Discussion in 'Science Fiction' started by Mithfânion, May 3, 2002.
No probs John. We try to cover them up when we get chance.
You make good points though.
Mmm. I see what you're saying John. Yeah, when you look closely some things don't hold up. I wonder if there's any space opera that doesn't cheat that way somehow. (maybe Alastair Reynolds Revelation Space? Except that he pretty much does pull a straight-up deus ex machina at the end of the trilogy.)
But it's still a heck of a good read! With some really fun world-building. And isn't that what space-opera is all about?
It is. But I'm picky about things like that. You should've seen my reaction when I read Dan Simmons' Endymion and found that
Despite having his cruciform ripped from his body by the Shrike in Fall of Hyperion, Paul Dure was still being resurrected in subsequent novels. "Uh, Dan? You removed his cruciform in the last book, dude!"
The Vorkosigan saga by Lois McMaster Bujold is one of the better space opera series I've read. She's a talented writer.
Overall, I'd say this subgenre could really use some higher quality and better choices. Star Wars revolutionized the film industry; I say we need something similar in the book industry.
JohnT, I agree with you about the ending of Judas Unchained, and on the whole while a good novel it wasn't as well-rounded as Pandora's Star. I said as much when I read it.
I've got an ARC of Hamilton's The Dreaming Void staring at me.
Good call Abby. I've only read a couple of books from that series, but enjoyed them a great deal.
Anything by Alastair Reynolds is considered space opera with a science Fictionus Noir take on a realistic view of the human future.
I'm looking for a series of books that's similar, yet different, from Babylon 5, Star Trek, Firefly, Stargate and Star Wars. While I've been a fan of Space Opera/Science Fiction on TV since I was a kid, and also read drama and comedy books regularly, I've hardly read any Science Fiction at all. I just finished reading the Harry Potter books, and enjoyed them greatly. It made me want to give Science Fiction and Fantasy in book form a proper chance.
Since I just bought five Fantasy books (2x Tolkien, Goodkind, Jordan and Martin, the last three are all the first books in their respective series) and only one Science Fiction book (Kevin J. Anderson's Hidden Empire, also the first book in its series), it's in Science Fiction I need advice now. While the books mentioned above, and books I own from other genres that I have not read, would keep me busy for a while, I am rather eager to start a really great Space Opera.
My taste: I frown when things I consider too incredible or impossible are a decisive factor, and hope to avoid time travel or alternate dimensions altogether. However warp drive or similar ways of traveling fast, the force in Star Wars, telepathy in B5, and similar things are more than acceptable. I love reading about various alien cultures, but please no zombies or living dead, my preferred aliens are the kind you see in Star Trek, Star Wars and Babylon 5.
I'll keep on looking by myself, and I'll read around this forum, but if someone has got a good advice to give me, I would be grateful.
Well, you could try my unpublished saga.
I agree with your tastes and wish there was more of this type of fiction in book form. This thread already contains the best recommendations out there.
I'm not an expert on space opera, but from what I've heard, you really can't go wrong with Peter F. Hamilton's The Night's Dawn Trilogy or Ian M. Banks' Culture Series. One of the last years favourites seem to be Stealing Light by Gary Gibson and/or Tobias S. Buckell's Ragamuffin (the second in the series; first was Crystal Rain). If you want classics: Isaac Asimov's Foundation Series, Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga, Larry Niven's Ringworld and let's say Orson Scott Card's Ender Saga and Frank Herbert's Dune books (where upon Herbert's and Card's reputation is built on the first book of the series, the following entries are arguably of lesser quality).
Thank you, I'll look up information about these books later today, and perhaps write here what my thoughts are afterwards.
How does Kevin J. Anderson's books rate? Since I bought the first book, I will read it and make up my own mind anyway, but I'm curious what other people think about it. It was the most interesting Space Opera book I found in the book shop last weekend.
Regarding the Seven Suns series, it's pulpy and fun for a while, but I got bored around volume 3 and skimmed the rest from then on to find out what happens. It would have been a great 3 book series, but it just does not have the depth and characters to go 7 and remain interesting,
Don't expect from Anderson he will invent a gunpowder. His most ability is to prevent it from getting wet.
Suggested in this thread (not taking into consideration if the novels actually fit the description Space Opera):
Jack Williamson's Legion Of Space series (1934-1982, four novels)
E. E. Smith's Lensman (1937-1954, seven novels)
George R. Stewart's Earth Abides (1949, one novel)
Ray Bradbury's Martian Chronicles (1950, one novel)
A. E. van Vogt's The Voyage of The Space Beagle (1950, one novel)
Isaac Asimov's Foundation Series (1951-1953, 1982-1993, three plus four novels, seven novels all in all)
Clifford Simak's City (1952, one novel)
Arthur C. Clarke's Childhood's End (1953, one novel)
Robert A. Heinlein's Tunnel in the Sky (1955, one novel)
Alfred Bester's Stars My Destination (1956, one novel)
James Blish's Cities in Flight (1956-1962, four novels)
Daniel Keyes' Flowers for Algernon (1959 & extended version 1966, one novel)
Walter M. Miller's Canticle for Leibowitz (1959-1997, two novels, last one finished by Terry Bisson)
Harry Harrison's Deathworld series (1960-2001, eight novels)
Phillip K. Dick's Man in the High Castle (1962, one novel)
Jack Vance's The Demon Prince series (1963-1981, five novels)
Frank Herbert's Dune (1965-1986, six novels)
Arthur C. Clarke's 2001: A Space Odyssey/2010: Odyssey Two (1968-1982, two novels)
Ursula K. Le Guin's Left Hand of Darkness (1969, one novel)
Anne McCaffrey's The Ship series (1969-1997, seven novels, four other authors have written or helped write several of the novels)
Poul Anderson's Tau Zero (1970, one novel)
Larry Niven's Ringworld (1970-2004, four novels)
Ben Bova's The Exiles Trilogy (1971-1975, three novels)
Frederik Pohl's Heechee stories (1972-2004, six novels)
Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle's The Mote in God's Eye (1974, one novel)
Gregory Benford's Galactic Center (1976-1995, six novels)
Piers Anthony's Cluster (1977-1982, five novels)
Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1979-1992, five novels)
David Brin's The Uplift stories (1980-1998, six novels)
Joan Vinge's The Snow Queen Cycle (1980-2000, four novels)
C. J. Cherryh's Downbelow Station (1981, one novel)
M. K. Wren's The Phoenix Legacy (1981, three novels)
Jack Chalker's Four Lords of the Diamond (1981-1983, five novels)
Anne McCaffrey's The Crystal Singer series (1982-1992, three novels)
Piers Anthony's Bio of a Space Tyrant (1983-2001, six novels)
Orson Scott Card's Ender Saga (1985-2008, six novels, seven short stories)
Arthur C. Clarke's Songs of Distant Earth (1986, one novel)
Celia S. Friedman's The Braxi/Azea duology (1986-2005, two novels)
Iain M. Banks' Culture series (1987-2008, seven novels)
W. Michael Gear's Way Of Spider series (1988-1989, three novels)
Dan Simmons' Hyperion Cantos (1989-1997, four novels)
Greg Bear's Queen Of Angels series (1990-1997, four novels)
S. M. Stirling and David Drake's The General (1991-1995, five novels)
Stephen R. Donaldson's The Gap Cycle (1991-1996, five novels)
Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars series (1992-1996, three novels)
Vernor Vinge's A Fire Upon The Deep/A Deepness in the Sky (1992-1999, two novels)
David Weber's Honor Harrintgon series (1993-2005, eleven novels)
Timothy Zahn's Conquerors trilogy (1994-1996, three novels)
C. J. Cherryh's Foreigner (1994-2007, nine novels)
Simon R. Green's Deathstalker series (1995-2005, eight novels)
Catherine Asaro's Saga of the Skolian Empire (1995-2007, twelve publications)
Peter F. Hamilton's The Night's Dawn Trilogy (1996-1999, three novels)
David Weber's Heirs Of Empire series (1996-2003, four novels)
Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga (1997-2008, six omnibus anthologies including novels and short stories)
Mary Rosalyn Gentle's First History series (2000-2006, two novels)
Alastair Reynold's Revelation Space (2000-2007, five novels)
John Ringo's Legacy of the Alldenata series (2000-2007, nine novels)
Tony Daniel's Metaplanetary/Superluminal series (2001-2005, two novels)
John C. Wright's The Golden Age (2002-2003, three novels)
Richard Morgan's Takeshi Kovacs novels (2002-2005, three novels)
Walter Jon Williams' Dread Empire's Fall series (2002-2005, three novels)
Kevin J. Anderson's Hidden Empire: Saga Of The Seven Suns (2002-2008, seven novels)
Scott Westerfield's The Risen Empire (2003-2005, two novels)
Stephen Baxter's Destiny's Children (2003-2006, four novels)
Peter F. Hamilton's The Commonwealth Saga (2004-2005, two novels)
Tobias S. Buckell's Crystal Rain/Ragamuffin/Sly Mongoose (2006-2008, three novels)
Gary Gibson's Stealing Light (2007-2008, only first novel published)
Would Piers Anthony's Cluster Series fit into the space opera theme ?
I haven't read his Praxis series yet, but Walter Jon Williams should be added to that list.
I went to the book shop today, and bought Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game, the first novel in the Ender Saga, and Peter F. Hamilton's the Reality Disfunction, the first novel in the The Night's Dawn Trilogy. Not fully satisfied, as soon as I got home, I ordered Lois McMaster Bujold's The Warrior's Apprentice, the first novel in the Vorkosigan Saga, and Iain M. Banks' Consider Phlebas, the first novel in the Culture series. Hopefully I have something special to look forward to.
Well not to promote my own book, but you might find SENTI by G W Pickle (me) to fall into this catagory. Right now it's out of print, but Trytium Press should be releasing it soon, as I just signed a contract with them to republish my book, this time it will be in paperback. SENTI has gotten some great reviews from Euro Review & I believe Coffee Time Romance. SENTI does have some elements of romance as well as revenge, space combat, political corruption, exploration and the building of a new solar system. Sorry no bug eyed monsters or evil aliens.
I've found man can be the best 'monsters' of any story.
I also like Ann McCaffrey's ship that sings & the Crystal Singer series.
Hope you like my suggestions
G W Pickle
you took my advice preety serious didn't you? ...keep me (us) posted about how you like the books, will you? I would hate to have given you queer recommendations
Congratulations on getting published GW. I read the reviews of your book, and it sounds like you've created a real swashbuckling tale. Best of luck with the paperback release, I hope to see it in the book shops in the future.
Indeed, thrinidir, not only yours, but your advices were backed up by great reviews, considerable mentions in this forum, the novels featured on plenty of top 10 or top 25 lists, and they all seemed to be approximately what I was looking for. Hard to choose from such a large list as the Space Opera list above, but everything considered, I still feel like I've made good choices.
I'm still finishing another book, but I hope to start Ender's Game soon. I loved the first page of the introduction, where the author tells us that he feels awkward writing it. Freely from memory: "In the five years since the book came out, no one has written me to say; you know, Ender's Game was a pretty good book, but what it really needs is an introduction. So if you skip straight to the story, I not only won't be offended, I'll agree with you."
I'm coming late to this discussion and the link to the definition you are all working off of is 'dead'.
I'll have to say (absent the benefit of that definition) that I disagree with many of the titles listed as 'space opera' here.
I come from an historical perspective as many of those titles were in print and or new at the time I was first reading them and if I remember correctly, the cover blurbs identified them as anything but 'space opera'.
To me, space opera is 'action adventure' with blasters substituted for cutlasses or six guns, space ships substituted for ships of the line or horses - simple action adventure in a loosely agreed upon "science fictional" setting.
Lensman & Skylark - definately space opera. Brin's Uplift Saga - definately not. Foundation Trilogy is political/sociological SF - not space opera (how many fistfights or blaster duels can you find in that body of work?).
In reading over the suggestions, I'm definately seeing a trend in that almost all of the "old" SF is now being classed as Space Opera. Martian Chronicles? No way. Even at the time of initial publication (and still constantly surrounding Bradbury) is the question of what exactly is he writing? I'd say he rides the line perfectly between SF and fantasy - and like no other author. But space opera? No.
Just because a work is dated does not automatically place it in the space opera category.
Separate names with a comma.