For a writer, one of the benefits of Futuristic fiction is to being able to allow what is not allowed. The fact that it is Futuristic means that your story-culture can be radically different from what is. Your story is divorced from current reality, and yet you can keep what you choose, and layer over it whatever elements of history you need to create your future world. The story is Futuristic, not Fantasy, so there is a scientific backdrop rather than a magical one. You can look closely at a piece of Futuristic fiction and pick through it to see what elements were chosen, and usually deduce why.
In Dawn Ryder's Reaching Back Noel is a single woman living in a substandard shoebox of an apartment, saving her pennies in hopes of some day funding an entrepreneurial dream but her life is cut short on the 4th of July when a fireworks accident ignites her apartment and kills her friend. But instead of dying, she is whisked two hundred-plus years into the future into a new life by a warrior who has earned a mate.
Talk about your lifestyle changes.
The new world comes with certain elements built in. One of them is Thorn, a warrior, a soldier of earth and now a man with a "selected" mate. He's drop dead macho, with enough testosterone to light several city blocks and he's a package deal, with some sex-starved buddies. So this next element comes in: women are in short supply because males were bred to fight the alien Dekon forces. Technology allows certain men--men like Thorn who have earned the privilege with a lifetime of service--to search back in time via the planetary mainframe and snatch a woman (in her prime) from the jaws of death. Thorn chooses Noel because in the instant that he sees her, she is valiantly trying to save her friend, and that is the kind of character he appreciates.
If we're talking about the why of this story's appeal, it is really very simple. How many women are there nowadays who scrape by hand to mouth and dream of having a business, a better life, a beloved, an entirely new world for a second chance? Noel gets a whole new world, a guaranteed hot hero (and friends, no less!) and a guaranteed status of being found not merely attractive, but also rare. It's a great set-up for a fantasy that will knock your socks off.
Reviewed by Maîtresse
Copyright Dec 2006