It’s #SpaceOperaWeek and I can think of no better way to launch my first regular Superversive column than to celebrate the genre in which I write and love. I’ll be doing more top fives as they feel appropriate, but as a writer of Space Opera, it makes a lot of sense to launch in celebration of some of my greatest influences. Naturally, these are just my opinions, so I expect outrage, disagreement, fist shaking, and the like at my choices. Just know that you’re wrong. It says definitive in the title, and we all know the internet never lies.
Without further ado, your Space Opera Top Five!
While I'm sure some would have a few alternate suggestions, I'd say by and large they're all solid choices. No, I'm not a huge fan of the Vorkosigan books, but they're pretty entertaining, as are Elizabeth Moon's books.
Of the three I wholeheartedly recommend:
The Hyperion Cantos. Dan Simmons gives Gene Wolfe a run for the money for "literary" and still writing compelling stories, though Simmons takes it more in the self-conscious direction. Hyperion very deliberately borrows from the structure of Canterbury Tales. Poetry and poems feature prominently, along with literary analysis of them. His Ilium includes space-roving artificial intelligences that analyze Shakespeare's sonnets. He's also guilty of badthink in the form of a time travel short story.
The Thrawn trilogy by Tim Zahn is everything that the prequels and sequels to the "original" Star Wars trilogy wished they could be.
And Lensmen - I'd be remiss if I failed to mention that, in addition to everything Jon mentions, we have massive fleet battles, and planets used as weapons as entire galaxies go to war.