Pros and cons of #ScifiRom characters: #alien, #clone, #cyborg, #AI

If you’re writing futuristic sci-fi romance you have several “species” options for your characters: human, cyborg, alien, clone, and android/artificial intelligence (AI).

From what I’ve read, artificial intelligence and/or androids are rarely used as main characters only because no matter how smart or “personable” they seem to be, they are still machines and nobody wants to fall in love with a machine. But as secondary characters, they work well. Veronica Scott’s Maeve, the ship’s AI unit in her Sector’s series is a great character. You never see her, but she makes her presence known.

People can pretend to be androids. In Mated with the Cyborg, cyborg Kai Andros goes undercover as an android on a terrorist’s space station—and falls in love with the terrorist’s daughter. In Jenna Ives’s Programmed to Please, one of my all-time favorite sci-fi romances, a woman goes undercover as a sexbot to bring down an arms dealer. She’s a woman trying to act like robot trying to act like a woman. Well done!

Clone heroes and heroines are not that common in sci-fi romance. I think the limitation is the flexibility. Being that clones are a “carbon copy” of someone’s else’s DNA pretty much directs the story line. But if that’s the way you want to go, you can write some compelling sci-fi romance. Two that I enjoyed were Newborn by Ed Hoorneart and Made for Her by Jessica Subject. In the latter, a woman trains a fighter squadron of clones, only to have a clone of her dead husband show up as one of her rookies.

Cyborgs. I fell in love with cyborgs when I read Eve Langlais’s C791 and it inspired me to write my own, the Cy-Ops Sci-fi Romance series about secret agent cyborgs fighting to “save the girl and the galaxy one mission at a time.” Cyborgs, which are enhanced human beings are the ultimate alpha males. They have the brawn and the brains.

Humans in sci-fi can be “ordinary” or they can have special abilities due to the advancement of sci-fi “pseudo science.” They can have implants that give them special capabilities; they can be genetically engineered or chemically altered.

Last but not least: aliens. These characters offer the greatest flexibility for an author, because they can be anything you want them to be. You have the greatest freedom with villains and secondary characters. The hero and heroine pretty much have to be humanoid to appeal to readers, but even then you can be creative and give them special characteristics, traits, and/or abilities. I have aliens in all my science fiction romances, even the cyborg ones. They’re pretty much the staples of the SFR genre.

Did I omit any other sci-fi characters?

What’s your favorite type of SFR character?

I’m Starr Elizabeth Conner. Earth’s government falsely convicted me of a crime, packed me on a ship with other female felons, and sent us to Dakon, a primitive, frozen wasteland of a planet. Why? Earth needs minerals, and Dakon is desperate for females.

But I’m no barbarian’s ‘mail order bride,’ even if he is super tall, muscular, and the chief of his tribe. He doesn’t want a BBW blonde, either–it’s written all over his chiseled face. He’ll be truly angry if he ever learns what my ‘crime’ was.

I am Torg. I have waited 34 rotations for a mate of my own. With this shipment, I was sure to get a fine, sturdy mate who’ll bear me many daughters. Instead, I receive a small, curvy, pale-haired female who looks at me with anger and fear.

It is only when we ‘kiss’ that I believe things may work out between us. But I’m hearing rumors that Starr and her shipmates are law-breakers. To survive, Dakonians must obey all laws … or be exiled into the frozen wasteland.  Just when I have found her, will I have to send my mate to die?

Don’t miss this sexy, suspenseful sci-fi romance–get your copy of Alien Mate today!

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8 Responses to Pros and cons of #ScifiRom characters: #alien, #clone, #cyborg, #AI

  1. I was reading your article and enjoying it when I stumbled across your mention of Newborn. Thanks, Cara!

  2. Renee Wildes says:

    Johanna Lindsay did a fun AI, Martha, in her “Warrior’s Woman” trilogy, and I love Angela Knight’s cyborgs!

  3. Oh, I love all sci-fi characters. Androids are much tougher to write as the hero or heroine, but I think it could be done if one considers Data from ST:TNG was an android. Those I’ve seen with the hero or heroine as an android are usually pleasure bots and more for arousal purposes than love.

    I love your cyborgs! But, I’ve never had any story ideas for them. I have many ideas for clones and even more for aliens. And after watching Warm Bodies and iZombie, I’m even starting to see the possibility of zombies as a hero or heroine.

    Thank you so much for the mention!

    • Cara Bristol says:

      I guess we’re just drawn to certain characters. I would find clones very challenging to write, but cyborgs are easy for me. Aliens are the easiest of all to write. I loved your premise of Made for Her.

      • Thank you, Cara! Yes, aliens are easy as they can be so many different things. For me, cyborgs would be tough to write about, so I’d rather leave them to the authors who write them well. Like you. 🙂

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