by Annabelle McInnes
Speculative fiction fosters more than just a thirst for the fantastical. It can create an environment that explores societal norms, exposes and dissects flaws in our society and asks the hard questions about our morals, our values, and our impact. Ultimately, speculative fiction can create a narrative around the best and the worst of humanity.
When you combine the highlights of Spec-fic with romance tropes, you have the opportunity not only explore thought-provoking concepts, but also how these environments influence the nuances of relationships, love, family and community. This takes us into wild and wonderful world of Spec-fic Romance (SFR) where the endless possibilities of this exciting sub-genre are ahead of you.
But you need a little more convincing? I’ve put tougher the top ten reasons you should start reading Spec-fic Romance.
Spec-fic Romance asks the big questions
As a genre, Speculative fiction asks the question ‘what if?’. It’s a fundamental element to the plot and can drive the narrative and the direction of the story. By doing this, readers are given the opportunity to explore different realities, alternative histories and futuristic prospects. This question can also influence the romantic elements to highlight the emotional connection between characters, the circumstances in which they fall in love, courtship and sexual conduct. In short, SFR can offer high tension, high stakes, alpha heroes and hot sex.
Dissect societal norms
SFR dissects societal norms in a closed environment, where particular aspects of our nature are amplified and ramifications explored. From a romance point of view, this includes our relationships. SFR delves into the values we attribute to love, and what elements are needed for us to fall in love. It can analyse how community, government and the environment influence the connection between partners and how people manage to overcome conflict in order for love to prevail.
Entrenched in our history
Historical fiction and SFR aren’t a likely couple. But SFR often draws elements of human history into its narrative and crates imaginative worlds to support and expand on those themes. War, equality, race and religion all offer historical information that drives and supports SFR concepts. Take any moment in time and ask that imperative question ‘what if?’ and the possibilities for adventures are infinite.
On the other end of the scale is the world building. SFR offers endless prospects for those who love fantastical worlds and all the brilliance and wonder that they offer. Though SFR can often explore the darkest elements of humanity’s nature through dystopian worlds, it can just as easily explore the best of us. Romance tropes form a key part of these storylines and enable readers to immerse themselves in the human element of these ideas, explore how relationships can evolve and thrive, while knowing that they will always get their HEA.
A key reason to love romance? Because readers can live out their fantasies, whatever they may be. The focus the romance genre dedicates to its characters allows readers to be right at the heart of action. In SFR, not only do our heroines fight zombies, fly spacecraft, play with magic or save the world, but they’re likely entangled with a dominating, broody and tortured hero who just needs love to save him. If your fantasy is to be seduced and then whisked off your feet to fight oppressive overlords, then SFR is for you.
The Heroes and Heroines are badass
Overcoming significant adversity is a key theme to many SFR novels. It’s not just about characters finding the love of their lives, it’s can often also about survival, saving the humanity, or even the universe. Characters in SFR often have to shed the ideals and social norms created by society to survive and thrive. You want alpha heroes and strong feisty heroines who fight zombies, win against impossible odds and save the world? You’re in the right place.
SFR is not all about zombies. Dystopian and utopian sub-genres are included, but so is steampunk, futuristic, supernatural, horror and urban fantasy. Plus, every romance trope there is. There are multiple layers to SFR that offers most readers something they love.
High tension, high stakes
Not all SFR is action based, but storylines often have high stakes for the characters. The fight for the greater good is a common theme – so are robots. Readers who enjoy the genre can rest assure that they’ll be in for an adventure.
Reading in itself is an escape. It takes you out of your reality and offers you magic. SFR provides another layer to reading that doesn’t come with other genres. Readers are taken on a journey of discovery, of excitement, to remarkable worlds built to remove you from reality and take you flying. Add the tantalising element of romance with high emotional risks, badass heroes and heroines, and a love that could come at a price. Honestly, what’s not to like?
The happy ending
Let’s face it, we’re romance readers for a reason. We love our happy ending. SFR may ask the hard questions, push boundaries or take us on a heart-thumping ride, but when the romantic element is added, readers can relax in the knowledge that everything will work out in the end and that their fantasy will always be fulfilled.
Euan left his home whole, only to return broken, battered, and partially blind. He has endured the torments inflicted upon him by monster and man, but they are nothing compared to the consequences of betraying Nick and Kira. Incapacitated, he has no choice but to concede leadership to the man he considered his enemy, and is powerless as the distance between him and those he loves deepens and grows.
But his recovery time is short lived. The commander of destruction still lurks in the shadows, determined to dominate and control what is left of the human race. The final battle is upon them. They need a champion, a hero for humanity. There is no where left to run, and there is only one person who can provide the ultimate catalyst for change: A little, blonde sun-sprite, with crystal blue eyes.