Because SFR is such a new genre, the answer to what SFR actually is constantly shifts.  Some indie authors who write really good SFR put themselves in the Science Fiction category, while some authors who write science fiction with a romantic subplot think SFR is fair game and jump into the pond.

Readers are also divided over what SFR is or is not.  Must it have sex?  Graphic sex?  Alien alpha heroes?  Must there be spaceships?  If it doesn’t, and it is set on Earth, is it still science fiction romance?

Sometimes, the answer to that last one is yes.  Just as Romanceland sprawls all over the place and annexes new territory every day, science fiction readers, authors and publishing industry people have been arguing over what, precisely, science fiction is since SF was first published.

In the end, though, one of the best guides is SFR authors themselves.  They know why they’re writing SFR, and their answers can help shed light on what the genre is, and why.

Here, then, are their answers.


Why do you read SFR?

I’m a dreamer and can’t help but wonder what life exists “out there”. Aliens make the ultimate book boyfriends, imo. — Lea Kirk

I love an HEA and conflict based on sexual tension, which explains the romance part. I love reading about alternative futures, ways of being, how humans evolve (or don’t), how societies change and what that means for being human–the SF part. Put it all together in SFR, and we see how love, relationships, families and bonding look like in the future, when humans and machines are integrated, privacy non-existent, reproduction redefined, and lifespans extended. Among many other realities. –Shari Elder

My first SFR couple: Han Solo and Princess Leia. I first met them at the movies, but I kept them close to my heart by reading the Star Wars novels. I followed their adventures because they could kick the Empire’s butt and still love each other afterwards. I fell in love with with their devotion to one another. There wasn’t a whole lot of SFR available for pre-teen back in the 70s. Today, I can read the mix of romance and space adventure from a multitude of talented authors and that makes me so very happy. — Debra Jess

It’s all Star Wars’ fault. Who wouldn’t want to explore weird and wonderful places, fly spaceships, and fall in love with gorgeous, brave, and sexy space heroes? –Jay Shaw

I’m fascinated by projections of the future, whether logical or prophetic, as well as the way we imagine our responses to new situations will be handled. Above all, I believe humanity will actually have a future, that we’ll survive whatever happens next, and these projections known as ‘fiction’ will help us figure out ways to survive. Last but not least: the events of our lives don’t happen in a vacuum! Our love lives are heavily influenced by everything we do in life, and vice versa. And good fiction should show that. –Eva Caye

To feed my fantasies, to think that maybe some day I will see some of the advances and gadgets we only deign to read about. –Vikki Romano

I read SFR because the stars are the next great unexplored frontier, and anything is possible. Science appeals to my logical side, romance to stimulate the emotional side! The best of both (all!) worlds!–AR DeClerck

To let go of the stress of the everyday grind. –TM Slay

Science fiction opens up so many possibilities for original ideas, storylines, and characters, and the romance adds spice and gives the storyline a center to build around. After all, isn’t love at the heart of every story?–Cassy Campbell

The first adult book (no not THAT kind; I mean “not Nancy Drew”) I ever read was science fiction, and I was hooked for life. I discovered romances soon after, and found myself wondering why they couldn’t be close, personal friends with benefits. SFR is the best of both worlds—cool technology, warm emotion, and sometimes hot sex. The “R” helps humanize the “SF,” and the “SF” keeps the “R” out of its own head. The best SFR writing melds the two so well that the story would fall apart without either. –Carol Van Natta

I love the action, adventure and romance, set in a world where anything is possible! Those futuristic or scifi elements add extra dimensions to the classic storytelling and provide an even more compelling backdrop for the romance. –Veronica Scott

I enjoy watching the characters fall in love and overcome their obstacles in a setting that’s a little more diverse than what you find in more traditional romance novels. I especially love it when the writer has fleshed out an incredible new world and it really feels like they’ve put some thought and logic into it. To me, that’s the writer being doubly creative.–Catherine Cerveny

I love authors who give free rein to their vivid imaginations, and there are none as vivid as science fiction romance authors. I can lose myself in a strange, new world when this one gets difficult or boring.  –Jenna Ives

SFR is hopeful. The hero and heroine not only win each other, they win the day. It may be an escape from the wear and tear of daily like, but it also helps me hold a vision in my mind, of what I want the future to be for my kids and grandkids.  –Melisse Aires

Basically, for the alien sex. I’m kidding, in part. I enjoy love stories in which opposites attract, and nothing is more interesting than two individuals from two different cultures, races, and life experiences overcoming all differences to fall in love? Also, the settings are limited only by the imagination of the author.  –Selene Grace Silver

I love SF. Adding some romance to mix, well, that’s just the cat’s meow.  –Theda Hudson

I’m a sensual guy who loves great romance & intimacy. If the SciFi is good science, I love SciFi. Combine them & I’m in heaven!  –E.G. Fox

One word – danger! There are so many things that can go wrong on a spaceship or a strange planet, or with a robot or an alien life form. The stakes are higher, the suspense shivers me to the edge of my seat, and there are absolutely no limits! –Lindsey R. Loucks

I love the possibilities of SFR because it’s based upon science and my training is as a scientist.  –Lynn Crain

I’ve been a fan of science fiction my whole life. My mum had me watching Star Trek before I could walk, and I was hooked. Infinite worlds, unlimited potential, and a universe full of love stories to get lost in. Sci-fi romance has it all!  –Susan Hayes

Science fiction allows us to explore on a grand scale. I mean, how often do you get to travel through time and space? To experience unlimited, fully-realized futures? I also love how science fiction changes the context of difficult contemporary social issues, shining a new light on them and opening them up for discussion. Immersing myself in visions of the future makes me hopeful that the human race is actually going to have one. And who doesn’t love a little romance?  –A.W. Cross

I love being transported to galaxies far far away. Even as a child, I was obsessed with the stars and drove my mom crazy asking her questions about the galaxies. She wasn’t into it like I was, but that didn’t stop her from purchasing me books on planets. My obsession didn’t disappear when I became an adult. It grew stronger. When I read my first Sci-Fi romance, I was hooked. It contained three things I love: stars, futuristic technology and romance. Now I’m addicted to all things Sci-Fi: books, shows, movies, comics, jewelry, everything.  –Siren Allen

The world we live in drives me to despair more often than not. Being able to live in a galaxy far, far away through another set of characters allows me to regain perspective. Living through well-drawn characters who are experiencing the emotional growth of a good relationship, where the happy ending required by the genre is a foregone conclusion, helps me regain some optimism in the midst of our society’s darkness. –Tonya Cannariato

I love exploring new worlds and alien cultures, but I also like to read near sci fi about what our world could be like in the future.  –Shona Husk


Why do you write SFR?

For much the same reason I read SFR. The opportunities to create are endless. –Lea Kirk

For the same reasons I like reading it. It lets me personally think through how love, relationships, families and bonding look like in the future, when humans and machines are integrated, privacy non-existent, reproduction redefined, and lifespans extended. Among many other. –Shari Elder

Growing up, my Saturday mornings always started with the Superfriends. I loved the amazing powers of Superman and Wonder Woman, but in my imagination I believed they were dating. Saving the world looked fun, but what was the point if you couldn’t watch them fall in love too? I decided to fix this problem by writing stories about superheroes who not only save the world, but fall in love. In my Thunder City series, you’ll meet the Alternative Humans who use their powers for good, and find their one true love to boot.  –Debra Jess

Who can’t help being inspired by a childhood seasoned with movies/shows including Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, Stargate Atlantis, Star Trek, and recently Jupiter Ascending? They taught me about freedom of expression, creativity, and the possibility of anything and everything being real. There’s nothing like escaping into a world of your own creation, then offering that joy and excitement to readers who share the same passion. –Jay Shaw

I’m an oddity in the sci-fi and romance genres: I write character-driven novels that don’t rely on good-vs-evil or end-of-the-world premises to give the protagonists actions or goals. My personal emphasis: we can’t afford to denigrate half of society, i.e. women; EVERY person has worth, and we are ALL important. I like to inspire future-lovers in three ways: the future can be better than the past; selecting your life-mate (or none) is the most important individual decision you can make; and equality-in-diversity is what makes humanity strong. –Eva Caye

I’m a geek and a nerd. I’ve worked in the tech field for more than 25 yrs and it’s a passion of mine, to see where our future will go, to see what science brings us.  –Vikki Romano

I choose to write SFR for many of the same reasons I like to read it. It makes my inner nerd happy to write the science, and my inner softy happy to write the swoon-worthy parts.  –AR DeClerck

To tell the stories of the amazing characters in my mind.  –TM Slay

For me, romance gives the story a center and a natural tension, and scifi romance is so freeing compared to real world stories. Science fiction can go anywhere, do anything, and be anything. It’s a match made in the heavens! –Cassy Campbell

My muse’s home planet is science fiction, but it visits others. SF is an inherently hopeful genre; it assumes we make it past tomorrow, the next four years, the next century, and break free of our current technological and cultural limitations. Romance asserts that people, no matter how imperfect, can come to love and be loved, so there’s an inherent justice to it. The big damn story arc of my space opera series is a time of upheaval, so the romance helps show how people survive and persevere. Just doing my part to help SFR achieve world domination. 😉  — Carol Van Natta

I’m a story teller and all the stories in my head are filled with science fiction and romance. I love to read SFR, and despite all of us in the scifi romance community writing as fast and as well as we can, there’s just never enough, so I write what I want to read myself. And I love being able to share my stories with other readers.  –Veronica Scott

I love being swept away by the romantic aspects of the love story paired with the Big Ideas and cutting edge creativity that’s always been the hallmark of great science fiction. I feel like the stakes are higher and the themes are more powerful, so when the couple eventually does get their HEA, they definitely deserve it.  –Catherine Cerveny

Growing up, I wanted to be an astronaut. Unfortunately, I get sick on roller coasters, so being nauseous in the weightlessness of space wasn’t exactly appealing. (And NASA wouldn’t have hired me…) So I became a science fiction romance author! The best part is building entire worlds just from my imagination. There are no rules, except the ones I create. A planet with twin moons that chase each other across the sky night after night, always just tantalizingly out of reach but never giving up the delicious pursuit? That’s Sirene from my story In The Court Of Love And Loss.  — Jenna Ives

Writing SFR opens up so many possibilities! It is fun and fulfilling to write a romance within an adventure in Sci-fi world.  — Melisse Aires

I write to escape, and sometimes, I need to escape really far away–like off planet or into an alternate reality. The possibilities of characters and settings are limitless in SFR.  –Selene Grace Silver

I love SF. Romance happens when people get together. The SF genre lets you play with some interesting romantic ideas and philosophies.  –Theda Hudson

I’m a sensual guy who loves great romance & intimacy. If the SciFi is good science, I love SciFi. Combine them & I’m in heaven! Why not write what I love?  –E.G. Fox

I write SFR kind of for the same reasons I read it, but I’m also fascinated by science. As a kid, I hated it, but as an adult (well, technically), I want to inhale all the sciencey stuff. Sciencey is a word, right?  –Lindsey R. Loucks

SFR is about the future. I love thinking about what might be for those living during that time. Science can open up the world to those who are willing to learn and listen. SFR is an outlet for that learning as authors explore new possibilities for humanity.  –Lynn Crain

II love the world building that goes along with writing SFR, and the freedom that comes with writing about different cultures and species. The social rules that govern us in the here and now don’t need to apply, and considering I write a lot of menage romance, that’s a good thing!  –Susan Hayes

I am fascinated with taking a single idea or happenstance, some small seed of the past or present, and using it to build an entirely different future from what may have been intended. Science can create with the best of intentions, but fallible hands seeking heaven often find hell instead. It’s a very human experience, and there a vainglorious beauty in being its creator.  –A.W. Cross

Because not even gravity can hold me down when it comes to Sci-Fi romance. I can literally create characters that are out of this world. Plus, the research side of it is fun also. When I was in college, If you’d told me that I would one day love doing research, I wouldn’t have believed you. There’s nothing more exciting than researching ‘how to safely send a human through a black hole.’ LOL.  –Siren Allen

I see the stakes in our world as being impossibly high: Overcoming tyranny and oppression. But Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi and many other activists have proven in a multitude of ways that this is only possible by modeling the peace, love, and understanding we wish to see around us. Finding a healthy relationship with another person is the best microcosm I know of for radiating peace, love, and understanding toward a being who is equally as complicated as you. Setting that relationship in an environment that allows enough distance for perspective might help others realize the same. –Tonya Cannariato

For me SFR is a lot like fantasy, but with science instead of magic. I love the world building and that when I write about aliens I can create entirely new cultures.  –Shona Husk


Your turn!

Tell the authors who have spoken up today why you read SFR – you might help shape future books!

Add your answer in comments!


About the Authors

I am incredibly grateful to all the authors who contributed to this post!

Readers, browse through this list, click on site links, and on the book covers (they lead to book pages and new-to-you novels!) — if you don’t know these authors, but enjoyed their perspective on SFR, then you can follow up and learn more about them.  (If you do, leave a comment and tell them where you spotted them first — here — you’ll tickle them pink!)

Lea Kirk

[site]

Prophecy Book 1

Lea Kirk loves to transport her readers to other worlds with her Sci-fi Romances. In 2016, she published two full-length SFR novels, and two short stories for her Prophecy Series. She was recently named 2016 Debut Author of the Year by GravelTells Blog. She lives in California with her wonderful hubby of twenty-six years, five kids, and a Doberman who thinks he’s a people.

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Shari Elder

[site]

I’m Shari. By day, I crawl out of bed, mainline coffee, get my kid to school, then save cities within the four walls of my office. Usually by email. At night, I take off the suit, curl up with my computer and save alien cities on jet-powered skateboards, whip up ambrosia on Mt. Olympus and bring men and women, who had given up on romance, another chance to find it.

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Debra Jess

[site]

A Connecticut Yankee transplanted to Central Florida, Debra Jess writes science fiction, romance, urban fantasy, and superheroes. She began writing in 2006, combining her love of fairy tales and Star Wars to craft original stories of ordinary people in extraordinary adventures and fantastical creatures in out-of-this world escapades. Her first published novel, Blood Surfer, has won the National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award for Best Paranormal and Futuristic.

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Jay Shaw

[site]

The Hunted.

Jay Shaw is a New Zealand author, a single mum, and a lover of books. She’s an incurable romantic who stays up early and sleeps in late, writes in bed, and loves both action and romance movies. Her favorite books to write are fantasy and sci-fi stories about characters who ultimately find their one great love. A love all of time and space will lie down and be still for.

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Eva Caye

[site]

Eva Caye, author of the To Be Sinclair series, can build a rocket stove, tat lace, handle a gun, design book covers and permaculture garden plans, and teach teenagers critical thinking. Her favorite activities include writing science fiction romance and playing with her doggies. She currently lives in a tiny, century-old farmhouse with her magnificent husband and two marvelous mutts in Louisville, Kentucky.

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Vikki Romano

[site]

Vikki Romano grew up in the advent of technology and rode the wave of the dot com lifestyle in her twenties. She was a true cyberpunk and gloried over works by Gibson and Dick. Being involved in the field, she had her fingers in all of it. To this day, she follows tech news and grins childishly when something new and exciting comes onto the tech scene.

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AR DeClerck

[site]

Aphelion

USA Today Bestseller. Wife. Mother. Reading ninja. Food assasin. Music & movie connoisseur. All-around goofball. Self-proclaimed nerd.

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TM Slay

[site]

Guardian Mine

As a young child, I lived in the fantastic worlds books provided. Now, as an adult I want to give that same escape to others…not just children though; us parents need to run away every once in a while too! When you read one of my books, I hope you can…step into fantasy…and leave the ordinary behind… Visit my site and find a remarkable world created just for you!

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Cassy Campbell

[site]

Cassy Campbell grew up in the frozen tundra of the Far North. Once she realized that she loved to write stories as much as read them, the world was hers (at least the ones in her books). She currently lives in the much balmier climate of the Not As Far North where she is, at this moment, likely daydreaming her way through her next story.

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Carol Van Natta

[site]

Carol Van Natta writes science fiction and fantasy, including Overload Flux, Minder Rising, Pico’s Crush, and Jumper’s Hope, the first four books in an SFR series, plus paranormal romances and a retro SF comedy. She shares her home with a sometime mad scientist and various cats. Any violations of the laws of physics in her books is the fault of the cats, not the mad scientist.

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Veronica Scott

[site]

Three time winner of the SFR Galaxy Award, as well as a National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award, Veronica is also the proud recipient of a NASA Exceptional Service Medal relating to her former day job, not her romances! She recently was honored to read the part of Star Trek Crew Member in the audiobook production of Harlan Ellison’s “The City On the Edge of Forever.”

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Catherine Cerveny

[site]

The Rule of Luck

Catherine Cerveny was born in Peterborough, Ontario. She’d always planned to move away to the big city but the small town life got its hooks in her and that’s where she still resides today.

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Jenna Ives

[site]

Jenna Ives is an award-winning author who writes for several publishers under several names, but mainly it’s to protect her poor sainted mother (who used to read sweet Harlequin novels) from discovering how sexy modern romances have become! I love to tango, travel and I’m obsessed with the Rolling Stones. You can connect with her by email at jenna@jennaives, website www.jennaives.com on Twitter @JennaIvesAuthor or on Facebook, Goodreads or Pinterest.

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Melisse Aires

[site]

 

Take a bookworm. Hand her a stack of, Sci-fi and fantasy novels, thrillers and horror comics. Then introduce the world of romance. Make her a jinx. Every great genre TV show she loves gets the ax! She gets upset about no romance in the world and writes her own stories with happy endings. Throw this all together, shake constantly, and pour onto a computer keyboard. There! You have me!

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Selene Grace Silver

[site]

Baby it’s Cold in Space

Selene Grace Silver writes science fiction romances that follow extraordinary characters on the path to love. Her SFR series StarDaemon (releasing titles Winter 2016/Spring 2017) explores the love lives of a group of humanoids rebelling against institutional slavery during an intergalactic political collapse. Her Witches & Warlocks of Los Angeles series is set in an alternate universe where alien-descent witches and warlocks shift reality.

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Theda Hudson

[site]

Theda Hudson’s deliciously wicked short fiction has appeared in Best Women’s Erotica 2007; Sex in San Francisco; Pirate Booty; Best S/M III; Best Lesbian Erotica 2011 and 2015; and Best Lesbian Romance 2011 and 2012. Her novels include The Pearl Witch and Lord of the Broken Tower, both erotic science fiction, and Dyke Valiant, an erotic lesbian urban paranormal.

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E.G. Fox

[site]

Lucky Dawg Meets Lucky Lucy

Ed lives in Central Ohio & has visited every location in his book(s). He loves Sensual & Intimate Romance & Great SciFi. He writes what he loves & reads what he loves…

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Lindsey R. Loucks

[site]

Lindsey R. Loucks is a former school librarian in rural Kansas. When she’s not discussing books with anyone who will listen, she’s dreaming up her own stories. Eventually her brain gives out, and she’ll play hide and seek with her cat, put herself in a chocolate-induced coma, or watch scary movies alone in the dark to re-energize.

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Lynn Crain

[site]

Award-winning author Lynn Crain has done it all in her life. From nursing to geology, her life experiences have added to her detail-rich stories. She loves writing full time, weaving contemporary, fantasy, futuristic and paranormal tales, tame to erotic, for various publishers. Her home is in the desert southwest, and she’s just returned from her latest adventure of living in Vienna, Austria while her husband worked his dream job. She loves hearing from her readers at lynncrain@cox.net.

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Susan Hayes

[site]

Susan lives out on the Canadian west coast surrounded by open water, dear family, and good friends. She’s jumped out of perfectly good airplanes on purpose & accidentally swum with sharks on the Great Barrier Reef. If the world ends, she plans to survive as the spunky, comedic sidekick to the heroes of the new world, because she’s too short and out of shape to make it on her own.

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A.W. Cross

[site]

A.W. Cross is a Canadian author and blogger. She writes about cyborgs and loves pie. Her first work of fiction, The Seeds of Winter, debuts in 2017.

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Siren Allen

[site]

Siren Allen resides in southern Mississippi where she writes steamy romances. When she’s not listening to the characters in her head, she’s busy working as a Clinical Laboratory Technician. If she wasn’t a writer/laboratory professional, she swears she would be a Secret Agent. But that’s the beauty of being a writer, you can create your own world. In her imaginary world, she’s Queen and her siblings are her minions.

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Tonya Cannariato

[site]

Tonya Cannariato writes speculative fiction tinged with romance. She’s lived a nomadic life but is currently based in the Washington, DC area with her four loves: her husband and three Siberian Huskies. She loves to sleep, to watch her interesting dreams, some of which find new life in her stories.

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Shona Husk

[site]

SHONA HUSK is the author of the Shadowlands, Blood and Silver, and the Face the Music series. You can find out more information about Shona at www.shonahusk.com or follow her on Twitter @ShonaHusk, Facebook www.facebook.com/shonahusk or join her newsletter: http://mad.ly/signups/119074/join


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