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message 74: by Nick, Founder (In Absentia) (new)

Nick (nickqueen) | 311 comments Mod
I'm ending it soon and adding a poll. I've been swamped, however so there might be a delay.


message 73: by John (new)

John Karr (Karr) | 32 comments To Ben's point on the plethora of nominations ... is there a poll or something for this? Maybe one in which the person making a recommendation can add to the poll?


message 72: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey | 202 comments THere is also Vinge's sequel which is called a Deepness in the Sky. but my nomination would be Old Man's War by John Scalzi.


message 71: by Carly (new)

Carly | 25 comments Well, I don't really know space opera that well, but I voted for the genre. It just sounds cool. So these are my suggestions (mostly influenced by the wikipedia entry on space opera and slightly influenced by whether the book appeared available on amazon):
1. Keeping It Real (Quantum Gravity, Book 1) by Justina Robson (this one sounds fun w/ "sex, rockin' elves and drunk faeries" from the Publisher's Weekly review)
2. Mappa Mundi by Justina Robson
3. Natural History by Justina Robson
4. Skylark Three by E. E. "Doc" Smith
5. Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein (it was suggested above)
---
I would also read The New Space Opera compilation (suggested above). Although maybe Hitchhiker's Guide doesn't seem traditional, I would maybe read that b/c it's funny. Along those lines if there were more copies around, I'd read What Mad Universe by Frederic Brown b/c it's a genre parody.


message 70: by Brad (new)

Brad (judekyle) | 1639 comments I think RGB has a good point, but I don't know the old Space Opera well enough to make any suggestions.


message 69: by Jeff (new)

Jeff | 6 comments Mos of Jack Vance's books could be considered space opera: The Dying Earth, Emphyrio, The Planet of Adventure series, The Demon Princes series, Showboat World, etc... There are some that are more fantasy but these are mostly what I call space opera!


message 68: by April (new)

April | 2 comments I'm seconding the Hyperion Cantos. The whole thing. I guess I consider it more science fantasy than anything, but it certainly fits the bill for space opera as well.

Please, please read Catherine Asaro's works. There are several. You can read them chronologically or not, however you want. All of them explain enough. http://www.catherineasaro.net/index.html
I just finished Ascendant Sun, the sequel to The Last Hawk. It was amazing.

Linnea Sinclair's Gabriel's Ghost was awesome. So was Ann Aguirre's Grimspace. Those both have sequels, but they would stand alone.

My 2 cents.


message 67: by Shannon (Giraffe Days) (last edited Nov 25, 2008 09:37AM) (new)

Shannon (Giraffe Days) (Giraffe_Days) GW: I certainly read Hitchhikers as one complete novel, it wouldn't be half so good if too much time went by in-between volumes. My concern with the Crystal Singer books (I thought there were only three but it's been a long time)is that it's quite long - an easy read, but the size could put people off.

I've changed my mind cause you make a good argument: I agree with Ben etc.: including Hitchhikers in the poll would unbalance it because it's such a recognisable title, so it might be better to leave it off.

I have a new nomination: Jaran by Kate Elliott - excellent book, first in a four-book series that's amazing.

Wow, I hardly recognise any of these titles. I picked up Hyperion yesterday out of curiosity but I think I'd only read it if it was voted for.

I pity whoever has to go through this thread and decipher the nominations.

That'll be Nick or me, Ben :) Speaking of which, when is the deadline for getting these nominations in? I never thought of it before. Nick? How long is this open for?


message 66: by Forrest (last edited Nov 25, 2008 08:11AM) (new)

Forrest (forrest_mcdonald) | 2 comments Having heard so much about it recently, I'm interested in a "Lensman" read; as I'm not familiar with the series at all, I'm open to suggestions regarding the starting volume (i.e. Triplanetary: A Tale of Cosmic Adventure or Galactic Patrol).


message 65: by bsc (new)

bsc (bsc0) | 251 comments I pity whoever has to go through this thread and decipher the nominations.


message 64: by GW (new)

GW Pickle (GWPickle) | 13 comments rgb posted
MOST of the choices that have been proposed so far are much more what I'd call "mainstream Science Fiction" than "Space Opera". Space Opera involves things like space pirates, bug-eyed monsters, FTL travel with no particular effort expended on explaining how an itty-bitty spaceship can carry enough energy to travel halfway across the galaxy and fight a space battle involving enormous fleets that it finds waiting in its path halfway there. Little things like the speed of light, energy conservation, common sense mean nothing to it -- it is a form of "fantasy" about the laws of nature that requires good-natured willingness to suspend disbelief far beyond that demanded by Brin or Niven. It has protagonists carrying, and sometimes using, "blasters", "laser pistols", personal shields, and even swords. There was a whole era of SF where the pulps supported SF authors, who in turn wrote lurid serialized tales that could be published in the pulps -- the "golden age" of space opera, as it were.

With this defination you could include the Dune series.
G W Pickle





message 63: by Jim (last edited Nov 25, 2008 03:20AM) (new)

Jim (JimMacLachlan) I'll second L.E. Modesitt Jr. as an author to read. Besides the Forever Hero (one of my favorite trilogies The Forever Hero: Dawn for a Distant Earth, The Silent Warrior, In Endless Twilight) he also wrote the EcoThe Ecologic Envoy along with 3 other books. The last is a space operas for sure. The first two don't have space fights.

If we need cheese, I can't think of a better book than John W. Campbell Jr.'s Arcot, Wade & Morey trilogy. Any one of the books, although I don't know how easy they are to find. I have Islands of Space, but I don't know if I've seen the rest around. Haven't really looked. It might be easier to find Star Smashers of the Galaxy Rangers by Harry Harrison which is a spoof on them.

Macroscope by Piers Anthony is probably his best book, IMO. No space fleets, though.


message 62: by Robert (new)

Robert (rgbatduke) | 35 comments I agree that the Foundation series isn't really space opera -- more like classic SF -- but it is still good and well worth reading if you are a SF lover and still haven't. The original trilogy is quite excellent, and the continued series is tolerable for as long as Asimov was writing it. I haven't really read the extensions, since as far as I'm concerned the last scene in the last book was an adequately satisfactory ending to a series that was already edging out into the "too long" category.

This is one of the "great" future histories, really. One day as an extended project (not a simple book read, but a series of series reads) it might be worth doing "comparative future histories) and reading/critiquing/discussing something like:

Heinlein (Father of the loosely chained future history, in some sense)
Asimov (Robot AND Foundation, of course)
Niven (one of my favorite authors of all time)
Brin
McCaffery
Bujold

and maybe one or two more that I'm forgetting. A "future history" by definition a series of novels by a single author (or in a few cases, by multiple authors) that are not obviously or directly plot connected but that nevertheless all take place in a single "future universe", so that each novel is a part of the other novels' future or past. They often contain actual series (usually short) inside.

Having a single coherent future universe might even be one of the defining characterists of SF master (or might not -- interesting topic of discussion right there:-). If nothing else, it provides readers with a degree of comfort and familiarity without the arm-twisting associated with wheel-of-time-like interminable series. A master's books tend to "finish" at some point and be readable without ALWAYS being left hanging...

Back on topic, I'm trying to scratch my brain and think up some old/forgotten SF that is loosely describable as space opera:

Piers Anthony's Macroscope
Niven and Pournelle's Mote in God's Eye etc

(Neither of which is properly cheesy enough, but which are damn good reads with large fleets, BEMs, cosmic "sweep" to the story.)

Let's see, cheesy, cheesy... ERB's Mars series is definitely cheesy and is the prototype of all SO but it is lacking the "space" part -- no fleets of space ships.

Asimov's Lucky Starr e.g. Lucky Starr and the Pirates of the Asteroids -- can't get much cheesier or operatic, and Asimov is a grand master and even books like this are "good" books.

Heinlein's Have Spacesuit, Will Travel is actually a lovely novel, one of my favorites. Everybody has read (or more likely seen the movie) Starship Troopers, but HSWT is relatively unknown and has a winsome charm. Heinlein's "Rocket Ship Galileo" is near-space opera as well, complete with "pirates" operating on the moon in the form of leftover Nazis. A bit short of BEMs, though.

Edmund Hamilton wrote a pile of Space Opera back in the 30's through the 60's. Interstellar Patrol, Captain Future, Starwolf, etc. Can't go wrong there, dozens of titles to choose from (hopefully some still in print).

Lin Carter was a master of cheese -- Jandar of Callisto, Green Star, Outworlder. He righteously ripped off ERB but promoted ERB's pre-spaceflight into out and out SO.

Andre Norton had a number of novels that were arguably SO. Blasters and BEMs. Beast Master, Star Hunter, Voodoo Planet. Astra (The Stars are Ours!).

Jack Chalker's Well of Souls series.

You see where I'm going with this. MOST of the choices that have been proposed so far are much more what I'd call "mainstream Science Fiction" than "Space Opera". Space Opera involves things like space pirates, bug-eyed monsters, FTL travel with no particular effort expended on explaining how an itty-bitty spaceship can carry enough energy to travel halfway across the galaxy and fight a space battle involving enormous fleets that it finds waiting in its path halfway there. Little things like the speed of light, energy conservation, common sense mean nothing to it -- it is a form of "fantasy" about the laws of nature that requires good-natured willingness to suspend disbelief far beyond that demanded by Brin or Niven. It has protagonists carrying, and sometimes using, "blasters", "laser pistols", personal shields, and even swords. There was a whole era of SF where the pulps supported SF authors, who in turn wrote lurid serialized tales that could be published in the pulps -- the "golden age" of space opera, as it were. I'd suggest we mine some of this instead of going contemporary, because contemporary SF (with the obvious exception of Star Trek and Star Wars) just isn't cheesy enough to be considered Space Opera.

rgb


message 61: by Nick (new)

Nick (ndoerrabbott) | 55 comments The New Space Opera

A great survey of the sub-genre, just out in paperback.

The New Space Opera


message 60: by Adam (last edited Nov 24, 2008 07:14PM) (new)

Adam | 8 comments I second the Banks books, especially the original Culture Trilogy(though Algebraist and Matter are also very good.)
Any of Alastair Reynolds Revelation Space books(Revelation Space, Chasm City, Redemption Arc, Galactic North, Absolution Gap, and Diamond Dogs/Turquoise Days.)
M. John Harrison Light, Nova Swing, and Centauri Device
Alfred Bester My Stars my Destination aka Tiger Tiger
Samuel Delaney Nova
Rhys Hughes Crystal Cosmos
George R.R. Martin Nightflyers
Bruce Sterling Shismatrix
Charles Stross Accelerando, Singularity Sky, Iron Sunrise, and Glasshouse
Michael Swanwick Vacuum Flowers



message 59: by Mary JL (new)

Mary JL (MaryJL) | 181 comments I'll join the chorus of "No" votes for Hitchiker. It is more humor/parody than space opera. I had forgotten the Seafort series--Midshipman's Hope is quite good also.

But, I think I will stay with my nomination of the Lensmen Series, Book Three, Galactic Patrol. It was one of the very first space operas AND not many people have read it.


message 58: by Kevinalbee (new)

Kevinalbee | 188 comments I would be interested in Modesitt's the forever hero.


no to hichhiker



message 57: by Jon (new)

Jon (jonmoss) | 894 comments I third the the "NO" vote for Hitchhicker. Please don't make me read that. :P


message 56: by Jim (last edited Nov 24, 2008 10:56AM) (new)

Jim (JimMacLachlan) How about Keith Laumer? Diplomat at Arms is a Retief novel. Earthblood is full of aliens & adventure.

I'll second the 'NO' vote for Hitchhiker.



message 55: by bsc (new)

bsc (bsc0) | 251 comments Just my opinion of course, but I'm afraid that if Hitchhiker's Guide is in the poll, it will runaway with the win...knowing how this group tends to vote. I, for one, do not think it would make for interesting discussions.


message 54: by Carolyn (last edited Nov 24, 2008 11:04AM) (new)

Carolyn (seeford) | 203 comments
I started a list in the Listopia section for Excellent Space Opera and put a bunch of my suggestions in there (I did ask for only the first book in a series to be listed though, to keep down the sheer number of them.)
Please go add some of your suggestions!
http://www.goodreads.com/list/show_ta...

My vote is for reading one of the Lensman books - they are classic space opera, yet something I've never gotten around to reading before.

Some space opera series I haven't seen posted in this thread yet (that I recommend):

Seafort Saga, the first book is Midshipman's Hope

The Outback Stars, first in a series by an Australian author

Herris Serrano series, the first book is
Hunting Party: Book 1

Esmay Suiza series, spinoff from Serrano series, the first book is:
Once a Hero

Drakas series, the omnibus is
The Domination

Hammers Slammers series

the General series, first book is The Forge

IMHO:
I don't think that Hitchiker's Guide really qualifies for space opera - it is more of the story of a single/group of adventurers than it is a story of large conflict, etc of the definition.
By the same token, I love the Crystal Singer series, but it too is the story of an individual and her life and adventures, not anything larger.

I think stuff like the Foundation series is too 'deep' to be space opera - reading that stuff really stretched my brain to keep on top of the philosophical/social science theory that permeates it. By the same token, the Uplift series is fabulous, but is also too 'deep' to be space opera - lots of ethics and politics, not so much 'romantic swashbuckling adventure'.

Most space opera seems to be militaristic in nature, because that is where you see the battles, the large-scale conflict, the conflict of good v evil. Heck, even Star Wars has tons of space battles!



This Is Not The Michael You're Looking For Space opera is characterised by big, romantic, possibly melodramatic adventure tales set primarily in space, usually involving fleets of spaceships, federations, empires or coalitions, powerful heroes and dastardly villains and large dramatic gestures.

I'd say that Foundation is NOT space opera. The later books might qualify, but the first book does not fit.

The Crystal Singer trilogy is also not space opera. I like the first two books quite a bit, but they really don't fit the description.

Hitchhiker's Guide is an interesting suggestion...when I first saw it listed I didn't think it would qualify, but rereading the definition again, I can see how it would fit and since it's one of my favorite books...




message 52: by GW (new)

GW Pickle (GWPickle) | 13 comments Shannon
Yes, it's a fun book. Adams is very good at this kind of writing. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a must read, but I believe it's more comedy/parody/spoof. He pokes fun at everything and everybody.
Shannon you wrote:

I really enjoyed the Crystal Singer trilogy - I'm not sure how much fun it'd be just to read the first book of it though. I have the omnibus and read them right through, which made for a good read.

With 4+ books in the trilogy, can't the same thing be said about Hitchhiker's Guide?
On the side have you ever seen the BBC's mini series of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy? IMHO it's way better than the recent movie.

On a different note, how about Have Spacesuit Will Travel?

G W Pickle



message 51: by Jim (new)

Jim (JimMacLachlan) Armor by John Steakley
The Forever War by Joe Haldeman
Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein

All three have a very similar basic plot, but with different takes on the situation. It's especially cool to read Heinlein versus Haldeman. The first idolized the military after serving in peacetime & the second hated after serving in Vietnam. Steakley is off on his own tangent, but it's a wonderful book.


Shannon (Giraffe Days) (Giraffe_Days) It might be fun to critique one of the classics

Sullypython: that's definitely what we do best here! Someone recommended that book to me but I wasn't interested: I have it in my head that it's really dry and heavy. (No reason, I just got scared off sci-fi years ago and am only now getting into it.)

Dannii, I was wondering when anyone would get around to recommending The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy , that should definitely go on the list!

I really enjoyed the Crystal Singer trilogy - I'm not sure how much fun it'd be just to read the first book of it though. I have the omnibus and read them right through, which made for a good read.


Dannii (lilbob1980) | 8 comments How about "Road To Mars" by Eric Idle. I'm not 100% sure if it qualifies, it's along a similar vein to "hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy" so it is set in space.


message 48: by Stephen (new)

Stephen (sullypython) | 12 comments
How about Foundation by Isaac Asimov. It might be fun to critique one of the classics

Another good one might be Dread Empire's Fall : The Praxis by Walter Jon Williams


message 47: by Jeff (new)

Jeff | 6 comments Thomas,
I would not like to read this as our Space Opera selection because of its dark "feel". I loved Donaldson's Thomas Covenant series, but was turned off by most everything h wrot after that. Just one man's opinion...


message 46: by Jakub (new)

Jakub (jnareb) | 29 comments I know I have put recommendations already, but I'd like to point out bit untypical space opera by Simon R. Green: the Deathstalker (first of the series).


This Is Not The Michael You're Looking For I really disliked Light. I found it to be too random and impenetrable.


message 44: by bsc (new)

bsc (bsc0) | 251 comments I would love to read Pandora's Star someday but it is huge. Plus you have to read the sequel which is equally huge.


message 43: by Robert (new)

Robert (rgbatduke) | 35 comments (To Michael) Talking Dolphins and (in Sundiver talking sophont Broccolli.

And yeah, it does have enormous space battles, cosmic billion year old conflicts, religious mania, and so on.

But the SCIENCE is too good to really be cheesy. Of course Brin has a Ph.D. in Astrophysics IIRC, so this is only to be expected. Even the talking dolphins make a lot of sense as an extrapolation given our rapidly expanding ability to manipulate genes. In a decade or two we could actually begin to practice "uplift". Hell, in a way we've been doing so for years -- look at dogs. But what we've done so far is nothing compared to what we can and will do when we can actually splice genes into eggs to form new species or radical alterations in old ones "deliberately".

Which we do already -- but only in e coli and the like.

That's the thing about Brin -- his work has more the feel of genuinely visionary classic science fiction more than space opera, except for the space war and talking vegetable thing...;-)

rgb


message 42: by GW (new)

GW Pickle (GWPickle) | 13 comments David Brin's Uplift series is good. I also like
Anne McCaffrey's Crystal Singer very much.
I'd like to nominate my book SENTI, BUT I WON'T. IMHO it's a great book, yes I did write it and my opinion is biased, so that's why I'm NOT going to nominate it. SENTI got good reviews and when my first (E book) publisher (StarDust Press) went out of business, a traditional publisher (Trytium Press)republished it as a paperback.
The Lensman series by E. E. Smith. is another excellent series.
If I had to nominate one I'd nominate Anne McCaffrey's Crystal Singer.
G W Pickle



message 41: by Jon (new)

Jon (jonmoss) | 894 comments I recently mooched Hyperion and On Basilisk Station. I also want to read Old Man's War but don't currently have a copy in my possession.

I'm looking forward to reading anything nominated and ultimately voted upon in this sub genre of science fiction. I can't make a recommendation though because I've never read a space opera novel (that I know of). :)


message 40: by bsc (new)

bsc (bsc0) | 251 comments So far, I really like the following nominations:

Light - Harrison is an excellent writer and this is supposed to be pretty weird and good.

Young Miles - Probably the best modern representation of space opera. Not read this one and they aren't really what I like to read but fits the theme really well.

A Fire Upon The Deep - A bit of hard SF mixed with space opera. This is kind of the next stage of space opera, with people like Stross, Alistair Reynolds, and Banks being big contributors. This is much more my kind of SF than classic space opera.

Hyperion - Great book with excellent writing. However, it kind of requires you to read the sequel to get any kind of closure (which I found a bit disappointing).

On Basilisk Station - This is the more military space opera that is pretty popular now. Never read these because I've heard the writing is sub-par but lots of people like them so I wouldn't mind giving it a shot with the group. Others in this category would be things like Old Man's War and The Forever War.



message 39: by Jensownzoo (new)

Jensownzoo | 201 comments That's good to hear, Shannon. I picked up a copy of Grimspace for my TBR pile a few weeks back. Will push that one a little further forward in the queue.


Shannon (Giraffe Days) (Giraffe_Days) Young Miles by Lois McMaster Bujold


If people want to recommend other books (but nominate just one), that would be great - it would help people like me! I recently read Grimspace and Wanderlust by Ann Aguirre and absolutely loved them - definitely space opera, I think, and really fun exciting reads.

I loved Consider Plebus, that was an excellent book. I didn't know it was considered Space Opera but the sci-fi sub-genres are pretty hazy to me.

Oh this is going to be fun!


message 37: by Jensownzoo (new)

Jensownzoo | 201 comments Would something like Sassinak by Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Moon be appropriate for this sub-genre?


message 36: by Mary JL (last edited Nov 22, 2008 05:48PM) (new)

Mary JL (MaryJL) | 181 comments I will recommend the book "Galactic Patrol" whic is book 3 of the Lensman series by E. E. Smith.

Note: Galactic Patrol was actually the first Lensman story to appear (in the s. f. magazines). Triplanetary (Lensman #1) was rewritten when the Lensman series was issued in book form. And "First Lensman" (Lensman #2) was actually written AFTER Galactic Patrol as a link between Book #1 and Book #3.

The first two are prequels and can be read later; also of the six books in the Lensman Series, Galactic Patrol is probably the most representative of space opera.


message 35: by John (new)

John Karr (Karr) | 32 comments But in space, no one can you scream, much less sing...


message 34: by Jeff (new)

Jeff | 1 comments I noticed someone mention "Trading in Danger" by Elizabeth Moon. That's got my vote.


message 33: by Dylan (new)

Dylan (dmfriend26) | 10 comments How about the first star wars book. I think it's called Darth Bane: Path of Destruction.


message 32: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey (JWhitsitt) Light
by M. John Harrison


message 31: by JuliAnna (last edited Nov 22, 2008 10:29AM) (new)

JuliAnna | 53 comments I understand the desire to keep the number for the poll from getting too long, but I would hate to curtail peoples recommendations of good books. I like Bunny's suggestion. Go ahead and tell us those you would recommend, but limit your nomination to one book.

Thanks to all for the great recommendations that I've gotten from these discussions. I especially love it when folks include a sentence explaining why they chose to recommend something.



message 30: by Nick, Founder (In Absentia) (new)

Nick (nickqueen) | 311 comments Mod
Hello,

I'm just trying to keep the poll list frm goig crazy. Of course, if others are mentioned I'm not going to shoot anyone...

Nick


message 29: by bsc (new)

bsc (bsc0) | 251 comments Why the limit of one book for suggestions? I understand one book to vote for... well, I can also understand that you want to limit number of suggestions.

These are the nominations that will end up in the poll that we will vote for. I think the "1 per" limit is to keep the poll from getting out of hand.


message 28: by Marc (new)

Marc (AuthorGuy) | 300 comments Anything by R.M. Meluch. Sovereign and The Queen's Squadron are my favorites but likely out of print. Here's a new one:

Wolf Star


message 27: by John (new)

John  (JohnAnealio) | 17 comments Mike Resnick's Mutiny from his Starship series.


message 26: by Charles (new)

Charles (lustephelo) The man who never missed, Steve Perry


message 25: by Jakub (new)

Jakub (jnareb) | 29 comments Why the limit of one book for suggestions? I understand one book to vote for... well, I can also understand that you want to limit number of suggestions.


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