Sci-Fi Romance discussion

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Talk Genre > Sci-fi Romance vs. Paranormal Romance?

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message 1: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth (GeekGirlWriter) | 1 comments Maybe someone can explain something to me, because either I'm confused, or the people who classify romance subgenres are being weird.

Why are the terms "sci-fi romance" and "paranormal romance" often used interchangeably? When I think of paranormal romance, I think of vampires, shifters, magic-users, and other creatures from fantasy and horror. When I think of sci fi romance, I think of futuristic or off-world settings, cyborgs, aliens, and other elements from, well, science fiction.

So are they actually two separate subgenres, or am I being pedantic?


message 2: by Heather (new)

Heather Massey (Heather_Massey) | 21 comments They're two separate subgenres for sure, but have historically been combined under the PNR label for marketing purposes. SFR has and continues to be too niche to warrant its own marketing label on mainstream print books. So it's either described as SF, romance, or paranormal romance.

Now that ebooks are on the scene, the two subgenres can be more easily separated and described (e.g., via metadata, digital-first publisher tags).

It's difficult to determine if some readers use the terms interchangeably because of how publishers set up their marketing labels over the past few decades or because they don't consider the differences in settings (technological vs. magical/supernatural) to be significant. Probably both are factors.

And when some books blend both settings, it can be a real toss up!


message 3: by Carolyn F. (new)

Carolyn F. | 330 comments I do notice that it's the opposite at the library. PNR are listed as Sci-Fi instead of romance.


message 4: by JC (new)

JC (ainathiel) I think it is because of they way publishers and booksellers set them up. The term science fiction/fantasy could be a reason for the confusion. But I have a question for anyone who will answer,
there is a term I am reading about called extranormal, are they any good books anyone can recommend.


message 5: by Heather (new)

Heather Massey (Heather_Massey) | 21 comments Carolyn F. wrote: "I do notice that it's the opposite at the library. PNR are listed as Sci-Fi instead of romance."

Interesting!


message 6: by Heather (new)

Heather Massey (Heather_Massey) | 21 comments Jo wrote: "I think it is because of they way publishers and booksellers set them up. The term science fiction/fantasy could be a reason for the confusion. But I have a question for anyone who will answer,
..."


That is a new-to-me term! Is it like the superhuman SF category (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superhuman) or something different?


message 7: by JC (new)

JC (ainathiel) I have only found it in reference to DC Comics. But I think it is gaining popularity.


message 8: by Heather (new)

Heather Massey (Heather_Massey) | 21 comments Jo wrote: "I have only found it in reference to DC Comics. But I think it is gaining popularity."

I haven't been able to find an exact definition of the term, but if I'm interpreting it correctly, I'm thinking the following list of SFR titles could be considered to feature extranormal characters:

WAY OUT OF CONTROL - Tatiana Caldwell
PHOENIX RISING - Corrina Lawson
BLAZE OF GLORY trilogy - Sheryl Nantus
SOMATESTHESIA - Ann Somerville
GIRL GONE NOVA and KICKING ASHE - Pauline Baird Jones
IN ENEMY HANDS and EUROPA EUROPA - KS Augustin
SUNRISE ALLEY - Catherine Asaro
HATHOR LEGACY: OUTCAST - Deborah A. Bailey
DARKSHIP THIEVES - Sarah A. Hoyt
TSUNAMI BLUE - Gayle Ann Williams
THE FACILITATOR - Sahara Kelly
ZERO FACTOR - Stacy Gail
THE SPIRAL PATH - Lisa Paitz Spindler
*THE MARANN - Christie Meierz
THE TROUBLE WITH MEMORIES - Eva LeFoy
*LUNAR REUNION - Shona Husk
THE FELIG CHRONICLES - P.J. Dean
THE OPHELIA PROPHECY - Sharon Lynn Fisher
GABRIEL’S GHOST - Linnea Sinclair
BRAIDED SILK - Ella Drake
DANGEROUS RENDEZVOUS - Heather Massey (in the interest of full disclosure, that’s me!)

*books with alien heroes--not sure alien is considered extranormal

The titles above range widely in terms of setting, length, and heat level.

I'm not sure about books outside of SFR, though. I'm going to do a post about this topic later today on The Galaxy Express and if I learn of any others I'll keep you posted!


message 9: by J.A. (new)

J.A. Kenney (JennyAKenney) The definitions I have seen of Sci-fi/Fantasy/Paranormal are as follows...

Sci-fi is futuristic/alien/or technology based fiction. All creatures are human or alien never supernatural.

Fantasy is mythical/magical/or supernatural creatures based in "fantasy" words i.e. Lord of the Rings or Wheel of Time. (They can be based on a past earth where mythical creatures exist i.e. Silver Wolf)

Paranormal is where the same or similar mythical/magical/or supernatural creatures live on the Current day Earth, whether they are known or in hiding i.e. True Blood or Interview with a Vampire.

There are many combinations and variations therein....but those are the general categories...

The confusion IMHO is that Science Fiction/Fantasy/Paranormal are often grouped together by publishers and have a lot of shared fans...

This becomes even more confusing in romance where the genre is already a sub category...and most publishers and distributors don't even ofter the specific label...


message 10: by Starla (new)

Starla Huchton (riznphnx) | 2 comments If you're looking for comic book style superheroes, I should probably point out Evolution ANGEL (The Evolution, #1) by Starla Huchton and, the second in the series, Evolution SAGE (The Evolution, #2) by Starla Huchton. The third and final one will be out July 6th. Evolution HEX (The Evolution, #3) by Starla Huchton

I also did a cover for Entangled Publishing that's an anthology of superhero-type novellas. Holding Out for a Hero by Christine Bell

In my opinion, the difference between SF and F is all in how the extraordinary is explained. If it's explained in the book with magic, then it's Fantasy. If it's explained with science, then it's Science Fiction. Of course, that's my own personal definition, so take it as you will.


message 11: by new_user (new)

new_user | 755 comments I think publishers group scifi romance with scifi or paranormal romance because there aren't enough of them to warrant their own category, like Heather said. But at one point paranormal romance didn't have a category either! So that may change one day! :) I also see PNR and SFR blending sometimes in that you'll find shifters in space, etc.

Btw, I am very, very curious to try the superhero stories!


message 12: by J.A. (last edited May 21, 2014 11:44AM) (new)

J.A. Kenney (JennyAKenney) My series while pure scifi does a lot to bridge the gap between the genres...

Myth and legend can be alien....and it can be allegory for beings we do not understand!

I think fantasy and scifi live in a sort of symbiosis which each other....both create things that are beyond our current experience and both engage us in worlds that we cannot know!

But at the same time, the big publishers and distributers are letting us down IMHO...they should have these categories...and they should respect the differences. Instead of grouping them all together!


message 13: by Ruby (new)

Ruby Lionsdrake | 13 comments Can I make a mini rant here that it irks me when the books in the Amazon Top 100 Romance > Science Fiction are the same as the books in the Top 100 Romance > Fantasy? I'll allow that some stories can cross over (Linnea Sinclair's Accidental Goddess falls into that category for sure), but I prefer that my SF doesn't have magic or vampires or anything overly woo woo in it. :P

Not that I don't sometimes enjoy fantasy, too, which is why I browse that list, but I guess I just feel they are fairly different genres in most cases.


message 14: by J.A. (new)

J.A. Kenney (JennyAKenney) Amazon's "lists" are really informal lists and they are VERY messy by nature. The main problem is you can't list a book in most of the categories, it bases it on keywords, sales, etc, etc...

It's "magic" marketing...and a publisher or author is very limited on what categories they can use. I think it comes down to "romance" and "fantasy/scifi" the rest are those "magic" categories...

It would make MUCH more sense if they could just assign a book to any of the categories they have lists in...the fact that they can't is just plain WEIRD!


message 15: by Ruby (new)

Ruby Lionsdrake | 13 comments Heya, JA.

Are you an author yourself? You should be able to choose just about any of the categories (I think the character-based ones, i.e. elves, aliens, etc. are a little wonky) if you're publishing through the KDP dashboard. Everything should be available as a category selection or via a keyword choice.

More here on how to get into the categories that require keywords:

http://www.lindsayburoker.com/tips-an...

I assume publishers have something similar and can choose their categories too.


message 16: by J.A. (new)

J.A. Kenney (JennyAKenney) I'm an author who works through a publisher, so while I don't do it myself I have heard ALL the complaints...LOL

I think they make it intentionally difficult so that those not going through KDP either physically can't or don't know how to do it.

The big publishers I believe have special arrangements, so it is the small and medium publishers that get messed with.

I myself can't touch the categories because I don't submit the books. It gets to be annoying at times!


message 17: by Ruby (last edited Aug 27, 2014 10:05AM) (new)

Ruby Lionsdrake | 13 comments J.A. wrote: "I'm an author who works through a publisher, so while I don't do it myself I have heard ALL the complaints...LOL

I think they make it intentionally difficult so that those not going through KDP ei..."


Ah, yeah, that's tough. I've definitely noticed that some of the publishers don't seem to know about the newer categories at all. Steampunk, for example, is almost all indie stuff (on Amazon). I wouldn't be surprised if none of the publishers go back to change categories on backlist books. :(


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