May 13th, 2002, 04:03 AM
Aspiring Smart Arse
Ladijen, I would define Space Opera as "an adventure novel or movie with a space travel and other worlds or civilizations background".
If you saw Space Odyssey 2001, that's a movie I would not call space opera.
Examples, according to my definition, would be the Foundation trilogy by Asimov, or, as another poster mentioned, the Lensman series by E.E Doc Smith, which is probably the best example I can find.
May 13th, 2002, 04:14 AM
Aspiring Smart Arse
Hobbit, do you remember ever having read something about 'the Slan' or something or other of "the 'A'" ? Those books, to me, are pure and very high-order space opera, though a little difficult to read (according to my experience).
I can't remember the author's name, but he was considered one of the greatest.
In his novels he incorporated what he knew about 'General Semantics' by Alfred Korzybski, which is or was supposed to be very authoritative in some specialized field of psychology and I believe has even achieved some kind of cult status.
May 13th, 2002, 11:02 AM
Asimovian - Yes!
It was A E van Vogt, famous for his space opera style - very dated now, but one of the 'kings' of the 1930's pulp Sf. The first book you're thinking of here is 'Slan',his first novel but originally published as short stories in 1940! - which was about a superhuman telepathic people of the future. It is often seen by many as their best memory of his work. Other famous books - The 'Weapons Shop of Null-A' is another one, as too the 'War Against the Rull', from which the following quotes are taken:
' A E van Vogt is truly a grand master of science fiction. He is to Canadian Sf what HG Wells is to the British variety or Jules Verne to the French. We all stand on his broad shoulders.' (Robert J Sawyer) .
' Nobody, possibly with the exception of the Bester of 'The Stars My Destination', ever came close to matching van Vogt for headlong, breakneck pacing or for the electric, crackling paranoid tension with which he was capable of suffusing his work.' (Gardner Dozois)
My personal favourite though is 'The Voyage of The Space Beagle', which has clearly left resonances in the strship Enterprise and the Alien baddie in the novel is a definite earlier version of Ridley Scott's/Alan Dean Foster's.
Van Vogt was always writing about supermen and beings and galactic events on a cataclysmic scale - everything writ large!
The speed of things happening in Van Vogt's novels - galaxies colliding, planets destroying etc - tended to cover up the cracks in the implausibility of what was happening - you didn't really have time to consider what was happening!
He did (rather unfortunately in my opinion) get rather caught up in the Dianetics thing towards the end of his life, which saw him looked unfavourably by many - consequently he has rarely been awarded the praise that many of his contemporaries said they owed him in inspiring them to write - see above for examples! Harlan Ellison, believe it or not, was a fan!
October 6th, 2002, 10:33 AM
Personal favorite is the Jack Vance "Demon Prince" series. Doesn't get mired down in technology too much, spends a lot of time looking at human-human conflicts, and is a wonderful vendetta story. (Yeah, vendettas can be fun!)
Probably the best space opera on film (my opinion only) is "Babylon 5". Hands down slugs the crap out of Star Trek, original and derivitives. More consistent. Tighter Universe, better aliens. Big major conflict that affects everyone, not "Wagontrain in the stars". How does that line go in "Stand by me"? Wagontrain, all they do is go, they never get anywhere" or something like that. Pretty much sums up Star Trek, too. As well as, "we'll just create some never-before-heard-of technology to get our dumb writers out of a corner". Hate that.
October 6th, 2002, 07:24 PM
Just Another Philistine
Surprised that Hobbit left out James Blish' Cities in Flight in the oldies but goodies category. And pleasantly surprised to find E.E. Smith's Lensmen series mentioned. Would add Jack Chalker's Four Lords of the Diamond to the mix.
October 6th, 2002, 08:50 PM
Cities in Flight.......
Yes, me too, though i did mention it in the link to favourite space opera as the Okies series earlier in the thread...
October 6th, 2002, 09:56 PM
Most of the SF I like is space opera.
Think my fav, right now, is Bujold's Vorkosigan books --the characters are wonderfully light and hilarious.
October 7th, 2002, 11:45 AM
Good for you, PJ - have you read Diplomatic Immunity yet?
(I thought it was good but not one of Miles's/Lois's best).
October 7th, 2002, 10:20 PM
October 8th, 2002, 04:18 AM
Yes, know what you mean PJ - it was a nice but quick read. Suspect the impending new arrivals may have something to do with it - Miles is mellowing as he approaches middle age!
We must be due for a nice meaty one soon, sort of like Mirror Dance (I hope!).
May 20th, 2004, 03:19 AM
Lord of the Wild Hunt
Some new additions to this subgenre:
Pandora's star by Peter Hamilton
Superluminal by Tony Daniel
The Wilding by CS Friedman
The Risen Empire by Scott Westerfeld (soon out in PB)
May 21st, 2004, 02:36 PM
Hmm, there are a lot being listed that I wouldn't consider space opera per se, like the Mars trilogy, but that's the "beauty" of splinter genres... nobody can agree, and that's all right.
I'd like to add A Deepness in the Sky to the list--probably my very favorite of the things I'm counting. I *loved* the aliens, the science, the Qeng Ho, and the incredible scale of the thing.
After that, The Exiles Trilogy by Ben Bova is wonderful, and there's also that M.K. Wren trilogy whose name I can't remember: House of the Wolf, Shadow of the Swan and so forth. That really had everything: star-spanning empires, romance, treachery, religion... well, okay, it had everything but aliens.
May 23rd, 2004, 04:46 AM
Much as I enjoyed Peter F. Hamilton's Night's Dawn books, I think he wrote himself into a corner and then used a deus ex machina to get himself out.
I am looking forward to Tony Daniel's "Superluminal", the sequel to "Metaplanetary".
May 23rd, 2004, 09:03 AM
Have to agree with Soon ... if not for the fortuitous ending, Night's Dawn would have been my favourite space opera (just finished reading it two days ago). Now I have to fall back on the unfinished (i think) series by Alastair Reynolds ... I cannot for the life of me remember what it's called. Failing that I would go for Dune by Frank Herbert and even *cough* the preludes by his son (good in a different way).
May 23rd, 2004, 06:56 PM
High Priest of Cainism
Another space opera well worth checking out is Timothy Zahn's Conquerors trilogy: well written and with a fairly interesting storyline.
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