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The Space Opera Renaissance Paperback – July 10, 2007


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 944 pages
  • Publisher: Orb Books; First Edition edition (July 10, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765306182
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765306180
  • Product Dimensions: 1.6 x 6.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,653,918 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

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 Hays
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“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

More About the Author

Kathryn Cramer is a writer, anthologist, & Internet consultant who lives in Pleasantville, New York. She won a World Fantasy Award for best anthology for The Architecture of Fear, co-edited with Peter Pautz; she was nominated for a World Fantasy Award for her anthology Walls of Fear. She co-edited several anthologies of Christmas and fantasy stories with David G. Hartwell and now does the annual Year's Best Fantasy and Year's Best SF with him. She is on the editorial board of The New York Review of Science Fiction, (for which she has been nominated for the Hugo Award many times). She is a consultant with the Scientific Information Group for Wolfram Research.

Customer Reviews

There is an element of academic analysis, as well, in the introduction.
Lynda Williams
I suppose they may be right - they quote a lot of people (mostly British) who seem to agree.
Evil Overlord
Just finished reading this monster, (940-plus pages), and all I can say is "Wow!"
L. Ochs

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Peter D. Tillman VINE VOICE on March 13, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I'm working my way through the Hartwell & Cramer SPACE OPERA RENAISSANCE anthology, and finding it well-done and to my taste -- I think it's Hartwell's best BIG review-anthology yet. Truly a doorstop: 940+ pages!, with a surprisingly large number of new-to-me stories.

Space Opera, as Hartwell points out in his nicely-done introductory essay and story notes, is a flexible concept. And when you get to New Space Opera, or Widescreen Baroque Space Opera -- well, no one really knows what these are. Really, space opera is what Hartwell (or whoever) points to when he says "space opera"...

Anyway, take a look at this juicy lineup:

(my faves are starred*)

Introduction: *How Shlt became Shinola, Definition & Redefinition of Space Opera, by Hartwell & Cramer

I. Redefined Writers

"The Star Stealers" by Edmond Hamilton

"The Prince of Space" by Jack Williamson

"Enchantress of Venus" by Leigh Brackett

*"The Swordsmen of Varnis" by Clive Jackson

II. Draftees (1960s)

***"The Game of Rat & Dragon" by Cordwainer Smith

"Empire Star" by Samuel R. Delany

"Zirn Left Unguarded, the Jenjik Palace in Flames, Jon Westerly Dead" by Robert Sheckley

III. Transitions/Redefiners (late 1970s to late 1980s)

*"Temptation" by David Brin

"Ranks of Bronze" by David Drake

*"Weatherman" by Lois McMaster Bujold

"A Gift from the Culture" by Iain M. Banks

IV.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Foy on October 12, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a big book and it felt like a big book to read since I could easily put it down. Lots of stories. Some good, some not so good. The surprising thing about this book was that it wasn't more upbeat. When I think of Space Opera I think Star Wars but that kind of fun is a throwback in todays Sci-Fi universe. These stories were very modern and although thought provoking a lot ended with a feeling of 'so what' or 'where's the fun'.

Michael J. Foy
Author of The Kennedy Effect
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15 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on July 17, 2006
Format: Hardcover
In the Introduction to this superb anthology, space opera was coined by Bob Tucker in 1941: "In these hectic days of phrase coning, we offer one. Westerns are called "horse operas," the morning housewife tear-jerkers are called "soap operas." For the hacky, grinding, stinking, outworn space ship yarn, or world saving for that matter, we offer space opera." By 1959 the connotation remained "A hack science fiction story, a dressed up western" as noted by Fancyclopedia II. By the 1960s space opera was considered dead. Yet today it is alive, well, and highly regarded as its reputation changed as "sh*t became Shinola". This terrific compilation pays tribute to space opera tales from various decades starting with a delightful Edmond Hamilton tale from 1929 to a Stephen Baxter contribution from 2003; the entries showcase the evolution and make an analytical argument that even cheap pulp fiction in outer space can be well written. The break out by decades is as follows: 1920s - 1; 1930s - 1; 1940s - 1; 1950s - 2; 1960s - 1; 1970s - 1; 1980s - 3; 1990s - 16; 2000s - 6. Though the spread is heavily the 1990s (half the entries) with some readers fascinated with the sub-genre roots wanting more of the older entries, the contributions are from a who's who, who come through with superb tales. This is must reading for science fiction short story fans.

Harriet Klausner
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Lynda Williams on September 10, 2006
Format: Hardcover
As someone whose own work has been describe as intelligent space opera, I love this book just for the statment on the dust jacket that:

Space Opera, once a derisive term for cheap pulp adventure, has come to mean something more in modern SF: compelling adventure stories told against a broad canvas and written to the highest level of skill. Indeed, it can be argued that the "new space opera" is one of the defining streams of modern SF.

I confess I thought it was more of an academic analysis than an anthology when I bought it, but now I'm looking forward to the sampling of works from different times and tangents, instead. There is an element of academic analysis, as well, in the introduction.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Evil Overlord on September 13, 2010
Format: Paperback
* Most of this anthology is composed of stories. However, the editors also incomprehensibly include one entire novel and two excerpts. The novel is long, based in someone else's universe and not very good. One of the excerpts is quite good, but there's little I like less than an excerpt - if you do buy the novel, you've already read part of it. If you don't, you've only read part of the story.

* Normally, I enjoy the little bios and blurbs that precede or succeed stories in an anthology. In this case, however, the editors have taken such an academic tone that it pretty much kills your interest in reading the stories themselves. I also disagree with their definitions of 'space opera'. I read and considered their position, but found it uninformative, and the various categories of space opera they suggest have little to do with the stories included, and less to do with other work produced in those periods. Anthologies often have a feeling not so much of consistent concept as of "random stories we got from our friends." This one is no different. You won't really learn much about space opera (by any definition) here.

* The editors make much of a posited distinction between British and US science fiction. I suppose they may be right - they quote a lot of people (mostly British) who seem to agree. But I read a LOT of science fiction (both British and US), and I've never thought much about it. I like certain authors and not others; some are British, some are American. Their nationality has made zero difference to my enjoyment or selection criteria. So while it's a big deal to the editors, at least one very well-read member of the audience couldn't care less.
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