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sci fi planet 14975053_sIt started long before the twentieth century when Anaïs Nin wrote her famous Delta of Venus. Perhaps it started in ancient Greece, where clay tablets sometimes held decidedly naughty verse. No matter where it began, however, erotica is part of human existence and has been for at least two millennia.

The combination of erotica and science fiction necessitated that science fiction—both speculative and fantastical—become a meme with all its attendant facets. It needed more than technology, more than fantasy Gods and Goddesses and anthropomorphic animals; it needed a dose of visceral reality. This reality had to be the kind that included eating, sleeping, and, of course, sexuality.

We might never know when science fiction erotica was first produced, but it is easy to see its prevalence increasing as the centuries pass. Today, science fiction erotica is gaining popularity as authors such as Laurell K. Hamilton, John Norman, and the venerable Johanna Lindsey get into the act. Even Piers Anthony, that famous writer of fantasy that so many of cut our eye teeth on, wrote Pornucopia, his version of a paranormal romp in the hay. And while “Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex” by Larry Niven isn’t exactly erotic, he deals in suggestive sexual themes exclusively in that funny essay.

But what are the romantic elements of sci-fi erotica, and how do they further the tech or fantasy? Try this on for size: boy meets girl; boy gets girl; boy loses girl; boy sings a song and gets girl back; they live happily ever after. That’s the basic refrain of romance novels, but in the case of sci-fi romance, it could be: alien meets girl; or, boy meets android; or, shapeshifter meets demon. The combinations are endless, but the point is that someone meets someone else who rocks their world, then find that they can’t do without that someone, and through some wonder of science or fantasia, they make it through trials and tribulations and find permanent togetherness. That’s the scope I tried to present in my two-book series, Daughter of the Moon.

The erotic elements are, I hope, self explanatory. There’s sex that’s sexy, not perfunctory or medically technical, but sensual, often impulsive, and always passionate. It’s intended to emotionally charge the reader right along with the characters.

Can the characters have more than one partner and still retain the romance elements? I think so. There is illustrative value in comparisons, as well as a dose of reality when bad red relationships and uncomfortable sexual situations occur. Furthermore, there is a burgeoning market for homosexual romance literature happening today that shouldn’t be ignored. And if homosexuality is allowed, perhaps polyamory ought to be, too. The world is a wide open place for erotica these days, and sci-fi erotica perhaps most open of all because the human(oid)s and supernatural beings that inhabit those realms don’t necessarily fit together the way we’re used to. But there’s lots of love to be had and that’s really the point.

I’ve written 3 sci-fi books, Laricon’s Ways, Daughter of the Moon, Book 1: Surface, and Daughter of the Moon, Book 2: Depths. These are sci-fi erotica, and deal with some interesting concepts, sometimes breaking the rules. All are romances, so you’ll get that lovin’ feelin’ with every chapter.

10 Comments

  1. Great post, Trish! I’m reminded of Heinlein’s The Moon is a Harsh Mistress that I found fascinating–line marriage on the moon. Of course Stranger in a Strange Land had an interesting sexual dynamic as well. Neither of them erotic, but the relationships were very new to me when I read them in undergrad school. i thought the line marriage concept particularly cool. 🙂

    Loved both your Daughter of the Moon books and Laricon’s Way. Decidedly erotic sci-fi and very well done.

    • I love Heinlein’s space operas. As you point out, they’re not erotic, but they didn’t have to be.

      Thank you for the kind words on my sci-fi. I hope to have another sci-fi coming out in the near future.

  2. Great post, Patricia!

    I will have to read these Daughter’s of the Moon books.

    They sound fantastic, and right up my alley!

    I’ve only read a few stories that had polyamory in them (I believe they were considered paranormal). But I loved them.

    🙂

  3. I did one nice short story in this line. The Earth has been taken over by a religious crusade that holds sex between an Earth person and an alien to be a mortal sin and a capital crime. So when my hero is caught in bed with a Bacarian chick (blue fur, 4 boobs, but sexually compatible) all hell breaks loose. She is imprisoned and in danger of being executed, which is likely to start an interstellar war, so he has to rescue her. Not your usual romance story line, I guess. But fun writing it. It was published, but then the publisher went belly-up … still looking for a new home for it.

  4. I say – the erotic writing genre is so wide open that anything and everything is a go – alien – human – m/m – m/f/alien – get creative a see what happens.

    • Do you think, Daryl, that writers today have more leeway to be creative than writers during the “golden age of sci-fi”? More than a few of the great sci-fi authors wrote love stories in their books. (Robert Heinlein comes to mind right away.) Or was the market not ready for that kind of creativity, and the writers disinterested in taking the books into uncharted territory, like erotica? I think Piers Anthony largely kept Pornucopia under his hat for many years, for example. I would be fascinated to know whether those classic writers would have branched out into sci-fi erotica had there been a market for it, or less social pressure. (Mostly a market, I think.)

  5. I think polyamory romance is on the rise as well. I also think there’s a fine line between science fiction and fantasy. Paranormal elements, though not classic fantasy material, are more fantasy than science fiction, IMHO. Futuristic or other world settings I’d place under science fiction. Daughter of the Moon is definitely both erotic and science fiction, and it may have broken all the rules when it first came out, but today it’s only bending them a little. Today almost anything goes, and for a romance what you need most is love and a happy ending. It really doesn’t matter whether the couples are alien, vampires, or normal, everyday humans. Great article, Trish.

    • I think polyamory is the next wave to come, Kathryn. We’ve seen the LBGT trend rise steadily, and now authors are moving into polyamory. I think we’re dividing up the readers, in some ways, because people who read poly/LBGT regularly are not the same ones who read traditional romance very much. So the market is getting more and more segmented. Soon no genre or subgenre will have a clear lead. It will be interesting to see where it goes. One of my daughters was recently reading some sort of book with 4 alien men and one woman. It’s rarely about more than one woman. These are many women’s fantasies writ large on the page, and with the advent of e-readers, they can read their fantasies without feeling uncomfortable with a garish photo cover telling the world.

      Sci-fi, fantasy, and paranormal are linked, in my opinion, if not in current trends, then in historical. Since the “golden age” of sci-fi, there have been split offs, such as paranormal. Before that, if people wanted to read about vampires mating with humans, they were relegated to Bram Stoker and werewolf-like creatures were furry aliens from other worlds. Fantasy, on the other hand, has always gone hand-in-hand with sci-fi. If you consider Piers Anthony’s work or Robert Aspirin’s work, you can see fantastical elements throughout.

      Through it all, people have been interested in the sexuality of the characters. I think that curiosity is quite natural. The trend today, as you point out, is “anything goes.” I hate that it splinters us off from more traditional “hard sci-fi” but it does.

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