Sunday Oct 30, 2022

Episode 588: Let’s Talk About Space (Opera), Baybee...

With Gary about to leave for the World Fantasy Convention to be held in New Orleans next week, and with Jonathan in the process of assembling anthologies on the most recent iterations of space opera, we spend most of our time discussing the characteristics, history, and too-common misuse of that venerable term.

While we do touch briefly on the etymology of 'space opera', and on the pulp-era adventures that Wilson Tucker had in mind when he rather contemptuously coined the term in 1941, most of the discussion focuses on how the idea has evolved since M. John Harrison set out to demolish the old-school space opera with The Centauri Device in 1974, the efforts of Paul J. McAuley and others to define a new space opera in the 1980s (and Jonathan and Gardner Dozois’s The New Space Opera anthologies of 2007 and 2010), the influence of media, and more recent examples ranging from James S.A. Corey’s Expanse series to Aliette de Bodard’s Xuya universe, Nnedi Okorafor’s Binti series, and other authors who have energetically begun to reclaim space opera for a more diverse cast of characters. We fully expect enthusiastic disagreements.

As always, we hope you enjoy the episode. See you all again after World Fantasy!

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