Friday, September 28, 2007

His Preposterously huge Highness (answers to Kimberley's questions)

What authors inspired the contributors the most?

I am by nature a contrarian. If you tell me I can't do something, I want to prove you wrong. If you tell me I am sure to like
someone (or her book), I'll bend over backwards not to do so..... (and vice-versa)

Contrarian is probably a banker's euphemism for a grumpy old woman!

I started writing in 1991. Without intending any offense to anyone, and with the obvious exceptions of Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Orson Scott Card, Tom Clancy, Arthur Hailey, Georgette Heyer, Terry Pratchett, Harry Harrison, Agatha Christie, Jo Beverley, George Orwell (aka Eric Blair), JRR Tolkein, William Shakespeare, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Robert Browning, and Jane Austen.... I don't think I'll name those thoroughly moderns who inspired me because they did so in the sense of "(expletive deleted) I could do better than that" to borrow a David Bowie line.

Of course, looking back on my unpublished self-confidence, I am appalled at myself, but I'd probably never have started if I didn't imagine that I could meet the standard.

By the way, I rather liked David Bowie's music and Ziggy Stardust persona. I also liked a great deal of what is now called Classic Rock, but which I might call Sci-Fi Romance rock... Fleetwood Mac, especially Stevie Nicks's music, Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, Cream, The Doors, the Rolling Stones, Jethro Tull, and many more.

My natural inclination might have been to write Historicals, but I went off that idea when my British respect for my betters rebelled at a few novels I encountered in which real historical figures were created villains, and in one notable case given yard-and-a-half long masculine genitalia and a penchant for misplacing it. Besides which, all the best titles of nobility which cunningly suggested that the hero had a perpetual hard-on had already been used... by several authors.

So, I created my own divided and dysfunctional ans sexually insatiable royal family and set them in outer space, and built a world for them starting with a sun, and an uninhabitable planet (a gas giant... because my sense of humor is low) and its moon.

definition of Science Fiction Romance and related sub-genres.

I prefer the term speculative romance, and I think of it as anything that comes under the Paranormal umbrella but which does not involve ghosts, vampires (unless they are aliens), zombies (ditto), Time Travel (unless to do with the Twin paradox), magic.... There must be an explanation for the happenings, even if it is highly creative, as in The Physics of Star Trek or The Science of Star Wars (or whatever the real titles were).

What are the absolute must-do conventions? Introduce the Hero before the Villain? Happily Ever After?

If you tell me there is a rule, I want to break it. In MATING NET, I introduced the villain first. He's an arrogant, sexy hunk. Maybe he isn't really the villain. He's the hero's identical twin, and he is the one who causes all the problems. Of course, that meant that New York was not ready for Djohn Kronos. I won't necessarily have sex on page 90, either, or whatever page it was once supposd to be. However, I will not mess with a happy ending, a happily ever after. Once my hero and heroine make a commitment to one another, they stay together... so far.

What do most have in common?

I think we all do more research than most readers might appreciate, we all respect our readers' intelligence, we all write thought-provoking material. We're all pretty enlightened and well read.

When did SFR become a recognized sub-genre?

I'm not a Historian of the genre. I'm not sure it is recognized. There still seems to be some confusion whether some of us are placed in the Romance or Sci Fi aisles. There's no confusion in my case. If my book is not certifiably Romance, I get to rewrite it until it is.

When did this happen and who led the way?

I think the way is still being led.

Who were the pioneers?

I like to think some of those on this blog are, also a number of the members of the SFWA chapter.

Thank you for some great questions, Kimberley!


  1. I've found the readers of SFR to be exceptionally intelligent and well-read too. And we like sizzling hot villains too.

  2. Anonymous7:14 PM EDT

    anything that comes under the Paranormal umbrella but which does not involve ghosts, vampires (unless they are aliens), zombies (ditto), Time Travel (unless to do with the Twin paradox), magic....

    That's interesting. While I agree with that definition, the way you phrased it made me realize that it excludes much of the folklore of death. (Ghosts, vampires, zombies.)

    The only counter-example I can think of is the Jayne Castle books. In that world, archeological artifacts often contain "ghosts"... though perhaps those don't count, as they may be a different species, not really ghosts as we normally use the word.

    Much of SF seems to be "forward" looking; speculative often means futuristic. (E.g. the exclusion of the death folklore, and the common emphasis on advanced technologies or situations that we human haven't faced yet.) Where would you place back-in-time -style settings or alternate history romance? I think there's a difference between the folkloric and using a primitive, perhaps vaguely Arthurian, setting. There's been plenty of "barbarian" SF; perhaps it's not the same if it's barbarians in an alternate universe?

  3. Good question, rfp. I call what I'm working on now a Historical, but it does have time travel in it. I suppose I'll have to wait until I'm through the Weed & Polish to decide what it really is.

  4. Anonymous11:20 PM EDT

    >And we like sizzling hot villains too.

    Especially if they own their own starships or galactic empires.



  5. RFP
    Thank you for your comment.
    My views are not necessarily anything but personal, but I think ghosts, angels, magical beings, vampires and werewolves are considered either fantasy or paranormal.

    SFR has hardware, like spaceships.

    It can be back in time... especially if aliens visited cavemen, to take an extreme example.

    Does that cover it?