Thursday, January 19, 2012

Bujold on SF Romance

In the January LOCUS there’s an interview with Lois McMaster Bujold, who comments briefly on “hybrids of romance and science fiction.” She thinks creating such fiction is a difficult challenge because “the genres are kind of immiscible”—for this reason:

“One wants politically-driven stories in which characters gain status, and the other is more interested in romantically-driven stories where the characters gain mates. Different underlying biological drives are being served by these two different kinds of stories.”

I’ve never considered SF romance from that angle. I have reservations about Bujold’s analysis in that she seems to be defining science fiction too narrowly, focusing on only one of the many subsets of SF. Still, she makes an intriguing point.

As an aside, she makes an amusing remark about progressively narrower subgenre categories being like “overbred dog breeds that go past the point of being healthy anymore.” Not that she’s worried; she regards the process as an unstoppable “economic cycle” that, presumably, is self-correcting in the long run.

Any thoughts?

Margaret L. Carter
Carter's Crypt

1 comment:

  1. Margaret,

    I'm intrigued by the premise that different biological drives are served by romance vs politically driven sf.

    I thought it was all testosterone. I thought so, even before the commercial about "Low T" informed me of all the ways that an inadequate supply of testosterone might sideline me and turn me into a shadow of myself.

    Characters who gain political status tend to gain mates. Look at Newt. Look at Sarkozy.

    Or, look at Vladimir Putin. I hope the GOP candidates will not take a leaf out of Putin's electioneering playbook of a few years ago.

    Do you remember how Russian women were said to be swooning over their newspapers at the sight of the barechested Putin doing manly things in the wilderness?