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): Recommended Retribution Falls by Chris Wooding (lukewarm recommendation by a reader who is deeply ambivalent about anything speculative, Sci-Fi, or Fantasy in nature) Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke (not spectacular but a slow-burn, exploratory read) Diving into the Wreck by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (difficult to like narrator warning) Ancillary Mercy (and the entire Ancillary Justice series) (HIGHLY recommended series) Accessing the Future: A Disability-Themed Anthology of Speculative Fiction edited by Kathryn Allan Lightless by C.A. Higgins Read Sassinak by Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Moon Knights of Sidonia, Vol. 1 by Tsutomu Nihei, translated by Kumar Sivasubramanian Space Opera edited by Brian W. Aldiss (Features stories from 1900 (!) - 1972. Most are from the 1950s) More Adventures on Other Planets edited by Donald A. Wollheim Stitching Snow by R. C. Lewis (Not so much Space Opera and not enough girl mechanic) The Year’s Best Military SF & Space Opera 2015 edited by David Afsharirad Did Not Finish Armada by Ernest Cline (read this Wikipedia article about a video game urban legend instead) Red Rising by Pierce Brown Use of Weapons by Iain M. Banks (would try another one by this author) The Star Dancers by Spider Robinson and Jeanne Robinson The Sheriff of Yrnameer by Michael Rubens A Deepness in the Sky by Vernor Vinge (so long - for 900+ pages, would prefer to try the better known A Fire Upon the Deep, which was recommended by another group member) The Warrior’s Apprentice by Lois McMaster Bujold (recommended to us - ran out of time this month; try it as an audiobook?) Koko the Mighty by Kieran Shea (really enjoyed Koko Takes a Holiday) 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) Links etc. OK Go Upside Down & Inside Out (music video shot in zero gravity) The review of Ancillary Justice Anna tried to read without being spoiled for the book The Wikipedia article on Space Opera bring up many aspects of the definition we discussed and is worth a skim, at least. Scientists read sci-fi and have opinions about it Read some stuff (here, here, and here are a few to start with) about Sad Puppies if you care about issues of diversity in publishing, book awards, and media more generally. Check it out: Afro futurism Book Riot sympathises with Sci-Fi fans Xenoanthropology Questions 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!