The Rec League: Sci Fi Romances When Aliens Are Your Jam

The Rec League - a tattered book with a heart on it I received an email from Lela, who is looking for a specific type of romance: 

In a nutshell: can you recommend, or solicit recommendations of, some awesome sci fi romances?

Longer version: I was trolling the Amazon daily deals and came across a 99cent novella billing itself as “science fiction romance” (it was “Kidnapping Keela“, in case you're wondering).

Hold the phone! Is that a real thing?

I'm the nerdiest sci fi nerd you could think of from when I was yea high on a short thing, and I've gotten into romance in the past few years, so why my god have I not heard of this? The daily deal book didn't look all that great but if it's part of a legit subgenre, I need to know.

So if anyone's got a minute – do you know of any awesome sci fi romances? Cause aliens are my jam. 

Well, alas, aliens are not my jam, personally. I read the early Jaid Black novel The Empress' New Clothes and my brain had a very difficult time with the nipples causing repeated ovulation. Because alien kidnappings I can accept, but strange explanations of ovulation are apparently my brain's limit for suspension of reality. Go figure. 

Book The Last Hour of Gann But I can help! First, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention The Last Hour of Gann, ( A | BN | K) which many readers LOVED, though I know would not be for me (I've been warned, specifically. As in, someone said, “No, Sarah, DO NOT read that.” I listened. I get a cookie!) 

If aliens are you jam, that book should keep you very very happy. 

Also, you might like Song of Scarabaeus by Sara Creasy ( A | BN | K | ARe ), which takes place in an alien world (though the protagonists, I believe, are human). And the Grimspace series by Ann Aguirre might also work ( A | BN | K | ARe ). 

But I know the reviewing posse here would know more than I do. Here are their recommendations: 

Carrie: 

Shards of Honor - Bujold If she wants general sic fi romance  set in space, (not necessarily sex with aliens) I recommend Lois MacMaster Bujold ( A | BN | K ) – Cordelia's Honor, A Civil Campaign and Captain Vorpatril's Alliance

I recommend anything by Zoe Archer ( A | BN | K), who does great sci fi romance. (Carrie reviewed Skies of Gold [A-] and Chain Reaction [B+].

Best of Both Worlds by Karen Lord ( A | BN | K ) is romance/sci fi crossover with a delicate, underplayed romance between human and alien.  I hated Ghost Planet (Grade: D+) but every one else adored it (RITA® review from Linda: A), and it has a neat twist on human/alien romance. 

Book Saga If you're willing to try comics you should read Saga.

Of the stuff I'm recommending, the most straightforward in terms of keeping to romance novel structure are Susan Grant ( A | BN | K) and Zoe Archer ( A | BN | K). Grant writes great human alien romances – some are light and funny some more serious.

RHG: The only ones I've read were freebies on Kindle and they were TERRIBLE and I wouldn't wish them on anyone.

Elyse: Only one I ever read was Sunlight by Amanda Ashley ( A | BN | K | ARe ).

Book Beyond the Rain Amanda: Linnea Sinclair's Dock Five Universe series, starting with Gabriel's Ghost ( A | BN | K | ARe ), Jess Granger's Realms Beyond series, beginning with Beyond the Rain ( A | BN | K | ARe ), and Ann Aguire's Grimspace series.

Also, Gena Showalter has an alien huntress series, starting with Awaken Me Darkly ( A | BN | K | ARe ). 

Sarah: You might also find some excellent options in the “Space Opera” category at Carina Press. 

But I know we're missing some great options. What alien romances do you recommend, if aliens are also your jam?

(And I can't resist adding this.)

Dancing Star Lord from Guardians of the Galaxy

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Lisa J says:

    Cathryn Cade’s Orion series is worth the read.  Tyger, Tyger Burning Bright is the first in the series.

    I can’t wait to see the recs for this since I am also a Sci-fi nerd.

  2. 2
    Helen M says:

    Gini Koch’s Alien series.  Starts with Touched By An Alien.  It’s very light and fluffy and fun, but definitely SF. 

    From the blurb:  Marketing manager Katherine “Kitty” Katt had just finished a day on jury duty. When she stepped out of the Pueblo Caliente courthouse, all she was thinking about was the work she had to get caught up on. Then her attention was caught by a fight between a couple that looked like it was about to turn ugly. But ugly didn’t even begin to cover it when the “man” suddenly transformed into a huge, winged monster right out of a grade Z science fiction movie and went on a deadly killing spree. In hindsight, Kitty realized she probably should have panicked and run screaming the way everyone around her was doing. Instead she got mad, searched her purse for a weapon, and, armed with a Mont Blanc pen, sprinted into action to take down the alien.

    In the middle of all the screeching and the ensuing chaos, a hunk in an Armani suit suddenly appeared beside her, introduced himself as Jeff Martini with “the agency,” and then insisted on leading her to a nearby limo to talk to his “boss.” And that was how Kitty’s new life among the aliens began…

  3. 3
    PamG says:

    I second the Gini Koch Alien series recommendation if you like to laugh, but not if you like your sf authentically scientific.  The main character is so flamboyantly and hilariously Mary Sue-ish that the series is total book crack.

    Back in the day when romance was not synonymous with sexytimes, Anne McCaffrey wrote a book called Restoree that I remember loving when I was much younger.  I think it was her first novel or a very early work.

  4. 4
    cleo says:

    Science Fiction Romance (SFR) is a thing and it’s awesome.

    Heather Massey is an SFR writer and tireless promoter of the genre – http://www.heathermassey.com/science-fiction-romance-resources/

    Here’s her guest post at DA about alien heroes.

    Other suggestions, with or without aliens as one of the h/h:

    Incursion by Aleksandr Voivov

    Lyn Gala – she’s hit or miss for me. I loved Claimings, Tails and Alien Artifacts (ignore the aweful cover) and Turbulence.

    JAK wrote some early SFR in the 80s – Sweet Starfire holds up remarkably well. And of course there’s her Harmony series.

    Susan Sizemore – Walking on the Moon. Time travel space opera.

  5. 5
  6. 6
    donna ann says:

    laurann dohner has 2 sci-fi series, cyborg & Zorn, that are both pretty good, eve langlias has some out (my fave is her alian abduction series) as does cythia sax & mina carter

  7. 7
    kkw says:

    JAK, particularly with the Jayne Castle pseudonym.

  8. 8
    DonnaMarie says:

    I know we talked about her on this site at least once, Marcella Burnard. I’ve read the first two of her Enemy series, Enemy Within and Enemy Games, and I’m anxiously waiting for the third book. Love her.

    I’ll second that Saga rec.

    Pretty much all Anne Mccaffrey’s books have some element of romance.

    Showalter’s Alien Huntress series started out a winner, but the last couple installments were disappointing. Still, those first books were great reads.

  9. 9

    I want to second the Saga recommendation (it got my Hugo vote for best graphic novel at this year’s World SF Convention) and also show some love for Linnea Sinclair’s books. They’re all fabulous, but I especially enjoyed Games of Command and An Accidental Goddess. The first is a romance between a hotshot human captain and a cyborg, by-the-book former enemy. It’s got some lovely moments.

    The other tickled me because it was so different. Goddess has the premise of an admiral falling for a mysterious woman, not realizing she’s the one his people worship as a goddess. It’s complicated, to say the least, and really entertaining.

    I don’t know why Sinclair’s books don’t get more love in Romancelandia. They’re fun, well written and not run-of-the-mill.

  10. 10
    Algae says:

    Yes. You should read Saga. Everyone should read Saga.  And to go off topic for a second: did you see Brian K. Vaughan’s interview from Comic-Con (from the io9 recap)? I love his quote about Slave Girl/Sophie: 

    Saga may have a bit of Star Wars in its science fiction/fantasy mashup DNA, but one character was inspired by a Star Wars image that always bothered Vaughan: Princess Leia in that slave outfit. “That’s that character at her least sexy,” Vaughan said to thunderous applause. “There are slave girls in the world and they don’t look like Princess Leia in a bikini.”

    Another book to consider is Cinder by Marisa Meyer. Features a future society, cyborgs, aliens from the moon and fairy tales.

  11. 11
    Tamara Hogan says:

    Anything and everything by Susan Grant!  If she’s new to you, you might want to start out with Moonstruck, Book One in her Borderlands series. After an intergalactic peace treaty has been signed, a female starship admiral has to somehow find a way to work with a former enemy as her second-in-command. Several Earth-based crew members note that the new second-in-command rather resembles Johnny Depp’s rogueish Capt. Jack Sparrow. ;-) Moonstruck was RITA-nominated; Grant won the RITA for an earlier book, Contact.. I’m a huge fan.

  12. 12

    I totally second Lois McMaster Bujold and Cordelia’s Honor, but contend that before A Civil Campaign you should read Komarr, because the story really begins there. Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance is standalone and can be read even if you’ve never heard of the Vorkosigan Saga. Vorkosiverse. Whatever you want to call The Awesome. (I recommend the audiobooks for this series—I couldn’t get through Brothers in Arms on my own, just not enough relationship-y stuff for me, so Grover Gardner carried me. Metaphorically.)

    Let me tell you about my Recent Discovery of Awesome: the Liaden Universe by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller. There are several points where you can enter, but I think the consensus says to go with Agent of Change (it’s free in most ebookstores (annoyingly, to get the next book, you have to buy the omnibus—it’s worth it, though)). AoC begins a four-book story arc/relationship that introduces you to the couple, their family (more romances) and their universe. From there, you can read romances of the generation before, stories of how the Liaden Universe came to be, stories of what happens to the family after AoC book 4… It’s full of awesome! I’m still exploring.

    (A different entry point into the Liaden Universe is Theo Waitley book 1: Fledgling. It’s also free at most ebookstores. Warning: It’s not romance, but it’s crack. It’ll suck you in. The end of Theo 2 has a spoiler for the AoC story arc, but it’s all intertwined. It didn’t matter to me, I only wanted to read Everything! All At Once! to know it all. Highly recommended, wherever you start.)(The Theo Waitley audiobooks are great!)(Well, TW 1 & 2 are great, I’m still waiting for 3 & 4 to Whispersync, so I can’t speak for them. I assume they’re great.)

    Ann Aguirre’s Sirantha Jax: Yes!

    Saga: Yes!

    Ilona Andrews has written Silent Blade and Silver Shark, both recommended.

    Megan Hart breaks my heart every time I read Amidst a Crowd or Stars. So beautiful!

    Val Roberts has written Blade’s Edge and a couple of others. (I know I liked BE, but apparently I read it before I joined GR so I have no notes on how much I liked it or why. I don’t even remember if it’s SFR or just SF: Time to reread!)

    SF erotic romance:

    Lauren Dane wrote the Federation Chronicles, beginning with Undercover. It’s m/m/f and begins a story arc that threads the series. Yes, there is world building, a series arc and other SF-y stuff along with the hawt. The issues are very Verse-specific, but also very human. Love!

    Robyn Bachar has SF erotic romance Nightfall (I really liked it) and upcoming release Morningstar (I want it already!).

    Bianca D’arc’s Resonance Mates series begins with Hara’s Legacy. The erom is shared mates and hot smex… and on the second read you kinda have to squint sideways at the SF stuff and run across the thin patches really fast. Entertaining and compelling, but don’t examine the structure too closely.

    Lilly Cain’s Alien Revealed begins her Confederacy Treaty trilogy. It’s erotic romance with human-alien pairings, good aliens, bad aliens, alien culture… More smexy than tech-SF, as I recall. I liked them.

  13. 13

    **Amidst a Crowd OF Stars, dammit!

  14. 14
    Jeanne says:

    Umm… I’m surprised Kaitlyn O’Connor hasn’t been mentioned yet.  Her books lean to the erotic side, but the world-building and writing are solid.  If you read M/M, I thought Lisa Henry’s Dark Space had a great take on what life on a space station might be like.

  15. 15

    I just read Hold by Zannie Adams and really liked it. No aliens but a hot scifi romance in a gritty prison setting. I’m interested in Ann Aguirre’s new prison-set series also.

  16. 16
    Robyn Bachar says:

    There’s a group called the Sci-Fi Romance Brigade, and they have a library page with sfr titles listed by type and heat level. And the SFR Brigade has a free anthology called Tales from the SFR Brigade with a Linnea Sinclair short story in it.

  17. 17
    Aly says:

    Sci-Fi romances are usually not my thing… but about a year ago I read one that was actually quite good!

    It was “Ghost Planet” by Sharon Lynn Fisher. I recommend it!

  18. 18
    Pamk says:

    Susan Grant, gini Koch, and Judy Mays all write good sfr I think.

  19. 19
    Charl says:

    If you’re interested in the Sharon Lee/Steve Miller Liaden Universe books, shop at Baen books (or Baen ebooks).  I highly recommend them, too.

  20. 20
    Charl says:

    I should add that all of the Baen books are coupon eligible at Kobo.

  21. 21
    mochabean says:

    @ ms bookjunkie  Yes to everything you said about The Awesome that is the Vorkosiverse and in particular how important it is to read Komarr.  The list of Miles’ girlfriends conversation is one of my favorite scenes in all of the books.  I’d add to the list the novella WinterFair Gifts since it features a human-alien romance, but it really doesn’t work unless you’ve read the others.  Agree as well about the Liaden books.  Oh Pat Rin, how I love you and your deadly assassin girlfriend.  These are all pretty chaste romances—sexytime implied but not explicit.  But romance aplenty.

    John Scalzi’s works also have strong romantic elements.  The Old Man’s War series is one long love-letter to his wife.

  22. 22

    I didn’t see Pippa Jay mentioned. Her debut novel, Keir, is amazing. Unfortunately it’s not available at the moment because she’s redoing it after getting her rights back. But it should be out some time next year.

    I write SFR and my first release is out on the 12th. It’s an alien-human romance set amidst the hunt for the alien race’s lost home world. I don’t want to cross any lines by accidentally promoing if I shouldn’t, so anyone interested can click on my name here and get all the details at my website.

    Sherrilyn Kenyon has an SFR series too, though it’s SF only in the sense that it takes place in another universe with space travel and some tech. There’s not a lot of coherent SF worldbuilding, but if you’re a Kenyon Menyon and haven’t read The League series, READ IT!

    I also second Sara Creasy’s two books. The romance is more a sub-plot, but the worldbuilding is so stellar and imaginative I almost didn’t mind the romance not being the main focus.

  23. 23
    RevMelinda says:

    I second, third and fourth all the love for Bujold’s Vorkosigan series, anything by Linnea Sinclair (I adore Games of Command), and the Lee/Miller Liaden Books. In particular, as I think I’ve said here before, I love the Lee/Miller books that they call their “Space Regencies”: Local Custom, Scout’s Progress, and Mouse and Dragon. These really are like regency-romances-with-spaceships and thus very accessible to the romance reader and the sci-fi reader alike. I think both Local Custom and Scout’s Progress stand very well alone, but also serve as a great introduction to the world. Local Custom is one of my favorite romances ever, and Scout’s Progress features one of my favorite heroes ever, Daav yos’Phelium.

  24. 24
    Magpie says:

    I really enjoyed Ilona Andrew’s SFR novellas – the Kinsmen series (Silent Blade and Silver Shark). Well written and engaging characters, especially given the shorter format!

  25. 25

    I just came out with my first SRF. It’s called Alien Attachments #1 High heat level, but it’s a true romance.

    Looks like all my favs have been mentioned above.

    I didn’t see the brigade mentioned above, however (may have missed it). For other great reads check out Science Fiction Romance Brigade Fanpage on FB.

  26. 26
    Gail says:

    Anything by S. E. Smith, but watch out. She has several series and once you get hooked, you can spend a lot of money.

    The Redemption Trilogy by Mike Smith (Book 1 – The Last Praetorian is free on Amazon)

    The Krinar Chronicles by Anna Zaires (Book 1 – Close Liaisons is free on Amazon)

    C. L Scholey has 2 related series – New World and Unearthly World

    Eve Langlais has a Cyborg series

    Tracey St. John – lots and lots of hot aliens

    Linda Andrews – The Syn-en Solution series

    Dani Worth – The Kithran Regenesis series

    I am sure I can come up with some more, but I have to get back to work. I love me some aliens!

  27. 27
    Amanda says:

    @Rachel Leigh Smith: Argh, how could I forget The League! I’m actually catching up on the series now.

  28. 28
    aphasia says:

    SHARON SHINN! Especially the Archangel series!

  29. 29
    Celia Marsh says:

    I’m going to need someone to make a list of these suggestions so I can just click my way through instead of all this copying and pasting.

    I LOVE LOVE the Gini Koch books.  Side note:  I have decided to stop using the description “Mary Sue” because it implies that women don’t deserve wish fulfillment literature as much as men.  In addition to that, while she gets HEA type endings, it’s not like everything is automatically kittens and rainbows—she does have to work at it.  They are light, humorous, and sweet books, with lots of pop culture references, and super fun. 

    Sharon Shinn’s Archangel Series is FANTASTIC.  I’m also super partial to her series, Heart of Gold which has, in my opinion, an utterly fantastic example of an opening scene, from a writerly perspective. 

    Susan Grant was also super fun to read.  And there was one like her stuff—Electra Galaxy’s Mr. Interstellar Feller, by Candace Sams, that was good. 

    I’m also crazy about space opera, so the Rachel Bach series is one of my favorite things ever right now. 

  30. 30
    Hannah says:

    I’d definitely read Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Leauge series. I think it’s the only one that can even slightly count as sci-fi romance. She also has the Belador series which is very good, but not realllly sci-fi romance. It’s definitely more in the paranormal vein.

    I think Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series would count as sci-fi romance. I personally enjoyed the first 3 books, but the series grew stale for me after that.

    I’ve heard Made for Her by Jessica Subject is good, but I haven’t personally read it.

    I also think S.E. Smith writes some pretty good sci-fi romances.

    The Accidental Goddess by Linnea Sinclair was another I really enjoyed.

    The Triton Experiment by PJ Schnyder is an excellent series.

    Under Different Stars by Amy Bartol was also good.

    This is about all I can think of at the moment, good luck!

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