Now Reading – November 29

Now Reading: Time Management for System Administrators by Thomas A. Limoncelli.

Just Finished: The New Space Opera by Gardner Dozois.

In the beginning, there was Science Fiction. And just after that, there was Space Opera: epic tales of alien invasions and vast cosmic adventures. This genre reigned supreme until the Sixties or Seventies, when New Wave science fiction’s introspective, experimental works gained favor with audiences seeking more “relevant” works. But by the Nineties, times had changed again, and there emerged a New Space Opera. The introduction to The New Space Opera describes this genre as “literary, challenging, dark, and often disturbing, but also grand and romantic, exciting, fast-paced, set in space, and told on an enormous stage.”
As a sampler of this sort of science fiction, The New Space Opera presents short stories that I rate everywhere from “not bad” to “really great.”

My favorites were:

  • “Maelstrom” by Kage Baker – Martian eccentrics build the planet’s first dramatic theater. Hilarity ensues.
  • “The Valley of the Gardens” by Tony Daniel – After thousands of years, the final battle between humanity and Chaos is about to be fought. Meanwhile, a young man and a young woman, separated by an unusual boundary, find love.
  • “The Emperor and the Maula” by Robert Silverberg – A cosmic Scheherazade visits the emperor of the galaxy.
  • “Muse of Fire” by Dan Simmons – A theatrical company, touring an empire in which humans are slaves, is suddenly required to perform before the alien masters.
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