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The New Space Opera 2: All-new stories of science fiction adventure Paperback – Bargain Price, June 30, 2009

4.5 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews
Book 2 of 2 in the New Space Opera Series

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Editorial Reviews

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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Product Details

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager (June 30, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061562351
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,960,429 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By John M. Ford TOP 1000 REVIEWER on August 9, 2009
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I enjoyed reading all 19 stories in this collection. I confess that The New Space Opera first volume is still on the shelf by my bed, only a few stories sampled. The difference was having this one in my iPhone Kindle app, so I could read away at it during train rides or boring staff meetings. I'm grateful for the entertaining diversion.

My five favorite stories in this book made me rethink my approach to my job:

"The Lost Princess Man" by John Barnes demonstrates how to conduct a job interview with a con man in a high-tech dictatorship.

"Defect" by Kristine Kathryn Rusch shows how to resign from a job as an undercover assassin--and how to resign ourselves to the consequences.

"Chameleons" by Elizabeth Moon reminds us what it is like to babysit a pair of bratty kids.

"The Tale of the Wicked" by John Scalzi evokes those feelings we sometimes have that our office computers are really running things--and that their errors are intentional.

"The Far End of History" by John Wright emphasizes the dangers of becoming romantically involved with someone at work--especially when different versions of both of you play so many different roles that it's hard to keep them straight.

Two more stories weren't among my favorites, but get an honorable mention for succeeding as "space opera" while making fun of it. Cory Doctorow's "To Go Boldly" made me laugh harder about Star Trek than I have since reading Terry Bisson's Galaxy Quest. And Mike Resnick's "Catastrophe Baker and a Canticle for Leibowitz" pokes enjoyable fun at the handsome heroes and shapely sirens of truly bad space opera. Can't wait to see the comic book version.

It's a good collection. Read and enjoy.
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Format: Paperback
I liked this collection a lot. There is nothing mind-blowing here, but all of it is readable and some is pretty good. The story that came closest to greatness, in my opinion, was Peter Watts' The Island. It had truly epic scale and a believeable sense of the human as alien and the alien as maybe human after all. Read it and see. Bruce Sterling's was the best written, but was not actually space opera. I enjoy Asher's work immensely, but his contribution here was good, not great. The Kessel and Meany stories were interesting in places, but did not finish strong for me. Lake's story made me want to read more of his work. I enjoyed his setting and characters, but the plot seemed to just happen; maybe the longer version will correct this. Barnes' story was very good, but I grew weary of its constant narrative dislocations; less cleverness would have been wiser in this case, but I still enjoyed most of it a great deal. Doctorow's story started off as mildly pleasant parody and then derailed in what I thougt was shoddy, unbelieveable character development. The opening story had great ideas and the grandest scale of any of these mini operas, but the narrative device was a little trite to my mind. Every story was at least a pleasant diversion, so I recommend this book quite highly.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A mixed bag.

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:-

The Island
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.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
The second volume in this anthology series features 19 all-new stories by the likes of Tad Williams, Mike Resnick, Cory Doctorow, Garth Nix, Jay Lake, Peter Watts, and Robert Charles Wilson to name just a few. Despite the label that would seem to imply strictly adventurous Star Wars/"Doc" Smith styled tales, TNSO2 runs the range from raucous humor to hard Sci-Fi and everything in between.

Among the tales that stand out are "Utriusque Cosmi" by Robert Charles Wilson. Here a woman is whisked away at the moment of Earth's total destruction by an alien race where she learns that the universe is nothing like we've ever imagined. A truly exquisite tale of the far...far future. The best story in the book!

"To Go Boldly" by Cory Doctorow is a somewhat outlandish parody of Star Trek that I think non-Trekkies will enjoy more than the ardent fans.

"Catastrophe Baker and a Canticle for Leibowitz" by Mike Resnick. Yet another parody story, this time of Walter M. Miller's famous sci-fi tale. The story of an adventuring hero who thinks with the "wrong" head when it comes to women who goes on a quest for said Canticle...for Saul Leibowitz.

"The Tale of the Wicked" by John Scalzi is the harrowing tale of a starship captain pursuing an enemy vessel only to find the supercomputer on his own ship has stopped taking orders. Think of this as Star Trek meets 2001: A Space Odyssey meets I, Robot.

Bill Willingham's "Fearless Space Pirates of the Outer Rings", is another winner. As with most anthologies The New Space Opera 2 is a mixed bag but the good stories outnumber the weaker one's by a wide margin and the best one's are really well done. I would not be surprised if a few received award nominations...perhaps not Hugos or Nebulas, but certainly some degree of recognition would not be surprising.
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