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Monday, July 21, 2014

Space Opera OR Galactic Fantasy

There's a debate in the science-fiction/fantasy world about the terms "space opera" and "galactic fantasy" as genre descriptions. Okay, so it's not much of a debate. Space opera has been around for forever, and though I don't even know how the name was generated, it's a widely accepted term for the type of science-fiction which is focused more on character and story, and less on any actual scientific elements. The other main categories are military sci-fi, and hard sci-fi (the science heavy stuff). But I think space opera is obsolete and the genre description, in order to garner more fans, should be changed to galactic fantasy. Here are my reasons why:

1) Growing up, I had a love-hate relationship with science fiction. Like most fans, I didn't recognize different sub-genres within the genre. I didn't know about epic fantasy versus traditional fantasy. I just knew some books were longer than others. I also didn't know the differences in science fiction. I'd pick up a sci-fi book and love it then pick up another and hate it. I had no clue how to distinguish from one to the next until I'd gotten into it, so reading sci-fi felt like a gamble. I eventually figured out that I enjoy space opera much more than the other sci-fi subgenres, but if they'd called it galactic fantasy, I would have gravitated toward it naturally, because I already loved fantasy.

2) Space opera sucks as a name. It makes people think of soap operas and there are few distinguishing readers who are going to want to associate themselves with something that has that connotation.

3) The storytelling style of space operas is more similar to fantasy, in my opinion, than it is to science fiction. The entire tone of the story lends itself toward fantasy readers. So why not call it fantasy!

4) My series, "Mankind's Redemption," is galactic fantasy. Sci-fi fans tend to like it alright, and fantasy fans tend to love it. I wish, wish, WISH that the term, galactic fantasy, could take off as a sub-genre. I have no idea how to make it happen, but if I had the power....

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