[Book Review] Space Opera

Space Opera / Rich Horton (ed) (Powell's Books)

"More than five-hundred pages, over one-quarter of a million words...

Space Opera spans a vast range of epic interstellar adventure stories told against a limitless cosmos filled with exotic aliens, heroic characters, and incredible settings. A truly stellar compilation of tales from one of the defining streams of science fiction, old and new, written by a supernova of genre talent.

Edited by Rich Horton with stories from Kage Baker, Elizabeth Bear, Jay Lake, Robert Reed, Alastair Reynolds and others."
This is a weighty tomb of fantastical science fiction.  In this collection you will find tales of human and alien diaspora, quests, madness, and larger than life settings.  There are some very interesting character devices, and imaginative settings.  I picked up this book recognizing only a few of the contributing authors, which I find is often a perk of short story collections.  Not all of the stories were to my taste, but others I greatly enjoyed. 

Within the wrappings of fantastical space travel and alien worlds there are some serious themes and undercurrents.  The stories themselves may be short, but they are not insubstantial.  I actually would like to re-read this book at a later date, as a print book and not a digital file (particularly not one with a time limit).  Some of these stories would benefit from a second reading, and give the stories that I did not fully engage with another chance.

It is worthwhile to note that this is not the first collection titled Space Opera curated by Rich Horton, and that the earlier edition has a different set of authors.

If you enjoy space operas you will likely find at least several stories here that you like, but I wouldn't recommend the book for those who are more interested in the harder science side of science fiction.

Advanced Reader Copy copy courtesy of NetGalley; differences may exist between uncorrected galley text and the final edition.

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