Monday, October 05, 2009

Guest - Melanie Nilles

Good morning everyone! Today we have a great article by author Melanie Nilles. Melanie grew up on a western North Dakota cattle ranch and farm. Along with her interest in horses, she always had a fascination with science fiction and fantasy. After high school, she graduated from North Dakota State University with a bachelor's degree in Business Administration. She currently resides in central North Dakota with her family, which includes her husband and kids, and two cats. Her published works include STARFIRE ANGELS, DRAGON PROPHECY and the continuing LEGEND OF THE WHITE DRAGON epic, which is available as a free e-serial at her website. Besides writing, she also trains and shows her horse. For updates, visit her website at

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Hope you all enjoy Melanie's article today!

When I started thinking about what to write on the topic of romance in science fiction and fantasy, I knew there was something there but it wouldn't quite materialize for me. Not until some time later did it hit me, and as I tend to prefer the classic science fiction that uses extraordinary circumstances to explore the limits of who we are, I realized that romance is just one more ingredient in the whole of being human.

Science fiction and fantasy often take us into incredible worlds and situations that explore our humanity from the outside, examining every facet of human existence under a microscope. Some stories may tackle specific aspects while others take a broader view. Romance, driven by love, is part of our humanity, it is an expression of the need for companionship, because we are social beings. Romance is a part of the human existence. Adding it into science fiction and fantasy imbues those genres with a touch of grace where there is often a critical view of what it means to be human. It grants a reprieve from the challenges and hardships the characters endure.

We all have a deep-rooted need within us that yearns to feel desired and sheltered but also to nurture and protect others. That doesn't stop when you're splattering alien body parts across a battlefield or fighting a dragon. In fact, a character may be doing the dirty work to protect those they love, to save a lover from danger or stand by them facing the danger. Romance may be the motivation behind a character's actions.

I will never forget attending a lecture by a popular science fiction author that I attended at a convention. He said that of the emails he receives from fans, the majority wanted to know if a particular two characters were ever going to get together in a series he wrote, which was heavy science fiction. He had added a touch of romantic tension that kept his readers wanting more. When a writer composes, they can touch those desires within readers through their characters, and he had.

As a woman who prefers reading science fiction and fantasy, I have to agree that I tend to favor stories with a touch of romance to stories without any (although I have enjoyed stories without it but not as much). And there better be some satisfaction in it, because we want to know that in a crazy world, whether our own or something completely imaginary, two people can find a spark of peace within each other's arms.

Melanie Nilles


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Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Melanie,

I enjoy reading and writing romance novels and writing science fiction short stories but have never thought to put the two together.

Congrats on your publication!

Jacqueline Seewald

Patsy said...

Congrats on your publication.

Melanie Nilles said...

Thank you Jacqueline and Patsy.

While most people don't think romantic when it comes to science fiction, it's as natural to blend the two as it is with fantasy. Just to name a couple authors who have done it before me--Anne McCaffrey and Linnea Sinclair.