taste is subjective, sci-fi romance, like any genre, has areas of ongoing growth and development. Many authors, at least according to various posts I've read, are committed to offering readers a great entertainment value. The way I see it, a commitment to craft isn't about achieving perfection--because art doesn't roll like that--but rather, about using techniques to the best of one's ability that can help make one's SFR
more accessible and engaging--and not just in terms of the science.
The most plausible technological elements in the world aren't going to hold my attention if the story's subtext strikes me as problematic in some way. And that right there is a reason SFR can be viewed as one response to the historic dearth of character-driven/relationship-themed science fiction stories. SFR is an area of growth for SF and is helping to increase its appeal.
my recent reading experience, I encountered two areas of potential growth for SFR:
1) One book used "race" and "species"
interchangeably when referring to the alien characters. They mean different
the pervasiveness of "race=alien" (particularly in North American
culture), race is largely a social construct. By using "race" instead
of "species" to describe aliens, sci-fi romance risks presenting
alien characters as symbolic of a) anyone who isn't American/white, and b) People
of Color--as in PoC are alien (i.e., strange/different) to white people.
language is important because it helps avoid offending readers--and these days,
one's readers could hail from anywhere in the world.
I've blogged about the use of
contemporary slang in SFR
before, but it's been cropping up again in my
reading. Aside from intentional usage, such as stylized space westerns or
characters who are designed in an obvious way as "friends of Old
Earth," contemporary slang (especially in futuristic settings) can pull readers out of a story. The same goes for description
using cultural shorthand.
authors were only selling in the North American market, the slang/shorthand
might have gone unnoticed by many readers. But now, with a global market within
everyone's reach, this is an area where SFR authors can consider stepping up
their game. Can they assume all of their readers will understand a story's
cultural references? If not, it might be a sign to examine one's reliance on
them (at least the more distinctive ones).
the use of cultural shorthand and creating story-specific slang puts more
readers on a level playing field and helps make stories more accessible. I like
to think of it as meeting readers in the middle, wherever we happen to live. :)
What would you consider to be other areas of potential growth for SFR, especially considering the increasingly global market?