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Space Opera

3.48  ·  Rating details ·  264 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
An opera company composed of aliens from a world no human is familiar with makes a concert hall appearance on Earth. Their music is strange, somewhat disconcerting, but the performance closes to rave reviews. The next day, every one of the aliens has vanished. They didn't leave by spaceship, and it seems impossible to believe they have successfully hidden themselves on a s ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 168 pages
Published March 1982 by Coronet Books (first published February 1965)
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Dec 30, 2016 rated it liked it
This is a light hearted, easy to read, short novel that is likely to appeal primarily to Vance fans. Although the opera troupe featured in this book plays some serious opera, the book itself is definitely "light opera." Beginning with the title of the book, which is also a term for a subgenre of science fiction, Vance provides us with funny, entertaining adventures of an opera company from Earth that is created to travel to other planets to introduce their populace to opera. The leaders of the t ...more
Vance plays on the phrase 'Space Opera' by offering ... space opera. The result is the very definition of farce, as a well-meaning philanthropist and her opera troupe wander the stars offering a taste of Earth's culture.

The setup is decent, and the fulfillment is okay, but for me this lacked Vance's usual sparkle and color. It's funny, but not as funny as Vance often is. The characters are drawn too clearly; there's not much in the way of subtlety. It's an episodic story, and the episodes are fu
Dec 02, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The book is divided among several subplots: the journey to the mysterious planet Rlaru, the mysterious interference and mission of Madoc Roswyn, and the continual conflict between Roger Wool and his wealthy aunt Dame Isabel. All within the comic framework of a space-traveling opera troupe as it encounters unappreciative or incompatible civilizations for performances.

It's about one component too many for the limited space, and as a result each of these things feels slightly short-changed. ((view
Jul 17, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Jack Vance and lovers of classical music
Shelves: science-fiction
I adore classical music, but mostly composers from the baroque and classical era. My interest begins to wane with the romantic era. I do not enjoy opera. My tastes are rather rigid and I accept that many of my friends and family do not like any kind of classical music. If human beings are divided on the subject, how would alien species respond to, say, operatic performances?

Space Opera is literally about an opera company taking to the stars to bring the height of musical culture to aliens. The c
Jim Jones
Oct 08, 2012 rated it liked it
If PG Wodehouse wrote a SF novel, this would probably be it. There's a certain fussiness in the writing that seems more Edwardian than futuristic. Vance's witty dialog and fast-paced plot, which involves a rich, overbearing aunt who brings Earth operas to the universe via a touring company, make this a fun, fast read. But the book also actually has something to say too about assumptions of cultural superiority. The satire is Swiftian at times.
Jul 26, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of comedic SF
Recommended to Skjam! by: Convergence panel
It’s not that Roger Wool doesn’t want to work, as such. It’s that he doesn’t want to be tied down to a single job day after day, the same desk in the same office. And he’s too well-bred for most work that involves wandering from place to place doing odd jobs as they come. Fortunately, his wealthy aunt Dame Isabel Grayce has been willing to subsidize Roger living in the manner to which he’s accustomed, in exchange for being available for her every whim.

And while opera is not Roger’s thing, the av
May 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-fantasy, adventure
Een verhaal uit de jaren zestig van de 20e eeuw, maar zeker niet gedateerd. Naar mijn idee is het achterliggende idee nog steeds geldig. Idealisme kan leiden tot vele problemen, maar ook hele mooie dingen opleveren. Zonder idealisme zou het allemaal een stuk saaier zijn. Aan de andere kant kan idealisme ook kortzichtigheid tot gevolg hebben.
Het verhaal is, zoals we dat gewend zijn van Jack Vance, vlot geschreven en het leest dan ook als een trein.
Jun 28, 2013 rated it it was ok
I began "Space Opera" with great anticipation. After all, it was a Jack Vance story (an author I've greatly enjoyed in the past) and a mix of science fiction (which I like), classical music (which I also like), and Wodehousian humor (which I especially like)--complete with a lazy nephew, a rich, domineering aunt, misunderstandings, mix-ups, broken engagements, and a dash of silliness. I expected this to make my fiction favorites list. Alas, it didn't.

It would seem that Vance attempted to adopt n
Boy, it stings to give such a low rating to a Vance novel. This just isn't very good. Ultimately, its pointless. There is a unique and excellent idea, filled with possibility and creative potential, that is executed in a bland fashion, to no great result.

The idea forming the backbone of this novel is great. But the end product is a slow, tedious, dull read with sporadic moments of interesting scenes. I wanted so much more out of this novel; disappointing in the extreme.
Jun 03, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An average Jack Vance novel, although not without humorous moments. It is a picaresque tour through the Vancian space realms with a rogue hero. A central character (the rogue hero's aunt) reminds me of Margaret Dumont (from many of the Marx Brothers' films): she wants things to be "just so", but really doesn't know what's going on all around he.
Betty Boothe
Do you like space opera? Here is real space opera -- an opera company from Earth going on tour to different planets. It's not very good, but it's Jack Vance, so it's cheerfully bad, and that's something, at any rate.
Florin Pitea
Jan 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An entertaining space opera about... traveling through space to perform opera on various exotic planets. For a more detailed presentation, please visit my blog here:
Apr 26, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Space Opera must be taken literal. A band of opera singers are travelling from star to star, do performances and find themselves in conflict with the natives. It's a very light read, but entertaining.
Jan 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not the first Jack Vance novel you'll ever read and maybe not the best. It's still entertaining, quality Vance work and certainly worth the read.
Stephen Simpson
Jun 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
It's a light, fast read, but it is amusing and up to the typical quality/standard of Vance. Definitely an under-appreciated work that is well worth reading
Apr 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is copy 48 of 200 signed numbered copies.
Dec 15, 2011 rated it liked it
Opera company tours galaxy to bring music to the autochthons. Funny things happen, as Human intentions are misinterpreted/mistranslated. Not quite up to par for Vance.
Booknerd Fraser
One of Vance's satires that misses the mark.
Aug 12, 2014 rated it liked it
Space opera - opera in first Jack Vance book...quick & fun.
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Nov 26, 2014
Rohan McElwee
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Nov 05, 2011
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Jan 21, 2016
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Apr 01, 2013
Michael Garza
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Jun 29, 2014
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May 23, 2012
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Aug 11, 2015
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May 18, 2014
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Aka John Holbrooke Vance, Peter Held, John Holbrook, Ellery Queen, John van See, Alan Wade.

The author was born in 1916 and educated at the University of California, first as a mining engineer, then majoring in physics and finally in journalism. During the 1940s and 1950s, he contributed widely to science fiction and fantasy magazines. His first novel, The Dying Earth, was published in 1950 to grea
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