Space Opera is people. There it is.
Space opera has fabulous space ships, fantastic planets, laser weapons and epic battles. We’ve discarded the idea that future astronauts wear spandex suits and silver lipstick, and now our heroes get to wear real clothes. They have adventures and super technology and they meet aliens and save the galaxy again and again.
But when I look at the science fiction stories that have appealed to me the most, I see that they focus on the characters. Their plights, faults, idiosyncrasies are what give life to the backdrop of planets and space ships. I suppose you could place Han, Leia, Luke and Anakin in a contemporary setting right here on planet Earth and the dynamics would still work. It’s still a fun story without the lightsabers. But not the other way around. Without the characters’ story, a big chunk of Star Wars would lack considerable luster.
So that is the route I’ve taken with my stories. The absolute freedom of escaping Earth’s gravity and inventing things (always keeping within the realm of probability, of course) is why I love science fiction. I can make it rain mercury if I want to. I think I do, actually, somewhere.
But it’s the people in these stories—not too alien, not too perfect, not always happy with their lot or each other—who give meaning to the mercury rain and the space elevators. The people, for the most part likable people, are what turns science fiction into space opera. (Well, and space guns. Must have space guns.)
For my space operas, I’ve taken the problems of our human condition to see what we’d do with them in outer space. Most fascinating to me are the grey areas between good and evil and how we assign those qualities.
The Targon Tales is an action-packed space opera collection of related but self-contained books revolving around a hundred-year-old conflict between a colonizing Commonwealth of allied planets and those who rebel against it. In struggles like these, can there really be a “good guy” and a “bad guy”? The main characters, having chosen sides, must find ways to hang on to their ideals while working within a system that doesn’t always play by its own rules.
At times violent, sometimes light-hearted, the collection takes us to the many worlds of Trans-Targon to meet species who seem oddly similar as their shared DNA offers an ongoing mystery. But the similarities that bring them together are also at the root of the trouble between them all.
Please visit my web site at www.chrisreher.com for info about my books and some of the (non-fiction) science behind some of the concepts used in the stories.