Friday, July 23, 2010

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Parallel Universe: One Thing Stays The Same… by Kim Knox

I have a confession to make. For a long time, I never thought that science fiction romance was exactly…legal. I never knew that anyone wanted to read or publish it. Yes, I lived in the land of complete ignorance…or north west England, which at the time amounted to much the same thing.

Science fiction for me was the dark dystopian future of 1984 stretching to the absurdity of HITCHHIKERS GUIDE TO THE GALAXY. Yes, I’d read Anne McCaffrey’s DRAGONFLIGHT, but not the prologue. I know. Smack me. It did teach me to read any and all prologues from then on.

I also admit I don’t have a scientific background. I have hung out with a few scientists—fill the bath with ice and booze in a semi-detached house in Glasgow, scientists—and the worst insult they had for me was that I’d studied the soft sciences. Imagine their horror when they found out my degrees were in English and Art. So I’ve never really been lured into the hard SF camp. I’m happy with that greatest of substances, Wavehandium.

Science fiction was the equivalent of ‘Doctor Who’ pre-Russell T Davies for me. Brilliant ideas, a wealth of ‘what ifs’ that could spring off in absolutely any direction…but there was no romance. Or if there was, it ended…badly. And we’re back to 1984 again.

I discovered science fiction romance as genre about five years ago. It changed everything.

I think one of my first SFRs—though Bantam has it as science fiction—was Linnea Sinclair’s FINDERS KEEPERS. It’s mix of action, gadgets, a sparky heroine and an arrogant hero. The science fiction balances nicely with the romance and I devoured the book in one sitting. I wanted more.

And SFR can give it to you. You want aliens as enemies and friends? SFR gives you the added bonus of aliens as lovers, delving into societies and exploring my personal favourite, the alien mating ritual. Which reminds me, I must watch AVATAR.

If you want space battles, space stations, advanced technology going awry, post apocalyptic destruction, genetic manipulation, steampunk, cyberpunk…science fiction romance has the lot. It gives the richness of science fiction’s ‘what ifs’ and also something more. Characters can focus on each other, on how they build their lives together, giving a satisfying emotional reason as to why they should save the planet, end the plague or battle aliens from another dimension.

And with romance can come sex. Not everyone wants to open the door. Personally I enjoy reading character driven sexual encounters in my SFR. And that’s not a sentence you get to write everyday! It was another surprise for me. Not only could I find romance with my SF, but they were also having a lot of naughty, naked fun. For me, it couldn’t get any better.

And at the end of every book, SFR also gives me the most addictive component of all, the happily ever after. That has to be the same every time. It’s non-negotiable. Seriously, lack of HEA—or at the very least a happy-for-now ending—can turn a book into a complete wallbanger. I need my fix now.

With SFR, I want that connection with the characters and I want a story that plays with the concepts of science and technology in their many forms. I can completely go with Wavehandium if it supplies the thing I want the most. A great story. Science fiction romance allows me to experience a wealth of differing ideas—just as many as its sibling genre—but with a greater depth of emotion.

And the part that draws me back again and again is the part that never changes: the fact that characters get to be happy-ever-after together.

I think I’m off to read FINDERS KEEPERS again.


Kim Knox lives on an ancient boundary line, once marked by a Neolithic burial tomb. The tomb’s now a standing stone circle–thank the Georgians for that one–and stirs her mind with thoughts of history and ancient myths. She writes science fiction romance, pushing out into the far future with effortlessly sexy men and the women who can’t resist them.