Jan 23 2014 4:30pm

Missing in Action: Alien Heroines

Enslave Me Sweetly by Gena ShowalterInterspecies science fiction romances aren't new, but those with an alien heroine and human male pairing seem to be fairly uncommon. Today's Big Question: Why is that?

By “alien heroine,” I mean an alien who is markedly distinct, biologically, from human women in some way (admittedly, the distinction isn't always a significant one, usually in the interest of making the character accessible).

Not every sci-fi romance has aliens, but of those that do, I go in expecting either the hero or the heroine to be one (or even both). I don't have an expectation for just one type of alien character. So if the heroine is an alien, cool.

Perhaps I'm an outlier, though. It's interesting to note that Goodreads has a list of “Outer Space Heroes Sci-Fi Romance” and “Best Alpha Male Alien Meets Human Heroine Romance,” but for the life of me I can't locate a similar list for alien heroines. Something's telling me that alien heroines aren't familiar enough to readers. I wonder why?

Starlander's Myth by Melisse AiresSci-fi romance is a fairly young genre, so that could be one reason. Not enough books have been written yet to create the variety. Another is that if the point of a story is to offer a heterosexual female reader a titillating sexual fantasy, then yeah, I can see not wanting alien biology to distract from the sexy times.

But romances of all heat levels allow for exploring a couple's emotional connection as well–and yet alien heroines still seem to come up short. It's a frustrating lack for readers interested in meeting more of such characters.

In my reading experience, there's a higher chance of encountering alien heroine-human male couples in erotic romance titles. As a positive exploration of female sexuality, that can be a good thing. At the same time, there's a risk of an alien heroine being defined more by her sexuality than her personality.

Am I finding more alien heroines in erotic romance because the sexual content lowers the risk of writing them?

The Down Home Zombie Blues by Linnea SinclairRegardless of heat level, these ladies are difficult to find. Some days it seems I'd have an easier time locating a unicorn! But I've run across a few titles so far:

Gena Showalter's Enslave Me Sweetly, from her Alien Huntress series, features an alien heroine whose job is to protect humans from other aliens.

Lilly Cain's Confederacy Treaty erotic series features two titles with an alien heroine: Alien Revealed and Undercover Alliance. The Inarri have L'inar, nerve lines that enhance sexual pleasure.

In Melisse Aires's Starlander's Myth, the heroine is a shifter gryphon.

The Antaren Affair by Erica Anderson features a human-like heroine, but with a key physical difference. Her body is covered in sharush, spirals of raised skin that change color according to her emotions. They're highly sensitive and reflect her level of sexual arousal.

The Down Home Zombie Blues by Linnea Sinclair stars an alien heroine who hunts biomechanical creatures, a group of which intend to use Earth as a breeding ground. This story features an alien heroine at her most accessible—basically a human from another planet. Heat level is on the sweet side.

A Thousand Words for Stranger by Julie E. CzernedaJulie E. Czerneda's A Thousand Words for Stranger is romantic SF and the start of her Trade Pact trilogy. It has a slow-burn romance between alien telepath Sira di Sarc (who is human-like) and a human man.

A few stories involve a heroine who started off human and became alien, such as Melisse Aires' Refugees on Urloon and Sharon Lynn Fisher's Ghost Planet, or who were born half-human, half-alien, such as Lara Soto from Lisa Paitz Spindler's The Spiral Path. These three heroines develop unique abilities as a result of their altered genetic makeup.

Do you know of any others? If so, show alien heroines some love in the comment section!


Heather Massey is a lifelong fan of science fiction romance. She searches for sci-fi romance adventures aboard her blog, The Galaxy Express. She’s also an author in the subgenre. To learn more about her published work, visit

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1. Kareni
What an interesting article especially as I'm reading Gena Showalter's
Black and Blue which has the more common human heroine/alien hero formula you mentioned. Now I'm going to be thinking to see if I can think of the reverse.

Edited to add: Well, it was on television, but Star Trek's Captain Kirk had more than a few romantic interludes with alien females.
Carmen Pinzon
2. bungluna
I've found many more alien heroines in sci-fy, where the hero is the human one that we're supposed to identify with, I guess.

I think the theory that romances are written for heterosexual human females explains a lot, not only the lack of alien heroines but other quirks of romance conventions.

Thanks for the great article.
Heather Massey
3. HeatherMassey
>Captain Kirk had more than a few romantic interludes with alien females

True! And perhaps this pairing is more common in films and television than books right now.

@Bungluna Glad to be of service!

In case anyone's interested, I started a Goodreads list for alien heroines in sci-fi romance/romantic SF:
Lyra Torres
4. LyraJean
John Carter of Mars series has alien women. They look human but lay eggs that take 10 years to incubate and hatch.

There is also a short story in the Anthology Alien Sex with a female alien and a male human. I wish I could remember the name of the story.
Susan Grant
5. Susan Grant
So glad to see someone compiling a list of alien heroines. Here's 6 Susan Grant books and one novella starring alien heroines:

1. The Star Prince:

2. My Favorite Earthling:

3. The Last Warrior:

4. The Star Queen (novella):

5. Moonstruck: (This book was nominated for a RITA award)

6. The Warlord's Daughter:

7. Sureblood:

I may have written more :) but these are the ones that come to mind at the moment. --Sue
Susan Grant
6. Pippa Jay
Fractured by Sandra Sookoo has an alien heroine and human hero, the only one I can remember off the top of my head. I'm working on a couple of shorts right now with alien heroines, although both take on human form at some point. *adds write more alien heroines to list*
Susan Grant
7. K Charles
1. Bone Rider by J Falley

2. Alien Overnight and Enemy Overnight by Robin Rotham

3. I Was an Alien Cat Toy by Ann Somerville

4. Lost Star by Morgan Hawke
Carmen Pinzon
8. bungluna
It's so great to get all these new reading leads. Thanks, y'all!
Ellen Hutchings
9. shadowmaster13
This is something that happens in PNR too, more often it's human heroine, shifter/vampire/creature of the day hero than vice versa.

Even when the heroine is a paranormal creature it's rare that her hero is human, usually he's also paranormal.
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