I had the same marketing problem with the prequel to Those of My Blood, Feral Vampire, which is set 20 years prior to Those of My Blood and features Titus and his then human love, Gavriella Dean, "Gabby," a beginning Tarot Reader who meets Titus at a Halloween party and changes drastically because of it.
Dreamspy, too, has the same mix of genres, but is the story of what H'lim isn't telling about the galaxy and the unique galactic war currently brewing even as he's dying on Luna, and so Dreamspy garnered a number of excellent reviews in the press when it first came out -- because it seems to be about a galactic war. But actually it's a Romance between a singer kidnapped from Earth and a woman who's a galactic aristocrat-in-exile actually working for a living until she's blackmailed into going home as a spy.
In Blood, Titus Shiddehara, must leave Earth and take his chances on the Moon, -- thus it legitimately belongs to the "Action/Adventure Genre" of which sf is a sub-genre. But a far larger portion of the outcome depends on Emotional Heroism -- the ability to be honest about one's emotions both to oneself and to others.
Therefore, the story is not an "Action" story -- though it has action in it. It's not Horror, though horrible things happen. It's not actually Espionage, Intrigue, or Suspense, though it has all of that, too. And it's not truly Romance no matter how crucial that Romance was to the resolution because it has so much else going on.
Those of My Blood, like my Sime~Gen novels such as House of Zeor by Jacqueline Lichtenberg, Ambrov Keon by Jean Lorrah, and Zelerod's Doom by Jacqueline Lichtenberg and Jean Lorrah, all of which are slated to be posted here on http://www.bb.com along with the other Sime~Gen Novels, belong to the genre I call Intimate/Adventure. Click on that link and see the first two installments of my sf/f review column from 1993, "A Proposal for a New Genre" for a list of a couple dozen titles I consider examples of this new, hidden, but emerging genre. You find it in Mystery, Suspense, Horror, Romance, Western, and SF/F.
I started working out this concept I call Intimate/Adventure in the 1980's.
At that time, Jean Lorrah, my sometime collaborator on the Sime~Gen Novels, who was working on her own series, Savage Empire and later launched a best selling career in Star Trek novels with the first of the New York Times Best Selling Trek Novels, Vulcan Academy Murders, and who writes a heroic love-story at the core of every book, tipped me off to what was happening within the Romance Genre.
Suddenly, as a result, we think, of the impact of Star Trek and the Women's Lib movement of the 1970's on young women, women readers of Romance Genre novels had begun to think of themselves as potential heros and wanted to read stories about women of daring-do. Now, in the late 1990's, we have Buffy, The Vampire Slayer as well as Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's Saint Germain Vampire Historicals.
And the Romance Genre has morphed into something new.
When I was growing up, I didn't read Romance. I rejected Romance and soaps as being "about stupid people doing stupid things for stupid reasons." And I preferred stories about "smart people doing smart things for smart reasons -- and anyhow having everything go wrong, but in the end succeeding and failing at the same time." In other words, complicated stories -- just like the ones I now write.
In the mid-1990's that is exactly what the Futuristic Romance writers began to write. Using every device, motif, setting and gimmick common in sf/f, Romance steadfastly left out the Action and still showed you could have an sf/f story.
Before that, around 1990 I wrote the first version of the article, A Proposal for a New Genre, which was published in an obscure little magazine, and in 1993, I re-worked it for The Monthly Aspectarian, in which my sf/f review column, Recommended Books, appears. Almost every publishing industry professional who has read this proposal agrees there's substance to the idea of this hidden "Genre" -- a genre which appears hermit-crab like, within the guise of all the other genres, even Romance.
If Intimate/Adventure is actually a separate genre -- what is its signature? What marks a work as Intimate/Adventure?
SF/F has been regarded as a sub-set of the "Action/Adventure" market, but I have always contested that view. For me, the defining moment for sf/f was the classic film, "The Day The Earth Stood Still."
I saw Classic Star Trek as the modern version of that film brought to television. They both have action. They both have adventure. They both have love, though Star Trek didn't explore that until the fan fiction devoted to Classic Trek came to the notice of Hollywood and affected Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine as well as Star Trek: Voyager.
But above all, Trek and The Day The Earth Stood Still both have emotional intimacy -- emotional honesty. As Star Trek fans have demonstrated convincingly to Hollywood, (via their fan fiction) it is the relationship driven story that carries sf/f best -- not the Character-Story, but the Relationship-Story.
My definition of Intimate/Adventure emerged only after years of writing and studying Star Trek fan fiction, after writing Star Trek Lives! which investigates why people liked Star Trek so much they would not let Hollywood kill it, after reading the new Romance genre, Mysteries, TV shows, movies, and after reviewing hundreds of sf/f novels for my column, searching for what all these ostensibly different sorts of fiction had in common.
Action/Adventure is defined as the Adventure story -- in which the main character must leave his everyday, ordinary life and go out -- go adventuring -- and meet up with a problem that can be solved only by "Action" -- which is defined by Manhattan publishing and by Hollywood as hitting people, sometimes hard enough to kill them, or at least to destroy something they value. Action is defined as battle, as overcoming the fear of death, the fear of pain, to achieve some worthwhile goal.
If you take an Action/Adventure story and replace "Action" with "Intimacy" - you get Intimate/Adventure. In Action/Adventure the Hero must "leave his ordinary daily life" and then demonstrate courage, wit and determination on the field of battle.
In Intimate/Adventure the Hero (who can be female) must leave his ordinary, everyday emotional habits behind and demonstrate courage, wit and determination on the field of emotion.
Thus, to me, sf/f is Intimate/Adventure, and action is only incidental, which is clearly proven by the existence of the Futuristic Romance which has no action at all, but is definitely SF in which the "Science" is Psychology.
To me, it seems clear that emotional courage is a more specifically defining attribute of Heroism than physical courage. The courage to let down one's emotional defenses and overcome the fear of emotional pain to let someone else know who you really are, to become Intimate, is the "Right Stuff" of which heros are made. It's also the stuff which must be there to drive a mere Relationship into a Romance.
So it's not surprising that, when Jean Lorrah and I launched our free professional writing school,WorldCrafters Guild, on the web, that one of our students from ten or fifteen years ago who is now a rising star in the Romance field and among those in the Futuristic Romance movement from the beginning, Cheryl Wolverton, brought onboard a group of Futuristic Romance professionals who were looking for a headquarters on the web and found it at www.simegen.com/romance/. Now, we have these professionals, their students, their fans, and even occasionally their editors, interacting with Sime~Gen fans, professionals, and the sf/f world.
At such an interface - where there is nearly Infinite Diversity in almost Infinite Combinations, where Sime and Gen meet, where writer and reader meet, creativity happens.
We expect the personal contact between writer and reader fostered at the WorldCrafters Guild will shape the future of the Fiction Delivery System and the concept of genre in a world where streaming video, CD-quality sound, and 3-D imaging become common on the wide bandwidth Infobahn.
We expect Intimate/Adventure and the cross-genre story will finally be able to reach the audience that has long hungered for this kind of fiction. So we especially welcome writers who have started by writing pastiche, either of TV shows such as Buffy, The Vampire Slayer, Forever Knight, Star Trek, Babylon Five, Hercules, Xena, Highlander, Kung Fu: The Legend Continues, or dozens of others like those. We have a World to Craft together.
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