Feb 18 2012 6:30pm

The Thin Pink Line between Romance and Science Fiction: Linnea Sinclair and Jack Campbell

An Accidental Goddess by Linnea SinclairWhen two different authors take on the same central plot line, the results are never the same, and sometimes, it’s important to examine the similarities as well as the differences. So when I discovered that RITA-winning Science Fiction Romance author Linnea Sinclair and NYT best-selling author of Science Fiction Jack Campbell riffed on the same central plot idea, it was a chance too good to pass up. 

Linnea Sinclair’s entry is Accidental Goddess, the story of Captain Gillaine “Gillie” Davre, who inadvertently time traveled over 300 years into the future, only to discover that legend has turned her into a goddess. Jack Campbell’s entry is Dauntless, the first book in the Lost Fleet Series, the story of Captain John “Black Jack” Geary who is rescued 100 years after his “last stand” to discover that he has become a legendary hero.

The biggest difference between these two books is that Geary is plunged into a war (the same war he’d been fighting 100 years before), which allows Campbell to focus on the military aspects of the story. Geary is literally cold (from the cryogenic chamber that allowed his 100 year sleep) and alone.

On the other hand, Gillie, along with Simon (her ship’s AI) must deal with the fact that not only did she manage to time travel, but because of that, she’s been branded a smuggler. This turns the focus to the intricacies of the relationships on the space station where Gillie is found.

The Lost Fleet: Dauntless by Jack CampbellAs Campbell hasn’t written a romance, the slot of closest confidante/dearest enemy is filled by two different people. Geary has an adversarial relationship with Co-President Victoria Rione and an advisor-advisee relationship with the Dauntless’ Captain Tanya Desjani.

Gillie’s romantic foil is Admiral Rynan “Mack” Mackarian, adversary and man in charge of the space station—a man who worships the goddess she’s been turned into. And someone who might possibly love the woman she is.   

But at the core, there is one huge similarity: Both of these people, Gillie and Jack, have a reputation. And both must become the reputation in order to win the day. Gillie must become the Lady Kiasidra and use all the powers she has at her disposal to save the station (and Mack) from the enemy she’d last fought over three hundred years ago.  ack must embrace “Black Jack Geary” in order to beat the Syndic forces in a battle that will allow his forces to get closer to home.

Authors and fans of both romance and science fiction have been known to sneer at the other, putting those of us whose feet straddle the two in a very awkward position. But when we get the chance to revel in the similarities, we find that the two are not so far off indeed.  Especially when they’re in the hands of masters, like Linnea Sinclair and Jack Campbell.   


Stacey aka @nystacey

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Pamela Webb-Elliott
1. Spaz
Ooooooh, I like Romance in all my books, but these BOTH sound really good!
Tamara Morgan
2. Tamara Morgan
I enjoy using this kind of crossover appeal to try and get my husband to read more romance-like novels. (It's an I'll-read-yours-if-you-read-mine sort of deal.)

So far, I've found that sci-fi, fantasy, and romantic suspense work best, but sci-fi is the clear winner.
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