I’m on Michelle’s blog today to give my thoughts on science fiction.
I love science fiction. It’s my favorite genre with the possible exception of fantasy. I love them both.
I read my first fantasy novel when I was thirteen. It was A Princess of Mars, by Edgar Rice Burroughs. My father, an avid sci-fi reader, had purchased the first several books of the series in hard cover, illustrated by Frank Frazetta. I was fascinated by the cover, which depicted a very muscled, scantily clothed man (imagine that!) and a well-endowed, even more scantily clothed female on an alien world, complete with vanquished aliens. Once I started reading, I was hooked. ERB wrote fast paced stories set in unbelievable worlds with stunning heroes. And they were full of hokey romance as well—I was in heaven.
I devoured as many of ERBs books as I could talk my parents into buying for me, including the first sixteen or so (LOL!) in the Tarzan series. For Christmas that year, my dad bought me a boxed set of six early Heinlein novels, including Tunnel in the Sky, Time for the Stars, The Door Into Summer, and Have Spacesuit, Will Travel. They ushered in my love affair with science fiction that continues to this day.
So it’s inevitable that, once I started writing, I would try my hand at science fiction and fantasy. Indeed, the first couple of novels I wrote, both yet unfinished and unpublished although not for lack of content (together they are 1400 pages or so), are fantasy novels. What is surprising is that the first story I published, the Rough Boys trilogy, is not fantasy or sci-fi. It’s a modern, urban coming of age novel. It also doesn’t suffer from lack of words though J.
Sci-fi rarely contains romance. I, personally, am not interested in reading detailed descriptions of weapons or propulsion systems that haven’t been invented yet. I also tend to skim when it comes to political intrigue and ideology—some is okay, but if it goes on for more than two pages I start to yawn. However, give me some steamy sexual tension mixed in with the aliens and exotic fauna and I can’t put the book down.
So when I started writing, and subsequently reading, M/M romance novels, I was delighted to discover a compelling selection sci-fi and fantasy stories were available in this genre. One of the first I read was MA Church’s The Harvest. OMG, Keyno is one of the sexiest aliens ever! I’m also waiting with bated breath for the next chapter of In Enemy Hands to come out (hint, hint!).
Some of my other favorite M/M sci-fi novels are, in no particular order: Hot Cargo, by Nicki Bennett and Ariel Tachna, A Solid Core of Alpha, by Amy Lane, Prisoner 374215, by Angel Martinez, A Blinded Mind, by Cari Z, and Zero Hour by Jordan Castillo Price.
I’m currently working on a dystopia novel, which is also a Christmas story, called Christmas in Zonei. It’s got the requisite evil, controlling government, a hot gene-modified shifter, and a gorgeous telepath (oops, I think I just gave away some info that hasn’t come out in the novel yet J). I’m posting the story chapter-by-chapter on my author website, http://authorjvaughn.com as well as on http://gayauthors.com and http://literotica.com.
So, rest assured, I’ll be reading and writing more sci-fi in the future. Sci-fi with aliens. Hot, hunky aliens. Yum!
What the heck. As long as I’m posting on Michelle’s site, might as well give something away. I’ll give a copy of The Valjevo Encounter, (which is paranormal rather than sci-fi but definitely not your typical vampire novel) to a randomly selected commenter.
Please put your email address in your comment so I can find you, or be sure to check back in a week when I post the winner.
This is the description of Christmas in Zonei, which is the dystopia story I’m currently writing.
In the bleak, harsh world of the future, daily existence is a struggle. When Kim finds a huge man freezing to death on the street, he takes him in and shares his meager fare with him. Raeden is the most stunning man Kim has ever seen, but he’s also rude, ungrateful, and suicidal. After Kim discovers that he is a gene-modified shifter, built by the government for killing, his survival becomes much more tenuous. But Raeden needs him desperately and soon Kim finds he needs Raeden too.
Publisher’s note: Contains scenes of graphic violence, off-page non-con, and male/male sex.
Excerpt from Christmas in Zonei
To set the scene for the following excerpt, Kim has found Raeden freezing to death on the streets and brought him into his home. But once he thaws out, they discover that Raeden’s hands and feet have been badly frostbitten, and he is no longer mobile. So he’s stuck at Kim’s apartment for a while…
“Why?” Raeden asked.
“Because you stink!” was Kim’s terse response.
“Get used to it.”
“No. You’re in my home. You will maintain a minimum standard and you’re way below it right now.”
“I didn’t ask to be here. You should have left me where you found me.”
“Yes, I should have,” Kim snapped, “but I didn’t. Besides, look at how filthy your hands and feet are. If those blisters pop, they’ll get infected.” By now Raeden’s blisters had gotten larger, and many of them were very dark, almost black. “You need to get clean if you don’t want to end up stuck here forever.”
Raeden growled something unintelligible, staring at his mutilated feet.
“Hand me your coat and hat and then see if you can crawl into the bathroom. I think you’ll feel a lot better once you’re clean.”
“Ain’t nothin’ gonna make me feel better.”
Kim stood at the foot of the futon and glared at him, hands on hips.
Raeden snatched the wool skullcap off his head and threw it at him, his anger apparent in the force of his throw. The soft cap smacked Kim harmlessly in the chest and he let the filthy hat fall to the floor. The big man’s greasy hair was plastered to his head where the cap had been. He started working on the top button of his wool jacket with his blistered, swollen fingertips, swearing under his breath.
“Here, let me.” Kim’s anger vanished as soon as he saw Raeden struggling to do as he’d asked. He dropped to his knees next to the bed and leaned over Raeden. Brushing the big man’s injured hands away, his own nimble fingers made short work of the buttons. Raeden scowled at him, but leaned forward so Kim could help him slide the coat off.
The room was a comfortable temperature now, having been warmed by the three teakettle’s worth of water Kim had heated for the bath. The gauge on the PowMon sat at one-point-five percent. He would recharge it while Raeden was soaking in the tub.
As he lifted the filthy coat away from Raeden, he realized there was a distinct vomit smell wafting off of it. Ugh! He tossed it onto the floor next to the skullcap. He would do laundry now too.
Raeden lurched to his hands and knees on the futon, resting his weight on the heels of his hands, his injured fingers curled carefully away from the soft surface. With a determined look on his face, he began to crawl slowly off the futon, cursing as his fingertips grazed the edge.
Kim found he was holding his breath as he shadowed the big man on his slow progress to the bathroom. Daylight filtered through from the other side of the curtained partition and Kim shuddered as he got a look at Raeden’s blistered feet from the underside. The toes were almost unrecognizable as such and Kim wondered if the darkness he saw was the toes themselves or simply dirt. There was a long clear blister along the edge of one of his soles, and some smaller but still sizable blisters here and there on his feet.
Raeden’s pants were filthy, the seat caked in dried mud. Kim was suddenly aware of the huge muscles moving underneath the layer of soiled fabric and he quickly looked away.
Once in the bathroom, Raeden flipped over to a sitting position. “Fuckin’ ridiculous. I don’t need no bath,” he grumbled.
Kim ignored his comment, applying toothpaste to a spare toothbrush and handing it to the man.
“You don’t have a sonic toothbrush?” Raeden asked. When Kim shook his head, Raeden took the brush and brushed his teeth without objection, taking his time and seeming to do a thorough job. Kim wondered how long it had been since he’d brushed his teeth.
He knelt up to spit and rinse in the sink, his giant stature making him almost as tall on his knees as Kim was standing.
When he finished, Kim took the opportunity to unbutton Raeden’s shirt for him. The act seemed intimate. It was different from when he helped his mother during her final days, more like something you would do with a lover. Kim found himself keeping his eyes averted lest Raeden catch him ogling.
When he stepped behind Raeden to help him slip the shirt off, his breath caught in his throat. Raeden was wearing a skintight tank under his shirt, which did nothing to hide his massive shoulders and back. He was ripped. Kim had never seen such perfection and hadn’t expected it, given the vagrant’s deplorable condition.
Then he gasped in surprise and a tremor of fear ran through him. Raeden’s skin had a pattern on it, like scales. When he looked closely he saw it wasn’t something that had been inked into his skin—it was part of the skin itself. The faint, intricate lines covered his shoulders and the base of his neck, disappearing up into his hairline.
His skin started to crawl as the realization hit him. He gasped out, “You’re a mod!”
“No shit!” Raeden’s response was irritated. “You didn’t figure that out by my size? No normal people are this big.”
Kim found that he had involuntarily taken a few steps back, but there was nowhere to go in the small bathroom. His heart was slamming against his ribs. “I … I’ve never seen a mod before,” he stammered, trying to get his terror under control. Mods were extremely dangerous … unpredictable.
Raeden smirked at him.
“I thought … I thought…”
“You thought mods were a myth?” Raeden quirked an eyebrow at him in amusement and somehow that eased his fear a notch. He stared at the scale pattern, which seemed to cover every inch of Raeden’s exposed skin except his face.
“What can you do?” The question slipped out of his mouth unbidden.
“Nothin’ anymore,” Raeden growled.
Kim’s curiosity got the better of his fear. “But what kind of mod are you?” he pressed.
“Nothin’ anymore,” Raeden repeated. His voice had an edge to it and Kim decided he shouldn’t push for an answer. He wondered briefly if Raeden could read minds—he’d heard that some of them could—but he dismissed that thought. The giant didn’t seem like that kind of mod.
Jay Vaughn lives in sunny Seattle, a clean, progressive city that is way too expensive for a writer’s income. Therefore, Jay holds down a full-time, computer-industry day job, but writing is her passion. It’s a hobby-gone-wild, so much so that her teenage kids accuse her of being an addict.
Jay carries her laptop everywhere and can often be seen combining other favorite activities with writing. For example, you can find Jay sitting at a small table in the back of the gay bar around the corner from her house, drinking wine and writing. Or waking up early while camping, dragging out the laptop, and writing. Or writing in the truck on the way to and from concerts, ski-trips, visits to relatives ... wherever.
Jay’s favorite genres are sci-fi, fantasy, and M/M erotic romance. She discovered M/M quite by accident when she was writing a traditional fantasy novel, and one of her characters ended up in an all-male prison for a bit too long. Whoops!
Find out what Jay is working on next at http://www.authorjvaughn.com or drop her a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. She’d love to hear from you.
My most recent published novel, The Valjevo Encounter, is available from these fine retailers:
Divergent Publishing: http://www.divergentpublishing.com/?product=the-valjevo-encounter