Who likes space opera? Who wants to talk about it? Who wants to discuss its merits and its weaknesses?
For those who don't know, space opera is a style within the genre of sci-fi. It's characterized by swashbuckling muscular men, sexy half-clothed damsels in distress, rayguns, evil aliens, rather large spaceships that get into laser battles with other spaceships, and a rather dim view on epic themes other than blowin' shit up.
Now I like space opera because it's trashy fun. It's not pretentious, it doesn't require a lot of work, and it has garish covers, generally. Garish and titillating.
BUT I don't want disgusting offensive, insult-your-intelligence space opera where the heroine is not-ironically called Lacey SexYouUp, or something like that.
So my favourite space opera story has to be the Hyperion cycle from Dan Simmons, that comprises Hyperion, The Fall Of Hyperion, Endymion, and the Rise of Endymion. Not only is it classic timestream-f*$&ing, spaceship-killing space opera, but it's also replete with fun snazzy literary references to Keats and other things. It also features the Shrike, this four-armed possible-robot made of razor wire that impales people on a tree of thorns with no logical origin (until later in the cycle - possibly - explanations are unreliable in this story). This Shrike operates outside of normal linear time and is unbeatable, no hyperbole.
I read the second volume, The Fall of Hyperion in two days because it was so awesome that it was off the awesome scale. It was four hundred pages of pure epic spacebattle that ranges from the present setting of the book (the future) to a far far far future to the past, and everywhere in the universe (which is also in the past and future! whoa - mindbending)
My next fav is the Ilium/Olympos duo from the same author. Essentially we follow this time-transplanted classics scholar as he watches far-future Greek Gods from Mars play out with entire Trojan War on an alternate universe Earth. That synopsis doesn't even scratch the surface!
I'm going to be reading John C Wright's Golden Age trilogy next. Anybody read that? Anybody going to read it that wants to discuss?
What's your fav space opera? Do you like space opera? Do you think space opera is crap? Does the definition of space opera (as presented above) need changing? Does this mean space opera can't be intelligent or deal with epic themes in a complex way because of the outlined definition?