Tag Archives: alien

Why SFR Blasts Other Romance Sub-Genre’s Tropes Out of the Sky: Part II

Following is the second part of Selene Grace Silver’s completely unscientific and statistically dubious survey of her own thoughts about the top ten dominating SFR tropes and why they function like other romance tropes, only on steroids. Click the First Part if you missed it.

Reasons #6-10 SFR Kicks Trope Butt: Sensual Setups

So we’ve covered the popular variations on archetypal heroes, let’s look at the more common variations on the archetypal romance arc.

Heroes’ and heroines’ meet-cutes tend towards the more extreme in SFR. Sure, the characters might meet in a bar and end up in a one-night stand like they do in Cara Bristol’s Trapped with a Cyborg, but it’s far more likely their meeting is more…unusual. The heroine isn’t just trapped with the hero on a road trip or during a snow storm, she’s likely been abducted in her nightie by evil aliens, who have crash-landed on an ice planet, leaving her to freeze to death until he finds her, or she’s been sentenced to a prison planet where either the extreme weather or the other residents are trying to kill them both.

Mail order brides might be big in historical westerns, but those gals only traveled half way around the world to marry their men, in SFR, the travel is more likely a thousand plus light years away across the universe with no return ticket. Our heroines will not discover ruby slippers to click together to get back home. We’re not on Earth anymore, Toto.

Whatever favorite situational tropes romance readers cherish in their contemporary, historical or paranormal books, SFR takes on the challenge of raising the stakes to their penultimate (ultimate resulting in death, as it sometimes does in hardcore SF, but never in the HEA-ending romance) potential, often serving up experiences that simply can’t be done in any other genre.

6. Calgon, Take Me Away! Alien Abductions

It might surprise those who don’t read romance just how popular the alien abduction trope is in SFR. Normally, something titled Alien Abduction would be classified under horror, not romance. In horror, the abducted usually become the victims of nightmare-inducing medical probes, or slaves on mining planets, or medium-rare steaks on some behemoth spidery creature’s dinner plate. In romance, though, alien probing and, ahem, eating ends in highly satisfying heroine orgasms. The only shock the heroine suffers from is just how quickly and powerfully her abductor brings her to climax.

When we consider that the alien abduction fear is a modern update on the whole sexual Nightmare of the Medieval period in which succubi would seduce and sex us up during our sleep, it’s not difficult to appreciate the power of this fantasy. It’s deeply rooted in our western psyches. While, paranormal romance can give us the sensual demon; SFR delivers the evolved, hunky alien version of little green men.

Why does abduction top the list of situational archetypes? Consider the drudgery of modern life: long work hours, long commutes, long lines at the grocery store. Seriously, so much of modern life is tedious and boring. Everyone fantasizes about getting away from everyday reality, but trading lines during regular life for lines in a Vegas buffet or for the rides at a theme park isn’t all that relaxing. For women, in particular, the exhaustion that results from a combination of trying to be everything to everyone, at work, at home, and even on vacation, is a condition not easily fixed with a twenty-minute bubble bath, (despite the soap advertiser’s promises). The thought of being eaten and/or probed turns readers’ minds to something other than cooking and gynecological appointments. It turns our minds to sex. (Please note, SFR readers are very sex positive.)

The idea of being taken and kept at the mercy of a large, competent and skilled lover far, far away across the galaxy where there are no reports to write nor emails to answer nor dishes to wash? The appeal is self-evident. Whether the hero ends up being the arrogant abductor, as in Eve Langlais’ Alien Abduction series, or the eager rescuer after the fact, like in Ruby Dixon’s Ice Planet Barbarian series, this trope always ends up in a happy-ever-after for the heroine.

7. Cue Mendelssohn’s Wedding March: Alien Brides/Mates

Just like the popular mail-order bride stories in the historical western romance genre, this scenario depends on the ‘thrill’ of every bride everywhere dreaming of the moment she partners with a soulmate for life. Women are raised to chart their personal lives forward to this special moment in time. But that’s not what this SFR trope usually focuses its fantasy spinning efforts on.

The alien bride archetype is often less Cinderella and more Bluebeard. The SFR trope is more about the heroine surviving the honeymoon and building equality into the dynamic of the relationship. In real life, marriage can actually be scary for women. Not to get too dark here, but most women who get murdered are actually killed by their partners. And more men cheat on their wives than women cheat on their husbands. It’s dangerous to become intimate with a man, after all. It’s risky, both physically and emotionally. Alien bride stories raise the stakes of the archetypal marriage by increasing the danger of the spouse (see the First Part of this post) and further complicating the difficulty of marital communication between not only two genders, but also between two alien races. In Laurann Dohner’s Zorn Warriors series (technically more alien abduction than mail-order bride), the heroines find themselves in sexual competition with other females for their partner’s heart even after the mating.

The reason for this trope’s popularity? If the heroine in an SFR alien bride story can form a happy marriage with a giant, furry blue male who speaks a different language, then surely human females on Earth can do the same with their similar-sized fellow human partners.

8. The More the Merrier: Alien Ménages, the Highly Logical Path

Polygamy exists on Earth, even in the modern era, but it’s too often about the guys having multiple females at their disposal. In SFR, the females get their karmic justice. Sex stops being about making babies and starts being first and foremost about having great sex . Since women have the potential to orgasm more in a night than men, it makes complete sense to invite more males per female into the sexual equation so we reach our joined-gender-maximum-orgasm-potential. And we’re not talking about equally splitting attention between everyone involved either, one of the downsides of ménages (or so I’ve heard), although that’s okay too. This SFR trope is, primarily, a female fantasy-driven experience.

The alien guys understand (unlike their human counterparts so often misunderstand) that the woman deserves to be the “precious” center of the activity. Women need lots of sensual stimulation, so it’s highly logical to increase the males-to-female ratio to even up the odds of achieving orgasm equality. It doesn’t mean the heroine can’t have the one true love experience, either. In Kate Pearce’s Planet Mail, the extra guys are there to “help” the alpha hero keep his heroine prepped and aroused. Kind of the way romance novels keep women prepped for their real husbands, right? Unlike the actual world, unfortunately, where masculine jealousies might flare up–women being transferable property and all–these SFR stories create completely new cultures, ones that don’t see women as mere property, or as disposable, so sharing one female among several hot alien guys becomes a practical and acceptable relationship structure. In SFR, it’s all about practicality.

9. Set Phasers to Stun: Alien Invasions/Post-Apocalyptic Earth

Not all SFRs happen out in the frontiers of space. They can just as easily take place here on Earth. In these post-apocalyptic stories, the heroes are generally human males, but not always. They can be violent invading aliens, like in Stephanie Snow’s Demon’s Captive, or they can be retro raiding and pillaging Vikings as in Megan Crane’s Edge books, or they can be the surviving, honorable soldiers in Anna Hackett’s Hell Squad series. The attraction of the trope is that civilized society as we know it has been stripped away and we therefore are also stripped down to our most primal selves.

Sex under life-threatening conditions boosts the battery’s charge. Invasions by another country would be scary to consider, but being taken over by an off-planet alien race guarantees life-and-death conflicts on a daily basis. Only the strongest survive, so the options for mating with the manliest of the males becomes inevitable since those are the only males that survive to mate. And when it comes to interacting with invading aliens, it seems better to be desired sexually than gutted and run over like road kill.

10. Caught the Net of Love: Trapped Together

A quick survey of titles,  series titles and book blurbs in SFR will make obvious readers’ love for this trope. Trapped. Escape from. Marooned. Imprisoned.  A favorite trope, no matter the romance sub-genre, trapped scenarios promise few pesky interruptions or distractions between the hero and his heroine, other than each other, that is, so the storytelling focus can be primarily on the developing relationship between our two lead characters. As with all these tropes, the SFR game requires the players to double down and go for broke. The hero and heroine are more likely trapped in a life-threatening situation than, say, “snowed in” at the millionaire hero’s sprawling winter retreat for the weekend, cupboards full of food and the kindling and logs stacked neatly on the wrap-around porch, ready for cozy nights before the fire.

For example, in Claire Kent’s novella Hold, the heroine, an academic, is unfairly dumped in an underground prison full of violent men. Mating isn’t a choice for her–it’s her sole survival strategy. She hooks up very willingly with the strongest contender in sight.  Fortunately, his incarceration was the results of an unfair sentence too, and he turns out to be a good guy (after lots of rough quid pro quo sex, of course). SFR effectively blends the bad boy and the good guy hero tropes under these extreme conditions, something it’s nearly impossible to do without a lot of back-bending in contemporary romances.

Cara Bristol’s Stranded with a Cyborg is another example of the harsh, deadly landscapes our characters often find themselves in–the water is deadly acid on the planet where the hero and heroine crash-land. And lots of SFRs depend on the trapped-for-long-days setting of the spaceship as well. It doesn’t take long to figure out the consequences of attractive males and females living in close quarters in the middle of nowhere, a scenario perfectly exploited by Lopita Lopez in her Grabbed series.

As with the hero archetypes, the story arc patterns in SFR spin traditional tropes into something edgy and exciting. So, go get trapped with an SFR and leave everyday Earth behind. Need some suggestions? Check out our ever-expanding list of SFR series HERE.

What popular tropes did Selene leave out? Which are your favorites? Book recommendations? Let us know.

Missed the first part of the post? Click HERE.

Signals From the Edge: SFR/PNR Author Rosalie Redd

Welcome to Signals from the Edge, Rosalie! We’re excited to hear about your new release. What’s the title?

Rosalie Redd: Unimaginable Lover.

SFRSS: Here’s the tempting cover and blurb!

unimaginable-lover-other-sites

A shifter and a human together? Unimaginable…

One careless decision. The colony betrayed. Tanen’s only course is a desperate hunt for justice, but his solo mission is cut short when he’s mortally wounded. Rescued by a sweet, innocent woman, he can’t deny the passion that burns between them. Now he must choose between his duty and honor or his desire for the precious, but forbidden, human female.

Broken promises and ruined love hardened Sheri’s heart. When she finds an injured and extraordinarily sexy man on her property, she’s pulled into a world she never imagined. As she nurses him back to health and they bond over their love of books, she’s torn between the lessons she learned from her rough past and the need to seek solace in Tanen’s arms, but she must learn to trust him, and herself, in order to survive.


SFRSS: Your hero and heroine share a love of books? Our kind of people! What was the inspiration for this new release?

Rosalie Redd: Unimaginable Lover is book three in my paranormal romance series Warriors of Lemuria. Gods from the planet Lemuria send down characters to battle over Earth’s most precious resource—water. In Unimaginable Lover, Tanen is on the hunt for an escaped prisoner when he is mortally wounded. Good thing for him, Sheri, a human female finds him and nurses him back to health. Little did they know they’d find love along the way.

SFRSS: So what is this world that Sheri gets pulled into? 

Rosalie Redd: My shape-shifting warriors live in an underground Keep deep in the Cascade Mountains of the Pacific Northwest. The warriors have to battle their own demons as well as their enemy. As much of the story occurs on the planet Lemuria as it does on Earth, the gods battling for control over the game.

SFRSS: It sounds like your stories cross the genres of science fiction and the paranormal. What attracts you to read and write in these genres?

dune

Rosalie Redd: My father introduced me to science fiction and fantasy when I was a kid with books from authors such as Frank Herbert, J.R.R. Tolkien, Mary Shelley, and Edgar Allen Poe. So, my love of science fiction and fantasy started at an early age. It wasn’t until I was much older that I discovered my first paranormal romance and I was hooked. So, now, I write science fiction romance, fantasy romance, and paranormal romance.

maryshelley  jrtolkien  edgarallenpoe

SFRSS: What’s your favorite speculative book or series by another publishing author?

Rosalie Redd: My favorite series would have to be J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood. She does an outstanding job with character development and world building. Love, love, love her books.

darkloverjrward

SFRSS: BDB is a fantastic series. Who are your main authorial influences?

Rosalie Redd: My initial influences came from some of the authors I mentioned above like J.R.R. Tolkien. His descriptions and world building are fabulous. Some of my early paranormal romances that influenced me came from Jacquelyn Frank, Kelley Armstrong, J.R. Ward, and Lynn Viehl.

SFRSS: These PNR writers have perfected the alpha male. What’s your favorite kind of hero, alpha or beta, and why?

Rosalie Redd: My favorite kind of hero are alpha heroes, ones that are broken, hardened, moody. I like how the heroines bring them around, helping them to overcome their deepest fears.

jacobjfrank  lynnviehlifangelsburn  thegatheringkarmstrong

SFRSS: What specific first work turned you onto speculative fiction?

Rosalie Redd: I read J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit when I was twelve years old and fell in love with anything fantasy. Frank Herbert’s Dune wasn’t far behind.

SFRSS: Magic and Space. No surprise you’ve gravitated to write in these genres. Why do you think speculative fiction is popular? What does it offer readers that other fiction genres do not?

Rosalie Redd: I think speculative fiction offers readers a chance to escape to a far away place or world, to wonder…what if…and to explore the wonders of nature and space. Best of all, a science fiction romance or paranormal romance also offers hope and belief in happily ever afters. Who can resist that?

SFRSS: Most fiction does have a moral underpinning. What does your series say about the nature of humanity and science? About the nature of society?

Rosalie Redd: My books tend to revolve around honor and integrity. My heroes and heroines are challenged to do the right thing, which isn’t always easy. As the theme of my story is about a war over Earth’s water, natural resources, their scarcity and value is one of the moral underpinnings.

SFRSS: Can you share a little excerpt from Unimaginable Lover?

Rosalie Redd: Happily.


Excerpt:

“Is it dark outside?” His strained speech carried across the small space.

A strange desire to hear him speak again washed over her. She fisted her hand. “What difference does it make if it’s dark outside? If you’re injured, you need help.”

“Please, tell me…is it,” a quick intake of breath, “…dark yet?”

The cultured way he spoke made her still. She’d never heard his accent before. Sweat broke out on the back of her neck, dampening her collar. He seemed in pain, but she wasn’t sure. Her curiosity warred with her fear, and she wavered between barricading herself in her house with Coop and rushing to aid him. Instead, she remained fixed in place.

“It’s dusk,” she choked out, her throat tightening from her confusion.

He leaned his head against the wall. She couldn’t see his features, but from his outline, she could tell he was a large man. “Don’t…fear me. I’ll leave…soon…dark.” His words washed over her again, stroking her insides.


SFRSS: You’ve got our interest! What’s your favorite SF/speculative fiction film or television series?

Rosalie Redd: Egad, there are so many, but I’d have to go with Grimm. Love the references to old fairy tales and love the characters.

grim
SFRSS: Thank you so much for chatting with us. Before we go, what’s on your speculative fiction to-be-read/TBR list in the coming month?

Rosalie Redd: My TBR pile contains: Lara Adrian’s Heart of the Hunter, Grace Draven’s Radiance, and Tracy Cooper-Posey’s Faring Soul.

heartofthehunter  radiance   faringsoul

unimaginable-lover-other-sitesIf you’re interested in Rosalie’s work, links are below!  Where to buy Unimaginable Lover?     

Amazon US     Amazon AU     Amazon UK   

Amazon CA    B&N – Nook        

Kobo       iBooks

 


ABOUT ROSALIE REDD

rosalieredd

After finishing a rewarding career in finance and accounting, it was time for award-winning author Rosalie Redd to put away the spreadsheets and take out the word processor. She pens paranormal, science fiction, and fantasy romance in her office cave located in Oregon, where rain is just another excuse to keep writing.

Follow her on Social Media:

 

Baby, It’s Cold in Space

Looking for great romances set in imaginative settings? SFR Shooting Stars is passionate about speculative romance. We’ve written and compiled an anthology of SFR stories. Watch our new book trailer to learn more about it:

The first SFR Shooting Stars anthology, Baby, It’s Cold in Space, a collection by member authors, will be available until March 31st and then is coming down! Don’t miss out on your chance to own a personal, eternal copy. Download the anthology today on AMAZON.

sfrmabs-baby-its-cold-cover

 

Included in Baby, it’s Cold in Space:

I’LL BE ON NEW LONDON FOR CHRISTMAS MARGO BOND COLLINS
When Gabi Esser joined the Galactic Coalition Fleet Marines, she dreamed of seeing the universe. Instead, she’s sent to New London–the most backward planet in the Coalition–to protect one of its silly nobles during the holiday season. Now the duke she’s guarding wants her to pretend to be his date at several Christmas parties, and she’s more intrigued by him than she wants to admit. They can carry this off without falling in love … but only in their dreams.

THE CLIMATE OF LOVE BLAIRE EDENS
Sent on a research mission to Utuquq, a planet that’s avoided the pitfalls of climate change, Lauren Hascamp has a year to learn everything she can to help scientists save Earth. Pukak, the Keeper of History for The Siku, the tribe inhabiting Utuquq, is drawn to Lauren and her stories of a world with no winter. Interest turns to passion, but when the priest who expressly forbade it discovers their affair, the couple is forced into the Unknown, a land of brutal cold and limited resources. Trapped in a dwelling made of ice, Pukak and Lauren must overcome the brutal cold, the lack of resources and the murderous intent of the Siku Priests if they have any chance at surviving.

SATURDAY NIGHT IN DEVILS HOLLER DONNA S. FRELICK
Agents of the Interstellar Council of Abolition and Rescue tracked a slave-trading criminal across the galaxy to his latest location–Earth, where the pickings are easy and profits are guaranteed. Mingo County Deputy Sheriff Jace McCoy has a stack of cold cases on his desk–dozens of lost souls who have gone missing from his rural West Virginia jurisdiction. There’s a kidnapper stalking the wintry mountain hollers, a killer with someone close to Jace’s heart next on his list.To save her, Jace will need Rescue’s help, and a whole new way of thinking about the stars.

STILL LIFE JAYNE FURY
His future is her next target. Astrobiologist Ewan Stewarts won the chance of a lifetime: terraforming paradise from a cold lifeless planet. Sexy ninja freedom fighter Commander Jodeen Benson’s mission is on a collision course with his dream. If she succeeds, she’ll save millions of lives but destroy one: his.

THE SOLAR EXPRESS ERIN HAYES
Kear’yl is a proud Vzekian space ranger who has fought great battles, defeated many warriors and traveled the universe, but there’s one man she’s always avoided: her human stepbrother Houston. But she can’t deny that Houston’s good looks and strong body set her three hearts on fire. When her stepmother plans a family Christmas on Wixilia VIII, and Kear’yl is tasked with picking up Houston from Earth to join their family, her spaceship breaks down in deep space, trapping them together. Kear’yl finds that her growing attraction to Houston may be the best Christmas present ever.

ANGELO 13 ROSALIE REDD
Forbidden to express emotions, clone Angelo Thirteen longs to experience one feeling above all others–love. When a tenacious, young, female Altonian retrieves him from his drifting space pod, he may just get his chance.

STAR GAZERS DIANA RIVIS
She’s traveled the multiverse on dangerous missions before, but this time her heart is on the line. Special Agent Kendra Voray of the Inter-Galactic Alliance is forced to work with Valon, historian and second born son of one of the ruling families of the planet, to determine how a Calivan artifact ended up on Earth hundreds of years before inter-dimensional space travel. Kendra doesn’t have room in her life for relationships, but Valon makes her feel things she never expected.

LIGHT UP THE DARK SELENE GRACE SILVER
Twenty-something girls just want to have fun. How can Nadiah explore her sensual side when her overprotective father is a powerful telepath who reads and controls the mind of any potential mate? An impulsive joy ride to Jagron’s sex palaces is her first opportunity to take a lover, but instead, she wakes up to find herself trapped in a space cell with a huge, mute alien. By the time they escape their kidnappers, she’ll have more than a solo trip dirtside to explain to Daddy.