Hartwell and Cramer have well-honed reputations for consummate editorial acumen, thanks to the renowned hard-sf anthology The Ascent of Wonder
(1994) and the consistently excellent Year's Best SF
. Now, in an exhaustive compendium spanning eight decades, they provide a definitive overview of space opera. Originally a contemptuous label for pulpy adventure sf, space opera has matured into sf's most popular subcategory, in print and on screen: think Star Wars
and Stephen Baxter's universe-spanning sagas. Beginning with "The Star Stealers," by Edmond Hamilton, arguably the first practitioner of space opera, Hartwell and Cramer cut a wide swath through the genre, from pieces by such departed masters as Cordwainer Smith and Leigh Brackett down to others by such rising stars as Tony Daniel and Charles Stross. Thirty-two tales in all trace space opera's evolution from its lurid early obsession with impossible planets to its contemporary fascination with wormholes and posthumans. While the massive volume may not be ideal schlep-along reading, it is an important resource for any comprehensive sf library. Carl HaysCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
"We are in the hands of a loving expert."
--John Updike on The World Treasury of SF
"An editor extraordinaire."
--Publishers Weekly on David G. Hartwell
"One of the definitive anthologies of the genre."
--Des Moines Register on The Science Fiction Century
"Demonstrates the fact that science fiction is alive and well in the '90s…A fine addition of any science fiction collection."
--VOYA on Visions of Wonder