Romance Science Fiction

Re-read Games of Command

Read Games of Command

The universe isn’t what it used to be. With the new Alliance between the Triad and the United Coalition, Captain Tasha “Sass” Sebastian finds herself serving under her former nemesis, biocybe Admiral Branden Kel-Paten–and doing her best to hide a deadly past. But when an injured mercenary winds up in their ship’s sick bay–and in the hands of her best friend, Dr. Eden Fynn–Sass’s efforts may be wasted.

Wanted rebel Jace Serafino has information that could expose all of Sass’s secrets, tear the fragile Alliance apart–and end Sass’s career if Kel-Paten discovers them. But the biocybe has something to hide as well, something once thought impossible for his kind to possess: feelings . . . for Sass. Soon it’s clear that their prisoner could bring down everything they once believed was worth dying for–and everything they now have to live for.

Still enjoyed this on fourth read — it had been long enough since I read it last I didn’t remember the whole plot. I appreciate that the space pets played an important part in the plot because I’m always 🤷‍♀️ when they’re just there for cute factor. I had remembered it being totally tame but there was one short sex scene, a lot of kissing and a fair bit of innuendo.

It’s long – over 500 pages – with a lot going on so it doesn’t drag. Interesting to see how this was written in very much the style of a space opera, with a big universe, long page-count, five plus POVs, and an action-packed plot — the SFR genre seems mostly to have shifted to shorter, steamier, series-oriented works that typically feature an everywoman-insert and less of a space opera scope. Following the self-pub market demand.

This was third-person past-tense, whereas I’ve noticed a fair bit of current SFR is first-person present-tense — echoing the more traditional space opera style versus the contemporary romance / YA styling. I think first person present works best for single POV books, it can be a little confusing to hop from I to I and have to figure out if the narrator has changed (or I suppose you can just use chapter headings to indicate whose POV it is 😉).

Fantasy Romance

Re-read Visions of Heat

Read Visions of Heat (Psy-Changeling, #2) by Nalini Singh

Used to cold silence, Faith NightStar is suddenly being tormented by dark visions of blood and murder. A bad sign for anyone, but worse for Faith, an F-Psy with the highly sought after ability to predict the future. Then the visions show her something even more dangerous—aching need . . . exquisite pleasure. But so powerful is her sight, so fragile the state of her mind, that the very emotions she yearns to embrace could be the end of her.

Changeling Vaughn D’Angelo can take the form of either man or jaguar, but it is his animal side that is overwhelmingly drawn to Faith. The jaguar’s instinct is to claim this woman it finds so utterly fascinating and the man has no argument. But while Vaughn craves sensation and hungers to pleasure Faith in every way, desire is a danger that could snap the last threads of her sanity. And there are Psy who need Faith’s sight for their own purposes.

They must keep her silenced—and keep her from Vaughn.

This wasn’t a favorite the first time I read it and I don’t think I’ve reread it before. Don’t think I’ll reread it again – thought I’d give it another shot since I was in the mood for a Nalini Singh and this was one of the few currently available at the library. This feels a little outdated in the way the hero interacts with the heroine – she tells him to stop touching her because she can’t handle it and he’s like yeah you can 😒 That’s portrayed as helping her break through her barriers… but doesn’t exactly read as enthusiastic consent :/

I forgot that the first couple books were centered on murder mysteries, it’s not my preference to have serial killers in my romance books. Also not huge on foresight, which is integral to this story. I was impressed to see how many story elements, future characters, and worldbuilding elements she sets up.

The ending of this felt like it peaked too early, the last fifteen percent dragged. I also didn’t like the reveal of the mating bond which is so prominent and important in other books, but here is unremarked until another character asks about it.


Read Writing the Other

Read Writing the Other

During the 1992 Clarion West Writers Workshop attended by Nisi Shawl and Cynthia Ward, one of the students expressed the opinion that it is a mistake to write about people of ethnic backgrounds different from your own because you might get it wrong, horribly, offensively wrong, and so it is better not even to try. This opinion, commonplace among published as well as aspiring writers, struck Nisi as taking the easy way out and spurred her to write an essay addressing the problem of how to write about characters marked by racial and ethnic differences. In the course of writing the essay, however, she realized that similar problems arise when writers try to create characters whose gender, sexual preference, and age differ significantly from their own. Nisi and Cynthia collaborated to develop a workshop that addresses these problems with the aim of both increasing writers’ skill and sensitivity in portraying difference in their fiction as well as allaying their anxieties about ”getting it wrong.” Writing the Other: A Practical Approach is the manual that grew out of their workshop. It discusses basic aspects of characterization and offers elementary techniques, practical exercises, and examples for helping writers create richer and more accurate characters with ”differences.”

This book had some interesting framing and specific writing advice on what and what not to do. A fair amount of the content was pretty basic level, so anyone who’s done any reading about writing people from other backgrounds will be familiar with many of the ideas. I didn’t do the exercises, which didn’t sound that helpful to me, but then I hate writing exercises 😉

ROAARS are the main categories that define and divide us:

  • Race
  • Orientation
  • Ability
  • Age
  • Religion
  • Sex

The unmarked state” = without explicit markers, readers often envision a character to be white, male, cis, straight, young and able -bodied