Science fiction and romance don’t always work together, but when an author gets it right, I’m a very happy reader.
Because I’m a bit of a hardcore sci-fi nut, I demand a lot from authors when it comes to world building and detail. I want there to be a good reason why this story is set on one of Jupiter’s moons instead of simply a bar called the Moons of Jupiter.
Likewise, I need the romance to be solid. I want a happy ever after, or at least the belief that we’re well on the way.
There are exceptions. If I’m not expecting the book to be romantic, and there’s a love story in there anyway, I always consider it a bonus—and I’m happy for the author not to deliver the standard happy ending. Including romantic elements is enough for me. This list is going to include a number of books like that, simply because finding a book that combines both elements perfectly is tough. But if you have some recommendations of your own, please share them in the comments!
Mnevermind by Jordan Castillo Price. Really, anything by JCP.
Peripheral People by Reesa Heberth and Michelle Moore. Psychic detectives in space.
Touched by an Alien by Gini Koch. The best looking aliens dress in Armani suits.
The Klockwerk Kraken by Aidee Ladnier. Tentacle sex.
The Prince and the Program by Aldous Mercer. philosophy and poetry, computer language, geek speak, and a romantic AI.
Fortune’s Pawn by Rachel Bach. Kick-ass mercenary falls for the wrong guy.
Down by Ally Blue. Super Creepy. Also, it’s underwater, so I think I held my breath for the entire book.
Hers to Command by Patricia Knight. They have to have sex to save the planet. Lots of sex. And there are three of them. What’s not to like?
Young and Angsty
We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson. Arguably, this might not be science fiction. But I like to believe it is. The romance, though—super, super sweet.
Divergent by Veronica Roth. Don’t judge me.
Arena by Holly Jennings. Games of the future.
But, Wait, There’s Another Book
The Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold. A number of books in the Vorkosigan Saga have romantic elements, and a couple of them are super romantic. I recommend reading them all, but if you’re simply after romance, start with Shards of Honor and Barrayar. Continue on to Komarr, where Miles falls for the woman he should not fall for, and A Civil Campaign where he courts her. One of my favorite entries in the series is Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance, which is Ivan’s book. He couldn’t have landed in a better love story. Finally, we have Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen, which is slightly bittersweet longtime fans, but also a definitive happy ever after for Cordelia.
Saga of the Skolian Empire by Catherine Asaro. Start with Catch the Lightning. If you’re good with the math, keep going! I adore this universe and want Asaro to write for it forever. Series bonus: every book has a happy ever after.
In Death series by Nora Roberts. It’s sexy! It’s sci-fi! It’s Nora Roberts. Look also for Year One, which is a brand new series and really, really good.
Not Quite an HEA
They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera. The title pretty much gives it away, but trust me when I say the love story is worth it.
These Final Hours. Okay, this one is a movie, but it’s on the list because it’s similar in theme to Adam Silvera’s book in that we can learn a lot about ourselves in just one day, and that happy ever afters don’t have to be super long. (The longer, the better, but a perfect moment is still perfect.)
More SF than Romance (but there’s a love story in there and it’s a good one)
Frontlines series by Marko Kloos. A hero with a heart.
All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders. The intersection of magic and science.
Glasshouse by Charles Stross. Gender-bending, mind-stretching, and unfailingly touching.
Old Man’s War by John Scalzi. Funny, irreverent and heart-warming.
Most Tender and Evocative Love Scene
Hyperion by Dan Simmons. Yes, really.
About To See the Sun
Survival is hard enough in the outer colonies—what chance does love have?
Life can be harsh and lonely in the outer colonies, but miner-turned-farmer Abraham Bauer is living his dream, cultivating crops that will one day turn the unforgiving world of Alkirak into paradise. He wants more, though. A companion—someone quiet like him. Someone to share his days, his bed, and his heart.
Gael Sonnen has never seen the sky, let alone the sun. He’s spent his whole life locked in the undercity beneath Zhemosen, running from one desperate situation to another. For a chance to get out, he’ll do just about anything—even travel to the far end of the galaxy as a mail-order husband. But no plan of Gael’s has ever gone smoothly, and his new start on Alkirak is no exception. Things go wrong from the moment he steps off the shuttle.
Although Gael arrives with unexpected complications, Abraham is prepared to make their relationship work—until Gael’s past catches up with them, threatening Abraham’s livelihood, the freedom Gael gave everything for, and the love neither man ever hoped to find.
About Kelly Jensen
If aliens ever do land on Earth, Kelly will not be prepared, despite having read over a hundred stories about the apocalypse. Still, she will pack her precious books into a box and carry them with her as she strives to survive. It’s what bibliophiles do.
Kelly is the author of a number of novels, novellas, and short stories, including the Chaos Station series, cowritten with Jenn Burke. Some of what she writes is speculative in nature, but mostly it’s just about a guy losing his socks and/or burning dinner. Because life isn’t all conquering aliens and mountain peaks. Sometimes finding a happy ever after is all the adventure we need.
Connect with Kelly:
To celebrate the release of To See the Sun, Kelly is giving away a $25 Riptide credit and some swag stickers and a bracelet! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on August 18, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following along, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!