Sci-Fi Romance discussion

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message 1: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Gilmore While I was researching SF sub-genre's, I came across a defintion for space opera, and I'm wondering what the difference is between a space opera and SF romance? Is it the setting?


message 2: by Frances (new)

Frances (mothindarkness) I suspect it would depend on who's definition of Space Opera we're talking about. But usually it has something to do with the primary plot thread vs. the secondary one. If the primary thread is the romance, its likely SFR. If the romance is less significant than the flying/blasting/rescuing/alien adventure, it would probably go under Space Opera.

:-)
Frances


message 3: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Gilmore Frances wrote: "I suspect it would depend on who's definition of Space Opera we're talking about. But usually it has something to do with the primary plot thread vs. the secondary one. If the primary thread is the..."

Thanks Frances!


message 4: by new_user (new)

new_user | 755 comments Thanks, Frances! Good question, Michelle. I was just talking to a friend about this. Apparently, the term used to be less than flattering and borrowed from "soap opera," LOL. Nowadays, I think it's more adventure in space-- er, ships, LOL.

I like this better than planetary romance (where the plot takes place planetside) because space opera never seems to lose its scifi feel, whereas planetary romance seems to turn into romance or fantasy once the ship lands.


message 5: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Gilmore new_user wrote: "Thanks, Frances! Good question, Michelle. I was just talking to a friend about this. Apparently, the term used to be less than flattering and borrowed from "soap opera," LOL. Nowadays, I think it's..."

I bought 2 books from S.L Viehl's Stardoc series from the used bookstoreafter someone in this group mentioned it. I get the impression that this series takes place on a spaceship. Am I right?


NebulousGloom (FK) (nebulousgloom) | 30 comments Star Wars is considered the definition of Space Opera. Some romance, but not enough to be called Romance (I've started trying to explain that I want romance with a big "R" in what I read, not just a little bit of romance). As for planetary romance, I think that it can certainly be done well and definitely be sci-fi (Close Encounters by Katherine Allred), but I also agree that it easily slips into fantasy (I'm fine if it just turns into romance).


message 7: by new_user (new)

new_user | 755 comments Yeah, Michelle, I'm pretty sure the Stardoc series classifies as space opera since I don't think they stay on one planet either.

I think the only planetary romances I've liked are Barrayar by Bujold and some of the Rowan books by McCaffrey. Definitely remains scifi with detail instead of that indistinct, amorphous thing that some planetary romances become. I think it's partly to do with narrow world-building or maybe just not enough world-building.


message 8: by AnnaM (new)

AnnaM (annamc) | 1111 comments I'm not sure about the definition, but I never thought it had to do with location. I always assumed the soap opera/space opera connection of things like leaning more toward melodrama, and softer SF maybe even more fantasy-like elements.

For me SFR is usually mostly-to-half R versus SF. And, RSF is more SF and less R.


message 9: by Frances (new)

Frances (mothindarkness) Agreed Anna,

I think you could have space opera set on planet, so long as it had that "feel" to it. Melodrama is a good word. Both space opera and soap opera owe a lot of their tone to traditional opera, and we know how calm and level headed that is, right?
Its not a bad thing, in my opinion. Obviously I don't think space opera has to have everything in common with soap opera, but they do share a common ancestor. ;-) I like the action adventure pace, the touch of camp, and like you said, a little less serious attitiude that you can infuse into space opera.
Soap opera with better gadgets?
:-)
Frances


message 10: by Frances (new)

Frances (mothindarkness) Felicia,

I blogged about that recently, how do you know if you're a SFR fan or a RSF fan?
One of my favorite signs you like Romance with the big R was if you feel very strongly that the Han/Leia thing was the most significant plot thread in the original trilogy. :-D I do, of course.


message 11: by new_user (new)

new_user | 755 comments Soap opera with better gadgets! LOL! I like that. :D What is scifi called if it takes place in space and it's more serious?

Argh, if I start making distinctions between SFR and RSF, I'll go crazy! I know what you're saying though. I never thought about it, but it's good to know when you're making recommendations which a friend prefers, more or less R. Now I get the "romantic scifi" classification on the Sirantha Jax series, LOL.


message 12: by AnnaM (new)

AnnaM (annamc) | 1111 comments For the purposes of the 2010 SFR Challenge, they counted pretty much any SF with any amount of Romance in it. So I've read the full spectrum this year.


message 13: by Jacqueline J (last edited Nov 27, 2010 05:09PM) (new)

Jacqueline J | 154 comments I agree with the following definition:

Hartwell and Cramer (2006 anthology of space operas) define space opera as "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."

In my opinion, if it doesn't take place mostly on ships, it isn't space opera. Also, in my opinion, space opera does not have to be campy or funny, although it can be. The major element is the space ships and the grand adventure. Any SFR can be a space opera but it doesn't have to be. But I'll certainly like it better if it is.


Some good examples are:Dauntless
Lt. Leary, Commanding
Agent of Change
Trading in Danger


message 14: by Jadetyger (new)

Jadetyger Sevea | 56 comments Jacqueline wrote: "I agree with the following definition:

Hartwell and Cramer (2006 anthology of space operas) define space opera as "colorful, dramatic, large-scale science fiction adventure, competently and some..."


::nods:: That pretty much nails it for me, as well. I'd love to see a further list with good space opera titles, as I love this particular genre.


message 15: by new_user (new)

new_user | 755 comments I like that definition too, Jacqueline. I don't particularly like funny or campy, personally. LOL. So I appreciate that. I notice that some space opera varies very widely in the scale of events, some moving from character to character while others focus more narrowly on the hero or heroine.

I love it too! In fact, I think it's one of my favorite subgenres. Here are some I've read recently:

Peacekeeper (Major Ariane Kedros, #1) by Laura E. Reeve Shards of Honour (Vorkosigan Saga, #1) by Lois McMaster Bujold Grimspace (Sirantha Jax, #1) by Ann Aguirre Song of Scarabaeus by Sara Creasy

I really have to get to building our group shelves... >.> LOL.


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