Taming the Cyborg Hero
Cyborg—one of the coolest words ever—is short for “cybernetic organism.”
Part man, part machine, a cyborg’s capabilities supersede those of ordinary humans. We encounter these heroes most often in futuristic worlds, but they exist in other technology-based settings as well.
Cyborg heroes are stronger, faster, bigger, and smarter. Often they’re the first of their kind, or one of a few rare, experimental specimens created in a scientific and/or military laboratory. The transformation from ordinary man to superhuman is a complicated, stressful process and a surefire recipe for brooding, tortured heroes with traumatic pasts.
A heroine who can tame such an extraordinary being makes for a powerful fantasy, both sexually and emotionally.
Science fiction romance cyborg characters offer readers a familiar hero wrapped in a fresh, inventive package. Witness the popularity of Admiral Branden Kel-Paten from Linnea Sinclair’s Games of Command. Kel-Paten is a “biocybe”, which earns him a reputation as the fiercest super soldier in the galaxy.
As the story opens, we learn he’s harbored a longtime love for Captain Tasha “Sass” Sebastian. But because of his cyborg nature, emotions are forbidden to him. Duty dictates that he focus on the mission and forego love. Despite the strict regulations of his programming, the torch he carries for Sass only grows brighter. The question becomes one of which will prevail, man or machine? Would a “Tin Soldier” such as Kel-Paten ever be capable of love?
Cyborg heroes are often depicted in terms of their beastly, primitive nature. This is because their enhanced strength always has the potential to spiral out of control. They become dangerous—even destructive. Heroines then face the challenge of harnessing a cyborg’s strength and coaxing his human side back to life if romance is to blossom. An illustration of this dynamic can be found in Melisse Aires’ Her Cyborg Awakes:
Kaistril pushed inside, just a little way. “You know you’ve uncaged the beast, don’t you?” he groaned.
Sabralia clutched him tight to her with legs and arms, and he slid deeper into her. “Maybe I’ll tame him,” she whispered…. (Kindle location 1159)
The current Queen of Cyborg Erotic Romances is Eve Langlais. Her Cyborgs: More Than Machines series is at a robust five books. The tag line for the series incorporates the dual, conflicted nature of cyborgs: “Half man, half machine, which side will win the battle when it comes to feeling emotions?” This is a series for readers who enjoy ordinary (and voluptuous!) heroines matching wits with devious, deadly heroes.
Steampunk romance also delivers a few sexy cyborg heroes.
Lucas, Earl of Huntley, is the hero of Kate Cross’ Heart of Brass. His body has been augmented by “regorite” and the result is enhanced strength and a body that can withstand deadly attacks (he’s not too shabby in bed, either!). Lucas is a nearly indestructible spy, yet his abilities come at a terrible price.
In Zoe Archer’s Skies of Fire, hero Christopher Redmond is a Man O’ War. As a result of his “telumium” implant, he’s huge, strong, and fast. When he and the heroine, Louisa Shaw, make love in one scene, he pins her easily against the wall with his technology-enhanced muscles. While being penetrated by him, Lousia notes the nature of his allure:
Here again, the benefits of his transformation, for he moved as no ordinary man could, piston-fast. (Kindle location 2545)
Redmond is basically a giant steampunk cyborg vibrator! The scene delivers one of the ultimate heterosexual female fantasies, that of being penetrated by a lover who is at the sole service of the heroine’s pleasure. Skies of Fire explores the erotic nature of cyborg lovers: they are stronger, bigger, and have unequaled stamina in bed. The underlying message? That a woman deserves an energetic lover who can deliver superlative sexual pleasure.
That said, cyborgs offer more than hot sex (I know, right? It just gets better and better.)
Meljean Brook’s Riveted features a scientist-hero with multiple prosthetics. David’s physical trauma is a jumping point for social commentary about the intersection of romantic relationships and physical disabilities. Catherine Asaro’s Sunrise Alley features a biomech hero. The story explores the transformative effect of technology and what it means to be human, as well as featuring a tender romance.
Here’s a list of other sci-fi romances featuring cyborg heroes:
- Burning Up Flint and Hunting Blackie – Laurann Dohnner
- How To Lose An Extraterrestrial In 10 Days – Susan Grant
- Jane’s Warlord – Angela Knight
- Kiss or Kill (from Red Sage’s Secrets,Volume 8) – Liz Maverick
- Abiogenesis – Kaitlyn O’Connor
Now, take this fan to cool yourself off while reading—you’re going to need it!