Since HBO recently began airing their comedy series ‘Avenue 5’, set on an interplanetary cruise ship, and I write a science fiction romance series set on an interstellar luxury liner, I thought I’d do a post on books with this general trope.
Right now the cruise industry is in a bit of turmoil, with the ships that are quarantined due to COVID-19 virus cases. I don’t want to make light of the situation, which is concerning and scary. I do feel, however, that the cruise industry as a whole, worldwide, remains in good shape, as enthusiasm for taking cruises to exciting and beautiful destinations never seems to wane. Certainly in the far future there will be people who want to see the sights of the galaxy in a leisurely, luxurious manner, right?
I didn’t find too many interstellar cruise liners though, not even with an appeal to the trusty Science Fiction Romance Brigade on Facebook, but I have a few to offer and feel free to list others in the comments.
Starliner by David Drake, a ‘hard’ SF novel, which is on my To Be Read List now, for sure. The blurb: The Empress of Earth – Finest passenger liner in the galaxy — Brightest link in the chain that binds the starflung civilization of the 23rd century—Six thousand lives in a single hull, trembling through multiple universes to land on raw, often violent worlds, each with its own history and wonder —The Empress of Earth- Neutral pawn in an interstellar war!
When hostile necessity knows no law, Ran Colville and the rest of the complement of the Empress of Earth must bring home their ship and the passengers entrusted to them. From the Captain on his bridge to the Cold Crewmen who work in conditions that differ from Hell only by name, they’ll have their work cut out for them this voyage!
Amazon Apple Books
My first ever published science fiction novel with romantic elements was Wreck of the Nebula Dream, or as one reviewer referred to it: “Titanic in space…” I’d always wanted to write an SF take on the Titanic tragedy. The story: A reimagining of the Titanic disaster set in the far future among the stars…
Traveling unexpectedly aboard the luxury liner Nebula Dream on its maiden voyage across the galaxy, space marine Captain Nick Jameson is ready for ten relaxing days, and hoping to forget his last disastrous mission behind enemy lines. He figures he’ll gamble at the casino, take in the shows, maybe even have a shipboard fling with Mara Lyrae, the beautiful but reserved businesswoman he meets.
All his plans vaporize when the ship suffers a wreck of Titanic proportions. Captain and crew abandon ship, leaving the 8000 passengers stranded without enough lifeboats and drifting unarmed in enemy territory. Aided by Mara, Nick must find a way off the doomed ship for himself and several other innocent people before deadly enemy forces reach them or the ship’s malfunctioning engines finish ticking down to self-destruction.
But can Nick conquer the demons from his past that tell him he’ll fail these innocent people just as he failed to save his Special Forces team? Will he outpace his own doubts to win this vital race against time?
Amazon Barnes & Noble iBooks Google Play Kobo
USA Today Best Selling Author Tasha Black has a 3 book (so far) series set on an abandoned, mysterious spaceliner. Here’s the plot for the first book, Tolstoy: Stargazer Alien Barbarian Brides #1:
Just one glance and this lonely alien shifter instantly craves Anna for his mate. Too bad the beautiful treasure-hunter seems blind to what’s truly valuable…
When space-pirate-in-training Anna Nilsson embarks on her first solo mission to plunder an abandoned luxury cruiser, she assumes she’ll be all alone aboard the big, empty ship. She’s hunting for treasure – the last thing she expects to find is a sinfully sexy alien who eyes her with a hunger that speaks of centuries of longing.
Leo’s ancient race has suffered greatly at the hands of the strangers who invaded their planet centuries ago, leaving the barbarians without a home world. When he awakes from stasis to the scent of a blood mate, he is stunned to discover the delectable creature is human. Being close to her sets his senses on fire, but he knows the attraction can only end in misery. What human could ever love a shape-shifting barbarian?
When a third occupant of the not-so-abandoned cruiser shows itself, the two realize they must work together if they want to get out alive.
Then they uncover a baby who just might be the priceless clone of a famous cultural icon, and things really start to get interesting…
Note: Tasha shared that she has a new series coming later in 2020 which will feature a luxury cruise liner.
Amazon Apple Books
Author JC Cassels sets much of the action in her Sovran’s Pawn (The Black Wing Chronicles Book 1) on board the Lady of Staves starliner. Here’s the blurb: Convicted traitor Bo Barron will do whatever it takes to purchase her father’s freedom from his kidnappers, even assume the guise of a Kiara Joy Babe at a high-stakes gambling tournament.
When a handsome stranger steals a kiss, everything Bo thought she knew about her assignment turns upside down. If she wants to save her father and keep herself alive, she’s going to have to figure out how to survive the game she didn’t realize she was playing.
USA Today Best Selling Author Lindsay Buroker created a Firefly-like environment on the ship in her Fallen Kingdom series. It was far from being a luxury liner but did carry paying passengers, so I’ll stretch a point and include the series here. The story for book one, Star Nomad: The Alliance has toppled the tyrannical empire. It should be a time for celebration, but not for fighter pilot Captain Alisa Marchenko. After barely surviving a crash in the final battle for freedom, she’s stranded on a dustball of a planet, billions of miles from her young daughter. She has no money or resources, and there are no transports heading to Perun, her former home and the last imperial stronghold.
But she has a plan.
Steal a dilapidated and malfunctioning freighter from a junkyard full of lawless savages. Slightly suicidal, but she believes she can do it. Her plan, however, does not account for the elite cyborg soldier squatting in the freighter, intending to use it for his own purposes. As an imperial soldier, he has no love for Alliance pilots. In fact, he’s quite fond of killing them.
Alisa has more problems than she can count, but she can’t let cyborgs, savages, or ancient malfunctioning ships stand in her way. If she does, she’ll never see her daughter again.
Amazon Apple Books
Vordol’s Vow (Rising Sons Book 2) by Dena Garson, originally appeared in the Cosmic Cabaret anthology (no longer available) and was one of my absolute favorites in the collection. I was happy to see she’d published it separately. The ship was the LS Quantum, and all the authors involved in the project set their stories on the same luxury liner. The blurb for Vordol: A long time ago Vordol Silveira learned that if he wanted to become the best bodyguard in the galaxy he needed to keep everyone except his brothers at arm’s length. That vow served him well until he runs into the now grown-up daughter of his former mentor while working a security job aboard the LS Quantum.
Pitannah Lorento is a Quantum waitress who dreams of winning this year’s intergalactic burlesque competition in order to pay for her mother’s expensive medical treatment. Seeing Vordol again brings back years of unfulfilled desires – a distraction she doesn’t need. Yet, she’s no longer an awkward teenager and he is sexier than ever.
Vordol’s client’s safety has always come first but when Pitannah is threatened, his heart demands he make her priority. If he somehow manages to keep them both safe through the competition, his vow may become obsolete.
Amazon Apple Books
Selene Grace Silver’s novella Razer’s Edge, was also in the Cosmic Cabaret anthology and therefore is set on the interstellar liner LS Quantum, although there’s no other overlap between her story and Ms. Garson’s. Here’s her plot: Erotic dancer Ayanna headlines at the cabaret until a psychic thief named Razer uses her identity to pull off the plunder of a lifetime, jeopardizing everything.
My Star Cruise series is set on the interstellar luxury liner Nebula Zephyr (yes a sister ship to the Nebula Dream mentioned above, which I destroyed – the Zephyr charts a much safer course) and while many characters reoccur from book to book, each story focuses primarily on a new couple and their adventure, challenges and romance. The first in the series set aboard the Nebula Zephyr is Star Cruise: Outbreak.
At the time in 2016 I was inspired by the many outbreaks of the nonlethal norovirus on cruise ships, which started me thinking about the issue of being on such a ship when a more deadly form of epidemic strikes. Of course the subject is all too timely again right now, with the COVID-19 virus loose in the world and actual quarantined cruise ships.
Here’s the blurb: She saved countless soldiers in the wars … but does she have the weapons to fight an outbreak?
Dr. Emily Shane, veteran of the interstellar Sector Wars, is known as “The Angel of Fantalar” for her bravery under fire as a medic. However, the doctor has her own war wounds–severe PTSD and guilt over those she failed to save.
Persuaded to fill a seemingly frivolous berth as ship’s doctor on the huge and luxurious interstellar cruise liner Nebula Zephyr, she finds the job brings unexpected perks–a luxe beach deck with water imported from Tahumaroa II, and Security Officer Jake Dilon, a fellow veteran.
However, Emily soon learns she and Jake didn’t leave all peril behind in the war. A mysterious illness aboard the Zephyr begins to claim victim after victim…and they must race against time and space to find the cause and a cure. Trapped on a ship no spaceport will allow to dock, their efforts are complicated by a temperamental princess and a terrorist–one who won’t hesitate to take down any being in the way of his target. If anyone’s left when the disease is through with them…
Apple iBooks Amazon Kobo Barnes & Noble
And last but not least, there’s Eric Klein’s The One: A Cruise Through the Solar System: Classic Style Science Fiction, with a plot as follows: A near-future story of exploration and intrigue.
The year is 2152. What started as a normal work day for BJ Armstrong (debugging the latest faulty AI), quickly turned to the adventure of a lifetime. Join Armstrong on his all-expenses-paid 30-day cruise through the solar system on board the maiden voyage of the latest pleasure ship (complete with a beauty pageant and scientific symposium), as he tries to unravel an assassination plot and foil the biggest heist in history.
The only question that remains, will BJ get the girl?
Happy reading and safe cruising to you, whether on Earth or in the stars! Stay healthy….