Writing Challenge Tips: SF Romance Novels | UFOP: StarBase 118 Star Trek RPG

Writing Challenge Tips: SF Romance Novels

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Returning to the regular schedule of the bi-monthly Writing Challenge we have a new theme, “Isn’t it Romantic?,” chosen by the writer behind Lieutenant Commander Velana, the winner of the August round. How will you approach the question? Let me help you decide with a few novel suggestions.

SF is rarely associated with romance, but those few and far between novels are all written well and worth your attention. I will not include recent appearances of gothic fantasy for young adults, because I can’t say I found any worthy of attention. No sparkling here.

It is not the best nor the worst of all, but I’m going to mention it as the first because it is Star Trek: Of course, what else but Imzadi? Peter David’s novel tells the story of love, defiance, and time travel. An aged, bitter Admiral Riker visits Betazed and accused by Lwaxana Troi of betrayal of Deanna while he recalls their time together. The search for truth leads him to use Guardian of Forever and return through time to warn his younger self and save her this time around.

I was reading Shards Of Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold long after reading most of the Miles Vorkosigan series and found it a great explanation as to why he is so nuts. Who would be normal as a child of two absolutely unlikely lovers? They met and fought against each other, had to cooperate to survive, and fell in love; Cordelia then returned to her home on Beta Colony and was brainwashed as “therapy,” because her love for Aral was a “mental illness”; but in the end returned to him by killing his archenemy and bringing his head to Aral as a gift. I’ll have to write a story of the early life of Vid-Lotilija’s parents. I’m sure they were equally… unusual.

The Darkover series by Marion Zimmer Bradley starts with the great SF novel Darkover Landfall and quickly turns into a fantasy series. The Planet Savers tells the story of the saving of the Terran colony via the cooperation of natives and a parasitologist from the colony. I’m trying to think of what more to say about it, but despite being a well told story it left me empty.

Anne McCaffrey’s The Crystal Singer. It is not listed as romance novel anywhere, but what I remember most from the books is constant search for love, love lost in the search for power, high pay, travel, prestige, and near immortality. Crystal Singers are constantly losing themselves in the sickness caused by infection with the symbiont of the Ballybran, forgetting everything and everyone.

Another story that is not considered romance is Nightwings by Robert Silverberg. It’s a story of the search for faith through researching the history of mankind. While it has, similar to the Darkover series, both elements of SF and fantasy, in this case I’m more inclined to call this work SF. Three members of different guilds — Watcher, who questions his faith; the fairy-like Avluela; and Gormon the Changeling — travel to the holy city of Roum to find testimony of the prophecy that aliens will conquer the Earth.

I hope this will help you in your search for your best idea. The very last day to enter is Friday, October 26th, so get in your entry before then! Good luck to all entrants.