Surprisingly enough there actually are a few science fiction romance books with outright Halloween themes. I thought with Halloween coming up next week it might be fun to share what science fiction romance offers for the holiday. I turned to the collective mind of the Science Fiction Romance Brigade last week (I’m a member) and together we brainstormed some titles to include.
S.E. Smith, New York Times and USA TODAY Bestselling Author wrote A Dragonlings Haunted Halloween as part of her popular Dragon Lords of Valdier series. Here’s the partial blurb: “During one of her many excursions exploring the palace, Cara Truman discovers a vast underground chamber that turns out to be the perfect place for her next invention. Soon, her dream of building the ultimate playground for the Dragonlings is a reality. When Abby laughingly mentions the new ‘playground’ looked like the perfect place to have a Halloween party, Cara goes into high gear to create the perfect Haunted House adventure for the babies….
Moving on to another series, author Tess Rider says “…both books in the Haunted Hollow series are homages to Halloween…both include time travel and a post apocalyptic world (sci fi) and also have ghosts, witches and other scary monsters.” The first book in the series is Bring Me to Ruin and here’s the partial blurb: “The last thing Thea Maloney expects the day after her first love, Gerard Wyatt, is executed for a crime he didn’t commit, is a chance to travel to the 22nd Century to a place called the Haunted Hollow. There time has splintered into hundreds of timelines and a savage ghost war has ravaged the planet. One man stands between what remains of the human race and extinction, a man known only as The General. A man who also happens to be another version of Gerard. Thea’s mission in this haunted place is to solve the riddle of the broken timelines and show the General the power of love before he makes a choice that will doom them all….
The book which actually set me off on this SFR-for-Halloween train of thought in the first place is Restoree, a classic from Anne McCaffrey, and for many of us, the first science fiction romance we ever read. I still reread it at least once a year. In the book, there’s an Eclipse festival where men and women dress up as Searchers and Priests, in accordance with an ancient legend. The rituals and customs around this festival play a key role in advancing the overall plot. Here’s the book blurb: “She was a restoree, kidnapped. Torn from Earth by a bizarre and nameless black force, Sara had no idea where she was or why she was in a beautiful new body. Controlled by brutal guards and tamed by terror, she could not comprehend her role as a nurse for a man who appeared to be an idiot. But once she discovered that the planet she had been brought to was Lothar and that the man she was caring for was its regent, Sara knew the restorees had to escape — and fast. And when they did, they became fugitives on a world of multiple evils — bound together on a daring adventure that would either join them for all time . . . or separate them forever.”
The novel Rebellion (Alien Attachments) by Sabine Priestley features a Summer’s Ball on the planet Mitah that draws visitors from across the galaxy. The author describes it as: “A three day and night visual spectacle. You want Mitan silk for your gowns because those little worms produce bioluminescent silk. The theme of the infamous Summer’s Ball on Mitah this year [in the book] was a mythical creature called the Swali. They were not unlike Earth’s fairies and were said to have magical abilities, including seeing into the future.”
Works for me! I bet those were some gorgeous costumes.
But what about Halloween’s other, more scary elements — the ghosts and ghoulies? Those can be found scattered throughout science fiction romance as plot elements.
Pippa Jay has angels and devils in her futuristic short No Angel. Her story: Centuries ago, guardian angel Lucien committed a terrible sin. He gave in to his own desires and revealed himself to the mortal woman he’d been charged to protect. By kissing her, he condemned himself. Torn of his wings and his angelic powers, thrown down into the City Below, Lucien now serves Satan as an incubus who claims souls for his master from the City Above, and who feeds on the energy stolen from his mortal lovers. Dark, sexy and charming, he’s been top of his league for decades uncounted. Until His Infernal Highness decides to send Lucien looking for a lost angel.
Sharon Lynn Fisher’s Ghost Planet has ghosts obviously. The blurb: “Psychologist Elizabeth Cole prepared for the worst when she accepted a job on a newly discovered world — a world where every colonist is tethered to an alien who manifests in the form of a dead loved one. But she never expected she’d struggle with the requirement to shun these “ghosts.” She never expected to be so attracted to the charming Irishman assigned as her supervisor. And she certainly never expected to discover she died in a transport crash en route to the planet. Reincarnated as a ghost, Elizabeth is symbiotically linked to her supervisor, Murphy — creator of the Ghost Protocol, which forbids him to acknowledge or interact with her. Confused and alone — oppressed by her ghost status and tormented by forbidden love — Elizabeth works to unlock the secrets of her own existence. But her quest for answers lands her in a tug-of-war between powerful interests, and she soon finds herself a pawn in the struggle for control of the planet…a struggle that could separate her forever from the man that she loves.”
AR DeClerck’s Bound to You was described by one reviewer as “Ghostbusters on a planet scale!” and involves alien ghosts and “sort of zombies” the author told me. Here’s the blurb: “Jackson Baine was a man with a gift, and he had no trouble selling it to the highest bidder. His newest job was for one of the biggest terraforming companies in the universe, and the money he stood to make would be enough to buy retirement for him and his crew on any planet in any galaxy they chose. His problem? Ferrell Terraforming Inc. has assigned him a company liaison, whose primary goal is to make his life a living hell. His only option is to agree to take her on, or he loses the contract. And that’s not his only problem.
“Lia Bernardi is smart, beautiful and just enough trouble to turn his head like no other woman ever has. Their attraction is a distraction he cannot afford. Anatolia Bernardi wants to climb the corporate ladder, get out from under her irritating boss, and finally impress her overbearing father. All she has to do is turn one dead, empty planet into an oasis. The only way she can accomplish that is with the help of Jacks Baine. The man gets under her skin, and threatens to break down every wall she’s placed between herself and the world. On the surface of an empty planet, far to the edge of the December Quadrant, Jacks and Lia will have to come to terms with their attraction. Sometimes the dead aren’t forgotten, and they have secrets to tell. Only one thing is certain: the past never really goes away.”
Cue the ominous music right now!
And we mustn’t forget vampires. The SFR Brigadiers were adamant I should include McClendon’s Syndrome by Robert Frezza, one of a four book series published in the 1990’s. Although I haven’t read the books, between the blurb, the reviews and the comments from the SFRB members, I was convinced. Here’s the story, as found on Amazon: “Ken MacKay’s career in space was going nowhere. The decrepit trading ship he served on was also going nowhere: the Rustam’s Slipper was grounded on Schuyler’s World, a backwater planet lacking even a good bar. For diversion, Schuyler’s offered bad bars, cute yet conniving aliens called Rodents, and Catarina — a mysterious, beautiful, unsettlingly smart woman. Catarina wanted a berth on the Slipper; the Slipper needed a crew member. She was hired.
“But Ken soon discovered that Catarina was more than a vamp with a razor-sharp wit. First was her case of McLendon’s Syndrome, an obscure little contagious disease treatable only with chocolate-chip cookies. Then there were all the secrets she was hiding. So she wasn’t the most trustworthy ally a guy could want as the Slipper hurried straight into murder, mayhem, intrigue, and an interspecies war — but she was all Ken had. And unless she helped Ken whip the crew into shape and muster the misfits and malcontents of Schuyler’s World, it would be the shortest war on record…”
That one’s probably science fiction with romantic elements.
Another take on vampires, this one set in a future colony world, is found in Dark Stranger by Susan Sizemore. Here’s the plot: A twist of fate made Zoe Pappas heir to the Byzant throne. Bound by duty and devotion to keep the Empire safe, Zoe is captured while on a secret diplomatic mission and sent to an underground prisoner-of-war camp. In this strange, shadowy place, residents are governed by fellow inmate General Matthias “Doc” Raven, whose powerful magnetism rouses an urgent desire in Zoe. But the intensity of her attraction is matched by her surprise at discovering that Doc has a secret of his own: he is a vampire….
I’ll finish with Merely This and Nothing More, where a group of authors each did a take on a classic Edgar Allan Poe tale (which were ghastly, ghoulish and uncanny and therefore have a hint of Halloween, yes?) The blurb: “A clockwork raven. Two sets of irresistible teeth. A house brought to life by nanobots. A heart that won’t stop beating. All this and much more in the Writerpunk Press version of the beloved suspense stories by Edgar Allan Poe. …bring you the very best punked versions of classic Poe tales, complete with shiny gears and tiny bots! In addition to the more familiar Cyberpunk and Steampunk, we’ve added Bio, Deco, and Dieselpunk genres to the mix. The resulting volume is a dynamic take on horror of which the Master of Macabre himself would be proud.
Maybe no romance at all, I’m guessing (have not read it myself as yet), but too irresistible to leave off the list!
And that’s all we have room for. Do you have some other science fiction romance tales to suggest that carry a hint of Halloween?