Welcoming the Space Opera Renaissance

You’ve got your cyberpunk, your hard science fiction, your urban fantasy, but some days, what you really want is a good ship, faster-than-light travel, and a trusty blaster at your side. The Space Opera Renaissance (Amazon) looks like it’ll provide exactly that.

The new anthology, released July 11, looks to be gathering a positive buzz online as it reminds people that “space opera” isn’t a dirty phrase, and that hey, some really good space opera out there. David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer, who did the Hard SF Renaissance (Amazon) a few years back, edited the anthology. It features 32 space opera stories including Edmond Hamilton, David Brin, Peter Hamilton, David Weber, Catherine Asaro, Gregory Benford and Ursula K. Le Guin. (SF Signal has a complete list of contributors (Internet Archive)). The stories are drawn from the various decades of space operas existence, from the very beginning up to the 21st century.

I’m a little gun shy about buying this anthology — after all I’m still working my way through the Hard SF Renaissance, which I bought several years ago and have been slugging my way through ever since. Not that it isn’t a good book, but it’s a big book, and the science-intensive stories in there are anything but light reading. It’s the sort of book that you need to make a concerted effort to get through.

The space opera anthology may not be any smaller, but I’m thinking that the subject matter should make for quicker reads.Plus, it’s exactly the sort of cross-section of writers I’d like to have on my bookshelf for when my kids start getting curious about science fiction. I still have a few books to get through on my summer reading list, but I expect that this book will show up on my fall one.

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