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The New Space Opera 2: All-new stories of science fiction adventure Paperback – June 30, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
This solid follow-up anthology to 2007's The New Space Opera includes 19 new stories that show how far space opera has come since its pulp beginnings in the '30s and '40s. These entertaining and provocative tales of interstellar adventure, written by a laundry list of genre heavyweights, range from Mike Resnick's Catastrophe Baker and a Canticle for Leibowitz, a campy misadventure that follows a larger-than-life freelance hero on his quest to regain a musical theater producer's lost song, to John Meaney's From the Heart, set in his Nulapeiron universe, which revolves around spy Carl Blackstone and an unlikely—and surprisingly poignant—love story at the galactic core. The impressive diversity of stories reaffirms that soap opera is alive and well, and where some of the genre's most innovative writing is taking place. (July)
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“Dynamic and exciting, THE NEW SPACE OPERA is something new under an alien sun, an essential roadmap to the cutting edge of SF today.” (Charles Stross)
“This anthology is a reminder of why science fiction captured the hearts and minds of generations of generations of readers.” (Orson Scott Card)
“In sheer breathtaking, mind-expanding scope, this collection . . . delivers hours of exhilarating reading.” (Booklist)
“Highly recommended!” (Greg Bear)
“Dynamic and exciting, THE NEW SPACE OPERA is...an essential roadmap to the cutting edge of SF today...” (Charles Stross)
“...Dozois and Strahan bring together some of the finest writers in the field...” (Vernor Vinge)
“The roster of contributors includes some of contemporary sf’s brightest innovators… In sheer breathtaking, mind-expanding scope, this collection of some of the finest tale-spinning the subgenre has to offer delivers hours of exhilarating reading.” (Booklist)
“One of the best anthologies ever assembled by this most prolific of science fiction editors....” (Joe Haldeman)
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Top customer reviews
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This collection was somewhat spotty for me, some good stories, a number of so-so's and a few duds.
1. Utriusque Cosmi - Robert Anton Wilson
2. The Island - Peter Watts
3. Events Preceding the Helvetian Renaissance - John Kessel
4. To Go Boldly - Cory Doctorow
5. The Lost Princess man - John Barnes
6. Defect = Kristine Kathryn Rusch
7. To Raise a Mutiny Betwixt Yourselves - Jay Lake
8. Shell Game - Neil Asher
9. Punctuality - Garth Nix
10. Inevitable - Sean Williams
11. Join the Navy and See the Worlds - Bruce Sterling
12. Fearless Space Pirates of the Outer Rings - Bill Willingham
13. From the Heart - John Meaney
14. Chameleons - Elizabeth Moon
15. The Tenth Muse - John Williams
16. Cracklegrackle - Justina Robson
17. The Tale of the Wicked - John Scalzi
18. Catastrophe Baker and a Canticle for Leibowitz - Mike Resnick
19. The Far End of History - John C Wright
How you find these stories will depend on what you look for in space opera. My preference is not for classic space opera, but rather stories crafted in a wide universe, far in the future. Stories which are just set in this future, but whose protagonists are all to contemporary just do not work for me. Neither does technology that is used as stage props.
The stories I really liked were:-
To Raise a Mutiny Betwixt Yourselves
From the Heart
The Far End of History
In particular, I really loved "The Far End of History", a story that strongly evoked a far future, glimpsed darkly, yet richly textured. I hope to read more of this future.
"Defect" was also one of my favorites, although this could have been included in any hard SF collection, not just a space opera themed one. "Cracklegrackle" was also very good, set in a very interesting solar system universe that I would like to read more about, with post humans and extensive body modifications.
Overall, not a bad read, but I think the mixed quality of the stories was just used to fluff out the collection so that it looked like good value on a pages/$ basis.
The Lost Princess Man
The Tale of the Wicked
I didn't like Join the Navy and See Worlds and was at a loss as to why this story was included in a Space Opera collection aside from the fact that they use the term in the story.
Really looking forward to The New Space Opera 3!
On the one hand there are some true gems in here that are *real* space opera--Mike Resnick's "Catastrophe Baker" is a fine example, as is Cory Doctorow's "To Go Boldly". Fast paced, tight narratives that have a different spin...good stuff.
On the other hand there are some stories that (for me) were either practically incomprehensible and/or just seemed out of place. I won't name them as your mileage may vary, but I found myself skipping to the end of more stories than I would have liked in a collection of this size.
An okay collection. Recommended if you're a true die-hard and/or don't mind separating the wheat from the chaff.