LUST IN SPACE: Meshing Smut with Time-Honored Literary Tradition
When I first decided to write a “Star-Trek”-inspired erotic romance, I knew I had my work cut out for me. Good pulp sci-fi is not easy to write; good erotic pulp sci-fi is even a greater challenge. One poorly crafted sentence, and a work can go from phenomenal to campy, with little to no chance at future redemption. Moreover, as with any literary genre, careful attention must be paid to structure, elements, and tools used with which to present the story. Just like with romance and erotic fiction, pulp sci-fi carries with it necessary elements and time-honored traditions. For me, crafting a story using a mesh of such traditions was as much a pleasure as it was a challenge. For those who are not familiar with pulp sci-fi literary traditions, I would like to share a couple of them with you, and how they make my novel, LUST IN SPACE, a fun and exciting read for sci-fi, romance, and erotic fans, alike:
A good deal of classic pulp sci-fi follows the structure of the Odyssey: one or two main protagonists, often combined with a small ensemble back-up cast, have no choice but to travel from one destination to the next, in search of the unknown, a bigger truth, or a personal goal. “Star-Trek” was fashioned after this model, the episodic nature of the television show allowing for the cast to complete a mini-quest by the end of each episode, while the larger quest, or “bigger picture,” continues throughout the series.
I endeavored to emulate the feel of a short series in LUST IN SPACE, the work originally written to be released as a seven-part serial. Readers will notice that the work takes place over the course of seven complete “episodes,” while the larger odyssey spans the length of the novel.
Classic Pulp Sci-Fi typically contains one or more pieces of social commentary, the writer using his or her work as a venue in which to express societal issues relevant to the time. Examples of social commentary in LUST IN SPACE are the Esirians, or “Unicorn People” and the Gatgars and Nova.
The Esirians are an endangered race, refugees scattered across the galaxy due to their own greed and unchecked emotion. The Esirians are my social commentary on conflicts between the United States and certain countries in the Middle East, the “catalyst crystals” representing oil.
The Gatgars and Nova are my commentary on racial conflicts that continue to exist in our world. Even though the Gatgars and Nova are the same race, they consider themselves completely different races simply because the Gatgars, who believe themselves to be superior, have skin that is a slightly darker shade of gray. The Gatgars and Nova are also my commentary on the younger generation’s dependence upon cell phones; note that this alien race has been dependent upon “texting” for so long, that they no longer possess vocal chords and rely on hand-held devices for all communication.
About LUST IN SPACE
Captain Nora Bradley has full intentions of keeping her relationship with former classmate, and now First Officer, Robert Smith, purely professional when she hires him. Things begin to change, however, after bodiless invaders seduce the crew in their dreams, the entire ship becomes infected with a space flu that leads to orgiastic frenzy, and encounters with new alien races challenge all they know about sexual identity and social ideals.
As the crew endures, Nora can’t help but profess her feelings for Robert . . . but can their love endure a mix-up with shape-shifters, the unexpected takeover of their ship, and intergalactic war?
The large room was desolate. The weight-lifting machines went unoccupied, the freeweights untouched. Treadmills and stair-climbers on the far end of the room were
strangely empty. A matted workout area was reflected by mirrors covering the entire far
wall. Nora and Robert were alone.
They stole a glimpse of their reflections as they kicked off their shoes and moved to
the mat. Nora’s healthy olive complexion was replaced by an ashen green, her posture
strained, and she moved slowly to the center of the mat. Robert looked much better than
she did, although his fatigue was still obvious.
“Go easy on me, sensei,” Nora said, stretching her achy back and legs. “At least until
I’ve warmed up. I feel like I might pass out and we haven’t even begun.”
“Maybe you should start with a basic workout?” Robert asked, suddenly looking
uncomfortable. “I really should get to the bridge.”
“Three rounds,” Nora said, “then you’re free to go.”
Robert nodded, visibly sweating.
The two bowed and fell into their fighting stances. Robert immediately backed up and
threw his arms into the air.
“Headgear and mouth guards?” he asked.
Nora shook her head, bending over for a moment to fend off a dizzy spell. “Light
contact, no head-shots.”
“Okay,” he said reluctantly.
They bowed again.
The two circled one another for several seconds, both guarding themselves well. Nora
finally threw a punch to Robert’s ribs, which he parried with a quick change of stance
and a practiced block. He converted the block to a grab and took Nora by the wrist. He
lightly jabbed her in throat with his free hand.
“When you punch,” he said, “make sure not to leave yourself open.”
Nora nodded as he backed off. They resumed their fighting stances and circled once
“How has the night shift been treating you?” Nora asked.
“I’ve gotten used to it,” Robert answered.
She rushed in to throw a roundhouse kick to his kidney and he jumped back.
“I’ve missed seeing you on the bridge,” she said.
“I’ve missed seeing you, too,” he replied, pivoting to avoid a punch to his floating rib.
“We’ve got a job to do, though.”
Nora nodded, her face flushing. She wanted to tell him she had been fantasizing about
him for the better part of the day; that she brought him here because her cunt tingled at
the thought of him.
“Are you okay?” he asked.
Nora held her hands up, backing off. “I’m fine. Just give me a second.” She bent over
and grabbed her knees. Another dizzy spell threatened to take her down.
Robert watched her in the mirror, forcing unpleasant images into his mind as he felt
the beginnings of an erection. He turned away from Nora and took a deep breath. “I really
should get to the bridge,” he said.
“Two more rounds,” she snapped.
He nodded, unable to shake his arousal. “You’re the boss.” He held his back to her,
wondering how he was going to explain away the obvious mass in his pants.
Nora forced herself upright, wiping away a layer of sweat from her face and slicking
back her damp hair. “Let’s do this.”
Robert reluctantly turned back to her, relieved when she pretended not to notice. They
both moved into their stances, their eyes locked as they circled. The sight of Roberts
hard-on made Nora wet. The room suddenly felt 10 degrees hotter.
“You know things would be different between us if I wasn’t your captain,” she said.
“I’ve wanted you ever since we were classmates at the academy. I should have said
something back then, but I was afraid you would reject me.”
“But we really should keep things professional now, given our positions,” he said.
She nodded. “Yes. We should keep things professional.”
Robert threw a punch and hit Nora in the solar plexus. She backed off, raised her
arms, and took a moment to catch her breath.
“One more round,” Robert said, turning to adjust himself. The tension between them
“One more round,” she repeated. Nora pulled her body upright, suddenly sweating
profusely. She swallowed hard. “Is it just me, or is it incredibly hot in here?”
“It feels pretty hot.” Robert took a deep breath. “It must be the virus.”
“We could keep things professional if I was to fight the last round in my underwear,
right?” she asked.
“What if someone walks in?”
“Lock the door,” she said.
Robert’s breath escaped him. “Of course.” He moved to the door and flipped the
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