Note: This post first appeared in the Roswell Daily Record.
Since September is a back to school month in many places, I thought I’d cover scifi academy romance. Academy romance is huge in certain genres and as the title implies, usually centers around a school or academy, typically for a certain subset of characters like shifters or fae folk. A large percentage of the time the book involves a “why choose” situation, also known as reverse harem where the female main character will have multiple partners. In SFR, the last element tends to be absent and the pairing is usually M/F but there are a few exceptions.
Four extremely talented SFR authors came together to write the Alien Warrior Academy series, with Tana Stone releasing the first book, Rogue. The heroine is a feisty Texas girl, one of a very few humans sent to the alien academy and she has mad pod racing skills. Plus an attraction to one of her instructors who seems antagonistic to her. Of course these ‘enemies’ make the transition to lovers. There’s also a subplot about a traitor which carries on through the series. Hope Hart wrote the second book, Rebel, which focuses on another couple but since the human heroines came to the academy in a group, we do see some of the previous characters again. Book three was Reckless by Miranda Bridges and has the nerd human hacker girl working on finding the threatening traitor while getting hand-to-hand combat lessons from an imposing alien warrior (romance ensues). Ruthless by Kyra Snow features an age gap romance with a young assassin and her older ‘silver fox’ instructor. The overarching traitor plot is also resolved and the series comes to a satisfying conclusion.
Grace Goodwin wrote the three book series Starfighter Training Academy and a few of the key elements might remind you a bit of the classic movie “The Last Starfighter.” Of course Ms. Goodwin takes the basic concept of a video game being real and used as a recruiting tool and puts her own spin and steam on the story. Here’s the blurb: Starfighter Training Academy. It was just a game. The newest, hottest video game release of the year. Choose a role. Build the perfect hero who joins you on missions to save the Vega star system from the evil Queen Raya and her merciless Dark Fleet. Play for hours? Check. Obsess over the in-game romance between your avatar and the sexiest alien you’ve ever seen? Check. Win? Beat the heck out of the game? Check and check. Open your door at 3:00 in the morning to find that smoking hot alien you thought you made up in your head standing there? Um… okay. Wake up on the other side of the galaxy with that same alien insisting you’re his… and that you haven’t been playing a video game, but completed the training program to become the first Starfighter from Earth?
The adventure goes from there. Books two and three focus on friends of the first woman, who also play the game and find themselves recruited to be actual starfighters, and to enjoy romance with hunky alien warriors.
The Secret Supers series by Aurora Springer is set on Earth and has a slightly different focus, as the heroine is juggling trying to finish her college degree and do crime fighting as Super Starrella. Here’s the logline for the series: Crime-fighting superheroes, snarky flying animals, living gargoyles and devious aliens tangle in this adventure and romance.
Skye MacKinnon twists the basic plots even further with her Intergalactic Guide to Humans series, where the guide in question is a required text book for the Galactic University. Here’s the story for book one, Alien Abduction for Beginners: Not all aliens are good at abducting humans. Havel, Matar and Xil have failed too many times to count. Luckily, there’s help available for failed kidnappers: a diploma offered by the Intergalactic University. To complete their course, these three sexy aliens need to abduct a human female – and they’re graded on it. The problem is, the human female has no intentions of being abducted, not even to help them get the universe’s most recognised abduction qualification. A hilarious sci-fi reverse harem with clueless aliens and the human woman they’re trying to seduce (and probe). Beware, these aliens have fangs and tails and are ready to put them to good use.
Note the books in this series are a mix of stories involving reverse harem, menage and M/F relationship types. You will also learn to bake an alien cake according to the author.
Odette C. Bell’s Galactic Coalition Academy is a sprawling series where “cadets become heroes and hearts are always won” as the author says. Ms. Bell follows each couple through several books or episodes set in the same universe and throws in all sorts of science fiction adventures and tropes along the way, with the action taking place throughout the galaxy.
The Chimera Academy series from Eva Brandt checks a number of trope boxes, being reverse harem, and bully romance, science fiction with elements of magic, and with some male/male content. Here’s how the heroine ends up in the situation: Once, I was a normal girl. Much to my mother’s dismay, I didn’t have any magic, but that was all right. Not every girl carried Gaia’s Gift. There were other things I could do to prove myself, even if I couldn’t heal the earth. I could simply live a normal life—something which should always be treasured. Maybe I’d have done exactly that had I not stumbled into the mysterious Sphinx, one the most dangerous metallic guardians in the world, considered impossible to pilot even by the most skilled Tamers. As it turns out, that wasn’t exactly true. I have a natural talent for being a Tamer, a pilot for the elite unit of Chimera Warriors, and I’m the only one who can pilot the Sphinx. There’s just one problem. To do that, I have to go to the legendary Chimera Academy. The all-boy academy, where everyone will hate me on principle. And I have to face the pilots of my future unit—all born and bred for this task.
A few other authors to explore for SFR academy romance include Jenna M. Jett, Karen Akins, C. T. Phipps, Ruby Free and Enid Titan.