I’ve come to recognize over the past few years that there’s a thriving community of science fiction romance authors (and readers) in Australia. A number of them are on my “auto buy list” so I thought today was a good time to highlight a few.
Anna Hackett writes not one but two SFR series that many other readers and I can’t get enough of – first let’s talk about Hell Squad, of which the author says: This sci fi romance contains a lot of action (think invading aliens, explosions and dangerous missions), tough warriors (the sexy, battle-hardened soldiers of Hell Squad, Squad Nine and the berserkers) and a steamy romance… So if you like it fast, and gritty, and sexy, this is for you!
I can only add that her aliens are very similar to various types of dinosaurs, which is nifty, and this is post apocalyptic action in Australia that keeps you turning the pages. There have been several major twists and turns over the course of the series to date, and while each book features a different couple, the characters from earlier books continue to appear and take part in the action. Her most recent release in the series was Shaw.
Anna’s second series is Phoenix Adventures, about intergalactic treasure hunting, bounty hunters and stellar archaeology adventures that reminded me of Indiana Jones, but set in the future. Return to Dark Earth (rival treasure hunters join forces on a devastated Earth) and On A Barbarian World (stranded interstellar scout must help an alien warrior find a legendary sword), are the most recent entries in the series.
I asked Anna if she felt being Australian gave an author a unique perspective when it came to writing science fiction romance, and here was her answer:
“Science fiction story telling is about futuristic settings, extraterrestrial life, and usually exploring far from our planet, so at first I’m tempted to say that being an Australian author doesn’t bring any particularly unique perspectives to the genre. Then I thought about Australia’s history as a colony, our vast country of natural beauty and deadly wildlife, the Aussie “can-do” spirit, our multicultural make-up (over a quarter of Australians are born outside of Australia) and our distance (and isolation) from many other countries and international events, and I figured that all of that has to leak over in some way to my action-and-adventure-packed sci-fi romances.”
Here are some more favorite reads from Australian authors:
Michelle Diener recently released Dark Deeds, her second book in the Class 5 series and tells the tale of Fiona, an abducted human woman playing a key role in a looming interstellar war. There’s an intriguing Artificial Intelligence who seeks Fiona’s help as well. High stakes and a kickass heroine.
S. E. Gilchrist writes The Mars Academy Series, New Adult (NA) romances set about 100 years in the future, with tensions between Earth and the Mars Colony taking center stage. Cosmic Fire is the latest release for this, but she also writes The Darkon Warriors series, which covers a lot of ground in the various novellas, from enemy-to-lovers (Bargain With the Enemy), to an interstellar rock band (Touring the Stars), to erotic SFR (The Slave Trap).
Shona Husk, Mel Teshco and Denise Rossetti combined creative forces a few years ago to develop and write the connected E S Siren series, set on the starship Earth Ship Siren, heading off to the colony world Solitaire. The characters in the 9 novellas range from prisoners to guards to the ship’s doctor. As Shona told me in a 2014 interview for USA Today Happily Ever After: “I’d researched the Australian First Fleet for a different story and the idea of a fleet of ship leaving home to settle in a place over nine months from help was fascinating. While some would’ve been hopeful, some must have been terrified. Not all survived the voyage and even once they reached Australia many died. In keeping with that idea ES Siren was created with a mix of military, prisoners and civilians all traveling 12 months to the only habitable planet found so far.”
I think the effect of the unique Australian historical experiences shows pretty clearly in the creation of this SFR series. There are 9 books, with each of the authors having written 3 titles in this continuity series. I’d start with the first book, Yours to Uncover.
Greta van der Rol writes a number of series but her Ptorix Empire may be the best known. This author definitely likes to play on the grand intergalactic scale, as shown in The Iron Admiral: Conspiracy, which is Book 1. The most recent is Crisis at Validor, book 4. Love, honor, duty, ambition, war vs. peace, and individuals doing the best they can make up the ingredients of these space operas.
Kylie Scott is probably best known for her rock and roll romance series but I have to mention her two post apocalyptic novels Flesh and Skin, set in Australia, about the battle to survive after the zombies take over the world. As a Walking Dead and World War Z fan, I enjoyed these two smaller scale stories very much and wish she’d written more of them!
A new-to-me Australian SFR author is Jess Anastasi, whose Atrophy is a tale of a prisoner sentenced to life on the grim planet Erebus for a crime he didn’t commit. His escape with the help of a crew member from a ship accidentally stranded on Erebus sounds straightforward but of course there are complications and plots within plots, including the existence of shapeshifting aliens. I believe this book is the beginning of a series. Anything that reviewers liken to a “Firefly” vibe resonates with me!
Don’t want to sign off without mentioning K. S. Augustin, who writes a variety of SFR novels – one with recent buzz is Restoration. It’s on my To Be Read list.
I’m sure I’ve missed some people, so if you have a favorite Australian SFR author to tell me about, please leave a comment!