#SciFiMonth you should see me in a crown (a.k.a. why I love royalty in sci-fi)

ARTWORK by Tithi Luadthong from 123RF.com

Sci-Fi Month is a month-long celebration of science fiction hosted by imyril @ There’s Always Room for One More and Lisa @ Dear Geek Place. Get involved here!

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll know that I describe myself as much more of a fantasy girl than a sci-fi girl. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy sci-fi—Mira Grant’s Feed and Becky Chambers’ The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet are both sci-fi and they’re both two of my all-time favourite novels—but fantasy is definitely the genre I’m more comfortable in.

I attribute the majority of that love to the fact that I’m a big history nerd and a lover of historical fiction, so on the whole I tend to prefer stories that don’t involve modern day technology because, for me, there’s more escapism in a novel with cosy, candlelit taverns than a novel with space travel. One thing I am a little tired of in fantasy, however, is reading stories about royalty.

That’s not to say that I dislike these stories, because that’s just not true. Any trope, however overdone, is good when it’s done well and my all-time favourite novel, The Goblin Emperor, is all about a royal. Much like with my historical fiction, though, I love to follow the members of society who are often overlooked in fantasy; given the choice, I’d much rather follow a con artist or a soldier than a king or queen. Especially in those fantasy tales with European-inspired (and particularly British-inspired) settings.

And yet I love, and am often drawn to, stories about royalty in science fiction. So what’s that about?

Well, being more of a fantasy fan than a sci-fi fan, I’m still learning the kinds of sci-fi I enjoy. I love what I call quiet sci-fi—novels like Becky Chambers’ which read like slice of life stories in space—but I also love a good zombie story and, of course, a good old-fashioned story of rebellion. (Although I’m weak for stories of rebellion and resistance in fantasy, too.) Therefore, I think sci-fi starring royals works as the perfect buffer for me as I step out of my fantasy safe space and dip my toes into the genre.

Royalty in fantasy is so common, and therefore so familiar, that coming across a royal in a science fiction novel immediately makes me feel a little more at home—especially if it’s the kind of high tech, military-focused sci-fi I might feel intimidated by. I know plenty of sci-fi fans might grind their teeth at that because plenty of them don’t want to hear ‘this story you love is basically fantasy in space’, and I can totally understand that, but when you’re interested in exploring more of a genre and have no clue where to start, the familiar is always welcome.

My fantasy education means I know where I stand when I come across a royal in a sci-fi novel, and that means I can focus on what else is around them to really get a sense of the kind of sci-fi I love.

What are your thoughts on royalty in sci-fi?

17 thoughts on “#SciFiMonth you should see me in a crown (a.k.a. why I love royalty in sci-fi)

  1. Louise @ Monstrumology says:

    I’ve never really thought about royalty in sci-fi before because I don’t think it’s something that’s seen very often, since a lot of sci-fi I’ve read and watched tend to have societies based on democracy, but it is always interesting to see royals in a sci-fi setting. And I don’t mind sci-fi and fantasy being blended together because it makes it more interesting sometimes! Mr Spock would be pretty boring to me if he wasn’t able to mind-meld with other people, in my opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mareli Thalwitzer says:

    I can’t really take part in the conversation as I don’t actually read sci-fi and thus have nothing to reverence to… I just love reading your posts and see how cleverly you’ve drafted them!

    I am also way more of a history nerd and tend to revert back to it at every chance I get.

    Your post is lovely and I do like your argument! I see the blurbs of quite a number of sci-fi books and you are right, it is always king this or queen that or this one didn’t know he/she was a princess and so forth.
    Elza Reads

    Liked by 1 person

  3. acquadimore says:

    Great post! I also prefer stories about royals in sci-fi – I’ve been kind of tired of royal PoVs in fantasy for a while now. There might be the “we’re in the future and we still have a monarchy. sad” feeling in certain cases, but sci-fi has the potential of being so out there with the aesthetic and the potential of this is far less explored than in fantasy, so…
    Also I’m a sci-fi fan who loves when a story is described as “basically fantasy in space” (even though it’s mostly used negatively as a description, that’s true and boring of us) because that’s the sci-fi I’m most likely to be interested in. Genre-bending is where the fun is!

    Liked by 1 person

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