Too much romance or too many space ships
I’ve just been over to the Space Freighters lounge where I read a fascinating article about Romance Writers of America, which is cleaning its stable (as it were) of non-romance elements. And fair enough, too. The name says it all, after all.
But then the writer talks about science fiction romance, which is (I guess) what I write. She tells of her experience in a contest. Here’s the quote:
“I recently got contest feedback from a multi-published romance writer who was generally very complementary, but worried that I strayed into SF thriller territory, rather than romance because the romance was not more than 50 percent of the story and wasn’t resolved last.”
That got me thinking. I’ve never really pretended I write ‘romance’ as in genre. I write action-packed space opera with romantic elements and I’ve struggled to make the romance romantic enough. I think. But then again, my two Iron Admiral books satisfied the exacting romantic demands of Two Lips Reviews; they both scored five kisses and recommended read. Mind you, Morgan’s Choice didn’t quite make the grade as a make-you-sigh romance and neither did Starheart. Although the reviewer agreed both were great sci-fi.
And yet that’s a nonsense, isn’t it? Of course there’s romance in science fiction (the straight stuff). The most glaringly obvious recent example is Avatar. Without the romance there would not have been a story.
Let’s take another example, one a little more unlikely that might need a modicum of thought. Terminator. Come on, folks. If Sarah Connor hadn’t fallen for Kyle Reese and made John, the Terminator wouldn’t have been sent back through time.
Then there’s Star Wars and the chaste kiss in the Millennium Falcon. You don’t think that was romantic? Tell that to the folks who designed the movie posters.
Branding is such a difficult task. Do any of you have any answers?