The annual SFR Galaxy Awards were recently bestowed on a wide ranging selection of science fiction romance novels, along with a game, a movie and a comic. Launched in 2012 by long time SFR bloggers and authors Laurie A. Green of Spacefreighters Lounge and Heather Massey of The Galaxy Express, the goal of the awards each year is to honor a variety of standout stories and help connect readers with good books. The theme of the SFR Galaxy Awards is inclusiveness, recognizing multiple science-fiction romance books and/or their standout elements.
I’ve been covering science fiction romance for the USA Today Happily Ever After Blog for several years now. (And been published in the genre myself since 2012.) In that time I’ve seen a tremendous growth in the number and variety of SF romances available for readers to choose from. When I published the list of SFR Galaxy Award recipients in USAT/HEA this year, I thought it was a good time to see what the nonscientific (but enthusiastic) sample of authors felt about the growth and future of science fiction romance. The answers were wide ranging, fascinating and fun!
I’ll share a few key excerpts here from the replies of several authors, to whet your appetite for the conversation we had. Please hop over to USA Today/HEA for the full discussion and complete set of answers from all the authors who responded. (The 2016 list of awards can be found at http://sfrgalaxyawards.blogspot.com/ )
A number of the authors seemed to feel that the growth in such movies as the new “Star Wars” and the Marvel Universe should help science fiction romance continue to grow. Here for example, were the musings of Pauline B. Jones, author of Sucker Punch: “…I was talking about SFR in a readers group just this week. Many of the readers loved ‘Star” Wars’ and/or fill-in-the-SFR-movie-blank. I asked if they read SFR books and most … didn’t. And these were avid readers. Most couldn’t explain why they hadn’t tried SFR. I was able to point out that you don’t need a science degree to read and enjoy SFR. That any reader can find their favorite trope/pairing within the genre. That there is an amazing and fun diversity to be found in SFR. I came to SFR from romantic suspense, so I keep hoping that more readers will wander outside their usual genre and discover — like I did — that SFR isn’t just for geeks. That they could be reading their next great adventure while they wait for the next installment of ‘Star Wars’.”
Another strong underpinning for the continued enthusiasm for SFR, as expressed in part by M. K. Eidem, author of Ynyr, is the genre’s ability to break down barriers: “…in ways that can’t be done as easily in historical or even contemporary because of “rules” associated with them. With SFR you can change those “rules” and show the effect. It makes the reader think and consider something they never had before.”
A E. Ash, author of Luminous, says: “…I never get tired of imagining how living, breathing (or not breathing, depending on the species), everyday sorts would handle the unknown or even the unknowable. In my favorite sci-fi narratives, characters experience adventure, misadventure, exploration and the great alien beyond but with the anchoring urge to maintain meaningful connections with others. Romance can provide some of the most powerful connections and these relationships invite readers/viewers to connect with characters no matter how alien or epic in scope the story becomes.”
Along with this theme, diversity is growing increasingly more important and SFR is uniquely positioned to embrace the characters and concepts. Lise MacTague, author of Depths of Blue, adds: “…SFR, as with many other genres, is slowly becoming more diverse. I’ve seen many discussions about diversity in publishing over the past couple years. These discussions are taking place not only in the Twitter-Facebook-blogosphere, but it’s creeping into other areas of popular culture.”
Nathalie Gray, Muzzle Flash, commented in part: “…It seems to me books have always been ahead of their time, in terms of what female characters did, their roles, their motivations. Movies always lagged behind. Nowadays, when I see sci-fi movies and TV series with powerful female roles, it makes my heart sing. Finally, I tell myself. Finally.”
As Sharon Lynn Fisher, author of Echo 8, says: “…What I love best, as both a reader and writer, is to follow a heroine and hero to a place where the rules are different, stakes are high and every plot twist triggers a fresh sense of wonder.”
Sabine Priestley, author of Rebellion: “…As science-fiction becomes science fact more and more, the door for women to curl up next to a good science-fiction romance is getting wider. I can guarantee you that every one of these kickass authors being highlighted here is ready and waiting for that day.”
And as a best-selling science fiction romance author myself, I’m VERY excited about the prospects of telling my stories to the widest possible audience.