I describe my new science fiction romance, Escapee, as The African Queen in Outer Space. The 1951 movie, The African Queen inspired the book. My version is set on an inhospitable moon, rather than the African Jungle, but in both tales the hero and heroine battle nature and, ultimately, the invading enemy.
How did I use the movie to inspire a science fiction romance novel? By borrowing its structure while inventing new characters, new enemies, and an entirely new setting.
Analyzing the Movie for Structure
I rented the movie and looked for two things:
- Stages — Charley and Rosie’s relationship go through a number of stages.
- Turning points — The events that caused their relationship to change from one stage to another.
I then devised analogous stages and turning points for Escapee. Here are a few of them, so you get the feel for how the analysis worked.
Stage 1: Polite disconnect between hero and heroine.
- AQ — Rosie, a missionary in German East Africa, disapproves of Charley, a crude freighter captain who brings supplies, but treats him with chilly politeness.
- Escapee — Hector, a stuffy career army officer, disapproves of the freewheeling, lower-class airship pilot, Catt Sayer, who supplies his base.
Turning point: The enemy invades. In AQ, it’s the Germans, who leave Rosie alone and stranded — until Charley comes by and saves her.
In Escapee, it’s humans from the Proxima system. While Hector’s on leave, they destroy his entire command, leaving him stranded and alone — until Catt lands, looking for survivors.
Stage 2: Rosie devises the goal of attacking the Germans. In Escapee, it’s Hector who strives to attack the enemy Proximanians. Both goals require a long, impossibly difficult journey. The lead characters’ genders are reversed.
I won’t try your patience by detailing each goal and turning point, but here are a few high points.
Turning point: When mild danger fails to deter Rosie (Hector) from her purpose, his true feelings come out explosively, causing a rift. In the movie, the danger is rapids; in Escapee, it’s volcanoes.
Turning point: The rift is healed when Charley (Catt) wholeheartedly agrees to make the impossible journey. The reasons for agreeing are quite different
Turning point: After they make love for the first time, life is gloriously happy for awhile.
Turning point: The dangers of the journey start to take a toll. In AQ, rapids and a twisted drive shaft threaten to end their journey before they reach the enemy. In Escapee, a storm and a crash landing ‘kills’ Catt’s android co-pilot, whom they need for the journey to reach the enemy.
And so forth.
Escapee — The African Queen in Outer Space
Catt Sayer just wants to survive. The working-class fugitive delivers military supplies on her decrepit airship, but her hard-won livelihood vanishes when invaders overrun her harsh moon. And now an idealistic, upper-class officer wants her to risk her life on a hopeless voyage to attack enemy headquarters – manned by 10,000 soldiers.
Edward Hoornaert’s romantic space opera, Escapee, continues the saga of the Dukelsky family (begun in The Guardian Angel of Farflung Station). If you like The African Queen and the thrill of underdogs finding love while battling a hostile environment, you’ll love Escapee.
Don’t let this rousing tale escape from you.
Here’s Your Chance to WIN
To celebrate the release of Escape: Repelling the Invasion on April 19, 2016, you can enter a Rafflecopter giveaway. Click to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway.
You can win:
- A $10 Amazon gift certificate
- One of two electronic copies of the prequel to Escapee — The Guardian Angel of Farflung Station.
Enter now and enter often!