From reading through past posts, it looks like an equal number found SFR from the SF side as from the romance side. I'm one of the SF followers myself who gradually came to the realisation that there was a lack of characterisation in a lot of SF characters. Yes, even the men, even though they were the ostensible heroes. And I wanted to see more.
The first flawed hero I remember reading was Sam Reed, the mutilated Immortal from Henry Kuttner's novel, "Fury". Just flipping through the book randomly, I came across bewitching snippets that indicated the path I would take in the future. The 1954 novel was groundbreaking, to my mind. Consider:
Rosathe smiled at him.... There was unexpected humour in her face sometimes, a rather disconcerting initelligence behind the gentian eyes.... Sam was afraid of her.and, on the next page:
If she came to him it wouldn't be for the money. That was another thing that made her dangerous to his peace of mind.Ah, they're playing our song! And then there was Harry Harrison with his Stainless Steel Rat series. Was there ever a feistier, more protective, more lethal woman than Angelina di Griz? Jim di Griz is drawn to her smarts and her strength and, in subsequent books, she ends up being the one pulling their collective fat out of the fire in several cliffhanger situations. A mother who keeps a weapon tucked under the blankets of her baby's pram. Who will kill to protect her own but who still lets her children grow while she watches from the sidelines. Who wouldn't want to be her? And all this from a 1970s series.
SFR has been there, bubbling under the surface, for decades now, emerging every now and then in an entertainingly subversive way. But not enough. Never enough. Now we have the chance to take it all one step further with the advent of digital technologies, readers comfortable with technology, and humans who long for tales of emotional connectedness. If there was ever a time for us to harness the prevailing winds of change, this might just be the time. Let's go see what's out there!
* Kaz Augustin is a writer who loves re-reading her old classics, regardless of whether the dusty covers give her sneezing fits. You can find her website at http://www.ksaugustin.com and she blogs approximately three times a week at http://blog.ksaugustin.com.