Happy Friday everyone! Casey here. Today my guest is science fiction romance author Tam Linsey. Tam and I met in a class to learn how to create a WordPress Blog and we’ve been buddies ever since!
Sex in Science Fiction
By Tam Linsey
In an interview by Scott Westerfield, Samuel Delany says, “The [science fiction] hero, though he may be a renegade, is a guy who doesn’t feel. Anything. Ever.” (Think Spock from Star Trek.) And according to Wikipedia, other than exploring alien methods of reproduction, “Sex is often linked to disgust in SF and horror, and plots based on sexual relationships have mainly been avoided in genre fantasy narratives.”
In the 60’s and 70’s, more science fiction authors broke into exploration of sexual themes, but it seems to me that most of these books dwell on the concept of sexuality (or, in many cases, homosexuality) rather than on relationships. Exploring a relationship requires delving deeply into a character’s point of view, and hardcore science fiction fans would rather read about the intricate physics involved in a starship warp-drive than get into a character’s head. Some readers insist characters in real science fiction only exist to further an idea or concept.
Anyone who has read a science fiction romance knows that’s no longer true.
Women are reading science fiction, and while we are drawn to science fiction theories, we also want characters who feel. We want characters who love. We want characters who experience the fullness of life, including sex. However, I will qualify my statement by saying sex scenes should belong in the story, not be thrown in for sensationalism.
There were multiple reasons I chose to include sex scenes in Botanicaust. First of all, the hero, Levi, comes from a repressed, fundamentalist society, where sex must only occur within the bounds of marriage. He struggles with his own carnal desires (he fathered his child out of wedlock, albeit with a woman he loved, and married after the fact.) And he struggles with other aspects of his religion. What better way to test his character than to pair him with a heroine from not only a more promiscuous society, but a society his people consider an abomination?
And the heroine, Tula, who is genetically engineered to have photosynthetic skin, is deeply affected by sunlight which creates alkaloids (drugs) in her body. Let’s just say these drugs tend to make her frisky. She’s confused about her first sexual encounter with Levi because she doesn’t know if it might be love, or merely the drugs. Of course, she must have sex again to find out. ;)
Botanicaust is a science fiction romance. Although purists in either genre might complain, I attempted to satisfy readers in both camps, and that includes sex scenes. How do you define a successful blend of science fiction and romance? Can science fiction include sex?
The only crop left … is human
After genetically altered weeds devastate Earth’s croplands, much of humanity turns to cannibalism to survive. Dr. Tula Macoby believes photosynthetic skin can save the human race, and her people single-mindedly embark on a mission to convert the cannibals roaming what’s left of Earth. But when Levi, a peaceful stranger, refuses alteration, Tula doesn’t think the only options should be conversion or death.
Levi Kraybill, a devout member of the Old Order, left his Holdout farmland to seek a cure for his terminally ill son. Genetic manipulation is a sin, but Levi will do almost anything for the life of his child. When he’s captured, he’s sure he’s damned, and his only escape will be death.
Tula’s superiors schedule Levi’s euthanization, and she risks everything to set the innocent man free. Now she and Levi are outlaws with her people, and she’s an abomination with his. Can they find sanctuary in a cannibal wasteland?
Tam Linsey lives in Alaska with her husband and two children. In spite of the rigors of the High North, she grows, hunts, or fishes for much of her family’s food. During the long Alaskan winters she writes speculative fiction.
Tula sat on the desert floor clutching her knees against her chest, face slack and eyes glazed. She babbled the whole time he worked. He assumed she was offering directions, but since he couldn’t understand, he didn’t pay attention. He draped the blanket over himself like a cape and held out the robe toward her, leaves and branches rattling in the stiff breeze. Her eyes widened and she skittered backward. “No, no.”
“Tula, we have to hide.”
She shook her head vehemently. The duster sped closer. Had he and Tula been spotted?
“Tula. Hide!” He tried to put the robe over her. She cried out and scurried away, moaning.
What was wrong with her? The flyer was nearly upon them. He pounced on her and dragged her to a beat-up stand of amarantox. Pushing her backward to the ground, he settled on top of her to hold her still. Her struggles didn’t make covering them with the blanket and robe easy. “Tula, stay still,” he said against her cheek.
She sobbed and relaxed her limbs, but her whole body trembled violently. Panting against his shoulder, she moaned his name.
They waited. How long until the search party came their way? Beneath the blanket the air grew stuffy. The smell of evergreen filled the space, and he became embarrassingly aware of how close they were. Pressed against her skin so intimately, they might as well be making love, he couldn’t help his arousal.
Save me from temptation…
The drone of the duster drew nearer.
“I’m sorry,” he murmured. His hips ached to press tighter against her. Her hands crept up his sides, gripping the small of his back. Lips against his shoulder.
Stiffening, he said, “God, Tula, no.”
The fabric over them rustled in a breeze, halting his protest. The humming flyer passed directly over their position.
Seemingly unconcerned, her tongue caressed the skin at the edge of his collarbone in lazy circles. What was wrong with her?
“Tula, we mustn’t.” The same words he’d spoken to Sarah so many times.
The whirr of the craft faded, but he resisted the urge to move. They could still be nearby.
She pulled his head toward her, lips against lips. The hint of wintergreen filled his mouth.
A shiver raced to his toes as the world spun out from under him, like after drinking too much apple wine. The soft warmth of a woman seemed like a dream, smooth skin beneath his fingertips, a subtle sigh of sweet air against his cheek. His body took over, and suddenly the duster didn’t matter. The hard, dry earth beneath them didn’t matter. The only thing in his world right now was the willing woman beneath him.
Her legs parted, encouraging his hips between them. He could hardly breathe beneath the blanket. Tasting her lips again, his head spun with drunken desire.
Her fingers bit into the flesh of his buttocks, pulling him deeper, closer, as her heels locked his thighs in place above her.
No turning back. Waves of mind-numbing pleasure crashed around him and he let go, primal need claiming him. The release was exquisite, lasting forever and over too soon. Palms planted against the baked earth, he lifted, allowing a cool rush of air to flutter beneath the blanket. She was so beautiful, the light turning her skin green. Green?
His head swam as he raised his face to the horizon. What had just happened, here? She was Blattvolk. A temptress of the devil. And they were supposed to be hiding from the search party. “What have you done to me?”
She didn’t speak, just traced his lips with her index finger. His vision wavered again. Drugs. She’d drugged him. This must be a trap.
Wow! <fanning face> Thanks for being our guest today Tam. So romance fans, who’s read a sci-fi romance? And sci-fans, do you enjoy romance with your science fiction?