Today was out of this world for Science Fiction & Fantasy romance lovers! Conventioneers enjoyed a day full of mixing and mingling with some of the best names in the genre. Hosted by Linnea Sinclair, the Intergalactic Bar & Grille party returned this year and SFF romance readers enjoyed an hour of food, goodies and the company of some fabulous authors including Catherine Asaro, Marcella Burnard, Robin Hobb, Stacey Kade, Isabo Kelly, Liddy Midnight and Janet Miller (aka Cricket Starr).
Futuristic headgear was the accessory of choice.
Robin Hobb quizzed readers about sci fi books, TV shows and outer space.
Games were challenging...
...but the prizes were worth it!
But today wasn’t all fun and games, earlier in the day fans attended the "Popular Tropes And Themes And How To Write Sci Fi That Dazzles" workshop, moderated by author Ann Aguirre.
Authors Cindy Spencer Paper, Isabo Kelly, Linnea Sinclair, Ann Aguirre, Cindy Holby (aka Colby Hodge) and Beth Revis answer reader questions.
The panelists discussed some of the bestselling tropes in sci fi romance and shared which types of themes and stories are currently trending or have yet to be popularized. Aguirre said that her “ ... favorite trope has always been ragtag band intrepid freedom fighters, going up against the man against incredible odds. And yeah, I totally use that in Jax.” And we totally enjoy it in her Sirantha Jax series. In fact, Aftermath is nominated for this years RT Reviewer's Choice for Best Science Fiction Novel.
Panelist and steampunk author Cindy Spencer Pape “know[s] there's a separate workshop for steampunk, but it really is a science fiction trope, and one of my favorites. Actually lots of alternate history realities fall under the SF banner.” It was no surprise when panelist Beth Revis, known for her sci fi YA trilogy set in space, mentioned that her favorite genre trope is “ … interstellar travel—although I do have a soft spot for time travel. But interstellar travel wins out—not just because of the rich tradition of it in Firefly, Star Wars, and Star Trek, but also because that's where the fun stuff is.” Revis wasn’t the only fan of space travel on the panel, author Isabo Kelly pointed out that she has “ … yet to write a science fiction romance that doesn’t have Intergalactic Travel as part of the universe. Even if my characters never get off the planet or the space station, there are always spaceships in the background.”
Authors also gave budding writers some advice for writing in the genre. Isabo Kelly stressed the importance of developed characters, saying, "If you can't connect to the characters, you're not going to love it." Aguirre agreed, adding, "Captivate the reader, they're gonna fall for you're characters, not your science." Cindy Holby reminded aspiring authors to, "Make sure your world makes sense," and she also believes that despite whatever fantastical world a writer creates, "people are still people" and characters should be realistic so readers can connect with them.
At the end of the workshop, the audience asked the panelists some great questions including one attendee who wanted to know what the panelists thought the hardest part of writing sci fi romance is. Many of the authors including Aguirre and Pape agreed that deciding which genre to focus on, sci fi or romance, is difficult. In order to sell books, they pointed out that many sci fi romances are either futuristic romances with more of an emphasis on the relationship, or science fiction stories with a slight romance edge, but with more description of science and technology.
However, whatever your preference is when it comes to sci fi romance, one thing is for certain: genre fans at the RT Booklovers Convention had an action-packed Wednesday!
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