Today’s snippet from Heavy Ice:
Vane looked around. The balcony was not precisely full of people. It was more that a crowd was pressed out around its back edges, like a nervous pie-crust. The front of the balcony was conspicuously free.
He searched for faces he could put a name to, among the blur of lacy throats and nervous eyes. Eventually he saw some. His cousin Hugo, hiding among a group of friars with elaborately henna-tattooed hands. The Scholar-Courtesan who managed his libraries, sitting in an a-grav chair with a white cat draped over her lap like a scarf. His confessor, looking desperately worried. Cardinal Lasair was nowhere to be seen. He didn’t think that was a good sign.
His confessor hurried over to him, her robes fluttering around her tall solid body in a way that strongly suggested she was wearing Retort-made flexible body plate underneath. “It isn’t my Idrian.”
“What isn’t your idrian?” said Vane. He looked at the nearest bishop, in the hope of receiving a clue as to whether an idrian was something on the scale of a thurible or more like a baldaccino.
“Whatever’s going on at Rivantia,” she said on a hasty breath. “And if it is Idrian, I’m sure it’s just a weather balloon. He always said he wanted one.”
Vane stared at her blankly.
In other news, I’ve been reading Lois McMaster Bujold’s Sidelines: Talks and Essays and keeping up, more or less, with the discussion online about genre, gender and book reviews which starts here with this post from Radish Reviews. Both of these have a lot to say about romance, SF and the ways they do or don’t work together.
Which fascinates me, because I’ve noticed over the years that there something that’s almost an underground community of people who like some SF and some romance and some SF / romance crossovers and want to venture beyond their favourite authors, but feel at a loss because the characters’ names are too silly or the titles are embarrassing or they’re worried about encountering rape scenes or they just plain can’t tell the stuff they’d like from the stuff they wouldn’t because it all looks too similar. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve sat in a café feeling like a secret agent as I muttered out of the corner of my mouth ‘Try the Liaden books next’ or received an out-of-print Zenna Henderson in a plain envelope.
There is a subgenre of SF Romance that proudly wears its dual heritage on its sleeve. The Galaxy Express does a great job at getting its name out there. I’ve found a couple of SF romances that have really clicked with me, several through recommendations on this very blog, but a lot aren’t my kind of thing at all for the same thing that paranormal’s generally not my thing either – a book can be really well-written, but if it’s got fated mates in it, I’ll just be sitting there thinking ‘That’s not a romance, that’s a horror story’. Likewise, I’m not going to read a humorous book where I don’t like that particular style of humour, just because it’s set in an asteroid field.
But here I still am writing SF with strong romantic elements. Maybe I’m just too stubborn to quit.
Image from Wikimedia Commons