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The New Space Opera: All New Stories of Science Fiction Adventure

Edited by Gardner Dozois and Jonathan Strahan

Published by EOS Books

Print edition available 2007

Reviewed by JVRButler
Review posted 5/20/10

If you like your space opera in small bites, this is the book for you! Somehow the short story medium suits space opera especially well. For those of you who usually skip over the introduction to get into the “meat” of things, I would suggest you stop and read the intro first this time. Dozois and Strahan not only give us some ballpark definitions of “space opera”, they also give us a brief history of the changes this sub-genre has gone through and the names of a bunch of authors whose work a new reader would be well advised to start reading.

The 18 stories cover an impressive range of interpretation of the term “space opera”. There’s Gwynneth Jones’ Saving Tiamaat, a tale in which unanticipated consequences promise to haunt an assassin. Ian McDonald’s Verthandi’s Ring is a mind-boggling look into a universe-spanning society at war and at how important matters of timing can be to survival. Stephen Baxter’s Remembrance takes a look a how important it can be to remember history, especially if the memory has been deleted. A story from James Patrick Kelly looks at more than one sort of fence mending. And one of science fiction’s grand masters, Robert Silverberg, offers a marvelous reworking of Sheherazade’s tale with a human woman in an alien emporer’s court. There are 13 more tales, from writers Peter F. Hamilton, Paul J. McAuley, Greg Eagan, Kage Baker, Robert Reed, Alastair Reynolds, Tony, Daniel, Mary Rosenblum, Gregory Benford, Walter Jon Williams, Nancy Kress, Ken Macleod and Dan Simmons.

There is also a New Space Opera 2, published in 2008. I haven’t read it yet, but I am going to order it today! If it’s half as goodl as the first one, I know it’s going to be a rockin’ good read.

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