There have been a couple of very interesting, and, for me, relevant articles made over the last day or so, on the topic of space opera. Of most relevance is a post by Bradford C. Walker, regarding what he is looking for when he ventures into the realm of space opera. Of particular note, is that he sees the emphasis in most modern space opera shifting more toward the military sf side as opposed to the side of space knights, space magic, princesses, and other wondrous things.
In a separate post, over on SuperversiveSF, where he specifically laments the lack of space princesses, and that keeping elements of Romance (not of the romance genre variety) in these fantastic stories and settings, that to truly make space opera great again, especially as a number of us riff on the critically ill Star Wars franchise.
Brian Niemeier, who has also commented on this, mentions a few other things in particular. Of most relevance is the simple fact that if you look at the best-selling space opera at the moment, such as the Galaxy’s Edge series by Nick Cole and Jason Anspach, you clearly see the focus on the more military and underworld aspects of Star Wars. As Brian states, that is in no way a knock on Galaxy’s Edge. I’ve just finished the second book in the series, Galactic Outlaws, and am greatly enjoying it. Those books do a great job capturing what they have aimed to capture from the ailing Star Wars. But this still leaves a gap, a gap for sweeping, grand-scale stories that hearken back to the original Star Wars trilogy, and even further back to the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs (which, to my shame, I have yet to read.
I agree that this is an area of the genre that deserves more attention, which leads me to my own work, and that second part of the title of this article, Galaxy Ascendant. I had actually planned on waiting a few more days before announcing this, as the logo that is this post’s featured image still has a few touch-ups that may be done before it’s completely finalized, but the relevance it has to this recent discussion is prompting me to jump in now.
I aim to provide, in my own way, much of what Bradford feels is lacking in modern space opera. Those of you who have read my debut novel, A Greater Duty, the first book in the Galaxy Ascendant series, might already know this. The book is full of large-scale, sweeping interplanetary battles, space magic–of more than one type, wielded by several characters–and I’ve even got one of those coveted space princesses (though the character primarily views herself through her military command role, and I don’t think she is ever directly referred to as a princess, she technically is one.)
Going forward in the series, whose second book, A Looming Shadow, is due out some time next month, I will be delving yet further into the fantastic and the mythic in my galaxy, while still having those large scale conflicts. To be clear though, I am not strictly writing a space fantasy, and I don’t know if I’ll go full magic with this, but the galaxy is a big place, and I have my own vision of a blend of science fiction and science fantasy, all while maintaining large-scale conflicts, great characters that do not remain stagnant, and leaves you wanting more.
Hence, the Galaxy Ascendant. If it wasn’t obvious already, I intend for this galactic setting to live far beyond the seven book series I started with A Greater Duty. The Galaxy Ascendant will represent all of the stories set there going forward, whether the sequels in my inaugural series, or stories that take place before, during, and after the main events of the Galaxy Ascendant series. This is still very much in its infancy, of course, but I’ve only just gotten started. There is lots, lots more to come here, and I will have some more to say on it later in the week.
I hope you will join me here as I–we–embark on this journey, and check out its beginning, A Greater Duty, in anticipation of A Looming Shadow‘s approaching release. Additionally, every piece of short fiction I will be releasing, for free, to those who sign up for my mailing list (apart from the novelette that comes with the initial signup) is a part of the Galaxy Ascendant as well. I am doing what I can in our quest to Make Space Opera Great Again, and I hope that in the years to come the Galaxy Ascendant will have some excellent company.