Despite what you may think you know about the genre, there are actually plenty of science fiction novels for readers who love romance. Although the two genres couldn't seem farther apart, love is the universal theme that brings us all — including sci-fi and romance — together.
No matter how much you love reading as a whole, it's easy to get sucked into one genre and never want to leave. When you find a story you truly enjoy, you want to read more like it, and that often means visiting the same stacks in the library or shopping in the same section of the bookstore every time. But despite this almost instinctual reading habit, it is possible to find narratives you like across genres, especially when your favor love stories over anything else.
Love is a universal theme that shows up in every kind of book, not just romance. From nail-biting thrillers to tantalizing fantasies and everything in between, in each genre you can find a novel takes a swing at second-chance romance, love at first sight, star-crossed lovers, and happily ever afters. Although it is better known for detailed world building, futuristic science and technology, space and time travel, and alien encounters, the science fiction genre is filled with stories of love, heartbreak, and happily ever afters.
If you're looking for a new kind of love story in a genre you've been too afraid to try, check out these 11 science fiction novels for fans of romance. Trust me when I say, these starry stories will make you swoon.
'Dark Matter' by Blake Crouch
Jason Dessen is happy with his life. He has a beautiful wife he is head-over-heels in love with, a teenage son he gets along with, and a career he enjoys, despite that fact it has brought him less prestige than he had once hoped. But when, one dark and rainy night, a stranger abducts Jason and knocks him unconscious, he wakes up in another world to find a reality in which he never got married or had a child, but rather dedicated his life to his research on inter-dimensional travel. How can Jason tell which world is real and which is a dream, and how can he get back to the life he shared with his beloved wife and son? Fun and exciting, Dark Matter is a thrilling adventure and epic romance that spans time, space, and dimensions in order to preserve the most important thing in the universe: love.
'Amatka' by Karin Tidbeck
When Vanja, an information assistant from Essre, is sent to Amatka to collect data for the government, the last thing she expects to find love. The people on this new planet act strange, each one carefully watched for signs of potential unrest or revolt, but her roommate, Nina, nonetheless steals her heart. When Vanja decides to extend her stay on Amatka to spend more time with Nina, she begins to suspect there is something going happening on the wintery planet, something evil, and she undertakes an investigation of her own to protect not only the one she loves, but the very idea of freedom and expression. A deeply imaginative story about political corruption, government conspiracy, artistic creativity, and, of course, love, Amatka is an engaging romp through speculative sci-fi romance fans won't want to miss.
'Secondborn' by Amy A. Bartol
Like most secondborns in the Fates Republic, Roselle St. Sismode isn't excited about her eighteenth birthday, because it can only mean one thing: death. When Transition Day arrives, she knows will be sent off to serve the government and become a soldier for the Fate of Swords and forced to fight against the rebellion in one of the deadliest battles in the Republic's history. But when she decides to spare the life of an enemy, Roselle becomes hated for more than just her status as a secondborn: she becomes despised as a traitor. With her life in jeopardy, Roselle finds an unexpected ally in HAwthorne Trugrace, another secondborn, who helps her see there is more to life than servitude and pre-determined fate. Exciting, intriguing, and romantic, Secondborn will make sci-fi and romance fans swoon.
'The Mad Scientist's Daughter' by Cassandra Rose Clarke
Finn may look and act like a human, but underneath his flesh-like exterior, he is all wires and machine. Expertly programmed and tasked with tutoring Cat, his young human charge, Finn watches over the years as she grows into a beautiful, intelligent young woman. As their relationship grows deeper and becomes more than just guardianship, the government grants rights to the sentient robot population, and Finn in forced to question everything he thought he knew about the world around him and the life he was meant to lead. A beautiful story about love and what it means to be human, The Mad Scientist's Daughter will tug at every reader's heartstrings, whether their wires or not.
'The Stars Are Legion' by Kameron Hurley
Across the universe, massive world-ships carrying entire colonies are fighting for survival. Among them is Kratazyrna, the most infamous raiding force of the Outer Rim and one of the most powerful. When the ship's leader, Anat, decides to end the constant warring and instead establish peace among the fighting ships, she offers her daughter Jayd's hand in marriage to their greatest enemy. Jayd, who has always wanted to lead her mother's armies, has no choice but to be leverage in this grand plan — that is, unless her sister Zan and her ragtag team of warriors can rescue her. A tantalizing space opera starring an all-female cast about war, politics, betrayal, survival, and the bonds of love and family, The Stars Are Legion is an action-packed story romance readers will love.
'Crosstalk' by Connie Willis
When Briddey's almost-fiance Trent suggests the couple undergo a new and popular procedure meant to increase empathy between romantic partners before they get engaged, she couldn't be happier with the idea. That is, until she actually goes through with it and finds herself connected not to Trent, but to to someone else entirely new. Briddey quickly becomes overloaded with emotion and constant communication, and to top it all off, her family expects her to be in contact at all times. As Briddey struggles to balance all of her new information, she begins to understand that love, empathy, and communication aren't as easy as technology makes it seem. A fun, light-hearted read set in the not-so-distant, eerily-relatable future, Crosstalk will delight romance fans looking for a new kind of love story.
'Farryn's War' by Christie Meierz
Bitter and angry in his exile, former ruler and current assassin Farryn is never not plotting his revenge, even as he amasses a powerful criminal empire. That is, until his former wife Sharana shows up in the human colony world of Far India with security forces on her tail and threatens everything he has built and everything he has planned. When forced to choose between vengeance and love, hatred and hope, what will Farryn decide? Romance readers will have to dive into this action-packed, intergalactic love story to find out.
'Gabriel's Ghost' by Linnea Sinclair
Once a celebrated captain of the Sixth Fleet, Chasidah "Chaz" Bergren is just another accused criminal on the remote prison planet she was sent to after being wrongly prosecuted for a crime she didn't actually commit. But it isn't until she arrives in prison that Chaz finds herself in real trouble when, after she kills a guard in self-defense, a ghost from her past comes crashing back into her life. Gabriel is supposed to be dead, but instead, he is standing in front of Chaz begging for her help to stop the evil forces in the Empire who have made it their work to bring jukors, violent killing machines, back to life. Can these two put aside their past and work to save the universe, or will their undeniable passion put their mission in jeopardy? Sexy and action-packed, Gabriel's Ghost is the first in a series that will make romance fans swoon over sci-fi.
'The Summer Prince' by Alaya Dawn Johnson
In the futuristic, post-apocalyptic Brazilian city of Palmares Tres, June Costa uses creativity and technology to create art projects unlike anything in the world. But when Enki, the new sexy Summer King of the great pyramid city that elects a male leader to rule for only one year once every five years, arrives, June's work takes on a whole new meaning. Connected through their passion for art and technology, the pair's unforgettable collaborative projects begin to fan the flames of an already growing rebellion against a restrictive government, as well as the flames of their own hearts. Will their deep love survive the season or like Enki, is it destined to die when summer ends? Bold and evocative, this stunning young adult sci-fi love story will hook romance readers on a new genre.
'Ready Player One' by Ernest Cline
In the real world, Wade Watts leads a sad and lonely life. He is poor, out of shape, alone, and living in squalor and sadness. But in OASIS, the virtual reality he spends most of his waking hours logged onto, Wade has it all: a full life filled with fun, friends, and, when he unlocks a hidden puzzle created by OASIS creator James Halliday, fame. Once the first puzzle is unlocked, the whole world is tuned in as thousands of online competitors try desperately to be the first one to find and solve the puzzles that will lead them to unimaginable power and wealth. As Wade struggles to keep the lead and resist the threats of powerful people who would do anything to get their hands on Halliday's prize, he meets Art3mis, a beautiful avatar on-screen who just may have stolen his heart off-screen. A futuristic and imaginative read filled with fun pop-culture references, Ready Player One will make even non-gamers believe in love online.
'Warcross' by Marie Lu
Like the millions of other players, Emika Chen doesn't just play Warcross, she has made it her life. Broke and struggling to survive, Emika uses her impressive hacking skills to help her track down illegal activity online and cash in on the bounties. But when she takes her hacking a little too far, she finds herself smack dab in the middle of the international Warcross Championships where she immediately garners the attention of the world, including the game's creator, Hideo Tanaka. Instead of punishing Emika hacking, however, Hideo enlists her to help him investigate security problems throughout the tournament, problems that are much bigger and darker than either of them expected. An exhilarating techno-thriller full of heart, Warcross is the kind of exciting romance that will make sci-fi haters believe in the genre.