55 Essential Space Operas from the Last 70 Years

What makes a science fiction story a space opera? Well, it needs to take place in space obviously, though not necessarily all of the time. Hanging out solely in an arcology on a climate-blasted Earth, or even in a domed city on Mars, doesn’t cut it. Actually, the more space the better; though there are certainly exceptions, a good space opera should span a galaxy or two, or at least a solar system. And an opera has to be grand and dramatic –battling empires, invading aliens, mysterious ancient technology, and grand, sweeping story arcs.

BOOK REVIEW: Waking Gods (Themis Files #2) by Sylvain Neuvel

Bloody hell, I thought that Sleeping Giants was fast-paced! This second book of the Themis Files changes into an even higher gear, the story rocketing along so rapidly that, before I knew it, I was at the end. And with another cliff-hanger for good measure. I read this book, which is slightly longer than the first book, in exactly two sessions. To be fair, I had the excuse of being sick in bed with plenty of time on my hands, but still I didn’t want to put it down and stop the roller coaster ride.

BOOK REIVIEW: Sleeping Giants (Themis Files #1) by Sylvain Neuvel

This is a fun and interesting book, both in the thematic sense and also in the storytelling style. It’s a relatively short sci-fi techno-thriller with what I think has a slight “youthy” feel, but I see this as a good thing, making it accessible to a wider audience of readers. I’d have loved this as a teenage reader just as much as I did as an “older” one. It’s a book that you could give to many readers because it contains solid tropes from the sci-fi genre as well as the fast action entertainment of a thriller. They all mix together rather nicely into a very entertaining story.

BOOK REVIEW: Nightmare Planet by Donald S. Rowland

It didn’t take me long to suspect that this isn’t a recently written book, the language and style identifying it as an older work, reminding me of Hardy Boys and Biggles books that I read as a kid, just set in space. There are a number of old-school words used like “artificer” (technicians and engineers) and even the other use of “ejaculate” (to utter suddenly and briefly; exclaim) which I’ve not seen used in this context outside much older books.

BOOK REVIEW: Star Wars: Thrawn by Timothy Zahn

Released to high expectation, Star Wars: Thrawn is the latest addition to the (new) official Star Wars canon. Having been a casual dabbler of Expanded Universe material over the years and knowing the significance of Admiral Thrawn as a character, this book caught my attention early, metaphorically slapping me across the face, strongly suggesting that I read it. How could I possibly resist? After all, it’s written by one of the biggest names in the sci-fi literary world and the main character is one of the most cunning and ruthless in the entire history of the Star Wars universe.