July 19, 2012

Plausible Futures By Lisabet Sarai

Quarantine by Lisabet Sarai.
Ever since I was a kid, I've loved science fiction. In grade school and high school, I devoured everything I could find by Bradbury, Asimov and Heinlein, immersing myself in the worlds they created. As I grew older, I discovered new authors: A.E van Vogt, Robert Silverberg, Neal Stephenson, Sherri Tupper, Bruce Sterling. My hunger for startling, enlightening future visions was never sated, though as time went on I became frustrated by the difficulty of separating the wheat from chaff.
I fantasized about writing my own scifi, but aside from a few short stories, I never dared. I could visit the worlds of others, but I wasn't confident enough to create my own. Then I became Lisabet Sarai, a published author. Nevertheless, it has taken almost thirteen years for me to undertake a full length science fiction novel.
Quarantine was released last week. It's a dystopic M/M erotic romance, set in a near future America  ravaged by disease and natural disasters and ruled by a shadowy cabal known as the Guardians of American Greatness. Half the population is illiterate. American technology is ridiculed the way Japanese tech was derided in my youth. And homosexuality is a capital crime.
I prefer “soft” scifi to the “hard” rockets-and-robots stuff. I'm most interested in stories that begin with a simple premise about future society and then explore the ramifications. I've tried to do that in Quarantine.
I have to admit, however, that writing this book was the toughest thing I've attempted since I began publishing. About half way through the book, I lost faith in my vision. I didn't write a word for nearly six months. Mostly it was stubbornness that made me pick it up again – along with some instructive conversations with my crit partner. I'd already invested so much time and energy in the darn thing, I couldn't stand the thought of not finishing it.
But I still worry – not about the romance or the sex but about the science fiction backdrop. In writing scifi, there's a constant tension between originality and believability. You want to demonstrate radical changes in technology and their societal impact – but go too far and you'll tip over into fantasy, where everything is magic and there are no constraints. (I view the fantasy genre as quite distinct from science fiction). Actually, though, in the case of this book, I'm concerned that my view of America thirty years from now doesn't show enough change. I really wonder whether my future is plausible. 
Of course, my readers will likely treat Quarantine first and foremost as a romance. I'm on less shaky ground there, I think. But the book is still the most serious thing I've written, and the most political, too. I'm hoping that at least some readers will appreciate more than the tender kisses and the hot sex.


When love is forbidden, the whole world's a prison.
Dylan Moore will do anything for freedom. Seven years ago, a gay plague spread to heterosexuals, killing millions and sparking brutal anti-gay riots. The Guardians rounded up men who tested positive for the homogene and imprisoned them in remote quarantine centres like desolate Camp Malheur. Since then, Dylan has hacked the camp's security systems and hoarded spare bits of electronics, seeking some way to escape. He has concluded the human guards are the only weakness in the facility's defences.
Camp guard Rafe Cowell is H-negative. He figures the lust he feels watching prisoner 3218 masturbate on the surveillance cameras must be due to his loneliness and isolation. When he finally meets the young queer, he discovers that Dylan is brilliant, brave, sexy as hell – and claims to be in love with Rafe. Despite his qualms, Rafe finds he can't resist the other man's charm. By the time Dylan asks for his help in escaping, Rafe cares too much for Dylan to refuse.
Dylan's plan goes awry and Rafe comes to his rescue. Soon they're both fugitives, fleeing from militant survivalists, murderous androids, homophobic ideologues and a powerful man who wants Dylan as his sexual toy. Hiding in the Plague-ravaged city of Sanfran, Dylan and Rafe learn there's far more than their own safety at stake. Can they help prevent the deaths of millions more people? And can Rafe trust the love of a man who deliberately seduced him in order to escape from quarantine? 
I want to thank Kayelle for having me as her guest here at Romance Lives Forever. 


More than a decade ago LISABET SARAI experienced a serendipitous fusion of her love of writing and her fascination with sex. Since then she has published four single author short story collections and seven erotic novels, including the BDSM classic Raw Silk. Dozens of her shorter works have been released as ebooks and in print anthologies. She has also edited several acclaimed anthologies and is currently responsible for the altruistic erotica series COMING TOGETHER PRESENTS.
Lisabet holds more degrees than anyone needs from prestigious universities who would no doubt be embarrassed by her chosen genre. She loves to travel and currently lives in Southeast Asia with her highly tolerant husband and two cosmopolitan felines. For more information on Lisabet and her writing visit Lisabet Sarai's Fantasy Factory (http://www.lisabetsarai.com) or her blog Beyond Romance (http://lisabetsarai.blogspot.com).


  1. I'm sorry you had such a rough time with this one, but it looks like it was worth the wait. World-building looks so difficult in these stories, but when it's done well, it's really impressive.


  2. I'm with you. I prefer a "soft" sci-fi to robots and rockets. I like the idea that things in the future will be somewhat the same with advancements. :)Quarantine is a great depiction. I loved the world you made and the love that triumphs in spite of that world.


  3. I'm a huge SFR fan. I'd love to see this genre grow even more.

  4. My scifi is based on science, but always has a human element, and that's what I look for when I read SFR. I want the touchy-feely and a science background. Quarantine looks right up my alley.

  5. Yeah, I'm not a big lover of Sci-fi, but the few I have read well, I've kind of liked. I feel like I'm just waiting for that one title that will steal my breath away and make me drown myself in sci-fi worlds.
    I do indeed prefer "soft" Sci-fi. Though I've only read enough of them to count on both hands, I am really looking forward to Quarantine. Even if it is only "soft" Sci-fi, It might give me another little push to come to love the genre completely. lol...


  6. Greetings, all,

    Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment. I suspect that most romance readers would prefer "soft" to "hard" sci fi, because they're more interested in emotion than in technology.

    Although I do agree, Kayelle - a science fiction book where the science is absurd just annoys me!

    I've drawn a winner at this stop. It's Allie! Congratulations! And since you like scifi, your prize is the SEEING STARS anthology, which includes my novella BODIES OF LIGHT.

    Of course, you've all got another entry for the grand prize, too. You can rack up more entries by commenting at my blog between now and the 28th.

  7. Very cool, Lisabet! Off to tweet the results!

  8. I like sci-fi in general, whether it's hardcore Isaac Asimov or soft sci-fi kind of like Quarantine. I can't wait to read it!



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