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Talk Genre > Nonstandard Relationships in SFR?

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NebulousGloom (FK) (nebulousgloom) | 30 comments I've noticed that in the SFR that I've read (which isn't tons and tons, so I'm probably missing something) that the relationships seem to be almost exclusively between two heterosexual white people. Sometimes these characters are given traits and different heritage and made "alien", but generally they are more or less human. Science fiction is often boundary pushing, so I'm wondering what I've missed in my book selections. What I'm thinking of are nonstandard relationship structures (polyamory or any of the variations that came up in Heinlein), non-hetero relationships, aliens that are at least as alien as Ren in Gabriel's Ghost (I haven't read the rest of the Dock 5 series, yet) or any of the romance options in the video game Mass Effect 2, and characters who aren't white. For example, if Octavia Butler's Xenogenesis series wasn't quite so depressing and had more romance (although her last book with the vampires was quite good and fairly romance-y).

This isn't criticism of SFR, as even SF has been an overly white character dominated genre. However, I'm looking to broaden my horizons. Thoughts?
-- Felicia


message 2: by Carolyn F. (new)

Carolyn F. | 334 comments I've read 3 books recently with romances between white women and robots. In one of the books a robot's "skin" was black and he ended up being the leader of their group. Another of the robots had dark olive skin which the author described as Arabian.


NebulousGloom (FK) (nebulousgloom) | 30 comments Carolyn F. wrote: "I've read 3 books recently with romances between white women and robots. In one of the books a robot's "skin" was black and he ended up being the leader of their group. Another of the robots had ..."

Cool! Which books?
-- Felicia


message 4: by new_user (new)

new_user | 755 comments Felicia, I know just what you mean. I try my best to search out interracial or intercultural relationships in my SFR because I just find a strictly white cast to be so boring and limited and not at all exploiting the actual texture and so, so fascinating layers of society, but I have to say the pickings are slim unless you look into erotica. All I know is that romance authors are leery of writing characters that aren't white, but I hope this is changing.

(Btw, I agree with you about Ren.)


message 5: by Carolyn F. (new)

Carolyn F. | 334 comments The Silver Metal Lover by Tanith Lee the first book with just whitish robots, etc.

Metallic Love by Tanith Lee , with the black skinned robot who becomes the leader toward the end of the book.

He, She and It by Marge Piercy , the Arabrian described robot.

I'm on a streak of robot loving SFR books.


message 6: by new_user (new)

new_user | 755 comments Awesome, Carolyn! I was just about to ask!


message 7: by Pickles (new)

Pickles (angstypickles) I know what you mean! I wish there was more variety in romance in general.

If you're cool with M/M romance, some if it bordering on erotica, I can recommend a few! But even in those most of the time the males are white.


message 8: by Sandra (new)

Sandra Stixrude | 36 comments There's often little variety in romance because so many romance publishers have become stuck in these little boxes of what's acceptable. A writer friend of mine was recently told by a pub that, yes, she could keep the menage scene in the story so long as the males in the trio didn't touch.

EXCUSE ME?

What kind of bizarre thinking is that? You have three people in bed together and two of them are hands off? She tried. It ruined the scene. She went to a different publisher.

I've always loved "non-standard" relationships. People from different cultures, various combinations. I think Marya might be the only book I've written than didn't have a m/m relationship in it (the rest of the Anchorage books do have at least one) most of my couples come from different heritages, and there's even a young lady who's seeing four young men at the same time.

It's so much more fun to explore the possibilities than to stifle the creative process in boxes.


NebulousGloom (FK) (nebulousgloom) | 30 comments Harper wrote: "I know what you mean! I wish there was more variety in romance in general.

If you're cool with M/M romance, some if it bordering on erotica, I can recommend a few! But even in those most of the..."


I was hoping more for F/F, but I'd still be interested in your recommendations. Thanks!


NebulousGloom (FK) (nebulousgloom) | 30 comments Sandra wrote: "There's often little variety in romance because so many romance publishers have become stuck in these little boxes of what's acceptable. A writer friend of mine was recently told by a pub that, yes..."

Thanks! My guess was that this was probably a publisher problem. Sounds like the Anchorage series should go on my to read list. -- Felicia


message 11: by Pickles (new)

Pickles (angstypickles) I'm getting into F/F stuff right now, but I haven't read any sci-fi lesbian romance yet. Makes me want to go hunt some down.

But, anyway, here are some M/M romance sci-fi recs for anyone who's interested:

My Fair Captain (and the sequel, The Englor Affair)
Broken Boundaries
A Strong and Sudden Thaw (Kind of fantasy-ish, too)
The God Eaters


And that's all I can think of off the top of my head. I think there is a Listopia list about sci-fi with gay characters somewhere, though...


message 12: by Jadetyger (new)

Jadetyger Sevea | 56 comments Both protagonists in In Enemy Hands by KS Augustin are olive skinned. However, so far, there doesn't seem to be any difference in culture--IE, they both come from the same spacefaring race, origins unknown.


message 13: by new_user (last edited Aug 26, 2010 11:16PM) (new)

new_user | 755 comments Felicia, Santa Olivia features F/F, if you don't mind the dystopian end of the SF lite spectrum.

ETA: Harper, did you mean this list (Best Scifi with Gay MCs)?


message 14: by Sandra (new)

Sandra Stixrude | 36 comments Gotta love Listopia! OK, I know it's been years since I read it - but why don't I recall gay characters in Dune?


message 15: by Pickles (new)

Pickles (angstypickles) new_user wrote: "Felicia, Santa Olivia features F/F, if you don't mind the dystopian end of the SF lite spectrum.

ETA: Harper, did you mean this list (Best Scifi with Gay MCs)?"


Yep, that's it! Although I'm dubious about some of the books on there because I didn't think Orson Scott Card wrote gay characters what with him being so homophobic, and I can't recall any gay ones in Dune either...


message 16: by Yz the Whyz (new)

Yz the Whyz (whyz) | 15 comments Sandra wrote: "Gotta love Listopia! OK, I know it's been years since I read it - but why don't I recall gay characters in Dune?"

Wasn't the Baron Harkonnen one?


message 17: by Pickles (new)

Pickles (angstypickles) Yz the Whyz wrote: "Sandra wrote: "Gotta love Listopia! OK, I know it's been years since I read it - but why don't I recall gay characters in Dune?"

Wasn't the Baron Harkonnen one?"


Oh, yeah! He liked young men. I'd almost forgotten about him. I wasn't even thinking about the villains.


message 18: by AnnaM (new)

AnnaM (annamc) | 1111 comments I've seen lots of m/m sfr for sale at small presses or advertised in blurbs on lists. Lots of menage featuring two men and a woman too.

f/f, I've only ever seen a handful for sale.

As for non-white h/h, Barbara Karmazin had novels with true aliens as heroes. I think it's The Huntress that had a reptilian hero.

And a former crit partner of mine has a novella out with Eternal Press in which the heroine and maybe the hero (I haven't read it in years) are half dragon.

In The Outback Stars, it's said that the hero is part Aboriginal.

I've read others with Latino or alien-origin h/h. Even in the Lost Fleet books they never describe the hero. Sure, the guy on the cover is white, but the author never describes him. He could be blue for all we know.

Didn't Baron Harkonnen lust after his nephew too? The boy who fought Paul and was played by Sting in the first movie? I'm blanking on his name. I just remember being creeped out by the Baron in the books.


message 19: by Yz the Whyz (new)

Yz the Whyz (whyz) | 15 comments Anna C wrote: Didn't Baron Harkonnen lust after his nephew too? The boy who fought Paul and was played by Sting in the first movie? I'm blanking on his name. I just remember being creeped out by the Baron in the books. .."

Feyd Rautha.

The Baron was just gross.


message 20: by new_user (new)

new_user | 755 comments Oh yeah, I'm just now remember there was a lesbian secondary character in the Sirantha Jax series by Ann Aguirre. She has a bug-like alien as one of the secondaries throughout too.


message 21: by Sandra (new)

Sandra Stixrude | 36 comments Yz the Whyz wrote: "Anna C wrote: Didn't Baron Harkonnen lust after his nephew too? The boy who fought Paul and was played by Sting in the first movie? I'm blanking on his name. I just remember being creeped out by th..."

Right...see I can't really count that as a book with gay characters. It's just one gross, psychopathic pervert. Not quite the same...

Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover books had F/F couples - especially in the ones with Magdalena Lorne.


NebulousGloom (FK) (nebulousgloom) | 30 comments new_user wrote: "Oh yeah, I'm just now remember there was a lesbian secondary character in the Sirantha Jax series by Ann Aguirre. She has a bug-like alien as one of the secondaries throughout too."

I've read the first book in that series and will be moving on to the second quite soon, I think.


message 23: by The Flooze (new)

The Flooze (the_flooze) | 13 comments Felicia wrote: "new_user wrote: "Oh yeah, I'm just now remember there was a lesbian secondary character in the Sirantha Jax series by Ann Aguirre. She has a bug-like alien as one of the secondaries throughout too...."

Loooooooove this series!


message 24: by AnnaM (new)

AnnaM (annamc) | 1111 comments I just got the second Ann Aguirre book for my birthday. I want to read it but feel the need to finish the Dock5 series and Driven for here first. That's five more books before I can go back to grimspace. LOL.

I forgot about the f/f in Darkover.


message 25: by Joanne (new)

Joanne (needsun) | 1 comments I remember reading several unique romances years ago when I read strickly SF. I will try to grab some titles out of the fog that is my brain.

Valdemar universe by Mercedes Lackey had some interesting romances. I think The Last Herald Mage was m/m.


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