In my experience, sci-fi allows me to take the usual romance storylines, and make them bigger. Want to explore the difficulties of a long distance relationship? Itâ€™s much larger when the characters come from completely different planets. Want to explore cultural differences? What if one is an alien, and one human? Or even an android. Do they feel love the same way we do?
Do want to add some danger and excitement into your story? Space battles are lots of fun! How about an alien invasion? An artificial intelligence gone wrong? Thereâ€™s nothing more fun than a romance that blossoms amidst some chaos.
Sci-fi can also add a lot of new, everyday challenges. The difficulties of living on a spaceship, the confined space, limited number of people, no fresh air. How do you get some privacy there anyway?
In sci-fi, you donâ€™t have to follow the current rules and social expectations of our society, you can play with them. Even a small change can make a big difference to a story.
In Reckless Rescue, I took the old and popular â€˜stranded on a desert islandâ€™ storyline, and changed it to â€˜stranded on a barren planetâ€™ instead. Throw in a little pollution that makes it hard for the locals to have babies, and the sci-fi trope of a traveller stranded with a primitive settlement of people and unable to get home, and I had a story that was both different, but contained enough conflict to keep my romance, between one of the local women and my stranded space captain, interesting.
Reckless Rescue is on sale for 99c for a limited time only!
Stranded on the dying planet of Zerris, Marlee longs for the one thing she canâ€™t haveâ€¦a family. Due to the noxious gas covering the planet, she canâ€™t conceive a child, and the Council, determined to repopulate the planet, have ended her thirdâ€”and most preciousâ€”relationship. They insist she pick a new mate and try again, but sheâ€™s sworn off love and the possibility of ever having a real family.
When a ship from the thriving planet of Urslat crashes on Zerris, Marlee rescues the shipâ€™s daring captain, Tyris. His ship is grounded, winter is setting in, and he wonâ€™t survive without help. She offers him a dealâ€¦he can live with her if he pretends to be her mate so the Council will leave her alone.
Tyris agrees and a hungry desire sparks between them as they battle the harsh winter and primitive conditions. Their attraction grows, and soon, keeping their distance becomes impossible, even more challenging than the snow, the Council, and, for Marlee, the risks of a real relationship.
Will she risk her heart one last time for a chance at her dream? Or will Tyris be her undoing?
Excerpt from Reckless Rescue
The door closed behind them, and Nelor heaved a heavy sigh. â€œIâ€™m sorry, Marlee. I wish Iâ€™d been able to give you a baby.â€
â€œItâ€™s not your fault,â€ Marlee squeezed her eyes shut for a moment. â€œIt could just as easily be me.â€ She reached out to take his hands, not caring if he saw her tears. She didnâ€™t need to pretend in front of Nelor. Of all the people in the village, he was one of the few she could be herself around. And now he had to leave.
Tears glistened in his eyes too. â€œI hope things work out for you next time.â€ It was a standard response. Expected.
She didnâ€™t want to hear it. â€œI donâ€™t want to do this again,â€ she said quietly. â€œI canâ€™t.â€
Nelor brushed her hair out of her eyes. â€œYes you can. Youâ€™re one of the strongest people I know. And I know youâ€™ll make a wonderful mother someday. Donâ€™t let what weâ€™ve shared stop you from achieving that.â€
She didnâ€™t feel strong. She wasnâ€™t like her mother. She couldnâ€™t live the way her mother had. â€œItâ€™s not just about having a baby. I donâ€™t want to be with someone else, live a life with them that should have been with you.â€
She didnâ€™t want to spend her days with someone she couldnâ€™t be open with, couldnâ€™t cry in front of, or, worst of all, someone she was afraid of.
â€œWe donâ€™t have any choice, Marlee. The councilâ€™s rules apply equally to everyone. And if they didnâ€™t, where would we be? Our population would drop even more quickly. We might not like the idea of changing partners so often, but itâ€™s the only way to make sure there even is a next generation.â€ He sounded like he was trying to convince himself.
Marlee shook her head. She didnâ€™t want to hear it even though she knew it was true. She and Nelor could have been happy together. They had been.
â€œI canâ€™t keep trying anymore,â€ she said, her voice dull. â€œI wonâ€™t go through this again.â€
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This is an interesting post. I have always been put off writing fantasy and science fiction because of the need for world building and detail. In the barren planet novels you show how ‘different’ can still be built on what you know (I’m thinking about the post you wrote on goats!)
Thanks, Amanda. I do like to keep things close to what is familiar to the reader, and just change the details that are important, or are needed to carry the story. Worldbuilding can be lots of fun, but if you take it too far, the story becomes more about the world than about the characters.
Thank you, Rinelle. I never thought about sci-fi from this angle. I’ve always enjoyed it, but I didn’t pay attention to the interpersonal relationships. After this post, I’ll start to read with a different attention to detail.
Yes, sometimes some of the most interesting things about sci-fi (to me) is what the changes/differences mean for the people who live there.