|The Road to Helium
I write romances. Not contemporary romances, but a more old fashioned sort of romance. The romance at the heart of my stories is:
“A quality or feeling of mystery, excitement, and remoteness from everyday life” – Google Dictionary Definition
“A prose narrative treating imaginary characters involved in events remote in time or place and usually heroic, adventurous, or mysterious” – https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/romance
“A work of fiction depicting a setting and events remote from everyday life, especially one of a kind popular in the 16th and 17th centuries” – https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/romance
“A novel or other prose narrative depicting heroic or marvelous deed, pageantry, romantic exploits, etc, usually in a historical or imaginary setting.” – https://www.dictionary.com/browse/romance
“In the strictest academic terms, a romance is a narrative genre in literature that involves a mysterious, adventurous, or spiritual story line where the focus is on a quest that involves bravery and strong values, not always a love interest.” – https://literaryterms.net/romance/
As I wrote in my last post, though I have long considered myself a science fiction writer, both my science fiction stories, and my writing style, have long been out of fashion in science fiction. I’ve come to realize that calling them science fiction or fantasy in 2018 is a stretch. The closest they come to science fiction is the now mostly obsolete “planetary romances” of Barsoom, Pellucidar, and the like. And the truth is that I’ve come to see that my tastes have never had much in common with the mainstream science fiction.
What my stories really are, are romances. In my stories the “remoteness from everyday life” comes not from the history or exotic locales of earth, but from future, and imaginary worlds. While this slots them into the science fiction or fantasy genre, these imaginary worlds serve merely as a stage and a backdrop to the story. Science fiction is, at its heart, focused on ideas, concepts, speculations on the future, and these days, war. War seems to be the central conflict of so many stories these days. None of these are things which I care to write about. Wars dominate fantasy as well, and in addition they often tell epic stories that can span generations. Again, neither of these characteristics are ones that I care to use in my narratives. So, in the end, I just don’t see myself writing under the banners of science fiction or fantasy anymore.
The problem, of course, is that I can’t write under the banner of “romance” either, since that term has a very different meaning these days. Indeed, the one book that I market as a “romance”, Some Day Days, I’ve discovered is not a romance by definition, since it does not have a HEA – “happily ever after” –ending. Who knew? So what’s a fellow to do?
I haven’t figured that out yet. I suppose it doesn’t matter. It is merely a matter of marketing rather than writing, and I suppose marketing my stories as science fiction, one of the more popular genre, means that they will find more readers than in some other genre, whatever that would be. No, the point is that I now consider myself a writer of classical romances set in imaginary worlds. Perhaps banner I’m marching under is "Imaginary World Romances" or less confusingly, “Imaginary World Adventures.” (I just made those banners up, but what the heck?)