It’s the Resident Romance Redneck back with yet another article for your reading pleasure. Now, we’ve started a new endeavor here at Bookstr. We’re looking at some of the more eclectic subgenera that the book world has managed to dream up. Last week, we talked about the iconic subgenera of Horror Romance that includes books like You by Caroline Kepnes. This week, we’re searching the stratosphere for some answers about the general public’s obsession with alien romance.
Ingredients for an Alien Romance Book
One Human Main Character (either female or male)
One Alien Love Interest (usually a high ranking government official)
Typically these two characters don’t speak the same language. They’re also almost always going to be fated mates, unbeknownst to the human MC.
One Main External Conflict in the form of a War
A Handful of Smaller Conflicts (either internal or external)
A Hearty Dose of Spicy Smut with the well-endowed Alien
Wrapping it up with a Happy Ever After
Of course, this is just a general list of things. There is going to be some variation between different books. If the author is planning to write an anthology series, like Ruby Dixon, then they’ll typically establish a few key characters along the way. It also never fails that alien romances are going to be dual POV, so we don’t miss out on a single juicy detail. It’s also not uncommon to see the Human main character to be abducted by a rival alien race, leaving the Alien love interest to save our Human MC.
How did we get from Alien to *Alien*?
Evolution is inevitable and our tastes are ever-changing. One of our first impressions of aliens in media has been E.T. or that creepy black alien from Alien. So the question still stands, how did we get from those archetypes to our big blue aliens that riddle the pages of Ice Planet Barbarians?
I believe that a vast majority of our influence has been done by movie adaptations. Look at the difference between the original Dracula by Bram Stoker and the 1992 Dracula adaptation?
Writers recognize that people don’t want to watch a standard horror flick, they want romance. People want lust. They want allure. I think the big thing is that we want to understand what’s happening around us.
For aliens, the same thing happened! Up until alien romances came around, aliens were shrouded in this Fifth Element, yellowy light that didn’t really give us a direction as to their purpose.
Now aliens do find their roots in science fiction, but romance has always been about romance. No matter the main protagonists or the love interests, as long as it contains the required romance elements. And for aliens, that formula didn’t require a change, just a shift of readership. By ‘shift of readership’ I’m referring to the severe lack of representation of women sci-fi lovers and men romance lovers. Luckily though, both sides are satisfied when it comes to alien romance.
Fantastical Examples of the Alien Romance Genre
I’ve mentioned a few already and have teased some iconic covers, but what are some of my personal recommendations of these extraterrestrial love stories? You can check out seven of them here, but let me give you some more just for shits and gigs! Here’s the catch though, I’ll be adding my favorite Goodreads comment about the book instead of its description!
The Corsair’s Captive by Ruby Dixon
I’ve decided… alien smut is fun! *chanting begins in the background* This book is the kinda fun sexy romance that doesn’t take itself too seriously which makes it all the more enjoyable. We all KNOWWW this is soo out there but the author writes developed characters in INSANE situations for us to enjoy, and a hot alpha alien to go with. so enjoy the rideCece Rants, Raves, and Reviews
Lady Doctor Wyre by Joely Sue Burkhart
This book is a mix of Science-Fiction and Historical Romance. I loved that it feels like a Regency Romance, with the pretty dresses, the corsets, the silk, the rules of British society but with nanotechnology and spaceships. It felt right. It never felt ‘weird’, which is often my main problem with ‘Sci-Fi’. Joely found a way to make it work. Well it also doesn’t hurt that the smex is pretty hot. *fan self* Sig and Gilead are very different on so many levels, but in the end they are both perfect for Charlotte. She’s a strong woman and she’s not afraid of taking matters in her own hands *waggles eyebrows*.Caroline The HEA Lover
Strange Love by Ann Aguirre
I am very much a mood reader and my mood lately has been pretty solidly in the “alien finds love with a human” range. I believe I can emphatically say I have a fair amount of literary experience in this particular scenario at this point in time. So when I say OMG! ZYLAR AND BERYL ARE SO FREAKING FUN you’re just going to have to trust me. THEY ARE SO FREAKING FUN!Kelly
Alien Romance on the Silver Screen
Now alien romance hasn’t quite made it to the desks of film execs. At least not without the sci-fi premise being placed in the forefront.
The biggest example of alien romance on the big screen is— hear me out— Avatar. Don’t boo me, I’m right! While the romantic elements are closer to the back burner, they still heavily impact the outcome of the film and the main character’s decision in the end! Another acceptable answer to this prompt would be Jupiter Ascending.
I wholeheartedly believe that alien romance will continue to gain popularity. I mean the success of Ruby Dixon’s Ice Planet Barbarians was reignited by just a few BookTokers over the summer of 2020! Anything is possible, and I think that aliens will be taking over in the coming years.
Be sure to check out our article on another subgenera you didn’t know you needed here!