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Space Opera Mass Market Paperback – April 3, 1979

3.9 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 168 pages
  • Publisher: DAW; 1st edition (April 3, 1979)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0879974575
  • ISBN-13: 978-0879974572
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1 x 5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,484,518 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The classic Space Opera, as created by E.E. (Doc) Smith with his Skylark and Lensman series (wonderfully satirised in Star Smashers of the Galaxy Rangers by Harry Harrison) is here being spoofed. No galaxy-spanning battles, immense warfleets, super-powerful weaponry, or mighty heroes. Instead, another one of Jack Vance's grand old dames, eccentric and determined but also rich, decides to bring culture to the deprived residents of distant planets by taking an opera company on tour. Misunderstandings ensue.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I met him once in Amsterdam. He was dressed in black, and in coattails. He asked what was new and exciting. I think he went to see the porn museum, but cannot be sure about this. The book is wonderful, tongue-in-cheek, and transports you back to the unique universe of the inimitable Jack Vance. Warmly recommended!
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Format: Kindle Edition
Vance plays on the phrase 'Space Opera' by offering ... space opera. The result is the very definition of farce, as a well-meaning philanthropist and her opera troupe wander the stars offering a taste of Earth's culture.

The setup is decent, and the fulfillment is okay, but for me this lacked Vance's usual sparkle and color. It's funny, but not as funny as Vance often is. The characters are drawn too clearly; there's not much in the way of subtlety. It's an episodic story, and the episodes are fun, but it doesn't really add up to much.

Certainly worth reading for Vance fans, and somewhat for those looking for a light read, or one with operatic references. Otherwise, I recommend looking for some of Vance's other, and much stronger work.

CVIE V
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It isn't exactly like the various Cugel sagas, but it is still picaresque with witty sayings and a lot of sarcasm. This is a classic example of his style. It is very enjoyable and quite funny--an excellent diversion.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Only Jack Vance could write a novel called Space Opera, and get away with having it actually being about an Opera company in space. Its full of lighthearted jabs at the artistic temperament, assumptions of cultutal superiority, Opera vs "real music" (ie the kazoo, which Mr Vance himself played), and in between this is a series of picaresque adventures on a variety of worlds, some inhabited by aliens, and, in one memorable case, a prison colony with a sideline in plastic surgery.

There is an almost incidental love interest, and indeed our protagonist, Roger Wool, is more in the nature of a chronicler of events than an action hero. Certainly he is no Cugel, but the structure and form of the novel otherwise has some parallels with The Eyes of the Overworld written a year or so later.

This is best read purely for the amusement it provides, which is considerable, but it is a short novel not part of a wider series (or, perhaps, even the Gaean Reach milieu). There are some memorable moments, but this is not Lyonesse, or Dying Earth, Planet of Adventure, or Demon Princes. Its just good fun, with Vance's distinctive voice throughout, and all that should satisfy you for a few hours.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Not only the space oprea gets spoofed here, the classic opera as well, as well as the thought that the opera is a superior form of art. Vance even puts doubt to the feeling that we, earthmen, have the superior culture, and that is centuries before we even contact the others, which is showing quite some foresight indeed. All is done within the usual style of the master and it makes you wonder why 'The Dragonmasters' received such acclaim, while this book didn't. Did Jack Vance insult too many artcritics with this one? Have they the ability to read between the lines as well? Makes you wonder...
Much pleasure reading this one!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Vance is clearly influenced by PG Wodehouse's Jeeves stories, and has created a fun romp full of wealthy aunts, stealthy nephews, untrustworthy adventurers, Grand Opera productions and the puzzled aliens they are presented to. Read it and laugh!
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