Reinventing MACROSS For Science Fiction Romance

Hi Readers! I’m glad to have Heather Massey here today as my guest from The Galaxy Express – one of the most awesome sci-fi blogs out there! She’s on top of the sci-fi genre and has recently released her first sci-fi erotic romance, Once Upon A Time in Space. :) For more on that check out Heather’s info at the bottom of this post. And here’s Heather!

Reinventing MACROSS For Science Fiction Romance

 True story:

 The other night, my husband and I were sampling the new Crackle free video streaming service through the PlayStation 3. If you’re unfamiliar with the site, it’s basically like Hulu—only with the majority of the library being Sony-owned properties.

In the TV section, we found the first episode of THE SUPER DIMENSION FORTRESS MACROSS (1982) (a.k.a. ROBOTECH). Alas, it was the dubbed version of this classic animated show from Japan, but entertaining nonetheless. Think: a love triangle set against the backdrop of an epic space war involving giant transforming mecha—definitely a show worth seeing if you don’t mind the retro style.

Anyway, we spent a few minutes revisiting a series both of us had watched religiously as teens. In fact, my husband I met because of a ROBOTECH comic book. (That’s also a true story, but I digress.) Seeing the first episode again sparked my love-hate feelings about the hero, hotshot pilot Ichijō Hikaru, and his inability to see the light when it came to the heroine, military officer Hayase Misa. But I was riveted to their romance all the same.

Afterward, as fond recollections of MACROSS stirred nostalgic yearnings in me, I mentioned to my husband that I’d love to relive that highly emotional experience again, namely, an epic science fiction series wherein the romance is a major subplot: The kind of SF-romance-action-adventure mix that leaves me walking on air for days. Preferably animated, although I’d happily “settle” for a live action version.

My husband responded that he didn’t think such an opportunity would likely be possible, mainly because I was a youth at the time ROBOTECH aired. I could see his point to an extent. I was a youngster at a particular developmental stage, a factor which undoubtedly influenced the psychological impact of viewing the galactic action-adventure sagas that came my way. Could I now, as an adult with adult sensibilities, have the same reaction to a similar series today? Or am I too jaded?

A large part of me believes that given enough time, I’ll have that experience again, if not in film/television, then in books. While the two mediums—print vs. film—differ sharply in some ways, in others they converge. And yes, we have the popular FIREFLY, FARSCAPE, and BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, but neither was built around a romance as MACROSS was.

In books, science fiction romance definitely has its share of saga-like romantic SF/sci-fi romance stories, or a series of stories set within the same universe. Anne McCaffrey’s Pern books is one of the earliest. Sharon Lee and Steve Miller bequeathed us their Liaden Universe. And, of course, there’s Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan saga.

Catherine Asaro’s Tales of the Ruby Dynasty revolves around characters from the Skolian Empire and features romance subplots. Linnea Sinclair continued this trend to an extent with her Dock 5 Series, although the books are spin-offs rather than episodic in nature. This despite the fact that many of her fans would have enjoyed repeat appearances of certain couples, e.g., Admiral Branden Kel-Paten and Captain Tasha “Sass” Sebastian from GAMES OF COMMAND.

Ann Aguirre’s GRIMSPACE series follows the romantic exploits of Sirantha Jax and her lover March. Gini Koch is blazing a similar trail with her comedic action-adventure series that begins with TOUCHED BY AN ALIEN.

In erotic sci-fi romance, Lauren Dane entertains readers with her Federation series in which “Each story is a standalone but there is a story arc spanning the books dealing with the unrest within more democratic Federation territory and a war brewing between the two sides.” And Carina Press’ own Lilly Cain has The Confederacy Treaty Series to offer.

Okay, so plenty of authors have kinda sorta approximated a MACROSS-like story over the years, and various newer titles inform me that others are heading in that direction as well. But I’m still wondering about the viability of a story that approximates MACROSS in terms of focusing on one couple’s journey across multiple books via episodic delivery.

Might it be possible to entertain the idea of a serialized sci-fi romance series featuring one main couple, with both the story and romance arc extending over the course of a series of novellas, perhaps? Would this type of feat be possible in the digital medium? I believe so. Especially if readers are made clearly aware that the first novella/short is the start of a series. Naturally, the story could eventually be sold as a complete story, but I’m partial to the idea of reading this kind of saga one section at a time in order to capture the heightened sense of anticipation that episodic releases would promise.

Ambitious? Yes. Risky? Most definitely. But a niche subgenre like sci-fi romance can afford a risk like that now and then. The print medium and limitations of the current distribution system most likely prohibit such a venture unless your name is J.D. Robb. Then there are challenges such as reader expectation regarding preferences for an HEA at the end of a story. But given the right characters and plot at the right time, in the digital realm, the chances of such a story succeeding are high.

All of which leaves me feeling very optimistic about the future. MACROSS—here I come—again!

Thanks for dropping in, Heather – and for the tip of the hat toward my series. :) Here’s more about Heather, and check out this fantastic cover!

Bio:

Heather Massey is a lifelong fan of science fiction romance. She searches for sci-fi romance adventures aboard her blog, The Galaxy Express.

Heather’s debut erotic sci-fi romance novel, <i>Once Upon a Time in Space</i> (Red Sage Publishing), features the last living descendant of Christopher Columbus on a desperate quest to find a new world. Standing in his way is Raquel, the deadliest space pirate in the galaxy.

When she’s not reading, she’s watching cult films and enjoying time with her husband and daughter.

Visit the author’s Web site at www.heathermassey.com, or follow her on Twitter (ThGalaxyExpress) and FB (http://tinyurl.com/3mxmc9u)

18 comments

  1. Heather totally love the sounds of your books. Love the cover and with the Japanese magna elements you touched on can’t wait to get my hands on them. Nice to know you meet your hubby gaming! Way to go.

    1. Heather i awesome – go check out her blog Renee, The Galaxy Express! Everything sci-fi!

    2. Renee, thanks for reading as well as for your interest in sci-fi romance!

  2. Congratulations, Heather, on your new sci-fi erotic romance “Once Upon A Time In Space”. The cover is very eye catching. Enjoyed reading the blog and best of luck writing what you love!

    1. Aren’t the new covers from Red Sage beautiful, Bev? Thanks for stopping by!

    2. Bev, thanks for your kind words, and for coming by to visit.

  3. Books sounds interesting. I love sci fi. Currently reading Jane Gaskell and was surprised to see how old it was. I think I first read it when it must have been republished in the 80s. Good story.

    1. Hi Carly – thanks for popping in. That’s what I love about any really good story, that it can stand the test of time. This is harder, in some ways, to deal with sci-fi because by the nature of technology it dates itelf. :)
      Lilly

  4. I think the serialized romance is a great idea, and SF’s normal episodic format fits right in. So get on it, Heather :)

    Congrats again on the release of OUATIS!

    1. I love it when books come out with continuations – but often we don’t get to hear how the first couple made out. It’s nice where they have guest spots somewhere inthe next plot!

      1. Another factor to consider is that the idea of the HEA at the end of a romance is very entrenched. Even digital publishers would have a challenge selling readers on a different kind of story structure. Which is why an exciting story and compelling characters would be key.

        I remember feeling both elated and at times frustrated while watching THE X-FILES. However, the slow burn of Mulder and Scully’s romance was so delicious that my tolerance for it actually increased as the series continued. The delayed gratification aspect definitely played a role there.

        My hope is that the newness of an episodic saga would intrigue readers. Keeping the price affordable for each installment would be a given in order to convince readers to take a chance on it. And maybe the first one is given away for free, something like that.

    2. Thanks, Cathy!

      Incidentally, my goal was to egg on other authors to write such sagas so I could read them, muwahahahaha!

      In all seriousness, I want to add that I realized that this kind of project would require a big commitment on the part of the publisher, especially in terms of formatting and cover art. For example, there’d have to be a way to clearly designate each part of the series so readers don’t accidentally start in the middle. I’m sure there are other considerations as well.

      It’s an experiment with risks, but on the other hand, with a series of ebooks an author so inclined could tell this kind of story *now*, without having to wait for certain conditions or be a mega author. The digital medium is flexible like that.

      1. I guess my series is different. There is an overlying event and plot going on, but each story has its own main characters which appear off an on through the series but are different for wach book. They each get their own HEA within the novella. Now I think YOU should write it and I can enjoy, LOL!!

      2. Though you hear a lot about readers grumbling because they *have* to start at the beginning of a series to get it, I think a good number would be fine with it just the same. Especially if it’s digital and perhaps, as you suggested, the first installment is free or nearly so. And maybe having the first two or even three out at the same time.

        OK, Heather, what are you waiting for???? ;)

    3. What Cathy said.

      1. @Cathy in AK I agree it can be daunting to start a series (reading it or writing it), but that’s why I’m thinking novella length rather than novels.

        Re: what I’m waiting for: If the right idea came along, I’d certainly give it a go. But I wouldn’t want to be the only one…I’m still looking for the emotional high that only comes with reading a story by someone else.

        Y’all are being so naughty, egging me on like this. (*looks pointedly at Meankitty*)

        Fwiw, after this post went up, an author contacted me and expressed interest in writing this kind of story, so maybe we’ll get lucky one way or another.

  5. I was a big fan of the Flash Gordon serial as a kid. I could totally go for a serialized romance. Totally.

    1. Speaking as the proud owner of THE NEW ADVENTURES OF FLASH GORDON – The Complete Series (1979), I hear you!

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