Friday, November 8, 2019

Try It, You Might Like It #10: Space Opera

"Try it, you might like it" - it's what someone says when they present you with some food you've never had before or your mom wants you to try on some clothes she picked out for you.  I'm using it here on the blog as inspiration to choose books in genres I don't normally read; to branch out from my reading comfort zones; and to maybe find some new favorites!  One of my goals this year was to bring this feature back, so here we go!

I read a lot of books set in space, but I've never read a space opera, so I thought it would be a great genre to try.  So, what is a space opera?  According to Wikipedia, a space opera "is a subgenre of science fiction that emphasizes space warfare, melodramatic adventure, interplanetary battles, chivalric romance, and risk-taking. Set mainly or entirely in outer space, it usually involves conflict between opponents possessing advanced abilities, futuristic weapons, and other sophisticated technology."  A classic example of a space opera movie would be Star Wars.

The first book that came to mind was The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers (2014).  I have Greg at Book Haven to thank for this because he has mentioned this book several times!  I'm so glad I finally listened to him, because I really enjoyed this book!

Most of the books I read about space are pretty limited to humans doing exploration of some kind or maybe starting a new civilization on a distant planet because Earth is no longer inhabitable.  This book, however, is set on a bigger scale - in the future, humans have colonized Mars and Earth is a distant memory.  Humans aren't the only beings in the universe, either - there are countless races of aliens, and by this point, many have learned to co-exist.  That brings us to the crew of the Wayfarer - a motley mix of humans and aliens who live and work together.  It was so interesting to learn about the different alien cultures and backstories for all the crew members.  Becky Chambers is so creative and inventive - each character felt well-rounded and fleshed out.

The main storyline deals with the crew being hired for a tunneling job out in deep space, potentially dangerous but very lucrative.  We follow the crew as they get ready for the job; at some points the story felt a little slow, but it was also a good chance to introduce us to the characters and be immersed in the world-building.  The action starts building up near the end, and the story has a bit of an open ending that makes me want to continue the series and learn more about this world!

What's your favorite space opera?
 

28 comments:

  1. I love Michelle Diener's space operas. She has several series. I adore them all!

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  2. I can't remember space operas I've read way in the past to try them, but ultimately didn't finish. I read Greg's blog too and he constantly praises this one, so I'm happy that someone else took him up on it. Not sure if I'd read it, but I am trying to read outside my comfort zone (again).

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    1. I really like to try new genres, and this turned out to be a perfect fit!

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  3. I have never even heard of this genre, but I would give it a try!

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  4. I haven't read anything set in space is a long time but this sure sounds like it would be a good one. I like that the action builds as the story progresses!

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    1. Me, too! The author really kept me interested.

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  5. I love this series (as you know) and I'm so glad you liked this one too. The far future setting with all the well realizd aliens, and the varied nature of the crew, really impressed me. Such a found family dynamic! I like that this was more a slice of life, almost.

    Thanks for the shout out! :)

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    1. You're welcome, Greg!

      Yes, that's a great way of putting it - found family and slice of life!

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  6. I have tried space operas but couldn’t stick with them sadly :( i think i need to find the right one

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    1. If you haven't tried this one, I would highly recommend it!

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  7. I just learned something new! I didn't know about this sub-genre. Fascinating!

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  8. This is on my TBR because of Greg too! It sounds fantastic and I'm really hoping to read it before the end of the year if I can squeeze it in.

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  9. I own this but haven't read it yet! I need to get around to it soon!!

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  10. I honestly don't think I've ever read a Space Opera. But I know that Becky Chambers is a beloved author by a lot of bloggers. I hope you find some good recommendations!

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  11. I'm about 3/4 of the way through this book right now, and I'm really enjoying it. I particularly like how the characters of various races interact, and how Chambers tries to avoid "speciesism" in writing about each of the nonhuman species as well as the humans. Their physical appearance, abilities, and cultures are all different, and for the most part, both Chambers and the major characters try to be very tolerant and accepting of those differences.

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    1. I know, I like that, too! It's very inspiring!

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  12. This is the first time for me seeing this one. I recently enjoyed Polaris Rising and Aurora Blazing. This is one I think I would like. Thanks for putting it on my radar.

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  13. I'm not sure I've read a space opera before! The Diabolic is one I really do want to read though.

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  14. This book was something else! It's one of my favourite sci-fi novels, heavily character driven, but what amazing characters!! I'm so happy you liked it even though you don't often read books like this.

    Ronnie @ Paradise Found

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I'm so glad you stopped by, and I would love to hear your thoughts! Comments are always greatly appreciated!