Science Fiction Romance: What’s in it for you?

This article first appeared at the Manic Readers blog, March, 2011.

Faster than light travel. Other dimensions. Planet-destroying weapons. Artificial intelligence.

Science Fiction can make your head spin, can’t it? The genre has a reputation for being plot-driven and relying heavily on high-minded concepts. Over the past few years, though, character-driven stories have become more popular and in many cases without sacrificing all of those nifty scientific concepts. This has opened the door to Science Fiction Romance (SFR).

Like other types of character-driven stories, Romance makes all sorts of concepts relatable from Medieval legends to police procedurals. Science Fiction Romance makes high-minded scientific concepts relatable as well and shows us how science might affect our daily lives and relationships. Character-driven stories, specifically Romance, address directly what turns some people off from Science Fiction: What’s in it for me?

In my debut SFR THE SPIRAL PATH, scientists have discovered a way to inflate wormholes and travel to another dimension. What could this mean for humanity? What could this mean for me, right now, in my living room on planet Earth?

Scientists in my fictional world soon realized that people and objects didn’t fare so well in the opposite dimension. In fact, after a short time, objects and even people began to fall apart. Turns out, at the Big Bang every dimension vibrated at its own frequency and never the twain shall meet. In the meantime, some travelers had developed relationships and some had even conceived children.

This is the world Lara and Raphael Soto were born into, rare live births and even rarer twins. Children like them, called Chimerans, could live in both dimensions, but not their parents. So they grew up in fractured families, something many of us today — in our living rooms right here on planet Earth — can relate to.

Lara grew up and fell in love not with another Chimeran, but with a Star Union officer named Mitch Yoshida. Neither dimension knows just what to make of the Chimerans, but both also want to use them to their own advantage. The situation turned sour enough to force a mass Chimeran defection with Lara at the helm, but she had to leave Mitch behind. Not all Chimerans defected, however, and Raphael stayed on to serve with Mitch in the Star Union. When he goes missing on a dangerous mission, Lara and Mitch must team up to find him and dredge up their feelings for one another all over again.

The Romance genre excels at meshing with just about any other genre out there because it focuses concepts through relationships. We all want to be loved, whether you live on a mid-western farm at the turn of the century, solve crimes in a giant metropolis, or travel faster than light to start a colony on Mars – or even in another dimension.

Romance also excels at the intricate dance between plot and character. This makes Science Fiction Romance a natural blend. Romance readers expect at least a “happy for now” ending, but the getting there has to be believable. We have to intimately relate to the characters and how they evolve to achieve the award at the end.

Fiction of all types takes us to other worlds. Give Science Fiction Romance – and specifically THE SPIRAL PATH — a chance to take you to another dimension.

If you could visit any fictional world you’ve read about or seen in a movie, which would it be and why?

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Lisa Paitz Spindler is a science fiction author, web designer, blogger, and pop culture geek. Her debut space opera novella, THE SPIRAL PATH, will be released March 28, 2011 from Carina Press. In addition to contributing book reviews and television recaps to SF Signal, she also maintains the Danger Gal Blog hosted by her alter ego, Danger Gal, whose stiletto heels are licensed weapons and whose ninja stars travel faster than light. Lisa, however, gets through each day on caffeine and science blogs. Lisa can also be found on Twitter and Facebook.

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Out Of This World Blog Tour Giveaway

As part of the Out Of This World Blog Tour, Lisa is giving away a copy of THE SPIRAL PATH and this Retro Saturn T-shirt to one lucky reader.

Everyone who enters will receive a door prize: THE SPIRAL PATH electronic trading cards depicting the four main characters in the story. Click here to enter.

On Sunday, April 3 Lisa will draw and announce the winning name on her blog.