<i>Love Another Day</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Love Another Day: Exclusive Excerpt Lexi Blake "It might be her own personal demons that could destroy them both." Romance's Most Likely: Nominate Your Fictional Faves! Romance's Most Likely: Nominate Your Fictional Faves! Team H & H Like senior-class superlatives--but with romance novels! <i>A Royal Mistake</i>: Exclusive Excerpt A Royal Mistake: Exclusive Excerpt Elizabeth Davis "She’s wild and exciting and thrives on the unexpected." <i>The Summer That Made Us</i>: Exclusive Excerpt The Summer That Made Us: Exclusive Excerpt Robyn Carr "One woman is determined to draw her family together again..."
From The Blog
August 16, 2017
Romance's Most Likely: Nominate Your Fictional Faves!
Team H & H
August 14, 2017
34 Romance Authors Nominate the Best Reads of 2017... So Far
Team H & H
August 13, 2017
Why Romance Readers Might Be Interested in Zoe
Heather Massey
August 12, 2017
ICYMI: Tessa Dare Excerpt, Kerrelyn Sparks Review, Reader Seeks, and more!
Team H & H
August 11, 2017
Until the Sun Sets' Friends-to-Fake-Lovers Makes for the Perfect Summer Read
Janet Webb
Showing posts by: Heather Massey click to see Heather Massey's profile
Aug 13 2017 11:00am

Why Romance Readers Might Be Interested in Zoe

Source: Shutterstock

Zoe Asks: If Technology Could Make Your Romance Perfect, Would You Use It?

We currently have dating apps like Tinder and sites like Match.com to help us find compatible romantic partners, but what if technology suddenly took a giant leap forward and perfected the very process of falling in love?

A forthcoming film called Zoe (2018) plans on exploring exactly that issue. Helmed by Drake Doremus and written by Rich Greenberg, this “sci-fi romance” story is about “…two colleagues at a revolutionary research lab who design technology to improve and perfect romantic relationships. As their work progresses, their discoveries become more profound than they could ever have imagined.” (via Collider). The film stars Léa Seydoux and Ewan McGregor, alongside other prominent actors including Rashida Jones, Christina Aguilera, Miranda Otto, and Theo James.

A perusal of the film's entry on IMDB.com revealed an interesting tidbit: actress Jordana LaJoie will play a character called “The Other Robot.” Whoa. What's that all about?

So, what can we speculate about Zoe so far?

[Read more...]

Aug 8 2017 3:00pm

8 Lighthearted Science-Fiction Romances to Help You Relax Under Any Circumstance!

Collision Course by Zoe Archer

Science-fiction romance generally explores intense topics, including alien invasions/attacks, war, political strife, human trafficking, and all kinds of catastrophes. That's not even counting the pain and trauma endured by its heroes and heroines. Many sci-fi romance protagonists have been tortured, victims of crimes, experienced tragic separation from loved ones, or underwent extreme transformations through genetic engineering or alien mutation. Sci-fi romance is not unlike other romance genres in this regard, although some elements, like genetic engineering and weapons of mass destruction, do raise stakes to a whole other level.

The combination of intense topics, social commentary, and romance is one of the genre's best features. That said, it's also nice to unwind with sci-fi romances that entertain without delving into heavy issues. Or that are easy on the brain, but not brainless in execution. Sometimes a sci-fi romance might even involve something like an alien “first contact” situation and put a comedic spin on it so the tone is more Earth Girls Are Easy than, well, Contact.

Maybe you're a sci-fi romance reader who's extra busy, stressed out, or wants an escape from real world events even as you prefer stories set in futuristic worlds. Toward that end, here are some sci-fi romances that might fit the relaxation bill for you. These stories are lighthearted, hopeful, over-the-top, or downright gentle in nature.

[Read more...]

Aug 4 2017 1:00pm

Doctor Who Breaks the Time Lord Glass Ceiling: Introducing Jodie Whittaker as The Doctor

Doctor Who's Jodie Whittaker

Where were you on Sunday, July 16, 2017, when the news broke that the 13th incarnation of The Doctor would be a woman played by actress Jodie Whittaker? In the coming years, we will likely look back at this time and ask ourselves that question, especially since we are participating in a character regeneration announcement heard round the world.

Given the show's premier stature, it's all the more potent that Doctor Who accomplished something many female fans, never, ever, ever expected to encounter in our lifetimes: the breaking of the Time Lord glass ceiling with the installment of a woman as the 13th Doctor (the existence of secondary female Time Lord characters notwithstanding. While important, their roles don't carry the same amount of weight.)

[Read more...]

May 3 2017 11:00am

Get Your Farscape Fix: What to Read If You Love Aeryn and John

Farscape's John and Aeryn

Farscape, an Australian-American science fiction show that aired on the Syfy Network from 1999-2003, is an iconic show for many reasons. The story delivers galactic intrigue, visually mesmerizing aliens (courtesy of the Jim Henson Company), epic space opera adventures, a misfit starship crew, wackadoodle plot lines, and a star-crossed romance. In fact, one of the most unique and important aspects of this show is that the main romance is an integral part of the plot.

The least you need to know about Farscape: During a mission, astronaut John Crichton accidentally travels via wormhole to another part of the Milky Way, where he joins a band of misfits attempting to escape the wrath of the military empire known as the Peacekeepers. Once there, he meets Aeryn Sun, an outcast Peacekeeper soldier with a heart of ice. Together, they embark on adventures across the galaxy.

We're introduced to this world through John's eyes, but he and Aeryn quickly merge as the show's dual protagonists. Their strong chemistry is evident from their very first meeting, when she kicks his ass like nobody's business! John and Aeryn work as a team through thick and thin. They rescue each other, both physically and emotionally. They bicker, banter, and have hot sex. Theirs is one of the most beloved romances in science fiction television show history.

[Read more...]

Jul 12 2016 9:30am

Thank Heaven for Sci-Fi’s Diverse Romance Creators

The Felig Chronicles by P.J. Dean

You may have heard the news that the Iron Man comic will pass the mantel to Riri Williams, a black female teenager. Great news for diversity in comics, but there’s a catch: the series will be written by Brian Michael Bendis, who’s white and male.

In June 2016, comic writer Mark Miller revealed he’s rebooting his Kick-Ass comic with a black female superheroine. Great news for diversity in comics, but there’s a catch (stop me if you’ve heard this one): Mark Miller is white.

In other book news, author Ben Winters was hailed as “fearless” in the New York Times for mixing “slavery and sci-fi”. Can you guess what comes next? Yep, he’s white.

And the one show you’d think had black writers penning stories and dialogue for black female characters apparently doesn’t. Sad to say, Orange is the New Black missed a huge opportunity there.

The above examples are just the tip of the ice berg, yet despite the small sample there’s already a disturbing pattern of mostly white creators having the privilege of writing characters of color. This is happening even though authors of color were exploring issues like slavery in science fiction long before authors like Ben Winters were even born. But they aren’t afforded the same opportunities as folks like Bendis and Miller. Check out those marketing platforms—The New York Times, The Hollywood Reporter...nice gigs if you can get them.

[Content by authors of color...]

Jul 7 2016 4:30pm

Saga: An Otherworldly Romance and So Much More

Saga by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples

Is Saga a Romance?

Saga features a mix of magic and technology, a space opera setting, and a diverse cast of characters and gender identities. It also includes action-adventure, graphic violence, gore, mature themes, sex scenes (some of it interspecies), and thought-provoking sexual imagery (some romantic, some raunchy).

Does Saga push some boundaries? Heck, yeah! Yet beneath the decidedly adult themes and dark humor is a universal story about the joys and struggles of love and parenthood.

Marko and Alana are fugitives fighting for their lives against a backdrop of interplanetary war. Marko is a soldier and has sworn off violence. Alana, however, won’t hesitate to use violence to protect her family. They share a goal of escaping the war and settling down in peace to raise their daughter, Hazel, but events are constantly conspiring against them.

Saga begins with the birth of the couple’s daughter rather than their meet-cute. And Vaughan has stated that the gist of the story is about parenthood. Therefore, all bets are off regarding romance genre conventions. To be sure, Saga isn’t advertised as a sci-fi romance and it hasn’t ended yet, so I’m managing my expectations accordingly. And yet, Alana and Marko’s romance is a key part of the story. Without their forbidden romance, the whole story falls apart.

[You had us at forbidden...]

Jul 6 2016 2:00pm

Sci-fi Romance’s Discoverability Challenge

Sureblood by Susan Grant

Why Is Sci-Fi Romance So Difficult To Find?

Full disclosure: Heather Massey runs the site The Galaxy Express. 

Though sci-fi romance has been around for decades, it has a history of being difficult to find for a number of reasons.

Number one with a bullet: it’s a niche genre. The audiences for science fiction and romance are each huge, but those who enjoy the genres in blended form are far fewer. Either that, or they have yet to reveal themselves. :p

The cause is partly rooted in a deliberate partitioning of genres along gender lines. SF was designated—largely by men—as a genre only for men. Many women enjoy science fiction despite such prohibitions, but haven’t been entirely welcome in the fandom, especially in the early years. In turn, they were less likely to not only read SF, but to also write it and infuse it with romance if they so desired.

[Read more...]

Jun 30 2016 9:30am

Androids May Be Artificial, But Their Love Sure Isn’t

Are robots the new frontier?

A BBC News article called The rise of the romantic robot* covered a few “robot erotica” books that feature sizzling encounters between robots and humans:

“Whether robots could one day think for themselves and the how this would affect humans' relationships with them is a common subject in science fiction. However, novelists are increasingly investigating another burning issue: could robots love a human?”

The article goes on to state that “Only a few authors have braved an area that is almost literally a no-man's land….” At that point, I was like, wait, hold up. In my reading experience, way more than “a few” authors have explored these types of stories, specifically android and/or A.I. romances. This apparent “no-man’s land” has already been colonized, thank you very much.

I’ve covered android romances multiple times in the blogosphere and the BBC News article made me realize it’s time to revisit the topic. I can’t possibly list all of the titles in one post, but I can certainly share more than “a few”! Plus, given advances in the field of robotics and related sciences, these stories deserve more visibility because they offer a fun way to explore the thought-provoking topic of artificial intelligence and the intimate role it plays in our lives.

[Robots for a new generation...]

Jun 17 2016 9:30am

Passengers and the Questionable Promise of Sci-Fi Romance Films

An out of this world romance...

On December 21, 2016, Sony Pictures Entertainment will release a film called Passengers starring Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence. The film was conceived of and written by Prometheus scribe Jon Spaihts. Morten Tyldum is the director.

The media has been describing this film as a sci-fi romance. Here’s the premise:

“A spacecraft traveling to a distant colony planet and transporting thousands of people has a malfunction in one of its sleep chambers. As a result, a single passenger is awakened 60 years early. Faced with the prospect of growing old and dying alone, he eventually decides to wake up a second passenger.”

Interestingly, Passengers has been garnering positive buzz:

“Earlier this week, Den of Geek was invited to see a presentation of footage from Sony Pictures and its subsidiaries’ upcoming film slate, and while there were a lot of early trailers and footage of lots of cool genre movies they have slated, the standout was clearly the first footage from Passengers, starring Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence.

Directed by Morten Tyldum, the Norwegian filmmaker whose previous movie The Imitation Game got him nominated for an Oscar, it looks like a fantastic science fiction film in the vein of The Martian and the original Alien, although it offers a romantic angle that those films did not have.”

-(Via Den of Geek!)

[A love that's out of this world...]

Jan 15 2016 10:30am

Breeding Romances: He Has the Need, the Need to Breed

Coach by Alexa Riley

Romance and erotic romances have gained a new tag these days and that tag is “breeding.” Characters being bred for babies is a longtime trope, and with the advent of ebooks, romances are increasingly bold about exploring it. In fact, there are references to breeding in both book tags, blurbs, and titles, such as Cara Bristol’s Breeder, Juno Wells and Aurelia Skye’s Alien’s Babies, and Fannie Tucker’s The Sperminator.

Romance and erotic romance that are all about breeding the heroine, especially for the sake of reviving a near-extinct species, abound in paranormal and sci-fi romance (e.g., MK Eidem’s Grim, Ruby Dixon’s Ice Planet Barbarians series, Alien Alpha by Juniper Leigh, and Emma Paul’s Kaden’s Breeder), but you can also find them among contemporary titles. Take Alexa Riley’s Coach: Breeding #1. It’s pretty up front about what readers can expect. Here are some sample key words from the blurb (from the hero’s POV) that set up the premise:

“She's a student, she's barely legal, and she's my best friend’s daughter.” – promises forbidden romance, taboo elements, and a heroine at her peak physical and sexual prime

“I have to have her, no matter what the cost.” – promises dubious consent/nonconsensual sex and by extension, the fantasy of awesome sex without the guilt (who needs guilt, anyway?!)

“I have to breed her and bind her to me so tightly she can't ever get away.” – promises a hero so obsessed with the heroine he wants to impregnate her.

Additionally, Alexa Riley is transparent about her story: “this book is…pretty much just about breeding the heroine.”

Wow! So, yup, flowing, gushing, potent semen and all that.

[Wait ... You can breed with me ...]

Oct 14 2015 2:00pm

Space Age: Older Heroines in Sci-Fi Romance

Restoration by KS Augustin

Older heroines in sci-fi romance are pretty scarce, but two 2015 releases made me realize how much I want more heroines in this category. Older heroines seem fresh and the life issues they face are different from those of heroines in their 20s. I enjoy getting a glimpse into a romance heroine whose life stage differs from mine. I want to be more aware of such issues through the sci-fi romance I read, so there’s a bit of cerebral appeal as well.

Reading about an older heroine in love is a chance to celebrate a mature heroine having a fabulous romance and yes, even hot sex. Part of this is a conscious effort on my part to be more aware of how ageism has played a role in my life and in my entertainment choices. Having grown up in the U.S., I feel a strong urge to shake off the bias this culture has toward older people being romantic, as if it’s a reason to go, “Ew.” Older SFR heroines offers me a chance to further reflect on the issue.

Another interesting aspect to explore is what it might be like to be an older heroine in a futuristic society. Sci-fi romance has many tools to explore that angle. How will technology impact issue like medical care, mobility, and lifespan? How will those factors intersect with love and romance?

Sci-fi romances with older heroines offers romantic situations that focus on elements other than a heroine’s sexual awakening or first love. Virgin heroines are less plausible in futuristic romances to begin with, so it makes sense that SFR offers fertile (!) creative ground for older heroines who are sexually experienced. Maybe more sex is important to them, or maybe they’re just seeking an emotional bond. I like the promise of that kind of variety.

[Girl power with space heroines at any age ...]

Aug 3 2015 4:30pm

Time-Stopping Orgasm: Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky’s Comic Sex Criminals

Sex Criminals Vol 1 by Matt Fraction

Time Magazine awarded Sex Criminals (2013; Image Comics) by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky the number one spot in its list of Top Ten Comics and Graphic Novels of 2013, and there are plenty of good reasons why.

In 2014, Sex Criminals won an Eisner Award for Best New Series, and there are plenty of good reasons why.

In 2015, Universal TV announced it had optioned Sex Criminals for a series, and there are plenty of good reasons why.

I just finished glomming issues 1-10 of Sex Criminals and—wait for it!—there are plenty of good reasons why.

The number one reason is the premise: A couple gains the power to stop time when they orgasm.

When I first heard about this comic, I was a bit wary. Its high concept premise sounded pretty gimmicky. And it is gimmicky—there's no way around that fact. Sex sells, eh? Despite my misgivings, the gimmicky angle plus my interest in science fiction romance and superhuman stories made it a foregone conclusion that I'd read it. When I became the happy owner of a tablet, and thus able to order the series digitally from comiXology, I took the plunge.

Image Source: Thoughtballoons

[Hello, comic strip sex...]

Jul 31 2015 1:00pm

10 Things You Should Know About Eve Langlais

When an Alpha Purrs by Eve Langlais

When a romance author delivers lusty romantic adventures time and time again, they're bound to get noticed in a big way. Eve Langlais is one such author.

This New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon bestselling author writes hot paranormal and sci-fi romances. As in, wowzers-that-stove-burner-is-hot hot. So if you enjoy easygoing, sometimes quirky, maximum power Alpha hero PNR and SFR romances, you'll want to keep a book of hers within easy reach (but maybe keep it away from your hot stove).

You may have heard about her buzz-generating When An Alpha Purrs, which recently hit #16 on the NYT Bestseller list. Why are so many readers gobbling up her books? The romances of Eve Langlais cut straight to the heart of what many crave: the ultimate surrender. She writes about heroes who surrender their hearts, and heroines who surrender to their deepest sexual desires.

The author has a light, breezy style, with dollops of humor thrown in for good measure. Her books are like a best kept secret that's begging to be spilled. In light of her ability to deliver such addictive romance comfort food with a side of over-the-top flair, here are ten things you should know about author Eve Langlais.

[It only takes one book to become a fan...]

Jul 21 2015 11:00am

Ladies Night: Adventures in Lesbian Sci-Fi Romance

Ascension by Jacqueline Koyanagi

As an avid lover of sci-fi romance, with its endless possibilities for exploring love in a technology-based setting, many kinds of romances appeal to me. One of those is the lesbian kind. In fact, I love lesbian SFR to pieces! I’m a cis heterosexual woman, so some of you might be wondering, “How does that work, exactly?”

For one thing, it has a lot to do with the kinds of stories I crave in sci-fi romance. A lesbian romance in a science fictional setting allows me to visit progressive futures where, for women, the playing field is level (or at least more level than it is now). There are worlds where marriage equality is the norm and lesbian couples find love while living free from the discrimination and violence they face in real life (for example, Ascension by Jacqueline Koyanagi). Alternately, lesbian sci-fi romances have used their speculative powers to explore how a same-sex couple finds love while navigating an oppressive society (Lise MacTague's Depths of Blue is a great example of this scenario). These are the types of themes I'm keen to explore and reflect upon over and over again.

I'm also a heroine gal, so the concept of reading about two intriguing, smart, equal, confident, and talented women is lesbian SFR's main attraction for me. Heroines in these stories accomplish feats like battling aliens, overthrowing evil corporations (as in Cathy Pegau's Deep Deception), and embarking on perilous journeys through space. There's a whole different set of romance gender dynamics at work and they're told using the most excellent female gaze.

[Women lovers who kick alien butt...]

Jul 9 2015 2:00pm

Addictive Glomming Alert: The Wonderful World of K-Drama with My Love From Another Star and More!

Do Min-joon and Cheon Song-yi are romance characters in My Love From Another Star

As the Internet bridges all kinds of distance and language gaps, we're able to enjoy a wider variety of entertainment. This includes television shows from other countries. One type of show that has proven immensely popular are Korean dramas, or K-drama for short.

K-dramas are fun, whimsical, fantastical, and wildly addictive. They feature beautiful actors and actresses, to-die-for fashions, and a big variety of stories. Romantic comedy, action, mystery, historical dramas, contemporary adventures—it's all there at your fingertips.

Streaming technology and subtitles have made K-dramas highly accessible, therefore raising their fan base to new heights. K-dramas have a lot of appeal for romance readers since many are romantic comedies or involve romances.

[What do you know about K-dramas?]

May 21 2015 12:30pm

Futuristic Breeder Romances in Sci-Fi Erotica and Erotic Sci-Fi Romance

Breeder by Cara Bristol

(Trigger Warning: This post involves references to rape and non-consensual sexual acts in SF erotica and erotic sci-fi romance.)

Breeder erotica is alive and well and has been around for many years. It's particularly a staple of SF/horror erotica. It also makes regular appearances in erotic sci-fi romance. A cursory check of Listopias on Goodreads will turn up packed-to-the-gills lists of “Mars Needs Women” and “impregnation” stories.

Breeder SFRs typically involve heroines who are captured for often non-consensual, forced impregnation (or at least that's the initial intention). These stories typically include graphic sex, dark content, and some romance. One of the more popular premises is that an alien species has lost all or most of its childbearing women and so require a fertile, compatible species in order to survive.

In a science fiction/SF erotica tale, it's a pretty horrific situation since women (usually from Earth) are kidnapped, raped, imprisoned, and forced to bear children. To what extent does adding a romance change or transform such stories?

Cara Bristol's Breeder is pretty transparent about its dark content. The society is one in which patriarchy runs amok. Men rule the world and they view women as subhuman.

[Men ruling the world, again?]

May 14 2015 4:30pm

Vampires of Future Past: Nina Croft’s Dark Desires Series, A Futuristic Twist on the Vampire Romance

Break Out by Nina Croft

Paranormal romances often feature centuries-old vampires, but stories featuring a (non-alien) vampire in a far future setting are few and far between. That kind of boggles my mind given how popular paranormal romance has been. Why, then, haven't we seen vampires migrate to science fiction romance in greater numbers? Is there a significant difference in plausibility between vampires in contemporary settings and futuristic ones?

Many vampire romances explore the dynamic arising from the pairing of an experienced hero lover and innocent/virginal/ordinary heroine. If that's the type of fantasy one wants, there may not be much point in setting such a romance in the future.

On the other hand, vampire romances in a technology-based world could easily offer other types of fantasies. A futuristic setting would lay the groundwork for a variety of romance pairings. For example, a science-fiction romance could feature a vampire who's so bored after living a thousand years that s/he decides to pioneer terraforming (making planets habitable for humans). This could lead to the vampire building an interstellar empire. What if someone discovered the CEO is a vampire? Would the public see him/her as a monster, or would the vampire's scientific achievement temper potential negative reactions? What kind of romance might evolve from a situation like that? What kind of themes could such stories explore?

Nina Croft's Break Out (Entangled Publishing) is one of those rare vampire-in-space sci-fi romances and it also offers a different spin on the vampire romance. (Others may consider this title PNR—and in this case we'd all be right!). Break Out kicks off the author's Dark Desires series. I'll discuss Deadly Pursuit and Death Defying in a bit.

[Take the futuristic ride one page at a time.]

May 6 2015 4:30pm

How Great Thou Art: Winged Heroes in Sci-Fi Romance

Breathe by Kelley HarveyWinged heroes are majestic, cool, mysterious, and, of course, hot. When a sci-fi romance features a winged hero, it does so with a twist. A few authors have taken the concept of winged heroes and planted them in sci-fi romance's futuristic and technology-based settings. Their efforts have yielded a crop of superhuman delights.

In this genre, the resemblance to paranormal or fantasy winged heroes is generally in name only. Sci-fi romance winged heroes have a variety of origins. Some are alien-based, some are created from bio-engineering, and some have technological origins. Despite being the heroes, they aren't all exactly angelic in nature—a few are quite the bad boys.

I've rounded up some sci-fi romances featuring winged heroes for you to check out, based on books I've read. If you know of others, tell me about them in the comments!

Kelley Harvey's angst-ridden Breathe (Devastation #1) is the first episode of her New Adult series (please note, it ends in a major cliffhanger). This story falls in the “alien hero who fell to Earth” category, but with an angelic twist. The setting is contemporary and offers a friends-to-lovers romance. The hero and heroine are college-age and face major family changes. Breathe also features superhuman elements and an additional twist, which, of course, I shall not breathe (!) a word of, in order to avoid spoilers.

[+More reading suggestions...]

Mar 5 2015 5:30pm

If You Like Science Fiction Romance: What to Read After Linnea Sinclair

Games of Command by Linnea SinclairAuthor Linnea Sinclair was one of the game changers in science fiction romance for two reasons. One, she infused her books with as much science as romance and achieved a balance many readers found satisfying. Two, she was a relentless advocate and marketer of the genre. In fact, for a few years, she was the face of sci-fi romance. And her influence over the genre is still felt today.

Linnea Sinclair's first book with Bantam, Accidental Goddess, was published in 2005. During and after the appearance of her sci-fi romances, digital publishing exploded. This has meant more interest in sci-fi romance as well as many more choices for readers who enjoy it.

It was easy to find and pick Linnea Sinclair's books since they came out at a time when it seemed like all the sci-fi romances in existence could be counted on one hand. These days, readers have hundreds of books to choose from. But where's a reader to start if Linnea Sinclair was her main gateway to sci-fi romance?

To make the search easier, I'm going to build a bridge between some of Linnea Sinclair's most popular contributions to SFR and the genre's current offerings by presenting you with an array of titles that have elements in common with her books.

Games of Command

The least you need to know: Admiral Branden Kel-Paten is a tough “biocybe” military soldier with a heart of gold. During a mission to protect the galactic Alliance, he tangles with Captain Tasha “Sass” Sebastian, a woman who finds a way into his heart despite his strict anti-emotion programming.

[Let the recommendations begin...]

Feb 27 2015 3:30pm

Comedic Sci-Fi Romance: Sex, Jokes, and Science in Space

Knight of a Trillion Stars by Dara JoyOne of life's literary challenges involves the combination of science fiction, romance, and comedy—three genres competing for center stage in a single story. Blending these three genres well is no small feat—I imagine it’s like trying to juggle a watermelon, a pineapple, and a kiwi fruit.

Despite my interest in all three of these genres, I harbor some fears about them in combination. What if a story winds up lacking strong emotional impact or depth? Funny and meaningful aren't mutually exclusive. Or a story might fall into campy territory and fail to offer any satire or humorous social commentary. I don't always want to turn off my brain just because a story is humorous.

I take my sci-fi romance seriously in that I have a general preference for serious fare. That's not to say I avoid reading SFR with humorous elements or situations. Such scenes can provide crucial balance in an otherwise dark story. But all-out comedy? That's another matter.

Also, as in the case of parody, the story is inviting me to laugh at my favorite genre. Sometimes I can do that and do so with glee; other times I have difficulty suspending my disbelief over a comedic approach to serious issues. This area, of course, is where execution is key, because I also know that compelling stories will draw me in despite any misgivings I may have.

There are really only a handful of comedic sci-fi romances. It's not a big surprise, given the literary juggling act involved in writing them. But they're out there. Here are a few that, despite my doubts, made a memorable impression on me. They're listed in order of publication date.

[Read on for a good time...]