Thursday, October 4, 2012

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What Will Sci-Fi Romance Be Like In The Future?


Image Source: Lounging at the Waldorf

I’ve got a few $64,000 questions for you. To begin, what will a science fiction romance story be like in the far future? Meaning at least two hundred years or more. I wonder about these things. I really do. Here are the other questions that have been running through my head lately:

* What will be the popular tropes and character/relationship dynamics? For example, will Alpha heroes still dominate? Virginal/innocent/pure heroines? What about kinky alien sex? Starship captains? Invasion-themed SFRs? Which tropes will stand the test of time, or, conversely, diminish in popularity?

* Will the heteronormative/patriarchal viewpoint dominate or will diversity come to define the subgenre?

* How will SFR need to adapt in order to remain relevant, especially assuming future technological changes/advances in real life? Keep in mind that would also include advances in psychology, medicine, genetic engineering, and the like—changes that would impact romantic relationships.

* Will cultural attitudes toward sex and intimacy alter significantly by that time and thus influence the types of stories we enjoy?

* How will people read sci-fi romance? Will the distribution system/medium change the way they’re perceived and consumed?

Furthermore, what if the stigma attached to romance became insignificant? Imagine a time when the genre would be valued by men and women of all genders and orientations. Under those circumstances, what would be the nature of a sci-fi romance story? Might the idea of a joint couple-as-hero become more popular among mainstream audiences?

I also started speculating about the type of sci-fi romances that fictional characters in a far future setting might be reading. (They will be voracious readers in the subgenre, of course. J). I think it’d be interesting to read a story wherein a character reflects upon his/her entertainment choices, especially as it relates to their own romance. Which story elements of the future would be similar to current, real-life trends, and which ones might change?

Then I realized—going on a slightly different tangent—that I've rarely encountered a sci-fi romance with a futuristic setting in which pop culture entertainment is a significant part of the story. That kind of meta social commentary would be really cool. And a variety of such stories could explore the concept from different angles, yes indeed. Sign me up!

What are your predictions and/or hopes for science fiction romance in the far future?

Joyfully yours,

Heather