Science fiction romance is pretty rare – at least, well-done romance is. For some reason, that sub-genre has been given over to the fantasy folks and left there. But what if someone like Mary Stewart had turned her hand to science fiction after finishing the Merlin series? She didn’t, but it’s okay, because M. K. Wren did, in the Phoenix Legacy – a terrific trilogy of romance novels in a science fiction setting. Though they may not have had The Crystal Cave‘s popular success, they should have. The trilogy is thoroughly thought out, memorable characters, good and evil, and rousing space battles make for a story you can’t put down. I encountered these books in an Oregon coast bookstore many years ago (M. K. Wren is a local author), and I’m glad I did. They’ve also just this July been reissued as e-books.
Wren also wrote one more SF novel – The Gift Upon the Shore, a post apocalyptic story about a writer and a painter on the Oregon Coast, trying to preserve a trove of books. (M. K. Wren until recently lived with a painter on the Oregon coast…) The book was very well received when it first came out in the early ’90s (though some object to the depiction of religion). And it has just this month come out again as an ebook.
Wren’s other books are mysteries. I’m not a big mystery reader, but I tried one. I found it wasn’t for me, much as Mary Stewart’s standard romances weren’t for me. But if you want really well done soft SF with a romantic element, I strongly urge you to check out the Phoenix Legacy trilogy. It’s a terrific series (also available as ebooks). Even if you don’t like romance, but like real, human characters in a speculative setting – you’ll like The Phoenix Legacy.
Exceprts from the e-books are available at the publisher’s website, but for some reason they’re really hard to find. Instead, you can just click on the below thumbnails. You won’t be sorry.
Have you read M. K. Wren? Who’s your favorite low intensity author?