Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Love and Sex in the Dark Future by Angelia Sparrow

Romance is all about transformation though the power of love. But what happens when love bumps its nose against control, against a whole world designed to keep everyone in their place and everything moving smoothly?

Dystopia is a popular form of SF, and much of it recently has written for the YA market. (I was deeply disappointed that the Divergent series is written in present tense. I'll just wait for the films) The teens, when everything seems the bleakest, is a prime time for dystopia. I read 1984 and Brave New World, as well as Nourse's The Blade Runner (about an illegal doctor) in my teens. Since then, Ira Levin's This Perfect Day and other books have been added. I've even written a few. My husband likes dystopias. They're almost the only fiction he reads.

Sex in dystopias tends to fall into one of three categories: highly restricted and regulated, used by the government as a constant distraction for the citizens, or slotted into pure routine. Love is discouraged in all forms of totalitarian futures, because love inspires people to irrational acts of individuality and throws society out of kilter.

In 1984, sex is regulated and love is only directed at children or Big Brother. Spouses “do their duty to the Party.” Our hero has or had a wife. He's as fuzzy about that bit of history as he is the year. He doesn't remember what became of her. There is even an Anti-Sex League, dedicated to abolishing the orgasm, and complete propagation by artificial insemination. When Winston and Julia do fall in love, they are crushed under the state's heel, and tortured until they betray each other and despise each other. Their love is not powerful enough to bring down the state.

In The Giver, the Anti-Sex League won. All emotions, all memories, all connection have been abolished. Family units are together for the convenience of the State. And sex is eradicated by a pill. No romances break out to disrupt the steady rounds of society.

On the flip side is Brave New World. Love is meaningless. Early childhood conditioning renders sex a pleasant habit, emotional connection impossible and monogamy an aberration to be stomped out. Families have been eradicated, and freemartins are 70% of the female population. (the term comes from cattle, and indicates a sterile female, twinborn with a male calf) The society shunts its individualists and thinkers off to an island, but there will never be a revolution out of love or romance. The words have no connection to the people.

This Perfect Day, The Sentinel Stars and other futures make sex as dull as possible, part of human routine, like eating or going to the bathroom. This dulls the people and makes them not reach for more than gray little lives.

When reading a SF romance, we tend to expect that if it's a dystopia setting, the lovers will escape it, like Logan and Jessica of Logan's Run, or destroy the system. Indeed, for a happy ending to occur, one or the other must happen. I was collected in Circlet's Like an Iron Fist, which was dystopian erotica. I caught up with CTan, the editor, later and mentioned I was the only one who had an unhappy ending to my story. She thought and agreed it was odd.

While the sex in erotica may transform the couple, it seldom transforms the world. The question becomes whether love in a romance is enough to change the world.

Tell me about your favorite dystopias, and how love can change them, or how your lovers escape.

And while you're at it, pick up a free copy of Nikolai, a fairly unconventional SF love story, (I call it a dark future, kinky, gay Pygmalion) at

Or email me at angeliasparrow @ gmail for a .mobi or .epub
Nikolai Revenant Excerpt:

Ligatos followed him in and said a word to the driver, a big man with long dark hair. The prissy blond—the lawyer, Nick presumed—slid into the front beside the driver. Nick just looked around himself as the limo pulled out of the garage beneath 201 Poplar. It rose smooth and whisper-quiet to the street levels and cut through the minimal traffic, a shark among the lesser fish.

“Nice car,” Nick said, still staring at the driver’s hair. If this man could get around the appearance laws, he could get around anything. Long hair was a three-year offense on a man, just as short hair on a woman was a five-year. “Bullet-proof, deep tint. Got a high-powered engine, it sounds like.”

The only response was a conspiratorial smile.

“Fuel-cell, biodiesel or just ethanol?” He had a feeling he already knew the answer.


Nick gave a low whistle. The C.S. did not have fuel-cell technology. The United States refused to trade it with them. This foreign-made car just clinched what he already knew about his benefactor. “I’ll bet you got some big fortress of a place, way out in the country, too. All the rich folks are shaking the city dust off their shoes and setting up their own little plantations these days.”

“I live in the city.” He settled back into the seat as the driver cruised the late night streets of Revenant territory, Poplar and Central, Pauline and Danny Thomas. Past the projects, fallen yet again into disrepair, and the concrete canyons and one-way streets of downtown, darkened for lack of nightlife. In the distance, the Beale Forbidden Zone glowed, contraband generators and alcohol lamps casting lurid shapes in the night.

Nick’s eyebrows went up. “That ain’t safe for a man with money,” he said after a long pause.

“You won’t be seeing my home for some time.”
Nick shrugged as much as he could manage. “Whatever you say. I’m the one sitting here in cuffs.” He tried not to think about how cold and numb his hands were. He squirmed a little and got them into the small of his back.

The smile turned into a far less pleasant smirk, making Nick wonder again what that mouth would feel like on him, what it would taste like against his. Vlad had been the first after two years of celibacy and now he couldn’t seem to stop the desire.

The car rolled into an underground garage, somewhere in downtown. Nick had gotten distracted looking at his benefactor and it was hard to read signs through the deeply tinted windows. It stopped and a big black man wearing a gun opened the passenger side door. Another anomaly. Ten years ago, weapons had been forbidden by law to the Sons of Ham.

Nick hesitated, staring, and the guard pulled him out of the car and onto his feet. He stumbled a little and regained his balance just in time to meet a shove between his shoulder blades.

“I’m going!” he snapped, which earned him another shove toward the bank of elevators on the far wall. He walked as fast as his off-balance position allowed, which wasn’t fast enough for the guard, who shoved him most of the way.

Ligatos followed, taking his time. Nick heard him talking to the men behind him, catching only the words, “Excellent reflexes” and “Good balance” in voices that were not Ligatos’.

“I wasn’t wrong about this one,” came Ligatos’ voice. Nick waited in the elevator until Ligatos joined him.
About the author:

Angelia Sparrow is the author of 17 novels (12 published and 5 in various edits) and nearly 90 short stories. She lives quietly in the MidSouth, crocheting and knitting when saving or destroying the world becomes too much. She runs Inkstained Succubus Press with Gabriel Belthir. Her next release is unknown, but will be showcased at She blogs at and as valarltd on Livejournal, Pinterest, Tumblr and FetLife. She can be found on Facebook as Author Angelia Sparrow, or under her own name.

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