N.B. These curated lists are for the gentle reader who is intrigued by the concept, but doesn’t know where to start. For a more comprehensive guide of everything out there, check out Corinne Kilgore’s SFR Station! It has excellent categories. Without it these posts would have involved a lot of swearing on my part.
Science Fiction Romance is definitely a niche genre. Readers and writers come to it from both the romance and the science fiction angle. A few days ago John asked me what SFR he should read. If you love science fiction but aren’t entirely sure about whether you’ll like SFR, I recommend these books to start (as an SF fan for decades). I’ve featured all of these on the SFRB Recommends.
Fortune’s Pawn by Rachel Bach
Devi Morris has big career plans. She’s working as a mercenary, but wants to become an elite powered-armor guard for the God King. When she gets the chance to work aboard The Glorious Fool, she jumps into a galaxy-spanning conspiracy that could leave her and all she cares for obliterated.
This book will appeal to those who love stubborn badass heroes, epic scope, truly out-there aliens, layers of political wrangling, human augmentation, and almost insurmountable odds in their science fiction. The love story is a subplot that still feels epic in scope: two dissimilar characters drawn together by their fierceness. This book is first in a trilogy.
Riveted by Meljean Brook
Annika Fridasdottir endangered the secrets of legendary Iceland five years ago. Her sister took the blame and went into exile. Annika’s been searching for her ever since. David Kentewess is leading an expedition to Iceland and is desperate to solve the mystery of his own origins. When he meets Annika, he knows she may be the key to understanding his family and the legend itself.
The steampunk worldbuilding is fantastic. Brook has built an amazing alternate history with impressive bestiaries, geographies, and inventions. David and Annika manage to be both unique and play the everyman hero very well.
Luka Foxe, forensic expert, gets in over his head when follows the murder of a friend to some trouble involving space mercenaries, Big Pharma, and the pan-galactic military. Also, his psychic ability is killing him. He recruits Mairwen Morganthur, eerily competent ninja guard, on his investigation as its death toll grows. Can they survive, learn to trust each other, and also get to the bottom of the murders?
If you like government conspiracies, super soldiers, and some suspense with your space colonies, this blends all of those with spaceship (and non-spaceship) action. The developing relationship between Foxe and Morganthur fits very well into the context of their mission.
Enemy Within by Marcella Burnard
Months after Ari Idelle was freed from bug alien captivity, she’s still traumatized and moping around on a scientific expedition. Then space pirates board her ship, and she has to use all of her wits to get to the bottom of what they, the bugs, and her chain of command want from her.
Wheels within wheels and some very strong characters make this book work. The cultures and ideas of the various factions should tickle your space opera senses, and the layers of intrigue Ari and space pirate Cullin have to navigate will keep you guessing. The first chapter is available free in Portals: Volume One.