Science Fiction is sexy. It isn’t always supposed to be, sometimes it’s cardboard sets in old serials or unpronounceable names in 1950’s paperbacks. But even then, there’s always something fun and arousing about it. Maybe it’s the tight pants. In the future or in alien cultures, pants cling to your curves, leaving little to the imagination.
But growing up with old sci-fi movies, serials, comics and novels, what my imagination did have to conjure was the sex that accompanied all the shiny clothes. How often did the camera pan off to the moon after the hero and heroine found safety from the sloth-zealots in a fur lined cave until the morning? But no details about what they did in those hours when they were finally alone.
I was an adolescent boy. Sex was important. As an adult, it still is. But there’s more to it than just physical choreography. There’s romance. I see now why those stories were so charged with sexuality. There was danger all around, and the man and the woman were fighting to survive. The stakes were high and the blood was pumping. Because the stories were old-fashioned, it was the man rescuing the imperiled woman. I didn’t know it then, but Science Fiction was highly romantic. What better way to lead to sex?
My wife, ZoÃ« Archer, is a romance author. Our discussions about writing and the romance genre go on and on and continue into the small hours. Can’t be thankful enough to have her in my life. Feeling invigorated by the genre, I wanted to dive in. I tried writing some historical paranormal pieces, but they didn’t quite ring true. They didn’t hit me where my own romance was. It was in the stories of grand space battles and warring armies that fought across galaxies that my voice belonged.
For TAKEN TO THE LIMIT I created the Limit War as a place to free my creativity. The Core Army against the world-destroying Dusk. There is a whole world to build: technology and battle armor and weapons. But all the while, the center is a romance between a man and a woman. That means the man needs to be extra heroic and the woman very strong to match him. The days of the rescued damsel are thankfully over and not so fun to write.
First, the soldier. Sergeant Morrow. Because this story is the introduction to the war and the world, I need him to make a big splash. He can’t be an ordinary soldier. He has to be the best, the most elite member of the Core Army. He is a Nightfighter. A solitary commando. Not only does that mean he’s badass, but it makes sense thematically. He is alone â€“ the perfect setup for romance.
Next the woman. Hapless and scared isn’t going to cut it. It couldn’t be a coincidence that she’s the only Earthling to be swept up into the Limit War. She has to be capable. Morrow needs her abilities. So Dr. Korina Antonakis works in the ER, the front lines of her world. In the beginning of the story Morrow needs a doctor. He gets a hell of a lot more.
With the war and my characters defined, I set the story into motion. It had to be exciting and dangerous, not just for the action, but also to build the romantic drama between Morrow and Korina. Their passion had to feel real, and all the ornate trappings around them fed that.
After all, it was a romance. Finally, I could keep the sex scenes on-camera, on the page. Let the little boys be turned away, whining, “Eww, they’re kissing.” This was my story. Those little boys who thought the hero kissing the girl makes him weak haven’t learned yet. It’s the hero’s strength that allows him to kiss the girl. Morrow’s journey from solitary commando to lover doesn’t weaken him. It shows how brave he must be to overcome the isolation.
And Korina isn’t just the healer, waiting to be rescued and representing emotional completion. She has to be strong enough to inspire Morrow’s emotional journey and to overcome her own obstacles. That means picking up a gun and battling along side Morrow. That’s sexy.
At last, Sci-fi feels complete. I have my battle-tested hero and my capable heroine. Laser battles, evil aliens and space commandos. Tight pants. Romance. And sex.