Okay, so I didn't come up with this concept. I was listening to Michael Cooper talking about Facebook ads and he mentioned that Anne McCaffrey wrote Sci-Fi Romance before it was even a thing. And a light bulb went off in my head because, gosh darn it, he is right. So here is my list of my reasons why I think Anne McCaffrey was actually a romance writer.
1. She uses a romance HEA structure.
So romance has a basic story telling structure. Guy meets girl. They are thrown together for some time until they fall in love. Some thing comes along to disrupt this but this is overcome and they end up Happily Ever After. It is a tale as old as time. Anne uses this structure as well in some of her stories. Like Restoree. Girl stranded on another planet. Helps rescue this guy. The whole planet gets attacked by aliens and he has to run off to be the hero while she worries she is going to get killed because she is a restoree. Guy returns fixes all the problems and they live Happily Ever After. Here is a list of her books that I know for sure have this structure.
The Crystal singer
To ride Pegasus
Pegasus in Flight
Tower and the Hive
Pegasus in Space
The city who fought
And this list doesn't even contain the Pern series. Mostly because I can't remember which ones had love interests in them.
2. She was ahead of her time.
Sci-Fi romance at the time Anne was writing was lets just say cringe worthy as the women were weak and abused by the men who they were supposedly in love with. Anne on the other hand because she was writing pure Sci-Fi as far as she was concerned didn't bother with what the norm was. Instead she wrote real relationships with people who were flawed by decent. Anne even has her heroines break up with men and find others who are a better fit. The power is all with the women and I love it. Especially as any other sci-fi book from this era with relationships in it made me want to throw up.
One of the most unbelievable and annoying things about some romances which Anne avoids is that she gives her characters time to fall in love. Even when the dragons on Pern mess up things she doesn't have the characters all just lovey dovey to each other. Instead there are sparks and arguments until they come to an understanding but all of this is done over time. Because in reality people don't fall in love at first sight, they fall in lust.
4. Gender balance
When I first picked up Sci-fi I put most of it back until I found Anne McCaffrey. I was really young. I think I wasn't even a teenager yet. But when I read her books there was a part of me that said, 'Yes, this looks real' and that says a lot when you have time travelling dragons in a sci-fi. As I got older it was because of the fact there were women. Shock horror, women in space. Most sci-fi are male dominated, even today. But to read a book with strong women who could hold positions of power and acceptance it made me want this world to be real. Sadly because I could see that wasn't what we had in the real world.
Any Romance writer would be proud to add Anne McCaffrey to the list of romance writers. I don't know if she did this on purpose or if she just wrote stories about real people and they just happened to fall in love sometimes. But I welcome a world where space has strong women who aren't shamed when they fall in love.