Space opera

Subgenre of science fiction / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Space opera is a subgenre of science fiction[1] that emphasizes space warfare, with use of melodramatic, risk-taking space adventures, relationships, and chivalric romance. Set mainly or entirely in outer space, it features technological and social advancements (or lack thereof) in faster-than-light travel, futuristic weapons, and sophisticated technology, on a backdrop of galactic empires and interstellar wars with fictional aliens, often in fictional galaxies. The term does not refer to opera music, but instead originally referred to the melodrama, scope, and formulaicness of operas, much as used in "horse opera", a 1930s phrase for a clichéd and formulaic Western film,[2] and "soap opera", a melodramatic television series. Space operas emerged in the 1930s and continue to be produced in literature, film, comics, television, video games and board games.

Cover of sci-fi magazine Imagination, June 1956

An early film which was based on space-opera comic strips was Flash Gordon (1936), created by Alex Raymond.[3] Perry Rhodan (1961–) is the most successful space opera book series ever written.[4][5] The Star Trek TV series (1966–) by Gene Roddenberry and the Star Wars films (1977–) by George Lucas brought a great deal of attention to the sub-genre.[6] After the convention-breaking "new wave", followed by the enormous success of the franchises, space opera became once again a critically acceptable sub-genre. Throughout 1982–2002, the Hugo Award for Best Novel was often given to a space opera nominee.[7]

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