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Romance/Erotica

8 Out-of-this-World Romances in Space

R. Nassor

Senior Contributor

R. Nassor may spend more time with books, tea, and ceramic mugs than recommended by professionals but it hasn’t failed her so far. Nassor has a MA in English Literature from Georgetown University, where she looked at the way medieval and early modern literature reappear in fantasy books today. She’s been writing about romance, fantasy, science fiction, and pop culture for quite a while, starting at Book Riot in 2020. She’s also written for Tor.com. You can follow her on Tiktok and contact her through her website.

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Romances in space are just out of this world. Love in the dangerous, endless expanse of space isn’t easy. Traveling far distances in ships that you often cannot leave is challenging in the best of conditions. In space, the door is locked and you have to make it work. Interplanetary travel, adventure, and romance are not for the faint of heart. Good thing I have some entertaining books to pick up instead of making the trip yourself.

My favorite romances in space involve a level of mystery, political intrigue, and danger. There is just something about a romantic pairing in trouble that really sells me on their mutual respect, teamwork, and problem-solving skills. When you are in space and in trouble, sometimes love is part of the answer, and I think that’s fun.

I mostly pulled a list of romance novels in space with the exception of Malka Older’s The Mimicking of Known Successes which is notably a space mystery with a romance sub-plot. It’s a great read, but if you are looking for a more romance-forward book, there are other options on this list. So, without further fanfare, let’s hop onto a metaphorical ship and take a journey through the small but mighty collection of romances in space.

Blast off with these Romances in Space

Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell Book Cover

Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell

To avoid an interplanetary war, when the Thean ambassador, Jainan, becomes a widow, he quickly enters an arranged marriage with Prince Kiem. All Jainan knows is this prince is his husband’s cousin, and he doesn’t have much control over their new union. While Kiem and Jainan must navigate their new partnership, they face a series of suspiciously deadly accidents. Their tentative feelings might just develop into something too steady to destroy.

Content Warning: past domestic abuse

The Red Scholar’s Wake by Aliette de Bodard Book Cover

The Red Scholar’s Wake by Aliette de Bodard

When a scavenging bot and data specialist is captured by a pirate fleet, she unexpectedly enters an arranged marriage with the sentient ship leading the pirates. Xích Si thought she would be tortured by the Red Banner. Instead, their leader, Rice Fish, offers her a marriage proposal she cannot refuse. She would get Xích Si’s technical proficiency to investigate Rice Fish’s wife’s death in exchange for protection. As they work together, their emotionless business proposal morphs into a caring relationship that defies both their expectations. It is truly a sapphic romance in space anyone would love to come aboard for.

Content Warnings: torture, child abuse, enslavement, sexual assault

Aurora Blazing by Jessie Mihalik Book Cover

Aurora Blazing by Jessie Mihalik

While pretending to mourn her dead husband, the supernaturally technologically adept daughter of House von Hasenberg has created a network to save other young women. So, when her elder brother goes missing, Bianca has the connections and skills to find him. In response, her father sends his head of security to retrieve Bianca. Instead, Ian ends up helping her — after all, she is safest by his side. Book 2 in the Consortium Rebellion series remains my favorite, but I do recommend reading the rest of the series to follow the larger intergalactic political mystery.

Content Warning: past domestic abuse

book cover of The Stars Too Fondly by Emily Hamilton

The Stars Too Fondly by Emily Hamilton (set to release June 11, 2024)

This sapphic romance in space takes place during an accidental spaceship heist. When a group of twentysomethings went to investigate what happened to a long-vanished crew, they found themselves stuck on a journey manned by the hologram of the missing captain, Billie. Cleo was eager to travel space, but when the laws of physics go wrong and her relationship with Billie shifts, her previous confidence melts away. They will all have to finish the journey they didn’t mean to start if they want any answers.

To Plunder a Pirate Queen by Nina Saxena Book Cover

To Plunder a Pirate Queen by Nina Saxena

The Pirate Queen frees a captured contraceptive scientist who could change the reproductive rights of the species who once exiled her in this dark romance novella in space. Vahman knows if he can get the information into the right hands, his research could improve lives. Shila is willing to help him, but they will have to fight to get the contraceptive to the people before the ones in power can shut it all down.

Content Warnings: Dubious consent, domestic violence, sexual assault

Calamity by Constance Fay Book Cover

Calamity by Constance Fay

Temperance struggles to keep her patched-up spaceship and its crew together after their captain runs off with an intern. The debt is impossible to handle, and she cannot afford the new engine they need to stay competitive. When Arcadio arrives to scout a desert planet together, Temper’s frustration is on a knife’s edge. His position as a wealthy second son from the high society that banished her is bad enough shipside. On a mission that involves volcanos, cults, and galactic fighters, it’s almost unbearable. The fact that Temperance is falling for Arcadio anyway might just be the worst thing to happen yet.

The Principle of Moments by Esmie Jikiemi-Pearson Book Cover

The Principle of Moments by Esmie Jikiemi-Pearson

In 6066, humans are indentured workers paying off debt from settling on a planet owned by an existing emperor. Asha studies aeronautics as a small secret rebellion until a message changes her life. In 1812, Obi has put away his time-traveling past. After all, he catches a temporal sickness that worsens every time he travels, he has a one-sided love with a prince, and his father disappears. That is until he meets Asha, a girl who shouldn’t exist from another time. Now they must work together if they want to save the world. Their growing attraction is the least of their worries in this regency-esque romance set in an adventure-packed space fantasy.

Content Warnings: child abuse, imprisonment, enslavement

The Mimicking of Known Successes by Malka Older Book Cover

The Mimicking of Known Successes by Malka Older

This novella is a delightful mix of part cozy murder mystery, part space western, and part sapphic romance. Mossa is investigating the case of a missing scholar in a remote outpost. Naturally, the case led her to the university town that is home to her ex-girlfriend Pleiti. Her help is vital if she wants to solve the mystery, but as they begin to unravel the clues, a troubling pattern emerges. Life on earth is in jeopardy, and they are the only ones able to save it.

Sometimes, you just want a space adventure and love simultaneously. I hope these romances in space will do the job. Looking for more genre-blending reads? Check out “What is horromance?”, the best romantasy audiobooks, and the best high fantasy romance novels to read.