Monday, July 6, 2009

Science Fiction and Romance in the Science Fiction Romance, CRAFT

Ursula Le Guin, among other writers, has said that science fiction isn’t really about the future, but about the present. SF authors use the future as a way to talk about what is happening right now. Le Guin’s incredible LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS, for example, was about gender roles at a time when women and gays weren’t empowered.

So it’s not really surprising to see our current politics and other issues reflected in science fiction or science fiction romance.

SF novels are considered novels of ideas, romance novels are about people. The best SF romance is able to combine both ideas and people into a working whole.

One of the obligations of the SF romance writer is that she must be true to the principle expectations of both genres. For SF, that means correct science and a respect for SF’s various tropes. For romance, that means a romantic relationship with the expectation of a happily-ever-after.

A skilled author who is writing for both audiences can use technology like an airlock without a long explanation but with enough hints about what is happening that most romance readers can figure it out without being SF geeks while the SF geeks just buzz past the moment.

Readers of both genres are reading for a good story so few care if a few specialized terms are explained or not explained as long as it doesn’t interfere with the story.

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