Saturday, July 16, 2011

A Small Band of Renegades: The Spirit of the SFR Brigade

Several years ago when the SFR Brigade was first forming as an idea, a handful of us tossed around some ideas for a motto. As a joke, I suggested "A Small Band of Renegades Terrorizing the Romance Genre." Except it wasn't really a joke. The Romance industry as a whole seemed to view Science Fiction Romance as one big fat oxymoron, and its writers and authors as orbiting the outer fringes of the acceptable definition of "Romance."

And then came Avatar, and with its millions of fans, renewed hope that the Romance audience now saw the wonder and mystery of love stories set in space, imaginative places or futures that someday might exist.

With the formation of the SFR Brigade, a new sector of Romance began to speak with a group voice of its own. We never expected it to be an easy journey, but with three generations of readers who grew up with Star Trek, Star Wars and now Avatar, and with an audience who employs constantly evolving technology and communications as an everyday part of their lives, maybe our time as a subgenre is nigh.

You've probably heard about Sherrilyn Kenyon's keynote speech, even if you weren't at the 2011 RWA Keynote luncheon in person or haven't read the recap in her Facebook notes. Our own Diane (Paula) Dooley summed up her experience in one beautifully concise statement:

Perseverance...thy name is Sherrilyn.

Ms. Kenyon's words were a tremendous inspiration to hundreds of writers, a not-so-subtle reminder to keep our eye on the goal, no matter the obstacles, the pitfalls...the rejections. Don't accept "no." Don't hear it. Don't see it. Keep striving.

In the words of a beloved Firefly captain, "Keep flying."

In the words of another often-quoted commander, "Never give up. Never surrender."

But there was something else Sherrilyn Kenyon said in the midst of her speech that made my ears perk and my imagination snap to attention. These were her words:

"We have a paranormal genre today because a tiny handful of us carved it out when it didn’t exist. We proved it was viable and we opened the doors for many others and I am proud to be a part of that."

Isn't this exactly our goal with the Science Fiction Romance subgenre? With great writers like Linnea Sinclair, Anne McCaffrey and Lois McMaster Bujold having blazed the flightpath, we, an under-read, underdog collective are determined to make Science Fiction Romance the NBT. To reach out to both the hearts and minds of our readers.

Keep writing, Brigaders. Keep creating your amazing stories that take readers to other worlds, other times, other dimensions, other futures.

Keep entering contests. Keep submitting. Keep pitching editors and agents.

And keep reading, reviewing and promoting great SFR.

Just like our web site motto, we are indeed Conquering the Universe, One Story at a Time.

Now that our space shuttle program is coming to a sad and regretful close, there may be no time like the present to reach for those distant stars, and to take our characters and readers there with us.

Better to explore the cosmos in our imaginations than not at all.

The First Rule of Flying by Captain Mal Reynolds (Firefly)


  1. I love that motto. We're a tough, hardy lot - we have to be =)

  2. We've come a long way--and I'm proud to be a part of it.

  3. That's a great quote for a great show and character. Love...

    I hope SFR's day is on the horizon, but even if it's not I love reading and writing it. And I contracted two SFR stories this summer, so it seems e-publishers are interested. Hoping readers will find us on the outer fringe!

  4. I love it and so proud to be part of it! Onward and upward! :-)

  5. Yes to everything you wrote! We're on such a fascinating journey, and I can't wait to see where it takes us.


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