But less wingeing and more sci-fi from me is now the order of the day!
One of the things I like about science fiction romance, especially of the post-apocalyptic variety such as Isy showed us yesterday, is the vivid contrast that can be achieved between the bleakness and violence of a ruined world, and the softer romantic elements.
I have tried this in my own fiction, for example the City of the Damned trilogy, which has elements of science fiction, fantasy and paranormal romance. I should confess here that although I enjoy science fiction, I'm not a scientist, and only my husband's knowledge has saved me from a couple of whopping great howlers as far as the science elements go! But I do like my science as well as my speculation to be believable, at least to the majority of lay-people :). What about you? How much science is good in science fiction romance?
Anyway, here's an example of a feisty heroine in a violent, ruined world - from the first part of City of the Damned, Loving the Wolf.
CITY OF THE DAMNED (Ebook Collection)
BY MARIE TREANOR
In the depths of nuclear winter a self-sufficient cop leaves the safety of her Dome City and travels north in search of her missing brother. In the City of the Damned, where radiation poisoning has created new mutant species, April sets off a chain of events and deceptions destined to change the life of all the city’s inhabitants.
For Max, who has felt little but blood thirst for many years, the blinding sexual pleasure he experiences with April becomes an obsession. When wolf and vampire collide, one will be called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice, for the survival of their world.
Like wolves, the lupi mate for life. As for vampires… they mate for something more…
Lara walked down what had once been a road, and was now little more than a churned up track full of loose stones, ripped tarmac and rubbish. Her eyes scanned continuously to left and right while her ringing ears tried to adjust to the silence. Relative silence. But the noises of the city night were even less comforting than the blaring music of the club. Barking dogs, sudden crashes and shouts, burst of laughter, the odd scream. Children crying -- or adults, it was hard to tell. The only light came from fires glowing in nearby yards and alleys, each with their share of wretched people huddling around them for warmth. By their dim illumination, Lara could make out the ruined and crumbling buildings on either side, some open to the elements, roofless and windowless and largely wall-less, others just deserted. These were scarier, because of the human noises that occasionally came from inside them.
Lara warily crossed the road to avoid the more intact buildings. Up the next side street, several pairs of eyes around a fire regarded her without curiosity. They had a dog lying beside them. It whimpered but didn’t bark. Beyond them, what was left of a building burned desultorily, almost as if it couldn’t be bothered. Without doubt, this was the most depressing place Lara had ever seen.
She found herself wondering what it had been like before the war, with the buildings standing tall and proud, the streets clean and smooth, full of bustling people going about their normal business, cars and buses running in between. There would have been gardens, neat and tended, with green trees and colorful, sweet-scented flowers. Above, the sky would have been light and blue. There would have been sun, a warmth you could see and feel, not just vaguely sense was out there when the darkness wasn’t too intense. Once, it was probably a nicer place to be than the Dome.
Now it was just downright dangerous. If she had forgotten, she was reminded forcefully as two shadows detached themselves from the ruin on the left, moving purposefully toward her. She let them come, until one moved behind her and her every sense prickled, tensing her whole body. The one in front kept walking toward her, as if to distract her. The other ran up behind her.
Lara took him out easily with her left elbow. She heard it connect with his nose, the sickening cracking sound before the grunt of pain and the dull thud as he landed on the road behind her. She didn’t wait to look. Already she grasped the knife in her right hand, facing her other assailant.
He, however, merely lifted both hands in the universal gesture of surrender.
“No trouble, lady. Only looking for some food…”
Lara held on to the knife as she drew level with him. At her significant gesture, made with the knife hand, he backed off several paces. She drew her left hand out of her coat pocket and threw a small packet on the ground.
“Next time, say please.”