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  1. #31
    Use The Force IkariX's Avatar
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    really epic.

    E.G. Like Hyperion style

  2. #32
    Live Long & Suffer psikeyhackr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andols View Post
    THats the whole point of the list. you can begin anywhere you wish. if you want to tell us some specific elements that you enjoy someone could narrow it down a bit further, other than that, have at it!
    That is the trouble with big lists. They are not sufficiently refined. People don't specify in sufficient detail why they like or dislike something. Picking 5 books at random could get 4 you don't like before you get 1 that you do. Even definitions have changed over the decades.

    Now that I know how old it is I think it is a good idea to read a couple of books by E. E. "Doc" Smith. I think that basically defines "Space Opera". It is good in a "campy" kind of way because it is cheezy. I think it can be fun for young kids but it is lacking in refinement. It was written almost 30 years before the atomic bomb.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skylark_(series)

    That wiki entry says published in 1928 but it doesn't say it was started in 1915 and turned down by a number of publishers and sat in a drawer for almost a decade.

    But 30 years later there were lots of bad examples of BAD SPACE OPERA to learn how not to write that junk. I would suggest Ensign Flandry by Poul Anderson. But don't assume all Flandry stuff is that good.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poul_Anderson

    The Rebel Worlds (1969) is pretty good but A Circus of Hells (1970) doesn't quite make the grade.

    Almost any stuff worth reading is not space opera if it was written after 1960. Some authors might deliberately imitate that cheezy style because some readers like it though. I don't like Revelation Space but I wouldn't call it space opera. It almost certainly qualifies as epic.

    psik

  3. #33
    Registered User livens's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by psikeyhackr View Post
    That is the trouble with big lists. They are not sufficiently refined. People don't specify in sufficient detail why they like or dislike something. Picking 5 books at random could get 4 you don't like before you get 1 that you do. Even definitions have changed over the decades.

    Now that I know how old it is I think it is a good idea to read a couple of books by E. E. "Doc" Smith. I think that basically defines "Space Opera". It is good in a "campy" kind of way because it is cheezy. I think it can be fun for young kids but it is lacking in refinement. It was written almost 30 years before the atomic bomb.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skylark_(series)

    That wiki entry says published in 1928 but it doesn't say it was started in 1915 and turned down by a number of publishers and sat in a drawer for almost a decade.

    But 30 years later there were lots of bad examples of BAD SPACE OPERA to learn how not to write that junk. I would suggest Ensign Flandry by Poul Anderson. But don't assume all Flandry stuff is that good.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poul_Anderson

    The Rebel Worlds (1969) is pretty good but A Circus of Hells (1970) doesn't quite make the grade.

    Almost any stuff worth reading is not space opera if it was written after 1960. Some authors might deliberately imitate that cheezy style because some readers like it though. I don't like Revelation Space but I wouldn't call it space opera. It almost certainly qualifies as epic.

    psik
    psikeyhackr... What, in your opinion, is the definition of space opera?

    Ive always thought of "Revelation Space" as space opera, as well as being epic. But honestly if I think too hard about it I cannot come up with a solid definition of space opera.

    Or maybe we should ask Andols what he/she thinks space opera is, since its his/her list let him/her define it

    sorry for all the he/her/him's, but I hate to assume gender online.

  4. #34
    Live Long & Suffer psikeyhackr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by livens View Post
    psikeyhackr... What, in your opinion, is the definition of space opera?

    sorry for all the he/her/him's, but I hate to assume gender online.
    It it that subjective characteristic where it's so BAD it's GOOD kind of thing. That was my reaction to Triplanetary when I read it in the 60s. I just couldn't stop laughing. So then I read some Skylark stuff but I didn't know it went back to 1915.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camp_(style)

    At the time I just read science fiction I did not read about science fiction. I don't recall where I first encountered the term "space opera" but by that I mean low quality but can be fun and funny. But the writers of the 30s reflected the way people thought in the 30s. By the 60s it was weird and funny. And by low quality I mean the "science" can be totally without correspondence to anything real and the literary quality mediocre and no intellectual significance whatsoever. But can be a hell of a lot of fun if you are in that state of mind. But there was a general rise in scientific and literary quality from the 30s through the 60s. So mostly I don't call post-1960 material material "space opera". I relate it to soap opera that I never watched.

    It is like reading stuff from the 50s today seems weird because the characters are all smoking cigarettes all of the time. How often do you encounter that in SF since the early 80s?

    I am male by the way.

    psik
    Last edited by psikeyhackr; October 29th, 2010 at 11:17 AM.

  5. #35
    Registered User livens's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by psikeyhackr View Post
    It it that subjective characteristic where it's so BAD it's GOOD kind of thing. That was my reaction to Triplanetary when I read it in the 60s. I just couldn't stop laughing. So then I read some Skylark stuff but I didn't know it went back to 1915.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camp_(style)

    At the time I just read science fiction I did not read about science fiction. I don't recall where I first encountered the term "space opera" but by that I mean low quality but can be fun and funny. But the writers of the 30s reflected the way people thought in the 30s. By the 60s it was weird and funny. And by low quality I mean the "science" can be totally without correspondence to anything real and the literary quality mediocre and no intellectual significance whatsoever. But can be a hell of a lot of fun if you are in that state of mind. But there was a general rise in scientific and literary quality from the 30s through the 60s. So mostly I don't call post-1960 material material "space opera". I relate it to soap opera that I never watched.

    It is like reading stuff from the 50s today seems weird because the characters are all smoking cigarettes all of the time. How often do you encounter that in SF since the early 80s?

    I am male by the way.

    psik
    Hmmm... Well I think the modern definition works best for me. I certaintly never thought of 'space opera' as a derogatory term. I found this definition on wikipedia:

    It was only in the early 1990s that the term space opera began to be universally recognized as a legitimate genre of science fiction. As Hartwell and Cramer note, since then, space opera means "colorful, dramatic, large-scale science fiction adventure, competently and sometimes beautifully written, usually focused on a sympathetic, heroic central character and plot action, and usually set in the relatively distant future, or on planets in faraway space. It often deals with war, piracy, military virtues and very large-scale action, with large stakes."
    This best fits with what I think space opera is.

    as for smoking... Not too much. One of the main characters in Reynold's Revelation Space was a chain smoker though...

  6. #36
    Live Long & Suffer psikeyhackr's Avatar
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    It was only in the early 1990s that the term space opera began to be universally recognized as a legitimate genre of science fiction.

    usually set in the relatively distant future, or on planets in faraway space. It often deals with war, piracy, military virtues and very large-scale action, with large stakes."
    The trouble with that definition is that almost everything involving space travel can be called "space opera". Could anything with space travel not be space opera. Robinson's Red Mars is included and it is not interstellar. Asimov's Foundation obviously fits but it may be the oldest big name "space opera" around. It's almost as old as Triplanetary.

    Opera is any music that is long with singing in it. In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida is opera.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGmkM4v9AaY

    psik
    Last edited by psikeyhackr; October 30th, 2010 at 02:33 PM.

  7. #37
    ok, turning this on its head, of that list I have not read:

    Poul Anderson - Tau Zero (1970)
    Kevin J. Anderson
    William Barton
    Michael Cobley- Seeds Of Earth (2009)
    Gardner Dozois - The New Space Opera (2007)
    Gardner Dozois - The New Space Opera 2 (2009)
    Gary Gibson - Nova War (2009)
    Gary Gibson - Empire of Light (2010)
    Simon Green
    Colin Greenland
    Harry Harrison
    Walter H. Hunt
    Paul J. McAuley
    Michael McCollum
    Jack McDevitt
    Larry Niven and Edward M. Lerner
    Kim Stanley Robinson
    Kathryn Rusch
    Charles Sheffield
    Allen Steele
    Bruce Sterling - Schismatrix (1985)
    Sean Williams
    Tad Williams
    Walter John Williams
    Jack Williamson
    Gene Wolfe

    What would be team SFFWORLD's advice based on me wanting a good big hard technical read.... Pick an author. I am floundering badly at the moment.

  8. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by pox View Post
    ok, turning this on its head, of that list I have not read:

    Poul Anderson - Tau Zero (1970)
    Kevin J. Anderson
    William Barton
    Michael Cobley- Seeds Of Earth (2009)
    Gardner Dozois - The New Space Opera (2007)
    Gardner Dozois - The New Space Opera 2 (2009)
    Gary Gibson - Nova War (2009)
    Gary Gibson - Empire of Light (2010)
    Simon Green
    Colin Greenland
    Harry Harrison
    Walter H. Hunt
    Paul J. McAuley
    Michael McCollum
    Jack McDevitt
    Larry Niven and Edward M. Lerner
    Kim Stanley Robinson
    Kathryn Rusch
    Charles Sheffield
    Allen Steele
    Bruce Sterling - Schismatrix (1985)
    Sean Williams
    Tad Williams
    Walter John Williams
    Jack Williamson
    Gene Wolfe

    What would be team SFFWORLD's advice based on me wanting a good big hard technical read.... Pick an author. I am floundering badly at the moment.

    im voting robinsons r/g/b mars series. knowing what little i know about you so far i think you'll enjoy it.

  9. #39
    Thanks Andols, that's made my day, which has otherwise so far consisted of kicking my holodeck which isn't working.

  10. #40
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    Can't believe I haven't contributed on this.

    KSR certainly qualifies as as Big, Hard and Technical but you forgot to add boring.

    Cherryhs Cyteen is also big and somewhat hard though not as technical. Incidentallt for listing purposes it, while stand alone does reference the other books in the Alliance Space series - especially 40,000 in Gehenna.

    Vinge's Fire and Deepness also qualify on all three counts. Agree with the poster who said Rainbows end does not belong.

    Further to the list Take Back Plenty by Colin Greenland is listed. This is part of a trilogy? by Greenland that includes Seasons of Plenty and at least one other with Plenty in the title (Plenty being a person).

    Cheers
    Lee

  11. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by k1w1taxi View Post

    Further to the list Take Back Plenty by Colin Greenland is listed. This is part of a trilogy? by Greenland that includes Seasons of Plenty and at least one other with Plenty in the title (Plenty being a person).

    Cheers
    Lee
    actually from what i remember Plenty was a space station or asteroid (??), something giant built (built on??) by aliens whose shape is one of the big surprises of the first novel; Tabitha something or other and a motley crew star, though it's more of a solar system adventure than pure space opera

    KJA has a new space opera series together with his Dune coauthor Brian Herbert, Hellhole being the first volume in 2011; similar in style with Seven Suns or Terra Incognita and with a bit of Deathstalker flavor; campy but fun, just read an arc of it

  12. #42
    Quote Originally Posted by k1w1taxi View Post
    KSR certainly qualifies as as Big, Hard and Technical but you forgot to add boring.
    I've started and it seems 'functional' so far. Will report back. A lack of serious space battles and heavy politicking is going to be the problem here I can tell already, but the rigour, scene setting, and size are appealing so far.

    Cherryhs Cyteen is also big and somewhat hard though not as technical. Incidentallt for listing purposes it, while stand alone does reference the other books in the Alliance Space series - especially 40,000 in Gehenna.
    noted with thanks!

    Vinge's Fire and Deepness also qualify on all three counts. Agree with the poster who said Rainbows end does not belong.
    read them loads!

    Further to the list Take Back Plenty by Colin Greenland is listed. This is part of a trilogy? by Greenland that includes Seasons of Plenty and at least one other with Plenty in the title (Plenty being a person).
    is that a further recommendation or an addendum to the list?!?
    Last edited by pox; November 6th, 2010 at 12:58 PM.

  13. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by suciul View Post
    actually from what i remember Plenty was a space station or asteroid (??), something giant built (built on??) by aliens whose shape is one of the big surprises of the first novel; Tabitha something or other and a motley crew star, though it's more of a solar system adventure than pure space opera
    I bow to your superior memory. Checked Amazon as a result and found the main books are Take Back, Seasons of, Mother of. In the two later books Tabitha Jute and co find themselves eventually at Capella so from that POV it could be SO.


    Pox,
    Seasons and Mother should be added to the list with my recommendation on all three.

    Cheers
    Lee

  14. #44
    Super thanks.

  15. #45
    I may have missed it, but has AE van Vogt been left off the list?

    In terms of early (not quite as early as EE Smith, but still) Space Opera, he is a key player:
    Empire of the Atom, Wizard of Linn
    Voyage of the Space Beagle

    etc etc

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