In this episode we discuss Space Opera and all the endless tangents. This is a LONG conversation (we almost split it in two, but we’re trying to catch up episodes to our current reading topic). We talk about losing our solid footing on genre definitions, defining the term “worldbuilding”, when re-reading books from your youth goes horribly wrong, wondering just what is up with those TV and movie tie-ins, misogyny infecting Sci-Fi classics (Oh, hello there Sad Puppies), the delight of scientists reading Sci-Fi, and so much more.
Your Hosts This Episode
Anna Ferri | Meghan Whyte | Matthew Murray | Amanda Wanner
Space Opera We Read (or kinda):
Did Not Finish
Other titles and media mentioned
- Mass Effect video games are totally Space Opera, especially if you read all the internal game encyclopedia entries like Matthew.
- The Mote in God’s Eye by Larry Niven, and Jerry Pournelle
- The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin (not exactly Space Opera but totally recommended)
- Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
- Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein - Military Sci-Fi or Space Opera??
- Space Opera by Jack Vance - An opera troupe in Space
- Red Spider White Web by Misha Nogha
- The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (Have you not read this yet? It’s short - go read it!)
- District 9 movie
- Firefly TV series & Serenity movie & the Firefly comics (pretty much all recommended highly)
- Please skip Sassinak and read Elizabeth Moon’s excellent connected series set in the world of Paksenarrion (Fantasy not Sci-Fi), or at least read the three books of The Deed of Paksenarrion.
- All those zillion Pern books (Science Fantasy series) by Anne McCaffrey
- Dune by Frank Herbert (hefty but worth a read - recommended)
- The Martian by Andy Weir (about space but not Space Opera and definitely recommended)
- Transformers: More than Meets the Eye, Vol. 1 (comic book series) (recommended even if you don't care about Transformers. Really! )
- Ascension (Tangled Axon, #1) by Jacqueline Koyanagi (Meghan mis-spoke and called this book “Ascendent”)
- After Man by Dougal Dixon (so cool!)
- Octavia’s Brood edited by Walidah Imarisha, and Adrienne Maree Brown
- Samuel Delaney - We discuss Dhalgren which is not space focused, but Delaney has a few space books to try.
- Illuminae by Amie Kaufman, and Jay Kristoff (YA Space Opera - read before the month, recommended)
- A Confusion of Princes by Garth Nix (read after the episode, recommended)
- What (the heck) is space opera? (We thought we knew! We were so naive.)
- What is Worldbuilding?
- Any suggestions of your favourite instances of worldbuilding?
- Is bug punk real?
- Who else wants a “Ten Rules to Break When Dating a Space Pirate” from Sarah MacLean?
- Are Star Trek tie-in novels Space Opera?
- What’s the relationship between Space Opera/space-based Sci-Fi and the history of Colonialism?
Check out our Pinterest board and Tumblr posts for all the Space Opera people in our club read (or tried to read), and follow us on Twitter!