No, this is not a manual for exobiological reproduction, alien mating rituals, or human-vampire hybridization. My apologies if that is what you expected when you arrived here. Given that the name of this blog is Speculative Faith, on which topic we spend a great deal of electronic ink, and Becky Miller just did a piece on hope in speculative fiction, I thought it might be a good time to launch into a series on love, and how it’s handled, or mishandled, in spec fic, Christian or otherwise, and how that might move us to action as readers and writers within the genre.
There don’t seem to be many speculative fiction stories where love is at the center. It’s usually a bit player, positioned somewhere toward the back of the stage, next to the shrubbery. A romantic interest thrown in for spice, one of many motivations for the hero or heroine, maybe even part of an intellectual sidebar discussion about those alien mating rituals some of our wandering googlers may have expected today. Something to bide the time between swordfights or starship battles. I found a couple of forum discussions at Asimov’s and io9 about science fiction love stories, and there was a lot of head-scratching and shoulder-shrugging. Stuff along the lines of, “I know I’ve read one, somewhere, but it’s just not coming to mind right now.” It was interesting how much variety was on display in the stories that were suggested, and many were not romantic or otherwise “love stories” in the conventional sense at all. Examples came more easily from movies than books.
This is a topic that tends to multiply rabbit trails with a fecundity rivaled only by the little hippity-hopping cottontails themselves, so I’ll do my best to keep this focused. Here’s a quick FAQ:
1. How long is this going to take? I don’t know yet. We tend to do these things in threes around here, so maybe three installments, not counting this one, each with a different perspective on the issue. Maybe longer, if people seem interested. If you’ve got some ideas about how you’d like to see this particular elephant portioned out, please speak up.
2. Haven’t we done this already? I expect there are previous posts in the archive on this topic. I don’t care…no, I do care, but I expect they’ve followed different rabbit trails than I will. I may refer to them.
3. You do realize there’s more than one kind of love? Yes, that’s part of the point of this. I don’t intend to give the eros – storge – philia – agape talk, but I’m sure we’ll touch on all of those as we go along.
4. Science fiction or fantasy? Yes. We can talk about horror, too, though it might be harder to find positive examples there.
5. There’s not going to be a lot of mushy hugging and kissing stuff, is there? Well, it’s bound to come up. Cover your eyes if you must.
Next week, Part 1.