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JuliePgh
05-29-2005, 04:13 AM
Does anyone here write Romance Science Fiction or Space Opera? I believe those are the terms. I guess it's a subgenre of SF&F, but it doesn't appear to be broken out on this site. Just curious if I have any fellow writers in this genre to discuss the craft. Thanks

DaveKuzminski
05-29-2005, 05:05 AM
Yep, I write space operas.

JuliePgh
05-29-2005, 05:49 AM
Hey, Dave. I read the first chapter from the link to your book. Very innovative! I got pulled in. Now, my question for you, since you're already published in the genre. What qualifies something as space opera vs regular SF&F?

sunandshadow
05-29-2005, 05:53 AM
I write science fiction romance/erotica. :) Definitely not space opera though - mine's sociological sf, like Ursula Le Guin or perhaps C. J. Cherryh.

JuliePgh
05-29-2005, 06:00 AM
I thought science fiction romance and space opera were the same. Basically, I've written my novel and don't know what to call it, so I've used both genres in my cover letters.

DaveKuzminski
05-29-2005, 06:50 AM
I believe there are several definitions already floating around the Internet. I rarely try to define anything. Most often, I leave that to the publishers and agents. I just state that I have a science fiction or fantasy or whatever type of manuscript to offer. In other words, I used the broadest label possible. Then they're free to further delineate it in order to push it with a market or to publishers.

Now, Mark II isn't space opera. Instead, it's more of a sociological setting even though it does get into space at the conclusion. Similarly, Knight Spirits isn't a space opera, though it starts out with the collision and crash landing of a space ship. However, the Rust Bucket series of mine is a space opera since much of it occurs in space. So, that should qualify my answer that I write space operas. As well, I also write other types of science fiction.

sunandshadow
05-29-2005, 07:37 AM
A romance is, most basically defined, a book about a love story. OTOH a space opera, as I understand it, is a story with a large setting (usually several planets), a large cast (usually several political factions), a futuristic setting (usually involving space ships), and is operatic in that it has a dramatic, mythic-quality conflict between factions led by heroes/villains (usually over the fate of some large thing like a planet, species, or the universe). Like Wagner's _Ring of the Nibelung_ in space. So, a book may be both a romance and a space opera, but the 2 terms are definitely not interchangeable.

whitehound
05-29-2005, 12:59 PM
Now, I would tend to use "romance" and "romantic" in the more general sense of something with very dashing and probably idealized characters, a deliberately emotive story etc.. But probably most people nowadays would think of it as meaning a love-story, yes.

I generally hear space opera used in a more pejorative sense, to mean a sort of crude, airport-novel-type story which has an SF setting, but where the SF elements are only trimmings and the story could easily be transposed to another environment. Battlestar Galactica, for example, could be transposed to a wagon-train or ocean-going ships without too much difficulty.

preyer
05-29-2005, 10:15 PM
space opera confers to me a sense of it having a high cheese factor. as mentioned, not necessarily in the same league as a serious-minded SF romance, of which i know there are a few published here and there. seems romance writers are stuck squarely in earth history for the most part. space opera seems to be a label tacked on by critics more than anything else: i venture to say few of us strike out with the intention of writing a cheesy soap opera in space, though, too, i'd say it happens by accident. 'star wars' could be considered space opera... it can be pretty damn cheesy, lol.

whitehound
05-29-2005, 11:22 PM
Yes quite - the SF elements in Star Wars are fun but they're mainly just colourful backdrop. You could tell almost exactly the same story with Yoda replaced by a Tibetan monk, Darth Vader wearing an ordinary mask to cover facial scars, the droids as human servants etc..

On the other hand, if you consider e.g. The Fifth Element, it may not exactly be deathless film-making but the whole story revolves around SF elements which really are central to the plot. And Bladerunner is very "hard", where the SF elements make up almost the entire plot.

Pthom
05-30-2005, 11:32 AM
Right. Same thing with Stargate SG-1: based on a 'hard science' element. Only problem there is that when things heat up there is so much cheese in the incredible backstory they've included to 'explain' things, it melts all over the place. I still like watching Anderson though, especially in the early season reruns.

Happened to catch the last half of Galaxy Quest the other night. Now there is a story that I belive was created to be thoroughly cheesy, and for the most part, suceeded, yet...what a great premise, eh? That an alien race bases their entire science on total fiction and ... makes it work? funny, but scary at the same time.

But these are films; Julie's original question was who among us wrote romance science fiction or space opera. I'm curious too, and I think we're on the track of defining it. I'm interested that Preyer thinks space opera requires a 'cheese factor'. I think I see where he's coming from but I'm not sure I agree in whole. Not looking at the films made from them but only at the stories, aren't many of Heinlein's juveniles space operas? Even some of his adult stories too, eh? I'm thinking of "Have Spacesuit, Will Travel" (the first Heinlein I read), and "Starship Troopers" for juveniles and "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" for adult. Or Niven's "Mote in God's Eye." See, to me, the term space opera just requires that the action take place primarily in space and space ships, and likely involve battles of some sort. That some of them are 'cheesy' isn't any different (to me) than in the Western genre, especially it's sub-genre we used to call "oaters" where there is (or was) as much cheese as there is any scifi.

Comments?

whitehound
05-30-2005, 02:34 PM
Define cheese in this context, first.

zornhau
05-30-2005, 05:33 PM
These are publishing genres. Technically, in a literary theory sense, Space Opera belongs to the Romance tradition (as does LOTR). Once upon a time, Space Opera along with most SF would have been sold as Scientific Romance.

However, in publishing Romance now refers to stuff with a romantic-as-pertaining-to-love theme. SF Romance would be a good term for the subgenre once termed "Future Romance." SL Viehl is the best known exponant of this.

Nowadays you call Space Opera Space Opera if you want people to know what you're talking about.

As for space opera being cheesy - that's rather sweeping, and a little like calling lush Fantasy slow, and Literary Fiction plot-lite.

sunandshadow
05-30-2005, 08:16 PM
Isn't Viehl more horror-romance? Science fiction romance is more like Jayne Ann Krentz and Catherine Asaro. Aslo, since I just finished taking several literary theory classes to earn my BA in English, and no one mentioned Romance not-the-kind-about-love except when talking about medieval and renissance writing, I think it's an obsolete term now.

preyer
05-30-2005, 10:14 PM
right, if we went back the better part of a thousand years ago, 'romance' as you'd find in the romantic era of writing is different than 'romance' today.

i think of space opera like being a soap opera in space, with wild plots, bad dialogue, and nothing there aspiring to be more than pure entertainment. soap opera: 'it wasn't me who had an affair with your husband and gave birth to his children, it was my evil twin! besides, i... i used to be a man! that was before the plane crash, though, when-- when *i* was my sister's father! and i am my own mother! damn you, test tubes, damn you!' space opera: 'luke, *i* am your father.'

nothing wrong with space opera, of course, it just doesn't exactly reach for the stars in terms of having any deeper meaning. throwing SF into romance, well, while it's not my thing, i think you don't see a lot of it for obvious reasons. i'm sure there's a niche market for it, and romance readers will read anything with a love story just about, but i don't envision the mesh of these two resulting in 'hard' science emergin, i.e. no long-winded explanations about how the bock IV sub-warp engines function in an ion field, know what i mean? and i reckon there are people out there who figger a romance between two divergent species will work, but i doubt you'd find many romance readers interested in that. i reckon romance sticks with the present and history because the readers can relate to those times and not so much with a heroine with eight boobs and thorns covering her body.

Pthom
05-31-2005, 11:44 AM
Define cheese in this context, first.Not cheddar nor swiss nor Limburger...but that quality of something that leads towards suspect. A cheesy aparatus is one that breaks down on or before the warranty is up (and such warranty is usually absurdly brief). In the case of writing, cheese is that quality which is inubstantial, perhaps somewhat smelly, yet not ludicrous enough to be called a spoof or comedy.



...
As for space opera being cheesy - that's rather sweeping, and a little like calling lush Fantasy slow, and Literary Fiction plot-lite.Persaktly.

Unlike preyer's definition of space opera where he compares it to other science fiction as one might compare soap opera to mainstream drama, to my way of thinking, space opera are those stories that are romantic in the "not-about-love-per se" style, but are (or should be) serious treatments of adventures in space and space ships. I think space opera can deal with some very deep concepts, one of which can be the emotion we humans call 'love.'

But including love in a story doesn't mean the story is automatically a romance (and here I do mean the kind about love between two beings). I think we really do need to keep in mind the difference between romance as literary theory (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=6710&highlight=Romance) and Romance as a bookstore section, a category, or as a genre. I think I would agree completely with preyer's view if we were talking about science fiction written in the style of a gothic romance, where the science part is ancillary to any other part of the story.

MadScientistMatt
05-31-2005, 05:08 PM
Well, I do have a WIP sitting around that I think of as a space opera. By which I mean that I have taken an adventure story and set it in space, where the spaceships and weapons are just the background. My story is basically a pirate story, but while it uses spaceships and the like, the same basic story would work with ships from Blackbeard's time, Egyptian reed boats, modern freighters, or even bush pilots and cargo planes.

I may try to give it a deeper theme than pure entertainment, but it won't be a theme about technological changes to the human condition. And my first goal is going to be pure entertainment and adventure.

For definitions of space opear, I've got to agree with the others who listed Star Wars as a prime modern example.

clara bow
06-01-2005, 07:02 AM
wow, I love all these great definitions that capture one of my favorite genres! Does Donaldson's Gap series strike anyone besides me as space opera-ish, albeit on the serious side of the continuum?

I would love to write one but I'm a little intimidated at the thought of all that effort without knowing if it would be published. I have a space opera idea I might turn into a screenplay somewhere down the line though, which is definitely a lot more realistic than trying to get a book published...NOT! ;)

Anyway, if someone ever wrote something like Space Cruiser Yamato as a book or series I would so be there.

Pthom
06-01-2005, 09:28 AM
Clara, Two words:

Write it.

preyer
06-01-2005, 10:29 PM
yeah, i think most of us unpublished writers at one point wonder if we might just be wasting our time. only one way to find out, though, eh?

clara bow
06-02-2005, 08:01 AM
Clara, Two words:

Write it.

awww, shucks, I know. There must be a reason I couldn't stop thinking about the idea the other day...tx

arodriguez
06-28-2005, 04:48 AM
most fantasy novels i read have romance in it. it often creates an interesting conflict to watch relationships develop in a fantasy or science fiction world. after all, it is something we all can connect with and be familiar with. in some cases, its what we would want for ourselves.

i read the sunrunner series by whats her face, and i thought it was the worst fantasy ive ever read. nifty idea, but it was so heavily romance i was bored. it didnt help that she thought 500 people were a big army, lol.

maybe if you like romantic elements you should incorporate them in your book, and have fun with it, but for the Genre's sake dont subclassify the greatest Genre ever concieved!

Higgins
02-12-2008, 07:13 PM
right, if we went back the better part of a thousand years ago, 'romance' as you'd find in the romantic era of writing is different than 'romance' today.

i think of space opera like being a soap opera in space, with wild plots, bad dialogue, and nothing there aspiring to be more than pure entertainment. soap opera: 'it wasn't me who had an affair with your husband and gave birth to his children, it was my evil twin! besides, i... i used to be a man! that was before the plane crash, though, when-- when *i* was my sister's father! and i am my own mother! damn you, test tubes, damn you!' space opera: 'luke, *i* am your father.'

nothing wrong with space opera, of course, it just doesn't exactly reach for the stars in terms of having any deeper meaning. throwing SF into romance, well, while it's not my thing, i think you don't see a lot of it for obvious reasons. i'm sure there's a niche market for it, and romance readers will read anything with a love story just about, but i don't envision the mesh of these two resulting in 'hard' science emergin, i.e. no long-winded explanations about how the bock IV sub-warp engines function in an ion field, know what i mean? and i reckon there are people out there who figger a romance between two divergent species will work, but i doubt you'd find many romance readers interested in that. i reckon romance sticks with the present and history because the readers can relate to those times and not so much with a heroine with eight boobs and thorns covering her body.

Two boobs? And how does the Bock IV subwarp engine perform in an ion field?

Straka
02-12-2008, 07:20 PM
I write science fiction romance/erotica. :)

You mean Scificromica? I like that sound of that.

Gray Rose
02-12-2008, 07:30 PM
The novelette in my signature went to an SFR market, so I guess I write SFR. I was not sure how to classify the piece, but the relationship is central to the plot.

Space opera and SFR are different (see above), though often occur in the same books (e.g. Asaro, Bujold). It seems that SFR is a small market with a devoted readership, though the agents do not seem too eager to take on new clients in the genre (this has been my subjective impression). I am still waiting for someone to pick Clara Bow's project! :)

Space Opera is a much larger market, and you can have romance in it as well, of course. Weber sells his Honor novels by the trunkloads, but I am not a fan.

Best of luck!
Rose