or just tell us your thoughts on mixing genres. Thanks to JC for guest blogging today!