Science Fiction Fridays: Fifty shades of the fantastic

The hottest book right now, for better or for worse, is Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James. It’s not really surprising that book is so popular. The combination of intense interpersonal drama and steamy erotica makes it a perfect book for word-of-mouth recommendation.


However, we science fiction and fantasy fans want a little more fancy with our erotica! The drab Pacific Northwest setting just isn’t going to cut with us (I’m only kidding!). We want some richly shaded worl-building and sweeping stories with our steamy romances. With that in mind, here are a couple of speculative fiction reads that are chock full of the dark erotica of Fifty Shades of Grey, but with those genre elements we can’t live without.

Kushiel’s Dart  by Jacqueline Carey

A young girl sold by her parents to a house of pleasure quickly learns she is more than adept at the art of pleasure and pain. It’s an epic book that dips and swirls with sensuality with richly-detailed world building reminiscent of classics like Dune and Consider Phlebas. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if E.L. James wasn’t a big fan of the Kushiel series herself. This is the first in the series, so there are plenty more of these erotic favorites if you fall head-over-heels for the first


Fledgling by Octavia Butler

A novel that is ripe with uncomfortable erotica though with a depth of character most people will find surprising for this subgenre. The novel focuses on decades old vampire who is permanently immortalized in the body of a pre-pubescent girl. As the story unfolds, Butler deft use of sexuality and race issues will make you quickly dismissing any prejudices you may have about reading a “vampire book”.  

Time Enough for Love by Robert A. Heinlein

Leave it to Heinlein to write the definitive science fiction book that desecrates some of the most sacred taboos of Western civilization with wild abandon, while also managing to tell an incredible story. It’s a thought-provoking and wild ride through religion, tie, society and the very limits of sexual freedom. Love it or hate it, no other book comes close to matching the joyous glee of exploding our most sacred cows.

What great titles would you suggest?