Look Up

Trailing Edge, the story that I'm writing (and that I posted the first part of on Monday to kick of Critical Futures) is at least nominally a space opera. [1] It's funny then, that after about a month of active writing on the project, I've begun writing the first part of the story that occurs in space. and I've written a respectable amount in this world so far.

Now it'll be a while before this gets to CF, as I have a lot of stuff that I want to get to first, and I'm going to try and post a number of different stories. So I'm not going to spoil anything, but in honor of this, I'm just going to talk about space opera, and why I like it, and why I write it.

Basically, I like space opera because it takes an optimistic view of the future. Either we blow ourselves up on Earth, or we leave and see what's out there. On a fundamental level those are the options. This is why, I think, science fiction writers and futurists (not necessarily overlapping categories) are so interested in maintaining and supporting an active space program, even when it seems to contradict their other political positions: the alternative is too frightening.

Given this, you can bicker about the details of what's going to logically happen in the next 20 to 50 years, and you can write dystopias of various stripes. Everything else, is space opera of some flavor or another, and I guess that's the core that I write too.


Now Trailing Edge is sort of weird space opera, I will grant you that, but I always find myself entertained by stories that are "about/set in a particular place" that take way to long to get to that place. Like in the Knowing Mars Story it took a long time for the narrator to actually get to Mars, in the story. Sort of, it's complicated, and you'll see in time, but it's an interesting problem.

I guess the ultimate question that I'm asking is a follow up to this post, but does genre and sub-genre fiction need signposts early on to tell you that "this is going to be space opera," or "this is going to be cyberpunk," or can you do genre more subtly? I guess this is in part a technical question and in part a taste one.

So, don't delay. What do you think?

[1]It's set in a distant future, space travel is technologically commonplace, I'm not writing something that adheres to any of the hard-sf ides about "strict extrapolation," though it is indeed I think it has a much more "realistic edge," which I assure has literary rather than technological/polemical inspiration.
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