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  • #76
    I remember reading an E.E. Smith book (can't remember which) and finding it quaint... in all senses of the word, but mostly in the "old-fashioned" sense.

    It makes me think of that phrase that "the golden age of science fiction is thirteen."
    I was past that age when I read E.E. Smith, maybe if I re-read it now I'd reappreciate it in its historical context, for its pioneering aspect, I don't know. I've seen some recent re-editions of the Lensman books, but used my money for more modern ouevres.

    But I do enjoy modern Space Opera, like C.J. Cherryh, David Brin's "Uplift" series, etc.
    And Babylon 5 could be called Space Opera too...
    Such... is the respect paid to science that the most absurd opinions may become current, provided they are expressed in language, the sound of which recalls some well-known scientific phrase
    James Clerk Maxwell (1831-79)

    Comment


    • #77
      And Babylon 5 could be called Space Opera too.
      Of course it is. The parallels to the Lensman series are plain:

      Galaxy spanning effort.
      Two incredibly ancient races at war, using the Younger races as Soldiers.
      Evolve your way to Understanding in order to win...

      EE Smith was, in some way, even More ambitious than JMS.
      His was was between two different Galaxies.
      B-5 only took place in One.

      The most amazing "Weapon" in the Lensman series converted an entire Solar System into a gigantic "Beam" weapon. (LASER Anyone?)
      The power of the weapon used the entire energy output of the Sun in that solar system.
      Makes the Vorlon Planet Killer look like a Paintball gun.
      Of course, it wasn't Portable. You had to sucker the Enemy into Attacking the solar system you built it in.

      He also had the answer to the Shadow planet Killer, too.
      The Negasphere. Essentially, a portable chunk of Antimatter of planetary mass.
      Go ahead. Make My Day.
      Tossing missles are a planet sized chunk of Antimatter is a waste of time. It just Eats them.
      But, if you drive a planet sized chunk of Negative Matter through the same space as a Shadow Planet Killer, no more Planet Killer...

      (Smith didn't consider Antimatter to be Explosive. His Negative matter and Positive Matter neutralized each other, pound for pound.
      Both forms of matter were just Gone.
      {Remember, we didn't understand the implications of Einstein's math all that well in the late 1930s.})

      JMS was very familiar with EE Smith. But, his CGI/EFX Budget had a few limits...

      Comment


      • #78
        Originally posted by Capt.Montoya
        I remember reading an E.E. Smith book (can't remember which) and finding it quaint... in all senses of the word, but mostly in the "old-fashioned" sense.

        It makes me think of that phrase that "the golden age of science fiction is thirteen."
        I think you have it it exactly. At least the type of SF that the likes of EE Smith wrote. It was always full more of hyperbole than actual ideas. Which is to say it was a product of its times. I don't think the Doc Smith originated the concept (since "Buck Rogers" predated it and was clearly space opera, and in fact Olaf Stapleton was more daring than Doc Smith long before Smith started to publish) but he cretainly popularized Space opera.

        But I do enjoy modern Space Opera, like C.J. Cherryh, David Brin's "Uplift" series, etc.
        And Babylon 5 could be called Space Opera too...
        I think you do a disservice to at least Brin and JMS, if you describe them as "modern versions of Doc Smith." Smith was not interested in anything but the stark story. CJC gets like that at times, and so maybe she deserves the title, but both Brin and JMS recognized limits to what they could do and say, and Doc Smith certainly did not. If he could think of it, his books could feature it.
        I believe that when we leave a place, part of it goes with us and part of us remains. Go anywhere in the station, when it is quiet, and just listen. After a while, you will hear the echoes of all our conversations, every thought and word we've exchanged. Long after we are gone .. our voices will linger in these walls for as long as this place remains. But I will admit .. that the part of me that is going .. will very much miss the part of you that is staying.

        Comment


        • #79
          Originally posted by grumbler
          I think you do a disservice to at least Brin and JMS, if you describe them as "modern versions of Doc Smith." Smith was not interested in anything but the stark story. CJC gets like that at times, and so maybe she deserves the title, but both Brin and JMS recognized limits to what they could do and say, and Doc Smith certainly did not. If he could think of it, his books could feature it.
          It's the same "disservice" I'd made in calling "science fiction" the work of Asimov, Bradbury, Ellison, Brin, Pol, Clarke, etc., etc., etc.
          After all "science fiction" was the stuff of pulp magazines in the 1920s that featured adventure and very little attention to real science...

          Genres evolve. The term "Space Opera" did become pejorative for a while, but that is no longer the case:
          Some issues in the evolution of space opera need to be addressed before we can fully understand what happened to hard sf.

          Over the last twenty years, the Hugo Awards for best novel for the last twenty years have generally gone to space opera or hard sfûfrom David Brin and C. J. Cherryh to Vernor Vinge, Lois McMaster Bujold, and Orson Scott Cardûwhile the shorter fiction awards have been distributed much more widely over the range of sf and fantasy styles and possibilities. It is arguable that the novel Hugo has always gone primarily to space opera, as currently defined, though many of the earlier winners, up to the end of the 1970s, would have been mortally offended to be identified as such. Space opera used to be a pejorative locution designating the worst form of formulaic hackwork.

          But in the early and mid-1980s, space opera completed a redefinition process begun in the late 1970s, underpinned in particular by the efforts of influential editors Lester and Judy-Lynn Del Rey, and by the 1990s space opera had become synonymous with popular science fiction adventure fiction. It was also the term most often used in the US to describe Star Trek and Star Wars fiction. It is clear that both films and television helped promote this redefinition. And finally, it is evident that this redefinition was intended to conflate hackneyed work with ambitious sf adventure fiction, to blur distinctions in order to sell more books and to make media tie-in-writing-for-hire fiction seem more respectable.

          [...]

          There are no neat divisions and clear boundaries; we merely observe large groupings and general tendencies. And new literary forms do not replace older ones, but coexist with them. There are examples of all forms of space opera, all the way down to the crudely executed TV tie-in romances or westerns couched in sf clothing to be found in publications of the 1990s and today. And all the forms of hard sf still appear, even the Gernsbackian idea story and the Campbellian problem-solving story, sometimes in rudimentary journalistic prose. The new did not drive out the old, but neither did the bad old overwhelm the good new.
          David G. Hartwell & Kathryn Cramer, in the introduction to The Hard SF Renaissance.
          http://wiz.cath.vt.edu/exper/kcramer...hsfrintro.html

          Hartwell and Cramer are first rate anthologists, Hartwell is also a renowned SF editor and even an SF author (I confess to not having read his original fiction), I'd consider them experts in SF. (I am a proud owner of that anthology, as well as of their previous mammoth look at the Hard SF field The Ascent of Wonder, you can read the introductions to that book online < http://wiz.cath.vt.edu/exper/kcramer/AOW.html >, if you want to see for yourself why I think they do know what they're talking about. Their annual Year's Best SF paperback anthologies are also worth reading.)

          But if you don't believe them, or me, then just pick up the books in David Brin's Uplift War trilogy. In the forewords/afterwords to the novels Brin himself calls it Space Opera...

          For even more discussion by Hartwell and Cramer of how Space Opera was defined, redefined, and re-redefined look here:
          http://www.sfrevu.com/ISSUES/2003/03...ned/Review.htm
          That article also mentions and puts Doc Smith's work in context (back then calling it "space opera" would have been insulting him!).

          And don't diss C. J. Cherryh in my presence again or you'll force me to write a paean to her longer than this reply.
          Such... is the respect paid to science that the most absurd opinions may become current, provided they are expressed in language, the sound of which recalls some well-known scientific phrase
          James Clerk Maxwell (1831-79)

          Comment


          • #80
            I want someone to tell us what they think "hackwork" is. Is it when someone who has no degrees in science writes sci-fi, relying on their ability to avoid/ignore the issues of scientific plausibility? I have seen the word "hack" thrown around much too often, and I'd like to know what you guys think of it.
            Recently, there was a reckoning. It occurred on November 4, 2014 across the United States. Voters, recognizing the failures of the current leadership and fearing their unchecked abuses of power, elected another party as the new majority. This is a first step toward preventing more damage and undoing some of the damage already done. Hopefully, this is as much as will be required.

            Comment


            • #81
              Hackwork is brainless bloviating fiction which is just barely able to make it thru the editing process.
              It's done by people who are typing as fast as possible so they can make as much Money as possible before the readers wise up and stop buying.

              The Hack then makes up another pseudonym, finds another genre to p!ss on, or a publisher who doesn't know him, and starts "Hacking" away at the keyboard again.

              Comment


              • #82
                I have some minor problems with their def of space opera.

                Space Opera, to me, has always involved some titanic struggle between opposing forces. A long term battle that basically encompasses known space.

                Lensman: The Eddorans and the Erisians
                B5: The Shadows and the Vorlons
                Forever War: Terrans and the Vegans
                Star Wars: Rebels and the Empire
                Uplift: Humans and allies against the others
                Galactic Center: Humans and the Mechs
                (David Benford - Read This!!!)
                Ian Banks: Culture vs whoever (Consider Phlebas)
                Read all the Banks you can find!!!
                Star Fox (Poul Anderson): Terrans against whoever they were.
                A bloody good book!
                And among other recommendations, Allen Steele. Start with his earlier books and you'd swear Heinlein was coaching him.


                Star Trek does not fit this definition and never did. By that I mean TOS, TNG, Voyager. You can argue that DS9 did, later when it went arc and Fed and Allies against shapeshifters and allies. But that is half?? of one series, and does not constitute the series as a whole. Neither does intermittent clashes with the Borg. Space Opera was never the intention of Roddenberry (Hornblower in Space was his concept of ST:TOS/ST:TNG) and never the product of ST as a whole.

                I think Niven got a few Hugos, and his Known Space wasn't Space Opera either.

                Heck, lets get detailed

                2002:
                Novel: American Gods by Neil Gaiman
                Haven't Read it

                2001:
                Novel: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling
                Not Space Opera

                2000:
                Novel: A Deepness in the Sky by Vernor Vinge
                Haven't Read it

                1999:
                Novel: To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis
                Haven't Read it

                1998:
                Novel: Forever Peace by Joe Haldeman
                Not Space Opera (rebellion at best)

                1997:
                Novel: Blue Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson
                Haven't Read it

                1996:
                Novel: The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson
                Haven't Read it

                1995:
                Novel: Mirror Dance by Lois McMaster Bujold
                Not Space Opera (conflict yes, but think more of Machiavellian power politics/struggles/intrigue, etc). No all out war in most of Bujolds books. One war (limited scope) with the Cetagandans does not constitute Space Opera, arguably, but in any case, not the subject of this book.

                1994:
                Novel: Green Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson
                Haven't Read it and for good reason, from everything I have heard, it is an indefensible tragedy that Robinson's Mars books have gotten these award's while something like Benford's Moving Mars didn't.


                1993:
                Novel: A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernon Vinge Doomsday Book by Connie Willis (tie)
                Yes to Vinge.

                1992:
                Novel: Barrayar by Lois McMaster Bujold
                See above comment on Bujold

                1991:
                Novel: The Vor Game by Lois McMaster Bujold
                No way, see avoce comment on Bujold

                1990:
                Novel: Hyperion by Dan Simmons
                Haven't Read it

                1989:
                Novel: Cyteen by C. J. Cherryh
                Haven't Read it

                1988:
                Novel: The Uplift War by David Brin
                Yes

                1987:
                Novel: Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card
                Make me puke. 1 good short story turned stretched into 1 good, 1 decent and 1 awful book.
                If the war was over at this point, not Space Opera

                1986:
                Novel: Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
                Yes

                1985:
                Novel: Neuromancer by William Gibson
                No, rebellion at home (I think)

                1984:
                Novel: Startide Rising by David Brin
                Yes

                1983:
                Novel: Foundation's Edge by Isaac Asimov
                No (Haven't read this, but the Foundation Series as a whole isn't Space Opera, but Galactic Change, done the slow way.)

                1982:
                Novel: Downbelow Station by C. J. Cherryh
                Haven't Read it

                1981:
                Novel: The Snow Queen by Joan D. Vinge
                Haven't Read it

                1980:
                Novel: The Fountains of Paradise by Arthur C. Clarke
                No

                1979:
                Novel: Dreamsnake by Vonda McIntyre
                Haven't Read it

                1978:
                Novel: Gateway by Frederik Pohl
                No

                1977:
                Novel: Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang by Kate Wilhelm
                Haven't Read it

                1976:
                Novel: The Forever War by Joe Haldeman
                Yes, definitely

                1975:
                Novel: The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin
                Haven't Read it

                1974:
                Novel: Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke
                No.

                1973:
                Novel: The Gods Themselves by Isaac Asimov
                Haven't Read it

                1972:
                Novel: To Your Scattered Bodies Go by Philip JosÚ Farmer
                Haven't Read it

                1971:
                Novel: Ringworld by Larry Niven
                No.

                1970:
                Novel: The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
                Haven't Read it

                1969:
                Novel: Stand on Zanzibar by John Brunner
                Haven't Read it

                1968:
                Novel: Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny
                No. Revolution.

                1967:
                Novel: The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein
                No, Revolution

                1966:
                Novel: ... And Call Me Conrad by Roger Zelazny and Dune by Frank Herbert (tie)
                No, Revolution for Dune, No for Zelazny also

                1965:
                Novel: The Wanderer by Fritz Leiber
                Haven't Read it

                1964:
                Novel: Way Station by Clifford D. Simak
                Haven't Read it

                1963:
                Novel: The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick
                I can't remember

                1962:
                Novel: Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein
                Not!

                1961:
                Novel: A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller, Jr.
                No

                1960:
                Novel: Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein
                Yes, Space Opera

                1959:
                Novel: A Case of Conscience by James Blish
                Haven't Read it

                1958:
                Novel or Novelette: The Big Time by Fritz Leiber
                Haven't Read it

                1956:
                Novel: Double Star by Robert A. Heinlein
                No.

                1955:
                Novel: They'd Rather Be Right by Mark Clifton and Frank Riley
                Haven't Read it

                1953:
                Novel: The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester
                Haven't Read it

                1951 (awarded in 2001):
                Novel: Farmer in the Sky by Robert A. Heinlein
                Not Space Opera

                1946 (awarded in 1996):
                Novel: The Mule by Isaac Asimov
                No, See above comments on Foundation Series.

                Now in my view, that is less Space Opera in the Novel category then stated in the previous post's references. Others here can fill in my gaps in what I haven't read.

                Simple combat in SF does not constitute Space Opera.

                Dammit, no Novel Hugos for Benford, Bear, Banks or Piper. I see that Bear did get a couple novellette ones...
                Last edited by NotKosh; 08-04-2004, 09:41 AM.
                "I am not a number! I am a free man!"

                Comment


                • #83
                  B5: The Shadows and the Vorlons
                  ----------------------------------------------------------------

                  I really hate to nit pick here, but if that isn't a gross oversimplification, I don't know what is.

                  Cheers

                  Comment


                  • #84
                    Of course it is. The whole point was to roughly describe the two warring elements, and not provide a treatise involving the main protagonists, the secondary protagonists, all other parties, the planets they come from, the races they represent, the areas of control they have, the ships they use, their respective tech levels, the languages they speak, the history of the confrontation, the names of their food's that resemble Swedish Meatballs, etc.
                    "I am not a number! I am a free man!"

                    Comment


                    • #85
                      Perhaps you might try, ''the younger races vs the first ones and themselves''. OK ok Im spamming screw it.

                      Comment


                      • #86
                        On Hackwork

                        Hackwork in SF has nothing to do with how much science is in the fiction, otherwise you'd be calling Ray Bradbury (and many others, including most of the "New Wave" SF writers) a hack...
                        SF started in pulp magazines which had very low literary standards, since they were geared to a juvenile market, and pages to fill. Some well-regarded SF writers started by writing filler material for those publications in the 1920s and 1930s, even into the 1940s (when the war economy made most pulp magazines go out of business). Those stories would be long, but thin on plot and characterization, verbosity for word count's sake.
                        If you find the NESFA Press anthology of the complete short SF of Cyril M. Kornbluth you'll find some examples in the back of the book of "spec" stories, written on commision in a short time to fill pages for an upcoming issue. Even those would be above the norm, since Kornbluth was a good writer. (That collection, as well as almost any NESFA Press "complete short SF of..." anthology deserves a place in the shelves of any serious SF reader/collector.)
                        The facts is that such hackwork and filler is not republished... but new one always comes in.
                        I once read a novel which went on and on with little happening, most of the scenes could have been shortened or even removed in the editing process. It was a short story's worth of content bloated into a novel. It featured the phrase "the screen was bisected into two roughly equal halves." To me that phrase is egregious hackwork, stringing words to have as many as possible, without concern for literary style. I gave up on that author. I usually keep even mediocre SF books in my collection: I sold that one.
                        I'm sure that among the myriad of Star Trek and Star Wars novels (as well as in many other franchise series) you can find many examples of hackwork. For that matter, many of the original B5 tie-in stand alone books could be considered hackwork.


                        On the Hugo Winners

                        Frell! I can't believe I've actually read most of the books on that list!

                        Between 1982 and 2002 I identify some nine books as Space Opera, if you count also hard SF, the majority of the winners are one or the other (even both). Remember that Hartwell and Cramer assert that "the Hugo Awards for best novel for the last twenty years have generally gone to space opera or hard sf." Funny that they didn't mention hard SF in that paragraph in the space opera definition article... even then with the "generally" qualifier I think they're mostly right.


                        Some comments on the books on the list:

                        The Mars trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson is hard SF, also a damned good story of the people that colonize and terraform Mars.
                        Greg Bear is the one that wrote "Moving Mars." It's a good book. Robinson's Mars is just as good or better, but quite different.
                        Benford wrote (more recently, I think) "The Martian Race."
                        Any work by those three tends to be considered "hard" SF as they try to adhere to and represent real science. The books by Clarke, Pohl, Asimov, Niven, Heinlein, Herbert's Dune are also hard SF. Brin's Uplift can be considered hard SF in some aspects too.

                        Vinge's "Deepness in the Sky" is in a similar universe as "Fire Upon the Deep," it can be called space opera. Vinge is also considered a hard SF writer.

                        C.J. Cherryh's "Cyteen" and "Downbelow Station" form part of a same universe, and relate to the Merchanter colonies separating from Earth. It can be considered Space Opera.
                        Hartwell and Cramer define Dan Simmons Hyperion saga as Space Opera, I have not read it.

                        McIntyre's "Dreamsnake" is a good book, not space opera, nor hard SF. Wilhelm's "Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang" is also good. The only similarities between then is that they are situated in a sort of post-apocaliptic world. In Dreamsnake the protagonist is a wandering healer, part of an order that uses genetically modified snakes as source of cures, her dreamsnake is killed by accident, she goes on a quest. Wilhelm's story relates to an ecological disaster that makes people infertile, it's the drama of a family that develops cloning as a way to perpetuate the species and the consequences.

                        About Card's Ender's Saga: Ender's Game is good and Speaker decent, but you have to read "Children of the Mind" to see the end, Xenocide is awful only if you stop there, for good or bad it is mostly setup for the very last book. Or maybe you were calling "Children of the Mind awful? I think it's better than Xenocide. The parallel continuation with Bean and Peter Wiggin (Ender's Shadow, Shadow of the Hegemon, Shadow Puppets) is a better sequel.

                        Le Guin's "Dispossesed" is a utopian novel, "hard" SF based on a "soft" science, anthropology (if that makes sense), but also featuring speculation on developing FTL communication. You can call both Le Guin's and Brunner works sociological science fiction, but that would be the only similarity.

                        Farmer's book is the beginning of the Riverworld saga, a world circled by a big river, where all humans have been reborn and (apparently?) given a new chance at redemption.

                        Way Station by Clifford D. Simak: A way station for alien's interstellar travel hidden in "the heartland of America" with a farmer entrusted to its care in secrecy... but the secret may be out. Good book, maybe a little outdated, I read it about fifteen years ago!

                        A Case of Conscience by James Blish: A combination of hard SF and sociological and theological speculation. The first part was the original novella, the second part the expansion (which many critics consider weaker, but the first part only poses the dilemma, the second explores it and gives a resolution to it). Blish is a great author. His short story "Common Time" can be found online (illegaly I think) here: http://users.ev1.net/~holliser/Prescience/
                        Blish wrote many novelizations of Star Trek, I have only read his original work.


                        The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester
                        You haven't read it? Go read it! It's a good book, a fast paced telepath cop story, and it has a relation to B5...



                        I do not think that Space Opera has to mean a titanic conflict. The exploration of space in the form of adventure stories, like Star Trek, can be called Space Opera. I'm sure Rodenberry didn't want ST to be called that, because back then the term remained pejorative. But remember that Hartwell and Cramer argue that the redefinition of Space Opera was related to making the Star Trek and Star Wars tie-in novels more "respectable" and commercially appealing within SF.

                        In the end the problem is that Space Opera can be as hard to define as Science Fiction and in both cases the definition has changed in time.

                        __________________
                        "I hear Earth," he said. "But that is very soft, and does not show."
                        Such... is the respect paid to science that the most absurd opinions may become current, provided they are expressed in language, the sound of which recalls some well-known scientific phrase
                        James Clerk Maxwell (1831-79)

                        Comment


                        • #87
                          <<It was a short story's worth of content bloated into a novel. It featured the phrase "the screen was bisected into two roughly equal halves." To me that phrase is egregious hackwork, stringing words to have as many as possible, without concern for literary style.>>

                          Just out of curiosity, how would you have worded it? Montoya, you're making me paranoid, man. Now I have to worry about how I write, lest I will be branded as a hack. I would have used such a phrase, not to increase the word count, but to simply be descriptive. (Oops, I interrupted an infinitive. So did Roddenberry, oh well.)

                          To me, word count isn't even something I look at until the end of a story, just to see how much I wrote. I think I know what you're getting at, though. You can always tell when someone is using filler, and a seasoned reader can tell the difference. I could tell at the age of fifteen while reading the terrible SW novels, especially those written by Barbara Hambly and Vonda McIntyre. Oh, and Michael P. Kube-McDowell. The GOOD SW authors: Tim Zahn, Aaron Allston, Mike Stackpole, Matt Stover...every page counts, and makes you want to keep going.

                          In addition, isn't it an editor's job to make sure that grammar and odd-sounding phrases are changed before a work goes to press? I remember reading something a while back about fraudulent editors making beaucoup bucks by barely reading something and then sending it to a printer.
                          Recently, there was a reckoning. It occurred on November 4, 2014 across the United States. Voters, recognizing the failures of the current leadership and fearing their unchecked abuses of power, elected another party as the new majority. This is a first step toward preventing more damage and undoing some of the damage already done. Hopefully, this is as much as will be required.

                          Comment


                          • #88
                            Originally posted by Capt.Montoya


                            About Card's Ender's Saga: Ender's Game is good and Speaker decent, but you have to read "Children of the Mind" to see the end, Xenocide is awful only if you stop there, for good or bad it is mostly setup for the very last book. Or maybe you were calling "Children of the Mind awful? I think it's better than Xenocide. The parallel continuation with Bean and Peter Wiggin (Ender's Shadow, Shadow of the Hegemon, Shadow Puppets) is a better sequel.


                            I do not think that Space Opera has to mean a titanic conflict. The exploration of space in the form of adventure stories, like Star Trek, can be called Space Opera. I'm sure Rodenberry didn't want ST to be called that, because back then the term remained pejorative. But remember that Hartwell and Cramer argue that the redefinition of Space Opera was related to making the Star Trek and Star Wars tie-in novels more "respectable" and commercially appealing within SF.

                            In the end the problem is that Space Opera can be as hard to define as Science Fiction and in both cases the definition has changed in time.

                            __________________
                            "I hear Earth," he said. "But that is very soft, and does not show." [/B]

                            You nailed it, I stopped with Xenocide unfinished, for the obvious reasons. Some other Card that I couldn't make it even 1/4 of the way through was a paperback that started talking about some really primitive society on a planet, and I think there was some visitor. We are talking cabins and quarterstaffs here, if I recall.

                            You are right, I need to pick up The Demolished Man

                            I see no reason that Space Opera's definition has to change because people want it to. The "classic" definition of Space Opera involves conflict/battles in space.

                            Yes, there is good and bad in every manifestation of prose, however that doesn't mean you need to change the categorization of said prose, just add adjectives like "excellent" or "crap" where needed.

                            There is no reason to expand the category because one feels like it, in order to make it sound more cultured because of the Opera portion of the name. Or to change the category just because time has passed. Black is black and white is white. To redefine other SF as Space Opera, so it has a grander/more cultural label to the uninitiated is ludicrous. Unlike what certain people think (Bill Gates), change for change's sake is not required, beneficial or defendable in my book.

                            I think a bunch of my definition comes from an anthology by Brian Aldiss, entitled Space Opera.

                            Check this out:
                            http://www.magicdragon.com/UltimateS...tml#spaceopera

                            and click on Space Opera as listed.

                            Now when you get down there, the 1st thing it says is Battles Between Planets and Stars. a/k/a interstellar conflict.
                            I think that is a minimum requirement.

                            Now given the massive conflicts involved in several of the examples I listed before, it is quite possible that I have always labeled Space Opera as having a massive scope.

                            I will stand by, and not change, my definition to require interstellar war.

                            Look at this list (from the former link):
                            (1) Style and Mood staunchly traditional
                            (2) Hitherto unknown places to explore
                            (3) Continuity between Past and Future
                            (4) Tremendous sphere of space/time
                            (5) A pinch of reality inflated with melodrama
                            (6) A seasoning of screwy ideas
                            (7) Heady escapist stuff
                            (8) Charging on with little regard for logic or literacy
                            (9) Often throwing off great images, excitements, aspirations
                            (10) The Earth should be in peril
                            (11) There must be a quest
                            (12) There must be a man to match the mighty hour
                            (13) That man must confront aliens and exotic creatures
                            (14) Space must flow past the ports like wine from a pitcher
                            (15) Blood must run down the palace steps
                            (16) Ships must launch out into the louring dark
                            (17) There must be a woman fairer than the skies
                            (18) There must be a villain darker than a Black Hole
                            (19) All must come right in the end
                            (20) The future in space, seen mistily through the eyes of yesterday

                            Given that not all the examples are required, and are not all in certain examples of classic Space Opera as mentioned above, the conclusion by some appears to be that a combination of these constitutes Space Opera. That is where the inclusion of Star Trek comes in. I disagree since those elements are common throughout all science fiction to one degree or another.

                            Star Trek contains elements
                            1-14, 16-20.

                            Lord of the Rings contains items
                            1, 2 5-13, 15, 17-19

                            Is LOTR Space Opera? Obviously not, but you can argue that it is just as qualified to be dubbed it, as other works that this reinvention of the term allows, when you remove Interstellar War as a requirement. If advanced science is indistinguishable from magic then magic is indistinguishable from advanced science.

                            Is the Abyss Space Opera? Pitch Black? Not in my book.

                            Simply put, using this list you can redefine the majority of the entire body of SF as Space Opera to one degree or another. That is just weak and is not a laudable goal in any respect.

                            I contest that the meaning of SF has changed whatsoever. Find some SF that you thinks needs demands a redefinition of the genre, and me or someone else can probably find something pre 1960 that has the same elements.

                            There are people in this world who try to find a purpose by redefining things that don't need to be redefined. This is the hobgoblin of small minds. Yes, definitions can expand or contract to a degree, but the wholesale redefinition/inclusion of existing subsets of the genre is not dictated.

                            An example of this unwarranted redefinition concept is Political Correctness.

                            Given that EE Doc Smith were contemporaries, and given that Lensman is Space Opera and most of Heinleins work is Hard SF, I don't see any reason to redefine Hard SF as Space Opera.
                            Last edited by NotKosh; 08-04-2004, 06:36 PM.
                            "I am not a number! I am a free man!"

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                            • #89
                              Space Opera Redefined
                              by David G. Hartwell & Kathryn Cramer

                              A lot of people don't remember this and that distorts our understanding of both our present and our past in SF. Perfectly intelligent but ignorant people are writing revisionist history, inventing an elaborate age of space opera based on wholesale redefinitions of the term made up in the sixties and seventies to justify literary political agendas.
                              I think this statement accurately describes what the redefinition of Space Opera is, when you don't require Interstellar Warfare as a part of the definition.

                              They present in that article a historical acocunt of the definition and its changes, without properly considering if any of those changes are valid.
                              "I am not a number! I am a free man!"

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                              • #90
                                In addition, isn't it an editor's job to make sure that grammar and odd-sounding phrases are changed before a work goes to press?
                                No. An editor's job is:

                                1.) Decide if the story/novel is worth publishing.
                                2.) Point out to the author in broad terms places where the book/story could be improved.
                                Such as Chapter two is weak. Fix it.
                                or This paragraph doesn't belong here. Move it There.
                                or In Chapter 9, you refer to <this> but there isn't any Previous reference to support it being there.

                                3.) Accept the author's final draft and send it to a Copy Editor.

                                Now the Copy Editor Might or Might Not recommend the sort of changes you mentioned.
                                The copyeditor looks at spelling, grammar, style, etc. and decides if they Work within the story.
                                These are things the Editor passes over on the assumption that the Author & Copy Editor will take care of them.
                                The Editor is a "big picture" person.

                                Even the Copy Editor doesn't have final authority.
                                The Writer has the privlege of going over every change the Copy Editor recommends and saying:
                                I wrote it that way On Purpose, leave it alone.

                                For a good example of why you might not "Fix" the grammar and spelling, look at the book (not the movie) The Color Purple.
                                It is written entirely in Dialect. The "conceit" is that it is written by the Character.
                                The woman played by Whoopi in the movie.
                                Last edited by bakana; 08-04-2004, 08:51 PM.

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