And I have to reply, “Yes, I know. But my books aren’t about any Earth-based military.” (The Down Home Zombie Blues being the notable exception).
But, but, you write science fiction romance! It’s about the future!
No, it’s not. It’s about my character’s present day.
FINDERS KEEPERS is not Trilby Elliot’s future. It’s her present day. Granted, AN ACCIDENTAL GODDESS throws Gillie almost four hundred years into the future but it’s not four hundred years into Earth’s future, but hers. She’s Raheiran. She’s never heard of Earth, Florida, France, Malaysia, Ohio, Moscow, London, South Africa or Canada. Honest. She hasn’t.
The same is true for the rest of my books (other than ZOMBIE). The same is true for a lot of science fiction and science fiction romance.
One of the reasons to read SF and SFR is to move your mind out of the usual and the known. It’s to set the “givens” aside and open up to what else just might be. Our characters’ stories often aren’t ones you can plug into your home calendar—your can’t fast forward to 2075 and think you’ll find Trilby Elliot. Or Tasha Sebastian.
The cultures, the mores, the beliefs our characters have often are not Earth-In-The-Future but right here, right now for those characters. So chastity or abstinence, if it exists in that character’s life, is because of the current beliefs or life’s structure (as it was for Branden Kel-Paten in GAMES OF COMMAND). And what god or gods they worship, how they’re educated, what they eat, how they run their militaries—these are all things unique to their current time and place.
Which isn’t here.
Except when you’re reading my books.
Then the future is now.