Is SF Romance Really All That Difficult to Read?

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Recently, I found myself commenting on a blog post – at length. This is unusual (not, the length, as I’m inclined to windiness, but commenting at all is unusual). The post that prompted the comment was on SF Romance; “Is Sci-Fi Romance Really All That Difficult to Write?

If you’ve read any of my Beloved Bloody Time series, you can probably guess why I waded in with my opinion.

If you read the post on SFRomance and the comments that follow, you’ll see that generally, all the commentors and writers agree that readers of SFR aren’t there in great enough numbers to make it more than a specialized niche market.

This would seem to jibe with comments in reviews I’ve had for the Beloved Bloody Time series, including:

“This complicated love story may not be for everyone but I found stretched the same brain territory as my love for science fiction”

“I don’t really do sci fi…there was not enough of it to deter me from enjoying the story”

“Luckily I am into sc-fi and paranormal so I didn’t have trouble with the premise and technicalities of fictional time travel.”

“I love time travel romances but sci-fi — not so much”

“Pay attention to the details, they matter.”

All these comments, and a lot more negative ones that called the books “too complicated”, but didn’t specifically speak of the SF element, lead me to believe that a great many readers either don’t like SF with their romance, or, they don’t like to have to think too much while they’re reading.

I don’t like either of these conclusions because one makes romance readers sound terribly narrow-minded and the other makes us sound…well, mentally lazy. And I don’t think either of these are true at all. Most of the romance readers I’ve met are wonderfully open-minded and more mentally alert than many non-readers I know.

I have a tendency to write great big, complicated and layered stories and readers – you – love them. I intend to go on writing behemoths, too. They’re the sort of stories I like reading; the world or the universe in jeopardy, a hero/heroes that is/are to die for, incredibly high personal stakes for the hero and heroine and a love story that stops your clock for you. What’s not to love?

But now I want to turn the tables and ask you:

Is SF Romance really all that difficult to read?

Please add your comment below. Let’s talk it over.

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2014-06-16T07:47:18+00:00 Tags: , , |

8 Comments

  1. Robyn Larson June 16, 2014 at 10:34 am

    I love SciFi romance. And not just the paranormal genre, but the actual getting off the planet and going some where out there. Maybe it takes that illogical logical mind to find the premise of leaving our time and space so amazing and intriguing. My first true first SF book was Warrior Woman by Johanna Lindsey back in 1990. From then on I was hooked. Then I tried the time travel and the paranormal and the shifters and vampires. Needles to say I like the unusual that does make me think.

    Robyn

    • Tracy June 16, 2014 at 11:17 am

      I think that’s the key, Robyn — SF and futuristic fiction (let’s call it speculative fiction as an all encompassing genre) makes you think. My very first SF was John Wyndham’s The Chrysalids, which I read in Australia’s equivalent to junior high school. I’ve been hooked ever since, and about three months after that, Star Wars was released. The rest, they say….

      But it does seem to be a very small market.

      t.

  2. Heidi Taylor June 16, 2014 at 10:57 am

    I remember when reading Sci/fi meant it encompassed ALL these genres we have now. You might get the “fantasy” one separated, but that’s it. I guess that allowed me to experience all kinds of different flavors and now I love them all – if the author is good I don’t care if the story takes place on Earth, Space, Time Travel…etc. So keep on writing those great stories!

    • Tracy June 16, 2014 at 11:17 am

      Thanks, Heidi!

      I’ll bear this in mind. 🙂

      Cheers,

      t.

  3. kathy osburn June 16, 2014 at 11:41 am

    I can’t remember a time that I wasn’t reading or watching science fiction starting with Star Trek to Star Wars (and yes you can like both!)to Star Gate (hmm, seeing a common thread here). Science fantasy was a natural extension to what I loved – bring on the dwarves, elves and more! Adding a romantic twist to anyone of the genres just seems like a natural extension of real life to me. Where could you possibly go where romance wasn’t at least in the air occasionally?

    What you do with romance and science fiction is amazing. I find myself barely breathing at times as I read what you have written whether it is an action sequence or a scene between two or three in a bedroom. In fact, nearly 10 years after my divorce and feeling no real desires, your books have re-awakened a side of me I didn’t think still existed.

    As long as you continue putting out these books, I will continue to read them. I’m just sorry I have caught up to what you have written and now pretty much have to wait!

    Thank you,

    Kathy (biggestkat)

    • Tracy June 16, 2014 at 12:14 pm

      Hi Kathy.

      Wow….! What can I say, but thank you?

      I’m working on pumping out the titles. This big book, The Branded Rose Prophecy, is really bogging me down at the moment. On the positive side, the story itself is zooming along.

      Once that one is done, I’ll start producing titles at my normal rate. 🙂

      And I’m starting to think that straight SF (as opposed to fantasy/futuristic) joined at the hip with a thundering good romance, might be a fine project to tackle. It can become the sister to The Branded Rose Prophecy, which is Fantasy + Romance.

      Cheers,

      t.

  4. Moira June 16, 2014 at 7:26 pm

    nope, not a bit hard to read. I’ve actually found that SF romance actually lets the brain stretch out after a particular rough day at work or when I was back in college, a hard day of studying, tests, and what not. Its crazy to think but the brain needs a way to relax when its had a boring, humdrum, and tedious day, it needs to let the imagination loose in the worst way because whether people believe it or not, the brain needs adventure like we need air. I believe that the people who think that SF romance is too hard to read, either just don’t like the genre or they’ve never let their imagination run wild with something. After a particularly bad day at work, I get in the tub with a good book usually SF romance. After I get out and get ready for bed and do whatever, when I do get to sleep my brain is already working my imagination. If some think this makes me an overgrown kid, you know what? They can kiss my tush, I’m happy so is my brain and I’m not living a boring life.

    • Tracy June 17, 2014 at 9:24 am

      Hi Moira:

      Mmm, you DO like SFR, don’t you? 🙂 I think that what you’ve said about SFR applies to any genre, really. If it helps you feel better, keeps your brain happy and adds something positive to your life, then read it.

      I like your idea about the brain needing adventure. Interesting thought.

      Cheers,

      t.

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