What would romance be without science?
Since many authors are releasing their own backlist as e-books on Kindle, sometimes with a “free” or “99c” promotional price, I’ve been catching up on older Romance titles I missed along the way. (I love my Kindle!)
Some are Historicals—Victorian setting, Middle Ages, etc.—and you can’t tell they were written before cell phones proliferated.
Some were written as “contemporary” and now read as “historical.” Some, however, read very awkwardly because the entire plot pivots on not being able to make a phone call while driving, while trapped in an apartment, or cut off by a storm.
As the cell phone has changed our lives, it has changed our FICTION.
The media term the “cell phone” as “technology.” But to readers, it doesn’t seem like “technology.”
Most people don’t know how a cell phone works (or a computer, or tablet), but they know how to work them to communicate, to document an Event and post it to YouTube, to change status on FB, etc.
Facebook, twitter, and other social networks have become the core of establishing and maintaining a Relationship today—whether it’s Grandparents to Grandchildren or Lover-to-Lover.
GPS features on phones open the vista of keeping track of your Lover’s location. Four-Square is amazing, and will become more-so.
The truth of our everyday reality is that science/technology is the single, major, issue in Romance—science is the problem, and it is the solution, in meeting people, in checking their backgrounds, in checking genetics, in Paternity Suits, in dating, in sharing a “calendar” (Google, Yahoo, whatever, can we accept this party invitation?), in banking, in co-renting an apartment, and in “breaking up” the Relationship.
In fact, there’s a website for airing the dirty laundry behind a breakup, warning others off that nasty person who messed up your life.
And that’s all common to everyone in 2013! It’s not science, or technology, it is just “life as we know it.”
Science Fiction projects trends into the future, and explores how science can advance technology over the next few decades, then depicts how such advances can, might, should, would impact human (and alien) lifestyles, choices, and generate options. Science is always creating opportunities for new kinds of crime and new ways to live in such an environment.
If you dream of a Soul Mate and the life you can have with that unique individual, reading SFR can let you factor in the impact of the technologies of 10 years from now.
If you prefer historicals, just remember that in those times, the sword was the epitome of high tech (steel), and the muzzle loading pistol became the dueling instrument of choice for the geeks of that time.
Women who would not or could not master such “high” technology didn’t fare as well as those who did master it.
In the 1970’s, women who refused to be left out of the tech revolution seized on STAR TREK, created and published Star Trek fanfic, at first on the high-tech spirit duplicator, then on the higher-tech Gestetner Mimeo, then on the even higher-tech offset press (some bought, owned and operated an offset machine to publish fanfic)—and now on the Internet.
The story of the women who have done that, and changed the Romance genre by self-publishing on paper and now in e-book, refusing to let Vampire Romance die when Manhattan publishers abandoned it, inventing self-publishing via e-books (yes, Vampire Romance was the market that proved the commercial value of the e-book and led to the Kindle, Nook, etc.) is told in the anthology FIC: Why Fanfic Is Taking Over The World edited by Anne Jamison.
Note Amber Benson and Rachel Caine are also contributors. Amber Benson (actress from Buffy) has been writing Fantasy-Romance novels, and now will act in the Webisodes made from Rachel Caine’s Morganville Vampire series that Manhattan couldn’t kill.
What’s the difference between science/technology and fantasy?
“Any technology sufficiently advanced appears to be magic.”