Space Cowboy Romance: Love Is Bright Deep in the Heart of Space

This next Crazy Book Genre is among the stars… literally! Come read about the fantastic Space Cowboy Romance!

Graphic Novels Just For Fun Pop Culture Recommendations Romance Science Fiction
A collage of colorful pictures of space and space cowboy romance books

This next crazy book genre in our saga spins a new kind of cowboy tale. If you love cowboys and space, this genre is one for you! It opens up a new galaxy of love and adventures.

History of Space Cowboys

Firstly, this genre is under the umbrella of the Science Fiction and Western genres. It is commonly known as a Space Western, but Space Cowboy is another name for it. Writers began to write both westerns and science fiction in early pulp magazines. These writers noticed similarities between the two genres.

Additionally, Western tropes influenced Science Fiction magazine cover art. The first novel of this genre was published in 1912. Edgar Rice Burroughs’s A Princess of Mars was a hit with the general public. It even became a Disney adaptation called John Carter. This story features Science Fiction elements mixed with Western tropes. However, this genre became more popular in the 1930s when the Weird Tales pulp magazine published C.L. Moore’s hero, Northwest Smith.

A white book cover with part of a sword in the middle of it. The title a princess of mars by edgar rice burroughs is on top of the sword

Space Cowboys? Who Are They?

The Space Cowboy genre has Western elements and is in space or a Sci-Fi setting. A subtle influence of this genre includes exploration and lawless frontiers. These themes can be literal cowboys in space or more subtle, like a space opera. The idea is that everyone is so far apart that people become independent. For those of you who have seen the anime Cowboy Bebop or Star Wars: The Mandalorian, these shows are in this genre!

Common themes of this genre include new frontiers and trying to ‘control’ the galaxy. These themes also show stories about hardship and the adventure of unexplored space. However, sometimes the genre blends with space opera or military science fiction. When the genre focuses on these themes, the background becomes an interstellar war or the oppression from an empire.

Tropes and Elements of Cowboy Westerns include:

  • The Sheriff (a character with a position within the law)
  • The Gunslinger (a character who is quick to draw a gun and shoot it)
  • The Bar (one of the locations people are introduced)
  • The Frontier Town (a station near a strategic pass)
  • Bounty Hunting
  • Rescue Missions

Some Space Cowboy Recommendations to Get You Started!

Hellcat’s Bounty by Renae Jones

Hellcat’s Bounty is a novella, so it’s a quick read to ease into the genre.

A book cover with a red ground and a cloudy sky with rocky planets. A woman is standing in the foreground and the title hellcats bounty by renae jones is on the bottom

Anelace Rios is a troublemaker, fiercely independent, and fantastic with a flamethrower. She takes bounties from the Rosewood station black market and works as hard as she plays. But Anelace’s partner in crime, Meidani Sintlere, is quite the opposite of her. Meidani is a quiet, shy, black-market doctor who works hard to heal others. These two opposites team up to take down a carnivorous amoeba that plagues half of the mining port. But as they work together, Meidani changes everything Anelace knows about love.

Earthrise by M.C.A. Hogarth

The Her Instruments series has four action-packed novels that end happily ever after.

A black book cover with a woman in red on the right and a person in white with a blue glow surrounding them on the left. The title her intstuments: book one earthrise by m.c.a. hogarth is on the bottom of the cover

The TMS Earthrise is home to a resourceful and productive Captain Reese Eddings. Reese has enough on her plate without the risky jobs she pulls. But when a mysterious benefactor from her past comes back, she wants to run for the hills. The benefactor wants Reese and her crew to rescue a man kidnapped by pirates. Reese, owing this benefactor a favor, agrees and takes her group on a rescue mission. But she does not remember how saving an elf prince was a part of the deal.

Bluebird by Ciel Pierlot

The third novel is full of world-building and action-packed scenes.

A dark blue book cover with shiny blue feathers covering it. The title bluebird by ciel pierlot is in the middle

Rig is a gunslinging rebel without a cause. That is until her former faction threatens to kill her twin sister if Rig does not return what she stole from them. Rig immediately goes across the galaxy to save her sister, but she is not without help. Rig’s crew contains her taser-wielding librarian girlfriend and a mysterious bounty hunter. But if they cannot find what Rig stole, everyone will die.

Chilling Effect by Valerie Valdes

This is a space opera that features a galaxy of adventure and wit.

A colorful book cover with a woman in a space suit reaching for a small box and there are cats with space helmets on next to her. The title chilling effect by valerie valdes is on the bottom of the cover

Captain Eva Innocente owns La Sirena Negra. A ship that cruises through space: delivering cargo for small profits. But when her sister Mari gets kidnapped by The Fridge. A syndicate that holds hostages in a cryostasis. Eva must undergo dangerous missions to pay the ransom. But settling the bargain is easier said than done. Eva risks everything to free her sister, but as her life crumbles, she realizes the threat is more than she could have imagined.

Daisy Kutter: The Last Train by Kazu Kibushi

This final rec is different from the others here. This graphic novel has an exciting blend of Western and Science Fiction.

A black book cover with a strip of a pale yellow scene on the right and on the left is the title daisy kutter: the last train by kazu kibushi. In the scene is a woman in a hat and trench coat with a gun and people are standing behind her.

Daisy Kutter used to be a bandit with her partner (and possibly something more) Tom. But those days are over. Daisy is getting accustomed to being a general store owner, and Tom is a sheriff. However, Daisy is having problems with the change, and in an attempt to regain some thrill, she loses her store in a poker game. The man she lost the store to, Mr. Winters, has a proposition. He challenges Daisy and Tom to try to rob his train in a test against his new security robots. But everything is not as it seems, and Daisy and Tom are in for the fight of their lives.

Space cowboy romances are hard to find. But once a book like this is created, there is a new world with different rules. This subgenre weaves diverse tales that bring a new kind of love into the world.

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