Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. Love it or hate it, it’s a holiday all about love. This Valentine’s Day we thought we’d mark the occasion by sharing some of our favourite unlikely romances in SFF. What do we mean by unlikely romances? We mean romantic plots/relationships in books not known for their romances. Here are our Top Five #UnlikelyRomances in SFF.
The Cold Commands by Richard Morgan – Ringil is an aristocrat, he has it all. But he is also gay in a society that fears and hates homosexuality. And when his lover pays the ultimate price it is Ringil’s love and grief that fires his rejection of a world that would give him an easy life if only he didn’t follow his heart.
The Forever War by Joe Haldeman – A classic novel of interstellar war, SF’s most trenchant response to the horrors of Vietnam might seem an odd book to celebrate love. But at the core of Haldeman’s extraordinary book is a love affair that bridges the separations and rigours of an endless war, years of separation, the horrors of time dilation, centuries of technological and social change, and survives.
Black Opera by Mary Gentle – Black Opera tells the story of one very unusual love triangle. Unusual in that our hero, an opera conductor, and his wealthy patron both love the same woman, who happens to be dead. But dead in that odd ‘still here and walking around way’. She’s not exactly a zombie, but she sort of is. Throw in a volcano, a worldwide conspiracy, music (well, opera) with the power to cause miracles, lots of other undead and a race against time to stage an opera which might save the world, and you’ve got the most unlikely romantic comedy/drama you can imagine.
The Silent Land by Graham Joyce– The Silent Land is a brooding and tender look at love and whether it can survive the greatest challenge we will ever face. A young couple are caught in an avalanche during a skiing holiday in the French Alps. They struggle back to the village and find it deserted. As the days go by they wait for rescue, then try to leave. But each time they find themselves back in the village. And, increasingly, they are plagued by visions and dreams and the realization that perhaps no-one could have survived the avalanche.
Horns by Joe Hill – Horns is part horror novel, part coming of age, part murder mystery/thriller and an unlikely but stunningly beautiful love story. Ignatius Perrish and Merrin Williams had a love founded on shared daydreams, mutual daring, and unlikely midsummer magic. But then beautiful, vivacious Merrin is found – raped and murdered, under inexplicable circumstances – with Ig the only suspect. He was never tried for the crime, but in the court of public opinion, Ig was and always would be guilty. Did Ig kill the woman he loved or didn’t he?
Did your favourite unlikely romance make our list? If not, tell us your favourite unlikely romance in the comments below or tweet us @Gollancz.