I am a huge fan of alien romance novels, which probably won’t come as a surprise to anyone. One of my favorite tropes is the “Mars needs women” trope. I’ve read the scenario many times. Alien males need females to breed with because something happened to theirs, so they discover that human women are compatible breeders and start abducting them from Earth. Many of these stories also involve a fated mate, which means that the human female is “meant” for that alien male. These stories are a lot of fun, and I gobble them up as a guilty pleasure with less reserve than chocolate. However, at times, they started to bug me and for a long time, I couldn’t pinpoint why.
Then I had a discussion with someone about my most recent book, Lilith’s Fall, and the upcoming sequel which is tentatively titled Balfor’s Salvation. This conversation was enlightening to me, because my reader had an expectation that Lilith would be pregnant in the next book and that there would be a cute little umbrose-human hybrid in the future. I’m not going to put any spoilers into this blog, so I won’t confirm or deny that expectation, but it got me thinking about my own reading experiences and expectations, and that’s when I figured out what’s been bugging me.
I have yet to read a scenario where a heroine is infertile in any “Mars needs women” trope, especially one where they are fated mates. If anyone knows of a novel that deals with this, please let me know in the comments. In fact, I’ve yet to read any alien romance novel where the woman is infertile and remains that way. I did read one where the infertility was cured by technology. I appreciated the addition of the infertility and only wish that there had been a technology advanced enough to cure my problem.
Now, I don’t expect any author to change the stories they want to write just to satisfy me. They write the stories that come to them and that’s the way it should be, but I would love to find a couple of books in my favorite sub-genre that dealt with the complex issues raised by infertility, especially when the heroes are looking for off-spring to increase their population. I imagine a scenario where the hero has expectations of having a big family with lots of children and then discovers that his fated mate is infertile and it cannot be cured even with the technology he has access to.
Having struggled with infertility myself, I know that the emotional fallout of this is severe. Expectations are not the only things that are crushed. I was blessed in the end by a miraculous surprise pregnancy that literally defied the odds to give me a beautiful child, but the journey to that point was brutal, heartbreaking, and a huge strain on my relationship with my spouse.
My husband and I had reached the point where we finally realized that it was okay to just be the two of us. Yes, we wanted children, and we were certainly considering adoption despite the disheartening stories of years-long wait-lists and birth parents changing their minds. But ultimately, we had each other. It turned out that that was enough for us. We’d given up on trying. We’d given up on in vitro. We’d given up on the expectations, not only from others, but also the deeply rooted expectations in ourselves, that our relationship had to culminate in creating a new life. Ultimately, we realized that not every love story has to finish out with a baby in your arms.
That’s not to say there won’t be babies in my books (but I’m also not saying there will 😉 ). I still like the idea of two people in love creating a new life. I like the idea of cute alien hybrid babies. I don’t resent books that portray fertile women as the only ones getting abducted and romanced. I will continue to gobble them up as fast as they are released. I would like to see more books that feature an infertile heroine, but I understand that it’s not an easy subject to write, especially if you’re not familiar with the struggles and challenges that arise from that.
What do you think? Would you read an alien abduction romance where the heroine turns out to be infertile? Would you like to see romances that deal with other kinds of struggles that aren’t often represented? Have you read any science fiction romances (or alternate world romances) where the heroine is infertile? Let me know in the comments if you have any suggestions. I’m always looking for a good book to read, and I always love hearing from my readers.