There is a school of thought that recommends visualizing what you want in order to achieve it, and I'm going to visualize the book I'd love to read – a science fiction romance like the Universe has not yet seen. Maybe I can will it into existence if I describe it?


The best sort of romance for me is a really *really* speculative romantic story, where not only the participants are something not possible here-and-now, but the concept of love gets some prodding. What exactly does love mean, if lovers are bodiless entities in cyberspace, able to copy and modify themselves as they will? Could you love a truly alien alien, not one of those four-limbed humanoids with corresponding pleasure parts – and why would you? How would someone explain to themself what they are feeling if in their society there is no word for love nor a concept of romantic attraction?

Emotionally my dream story would be intensely heart-wrenching and sad. It would have a bittersweet happy-sad ending, the sort there often is in Asian movies – lovers die or are separated forever, but they maintain the bond of their love until death and beyond. (Wait a second please, I need to dry my tears here.) It has to be a bit obsessive and over-the-top, not the least bit sensible and not something you could use as a real-life relationship manual. I want to live in balanced, mutually satisfactory, happy relationship, but while laying on the sofa with my love and a cup of tea, I want to read about destructive and borderline crazy love stories – much as I want to travel comfortably in a bus following traffic rules going where it is supposed to go, but want to read about an exploding spaceship plunging into a raging black hole formed by two violently colliding galaxies.

That being said, it would still have to be ultimately life-affirming and not nihilistic, in the end it has all been worth it despite all the suffering, soul-tearing heart-breaks and happiness being only something fleeting and fragile.

The science fictional element would be strong, not just some random spaceships and ray guns sprinkled around to spice a society similar to which we live in (or think we used to live in). There would be enough thought-out and well-fleshed ideas to entertain a reader not particularly fascinated by the romance plot. Especially I'm looking forward to reading about how human or – just to be on the safe side – sentient relationships are formed and maintained in a society which has a different level of technology from ours. It just feels extremely unlikely and hard to maintain suspense of disbelief, if there are ftl and immortality technology and AI and gigantic space robots and yet this level of technology has not made any impact on relatioships between people. 

And finally... in my dream story, textile & clothing technology is congruent with the general technology level. For personal reasons, these things really stick out and annoy me. It is totally fine just to ignore what exactly people are wearing, but I will not accept that for example people living in a technologically advanced space culture would wear cotton clothes. Where would they get their cotton? Would they grow it in tanks and then go to the whole hassle of carding and spinning? If it was wholly synthesized, why not make it something else than cotton, which has many good qualities but is hardly the ideal fiber. Just ruins the world building! It's also irritating when writer name-drop textile materials they don't know anything about (woven neoprene, in a cyberpunk story I recently read). A minor thing to most, I'm sure, but it bothers me and in my dream story such annoyances don't exist!