Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Donald A. Wollheim - Blue Tyson

Donald A. Wollheim was an editor, author and publisher, DAW. As an author he did write some children's books of subgenre interest. He also edited a Year's Best Science Fiction series for a number of years both with Terry Carr and his own solo effort. An occasional magazine editor, he was also briefly involved with the US version of Perry Rhodan. He also edited a couple of dozen anthologies, some of which are of interest. In particular, the sword and planet work, Swordsmen In the Sky:

  1. Swordsmen In the Sky : Swordsman of Lost Terra - Poul Anderson

  2. Swordsmen In the Sky : The People of the Crater - Andre Norton

  3. Swordsmen In the Sky : The Moon that Vanished - Leigh Brackett

  4. Swordsmen In the Sky : A Vision of Venus - Otis Adelbert Kline

  5. Swordsmen In the Sky : Kaldar, World of Antares - Edmond Hamilton

Friday, February 25, 2011

Beyond The Whistle Test - Greg Egan

Killer advertising earworms.

3.5 out of 5

Hopefully can save the baby sea monsters - Amy Bechtel

Hopefully can save the baby sea monsters.

3.5 out of 5

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Al Sarrantonio - Blue Tyson

Al Sarrantonio is a science fiction and horror writer, and also an editor. Of interest are a couple of series set in the Solar System. The Masters of Mars trilogy is basically Cat Princess of Mars, sans John Carter and in the future with no humans around. The Five Worlds trilogy has people on terraformed planets of the Solar System trying to kill each other.

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Manly Wade Wellman - Blue Tyson

Manly Wade Wellman was best known as a fantasy author, in particular the Silver John stories. However, earlier in his career he wrote a number of pulp space opera stories. You will find The Devil's Asteroid online, for example. He also wrote one of the Captain Future novels, The Solar Invasion. It was at the short length that he was very prolific, and his stories have been organised into multiple collections.

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Alan E. Nourse - Blue Tyson

Alan E. Nourse was a writer of science fiction, some of which was for kids. Around 10 novels and several dozen short stories. Many of which are subgenre, such as the novel Star Surgeon, or The Brain Sinner actually from Planet Stories, which you will also find online.

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Dave Duncan - Blue Tyson

Dave Duncan is known as a fantasy author, but had an early stand alone space opera novel, Hero! Young man decides best way to get off boring mudball is to join the Space Patrol. As you do. Which pretty much ensures someone in a spaceship will try and vaporise him soon afterwards.

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Reginald Bretnor - Blue Tyson

Reginald Bretnor is an author of science fiction and non-fiction about science fiction, best known for a long-running humourous bunch of short stories. Gilpin's space is a novel about the invention of a hyperdrive - which they promptly put in a submarine! There is also an associated novella.

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: John Dalmas - Blue Tyson

John Dalmas is an author of science fiction, particularly military SF spanning worlds. For example, the Regiment series with its elite space soldiers He has written more than a dozen short stories, so has a collection to go with the several series worth of novels.

You will find some of his work at the Baen Free Library, and of course more at webscriptions.

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: David Gunn - Blue Tyson

David Gunn is an author of over the top military SF. When your second book is Death's Head: Maximum Offense, you'd hope so, too. A not quite human super soldier and his crew commit mayhem, with help from his intelligent gun, in a three-way interstellar political struggle.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: James C. Glass - Blue Tyson

James C. Glass is the author of around 30 short stories and several novels. The Shanji series is a barbarian heroine in amidst a Mongol flavoured horselord interstellar empire. So a descendant of the Rebel of Valkyr or the Rhada books but updated and ethnically shifted for this swords and spaceships trio. Toth will also be of interest to subgenre fans, with starship getting in trouble on a colony world.

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Roland J. Green - Blue Tyson

Roland J. Green is an author and editor of science fiction and fantasy, with well over 30 books to his credit. This includes a number of tie-ins, including a Star*Drive book. An early nineties military SF series called Starcruiser Shenandoah is of definite subgenre interest, six books worth. His short fiction total is in the 20s.

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: William Greenleaf - Blue Tyson

William Greenleaf is the author of several novels of interest in the 1980s, including some that deal with a United Nations Space Administration in charge of all things instellar, including star travel, alien artifacts and all that good stuff.

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Peter Telep - Blue Tyson

Peter Telep is a writer in multiple media and a science fiction author. It appears he does favour military novels, such as the recent trio written as Ben Weaver. These are your young bloke joins up with the space force, gets beaten up and shot at being the puny rookie, then finally gets to go out to get shot at and exploded at a lot more.

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Rhondi A. Vilott Salsitz - Blue Tyson

Rhondi A. Vilott Salsitz is a science fiction and fantasy author who may have more pseudonyms than short stories published. As Charles Ingrid she wrote the six book military Sand Wars series, where a man in super powered armour kicks arse in interstellar fashion.

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Sherwood Smith - Blue Tyson

Sherwood Smith is the author of 20 science fiction and fantasy short stories and even more novels, some of which are for kids. She produced the Exordium series when teaming up with Dave Trowbridge, and is about the struggle for rule of the Thousand Suns. Yes, your classic Galactic Empire feud.

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: M. K. Wren - Blue Tyson

M. K. Wren wrote the The Phoenix Legacy trilogy, about unrest in a feudal interstellar empire in the 33rd century.

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Robert Frezza - Blue Tyson

Robert Frezza wrote a three book military SF series called A Small Colonial War, that has a Japanese-South African flavour.

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Mike Moscoe - Blue Tyson

Mike Moscoe is a science fiction author, both short and long form that turned to writing garden variety military sf novels as Mike Shepherd for sales reasons. The Longknife series now has 11 books related to it in total. With a few other novels his long form output still outnumbers his short form work by a small margin.

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Juanita Coulson - Blue Tyson

Juanita Coulson is a science fiction and fantasy author of around 15 novels and 10 short stories. Some of her work appears to be science fiction romance, and the four book Children of the Stars series will be of interest to those interested in that part of the subgenre.

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: H. Beam Piper - Blue Tyson

H. Beam Piper was a science fiction author who worked in more than one subgenre. Of interest is his Terro-Human Future History, which include both long form and short form work. For example, Space Viking has a man wanting revenge after his wife is killed, raiding admidst the detritus of an Interstellar War. Junkyard Planet has people who are trying to get by cleaning up the same.

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Robert N. Charrette - Blue Tyson

Robert N. Charrette produced a couple of military SF type novels about the Interstellar Defense League. Also some Battletech books for those that like their mecha.

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: John J. Myers and Gary K. Wolf - Blue Tyson

John J. Myers and Gary K. Wolf are a pair of science fiction writers when they team up. They liked the Space Hawk stories when they were kids. These are bad, so they decided to try and write something like it with Space Vulture. They succeeded, as this is very poor.

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: David Feintuch - Blue Tyson

David Feintuch was the author of the 7 book Nicholas Seafort Horatio Hornblower in space type series.

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Emily Devenport - Blue Tyson

Emily Devenport is the author of nine science fiction novels under various names. The Heads novels have the good old need fancy genetic traits to operation ancient alien gear. The Belarus books are about a colony with that name - and more alien goodies and alien horrors, so they are also of interest.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: P. M. Griffin - Blue Tyson

P. M. Griffin is an author who teamed up with Andre Norton at times, including on her Solar Queen series. She also has written a series called Star Commando that is now a dozen books long, and would appear to be just as advertised although very light on the military nerdery.

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Julie E. Czerneda - Blue Tyson

Julie E. Czerneda is an editor and author of science fiction and fantasy as well as some non-fictional work. She has a triple-trio of books of interest in her Clan Chronicles Future History where humans have expanded into space of necessity and found out it is not necessarily very friendly.

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: John Clute - Blue Tyson

John Clute is an encyclopedist, editor and critic and the writer of the inferior of the two science fiction properties named Appleseed. As an author, he is a good all of the others above. His novel also displays the fact that few people in the world like the Complete Oxford Dictionary more than him. He also has produced a few short stories.

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Jody Lynn Nye - Blue Tyson

Jody Lynn Nye is a science fiction and fantasy who has produce over 30 books, along and in team-up. This includes working on some of Anne McCaffrey's Ship works, as far as space opera goes. Of interest is her three book Taylor's Ark series, which is a direct descendant of Murray Leinster's Med Ship stories. A medical professional and aliens go from world to world solving problems.

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Deborah Chester - Blue Tyson

Deborah Chester the author of 30 or so romance, fantasy and science fiction novels. Under the pseudonym Sean Dalton she wrote a six novel series called Operation StarHawks, about your classic super secret agents of space tearing around the galaxy on missions only they can manage.

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Steve Perry - Blue Tyson

Steve Perry is the author of a significant number of novels and a goodly number of short stories. Of interest is Stellar Ranger, which is an actual honest to goodness space western man comes to clean up hive of scum, villainry and evil overlord story. Also of likely interest to subgenre fans are his Matador type books, about martial artist rebels working against an oppressive government. Not really the splendor of distant nebulae stories at all, though. Perry has also produced several Star Wars novels, including one about the famous not-a-moon-but-a-space station.

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Rick Shelley - Blue Tyson

Rick Shelley was a science fiction and fantasy author who produced around 20 novels and 20 short stories. Most of his long form output was military sf with series like The Second Commonwealth War.

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Syne Mitchell - Blue Tyson

Syne Mitchell is a weaving geek, science fiction author of several novels and a dozen short stories. There is one book of interest, Murphy's Gambit. A zero-G adapted woman is tasked to pilot a new FTL-capable ship, which is a dangerous assignment. Someone else wants her to steal it for them.

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Dan Cragg and David Sherman - Blue Tyson

Dan Cragg and David Sherman are a pair of science fiction writers when they team up. Cragg has written military non-fiction and Sherman fiction.

Given that background and some excerpts, the long-running Starfish series (14 books) and a spinoff appear to be dyed-in-the-wool crush your enemies with your force multipliers military SF of the interstellar variety.

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: C. S. Friedman - Blue Tyson

C. S. Friedman is a science fiction and fantasy author heading for double figures in novels. She has also written a few short stories. She has two subgenre novels of the Azean Empire. Yes, interstellar empires at war, with psionic warriors as a bonus it appears. The author manages to write a little about how the first book came to be, but cannot, however, manage an excerpt. Given it appears to be from DAW/Penguin, the chance of such there is laughable.

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Kevin D. Randle - Blue Tyson

Kevin D. Randle is a science fiction author and apparently a ufologist. So yes, he does have a book about First Contact. :) Several series would seem to be of interest: Galactic MI (3), Jefferson's War (6), Seeds of War (3), Star Precinct (3) and the Exploration Chronicles (4). I have not read any of these and there appears to be nothing online.

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: R. M. Meluch - Blue Tyson

R. M. Meluch is a science fiction writer and the author of the Merrimack series, which has a nice angle. American vs Roman space empires. Then aliens come who don't care what flavour of monkeyboy they are, the gorgons are happy to destory them all. The Merrimack is one ship in particular whose adventures are followed. Looks like fun.

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Michael McCollum - Blue Tyson

Michael McCollum is a science fiction writer and the author of two three book series of interest, Antares and Gibraltar Stars. Alien conflicts, foldspace jump points, colonisation and all that classic stuff it appears from excerpt. Again another author/publisher combo displaying brain cramp. Have excerpts for say, book 1 and book 3, but not book 2, or standalones? Bizarre. Not to mention the 1992esque website.

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Susan R. Matthews - Blue Tyson

Susan R. Matthews is a science fiction writer and the author of the 5 book Jurisdicition series, along with several short stories.

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: C. J. Ryan - Blue Tyson

C. J. Ryan is the unknown and probably pseudonymous author of the 5 book Dexta series, set in a 33rd century human Galactic Empire, with the protagonist the Emperor's ex-wife. I read part of one and it wasn't any good.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Audio Drama - Blue Tyson

Audio Drama I am goin got call work that is not broadcast radio, and designed with audio in mind like the earlier old time radio shows and unlike the direct readings of audiobooks. Some independent producers occasionally make work like RRAC and their shows such as Anne Manx, starring Claudia Christian of Babylon 5 fame. Or the comedy Ruby the Galactic Gumshoe

More commercial productions come from Graphic Audio, who have made several adapations of Elizabeth Moon's Serrano series and sequels.

Big Finish Productions produce original stories. Of subgenre interest are their Stargate stories, both SG-1 and Atlantis. They also worked on some Warhammer 40,000 adventures for the Black Library.

B7 Productions has produced three reimagining stories for the beginning of a different Blake's 7, and also some other stories about Vila and Gan and Cally and more. These have aired on the BBC apparently.

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Modern Radio - Blue Tyson

Modern Radio includes radio shows of interest in the tv era. This ranges from comedies like Canadia 2056 where Canada can manage one spaceship, the short episode Chuck Chunder of the Space Patrol and its moronic space hero of the title. The elephant in the room of comedy of this ilk is The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, which began as a radio series. Much later in 2005 came the Red Dwarfian silliness of The Spaceship.

On the more serious side, there was also an adaptation of Star Wars. The BBC did a version of Leigh Brackett's The Last Days of Shandakor along with a short Dan Dare series.

Original work includes :-

  • 1978 - Alien Worlds, a series about the International Space Authority and its dealing with extraterrestials from the Arthur C. Clarke Starlab.

  • 1978 - Johnny Chase: Secret Agent of Space, a series about a flamboyant space hero of Canadian creation.

  • 1981 - Earthsearch, where a ship looking for colonies has an accident, and the only people left alive are very young children..

  • 1984 - Space Force, a series by the creator of Journey Into Space and along similar lines in a similar ship.

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Old Time Radio - Blue Tyson

Old Time Radio describes generally a period of American radio drama production from the 1920s to the 1950s before the rise and dominance of television. There are a few shows of subgenre interest. A couple of them were for kids like Tom Corbett, Space Cadet and the curiosity Planet Man. Another unknown is Captain Starr. Space Patrol was likewise the adventures of a Commander of the United Planets and his space cadet sidekick. You can find examples of these online. A lesser known UK show is Journey Into Space.

For more interest for trying out today are the well known space heroes Dan Dare and particularly Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon.

Again, Buck Rogers was a pioneer in being the first to air in 1932 and running until 1947. In 1935 Flash Gordon began, but did not last anywhere nearly as long. Dan Dare was broadcast for a few years beginning in 1951. You'll find Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon episodes online.

Occasionally there would be a story of interest in the anthology shows like X Minus One, but these of course are readings of prose work, like Robert A. Heinlein's Universe Generation Ship story, for example.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: L. Sprague de Camp - Blue Tyson

L. Sprague de Camp is a science fiction and fantasy author and editor of significant output. Of interest is his Viagens Interplanetarias series of works, detailing a future where Brazil is an interstellar power. Some relate to the greater setting, but the majority of stories are set on the planet Krishna. These are not collected, and nothing to particularly rush out and find. The Galton Whistle is decent enough but I have read a couple of others that were not.

The Galton Whistle

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Chris Bunch - Blue Tyson

Chris Bunch was the author of around 30 novels and a smaller number of short stories, both science fiction and fantasy. With Allen Cole, he produced the Sten series of military sf novels about a young man taken from a dangerous planet and made into an intestellar commando (along with a motley crew of mates) in an empire powered by antimatter and ruled by an ancient emperor. His Star Risk series is also of interest.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: - Blue Tyson

Chester Whitehorn was an editor for Planet Stories for 3 issues in 1945 and 1946.

Planet Stories 26

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Basil Wells - Blue Tyson

Basil Wells is another curiosity of the Planet Stories era who came up with a double figure story count. Nothing like a decent writer, however, Fog of the Forgotten has some wild planetary romance style stuff in it, and is online, along with some of his other stories.

Fog of the Forgotten

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Miriam Allen DeFord - Blue Tyson

-- some assorted ones as I come across 'em and/or remember them now - if anyone has any suggestions to look at, feel free...

Miriam Allen DeFord was an author and editor of science fiction and crime stories. I have only read a few stories of hers. The Eel is a tale of a super rogue wanted in more than one solar system, and you will find it online.

The Eel

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: David Zindell - Blue Tyson

David Zindell has written nine novels and four short stories. Of interest is Neverness, about a pilot of starships - and the strange society that exists around the order of mathematicians that are needed to work out the complexities of spaceflight.

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Sarah Zettel - Blue Tyson

Sarah Zettel is a writer of fantasy and science fiction who has easily made double figures in both novels and short stories. Of interest is her novella Fool's Errand the later novel Fool's War, about AI trying to survive in human society and the various subterfuges they have to employ to do so because of a humanity terrified of rogue AI. The Fool in the title is a particular job - a role on a starship that is part entertainer/counsellor/morale officer. And in this case, she is also an AI.

Fool's Errand

Fool's War

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Roger Zelazny - Blue Tyson

Roger Zelazny is a fantasy and science fiction author with close to 50 novels to his credit alone and in team-up, with d more than that count in short stories. He is most well known as the creator of the Amber series. Of some subgenre interest are the novels Doorways In the Sand, Lord of Light, Isle of the Dead and To Die In Italbar.

A Rose For Ecclesiastes is a planetary romance, intended as a homage to those of the past, with martial arts and mysticism and attempting to avoid the end. You will find this story online.

A Rose For Ecclesiastes

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: George Zebrowski - Blue Tyson

George Zebrowski is the author of around 20 novels, including some Star Trek work, and some of which are of subgenre interest such as the Omega Point Trilogy. This has a conflict between an interstellar Federation and Empire, and the desire to change such, and is available at E-reads. He has produced a significantly greater number of short stories.

Macrolife details humanity's expansion into space thanks to the development of a superstrong but badly flawed material - and the repercussions and explorations that follow of life among the stars and for those left behind.


The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Timothy Zahn - Blue Tyson

Timothy Zahn is the author of over 40 novels and even more short fiction, which has been collected into several books. He is fortunate enough to have been the writer of the Star Wars Thrawn trilogy, kicking off the mass of Extended Unverse books. He also has anumber books that may be of interest to subgenre fans in The Blackcollar and Cobra series. The Conquerors Series has a war between aliens and humanity after a failure of diplomacy.

Also there are standalones like the pursuit of bad guys with a twist story The Icarus Hunt. Pawn's Gambit has a man forced into a dangerous alien competition coming up with a clever solution.

The Icarus Hunt

Pawn's Gambit

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: R. Garcia y Robertson - Blue Tyson

R. Garcia y Robertson is a writer of science fiction and fantasy, and completely and utterly internet challenged. He has a great series of stories that we will call SuperCats (although they have SuperChimps, too). Unfortunately, not likely to ever get a complete SuperCat collection of such given his luddite nature. A shame, given their high quality and fun quotient. He has several novels and many times that number of short stories to his name.

Kansas She Says, Is the Name of the Star has avoidance of SuperCat bushwhacking.

Ring Rats has a conflict with space slavers.

In Bird Herding, escape from a bunch of rampaging SuperChimps is the order of the day.

Oxygen Rising finds a diplomat in the middle of a war between humans and Greenies, and of course there are the feline Supercats.

Teen Angel has a beautiful young woman escaping from space pirates.

Werewolves of Luna has an almost out of air Earthman rescued and shanghaied into joining a virtual reality tournament with a motley crew. Just have to survive sword combat and a raid on a vampire's castle.

Gone to Glory has the problem of completing a mission when an opposing warlord has, say, ten million neanderthal warriors.

Long Voyage Home has a woman captured by SuperCats and forced to work for them. Even worse, babysitting some of their catty big brats, before she can attempt to cut a deal and get home through space.

A Princess of Helium has the adventures of a flyer of multiple varieties.

Wife Stealing Time has SuperCat slavers and sex crimes.

An air hostess lost on Barsoom is not what she seems, causing SinBad the Sand Sailor some interesting issues.

Kansas She Says, Is the Name of the Star

Ring Rats

Bird Herding

Oxygen Rising

Teen Angel

Werewolves of Luna

Gone To Glory

Long Voyage Home

A Princess of Helium

Wife Stealing Time

Sinbad the Sand Sailor

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Susan Wright - Blue Tyson

Susan Wright is a science fiction and fantasy writer with over a dozen novels published, including several Star Trek books. Her Slave Trade trilogy is about the party girl daughter of a politician who can no longer be protected from being part of the alien slave trade because of being a wastrel once too often. Once there though, she rebels and becomes part of a ship and group fighting against this. You can find the first book online at Book View Cafe.

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: John C. Wright - Blue Tyson

John C. Wright is a science fiction and fantasy writer with 9 novels written and over double that number of short stories. Of subgenre interest is his Golden Age trilogy and some short stories. Twilight of the Gods is a generation warship story. Guest Law is a story of the dangers of being on a generation warship. The Golden Age trilogy is set in the far future, when a dilettante playboy son of the ruler of society finds out his memory was altered, and he sets out to rebel in a society that has stagnated. Power armour and superweapons abound in his return from being outcast.

Guest Law

The Golden Age

The Phoenix Exultant

The Golden Transcendence

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: F. Paul Wilson - Blue Tyson

F. Paul Wilson is a science fiction and horror writer. Along with the horror-thriller Repairman Jack series and The Keep he produced a future history called The LaNague Federation. Healer is the story of a man whose encounter with an alien symbiote gives him greater than human abilities - which he uses to try and stop an interplanetary plague of horrors.



The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Bill Willingham - Blue Tyson

Bill Willingham is a writer in multiple media, generally and , now likely best known for his work on the modern fairytale legends comic Fables.

Fearless Space Pirates of the Outer Rings is about a conflict on board a pirate ship. What do you do if you have to leave? Go and become superheroes on Earth.

Fearless Space Pirates of the Outer Rings

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Jack Williamson - Blue Tyson

Jack Williamson was a science fiction and fantasy author who amazingly produced work in nine consecutive decades. Hence his output is considerable, dozens of novels and a considerably larger total of short stories. Quite a few of which will be of interest. I have read only a tiny percentage of his work, ranging from the decades old Prince of Space story to the relatively recent The Ultimate Earth.

His Legion of Space series is his well known work in this subgenre, and it is space Three Musketeers plus Falstaff in this story of traitors aligning with alien invaders to usurp the Empire.

The Legion of Space

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Walter Jon Williams - Blue Tyson

Walter Jon Williams is a productive writer of good quality science fiction and fantasy whether novel or short story. He is very versatile and capable of attacking any subgenre, much like Robert Silverberg or Robert Reed. He wrote a military SF series Dread Empire's Fall that I found tedious and so only finished some of the short stories such as The Praxis and Conventions of War. Considerably better is novel Aristoi, a posthuman space opera of sorts where the Aristoi have vast powers and control of nanotech, both for communication and materially - such as in the reshaping of planets. If people like this go bad someone really needs to do something about it. His excellent novel Implied Spaces will likely also be of interest to subgenre fans with its virtual reality and giant AI conflicts as may books like Knight Moves and The Crown Jewels.


The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Chris Moriarty - Blue Tyson

Chris Moriarty is a science fiction author, and unfortunately one who is really slow. She has produced a total of two novels, Spin State, and Spin Control. The first has a military captain investigating the death of a woman who invented FTL travel. Espionage, murder and more in this struggle over important technology. The following volume Spin Control is still decent, but not as good as the first.

Spin State

Spin Control

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Sean Williams - Blue Tyson

Sean Williams is an author of science fiction and fantasy who has published over 30 novels and has exceeded that number in short fiction. Some of his novels are Star Wars tie-ins, and of the other science fiction, the majority is of space opera interest. Quite a number of these were written with Shane Dix. The Orphans series is a Greg Egan like story of posthumans in space, digitally so they can inhabit other bodies and the aliens and artifacts they encounter. The Unknown Soldier was rewritten later to become The Prodigal Sun.

The Evergence trilogy follows the exploits of a woman who is very good with computer technology and the AI she is tasked to safeguard, leading to revelations and the possibility of war with superhumans, and a terrible choice. The ending of which still creeps me out many years later.

Geodescia has a classic Big Dumb Object and posthuman rulers of civilisations, politics of privacy, modified spaceship dwellers, superweapons and more, all looping back to humanity and its origins.

The Astropolis trilogy has a genderbending posthuman awakening in the future to yet more conflict and old allies and enemies, weird religions that mollify their followers, the remnants of powerful AI and more. Who should control all this, or should anyone, even if they can? Getting on two years after publishers decided to reduce their sales and georestric books these are still not buyable. So the author is now off writing children's books instead, presumably because of low sales.

The Soap Bubble has the Reality TV show scenario - of a starship in space. A Glimpse Of The Marvellous Structure [And The Threat It Entails] is a Big Dumb Object crossover in a weird spacetime way. Do you plot against yourself?

Echoes of Earth

Heirs of Earth

Orphans of Earth

The Dark Imbalance

The Dying Light

The Prodigal Sun

Geodesica: Ascent

Geodesica: Descent

Saturn Returns

Earth Ascendant

The Grand Conjunction

The Soap Bubble

A Glimpse Of The Marvellous Structure [And The Threat It Entails]

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Liz Williams - Blue Tyson

Liz Williams is a science fiction and fantasy author with over a dozen novels and several times that production in short stories. Her Banner of Souls novel is a new planetary romance with a blighted Earth, and a Mars inhabited only by women. There is conflict over the quest for strange old haunt-tech. This setting has associated short stories too as well as another novel, Winterstrike, which I have not read.

Banner of Souls

The Age of Ice

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Steve White - Blue Tyson

Steve White is a science fiction and fantasy author with other 15 novels completed. Of interest is the Starfire series that he co-wrote with David Weber, based on a board game the latter helped with. He has several books of interest, for example The Disinherited trilogy which has King Arthur in space, which sounds interesting. A complete shortfiction non-entity though it appears.

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: James White - Blue Tyson

James White was a science fiction author who produced around 20 novels, many short stories and three collections. I have not read most of his non-related work, and it would appear there are some other books and stories of sub-genre interest, going by titles. However, with the Sector General series he has produced anti-military SF, or negative military SF? Or pacifist SF, of course. Sector General is giant hospital space station that exists after an interstellar war, and is still at risk due to tensions. The trials and tribulations and successes and failures of working with patients of many different species are dealt with here in books such as The Genocidal Healer sometimes the consequences can be enormous.

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: S. L. Viehl - Blue Tyson

S. L. Viehl is an author in multiple genres, but her Stardoc books and the related volumes such as Blade Dancer are of some interest, and there are around a dozen of these. As the title suggests, there is a doctor that travels to other planets.

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Scott Westerfeld - Blue Tyson

Scott Westerfeld is now a popular writer of science fiction books for children. Before this, he wrote three novels of interest. Evolution's Darling and the short story prologue The Movements of Her Eyes are about a woman and her relationship with an AI during its evolution, and also cloning, assassination problems as they deal with the restrictions of their interstellar society. The Risen Empire and the Killing of Worlds have a ship captain realise something is rotten and false at the heart of this empire of immortality after death, and he becomes involved with the opposition to this rule of the dead.

The Risen Empire

The Killing of Worlds

The Movements of Her Eyes

Evolution's Darling

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: David Weber - Blue Tyson

David Weber has written dozens of science fiction and fantasy novels, and a few short stories. Some of these are of interest such as the hunt the space pirates Path of the Fury, and The Armageddon Inheritance which would appear to have large scale space battles. He also co-wrote a series with Steve White apparently based on a Starfire video game, which also involves alien space battles.

His most popular series is that starring Honor Harrington, and is in navy in space, damn the torpedos and give them a broadside military sf style. Harrington falls out of favour with the powers that be and is given your usual crappy posting as a reward. She turns the tables by innovative use of this and rises from there, along with her companion the intelligent treecat. The first book On Basilisk Station is decent, but it begins to descend into simplistic unsophistication in background and result. There are anthologies of stories in this universe, too. Weber also wrote a fine novella, Ms. Midshipwoman Harrington, that details a just out of training Harrington on a mission where she has to work out a way to stop them all getting blown up and deal with some crewmates that despise her. You'll find On Basilisk Station in the Baen Free Library, and Ms. Midshipwoman Harrington also online.

On Basilisk Station

Ms. Midshipwoman Harrington

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Peter Watts - Blue Tyson

Peter Watts has written four science fiction novels and is closing on 20 short stories. His work, particularly in the latter half of the noughties is of high quality. One novel and one short story are of subgenre interest.

Blindsight has a space mission including zombie posthumans and a space vampire that is sent out to encounter aliens who have been observing Earth. Serious problems ensue. This is available at his website as a Creative Commons download. An excellent book.

The story The Island has a ship crew imperil an alien who is large enough to exist as a sphere around a star. Another problem is that the ship's AI is crazy. Also a very good story which is available at the author's website, or as a podcast.


The Island

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: James Morgan Walsh - Blue Tyson

James Morgan Walsh produced much spy and mystery type fiction in his career, but also a few works of science fiction, only one of which I have read.

Vandals of the Void has a space patrol type agent foiling a plot in space by evil Mercurians with the help of a Martian princess, of course. This is in your classic inhabited jungle planet Venus type Solar System.

You will find Vandals of the Void available for free, online.

Vandals of the Void

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Vernor Vinge - Blue Tyson

Vernor Vinge is a slow or unprolific science writer, or probably both. While his around double figure novel count and twice that for short fiction over more than 40 years won't take you long to tally up, it is often of high quality. Particularly the latter.

The Zones of Thought books include: A Deepness In the Sky has a group of space capitalists in competition with space fascists and their nasty brain control enslavement techniques over the possibility of exploiting a planet of alien Spiders. The latter live on a planet that freezes over regularly. A Fire Upon the Deep also has different non-human aliens, wolf-like with multiple bodies, and again humans meddle with alien intelligences. This is not as good as the aforementioned. The Blabber is a Zones of Thought story, with a young man and his strange alien pet on a human colony in the Slow Zone, which they want to get out of. They have to help when their planet comes under attack.

A Deepness In the Sky

A Fire Upon the Deep

The Blabber

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Joan D. Vinge - Blue Tyson

Joan D. Vinge is the author of a massive planetary romance, that shares some elements with Dune. An exotic planet that is hard to get to is the source of a longevity drug. However, in this case it is harvested from sentient natives, not from the excreta of giant animals. With the obvious fairytale reference in the title, you can guess where some of this is going to go. Maybe not the use of clones though as a possible tool to keeping power. The planet Tiamat undergoes long, slow, seasonal change rather than being static like Arrakis, and with this change comes the traditional change of ruler, and hence a sequel, The Summer Queen. There are a couple of other books set in this milieu. Vinge's Cat and Heaven Chronicles books may also appeal, with telepathic rogues and asteroids. All in all she has around 20 novels including a Lost In Space movie novelisation, and a similar number of short stories.

The Snow Queen

The Summer Queen

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: John Varley - Blue Tyson

John Varley is a
science fiction author whose talent and even worse, production, fell of the same cliff that Larry Niven's did in the 1980s. Before then he was a talented writer of short fiction and occasional novelist. Of some interest are his Eight Worlds stories - with aliens in the solar system and humans on other planets, with the novel The Ophiuchi Hotline coming later. The Gaea trilogy is a bizarre planetary romance based on a small living artificial world. In 2003 he returned with Red Thunder, a throwback style novel with a couple of youths and a crazy inventor and his friend the washed up astronaut knocking up a spaceship in the back yard. The Story In the Hall of the Martian Kings may also appeal, with its exploration surprise.

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Jack Vance - Blue Tyson

Jack Vance is a writer of fantasy and science fiction who wrote a significant number of works at both novel and shorter lengths, many of which I have not seen. Most well known as the creator of the Dying Earth series, with its Dungeons and Dragons inspiring magic system, and does have elements of the planetary romance. Many of the books in his Gaean Reaches future history might be of interest to space opera fans, as will some of the planet based work like Big Planet or Planet of Adventure and others. He actually has a novel that was sometimes titled Space Pirate, and even one called Space Opera. Unfortunately the latter is about the tribulations of an orchestra in space. An example of the annoying tendency for writers to scribe about writers and musicians and others of that ilk as this they are as interesting to the rest of us as they are to them. Particularly when their musical interests lag even further behind current tastes than Hollywood does current science fiction.

The most relevant series here is the Demon Princes as a young man plots and wreaks his revenge across space on a multitude of crime lords on different planets who have done him wrong. The best of these is the fourth book, The Face.

The Face

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: A. E. Van Vogt - Blue Tyson

A. E. Van Vogt was a popular and productive writer of science fiction, known for packing plenty into his stories, of which there are several dozen. This has been published in many collections, including the recent Baen selection Transgalactic.

His Voyage of the Space Beagle stories are the basis for the movie Alien, and you will find the menacing alien story Black Destroyer online, for one. Empire of the Atom has a mutant child trying to survive and bring order to an old-fashioned inhabited Solar System. The War against the Rull has an administrator trying to enable humans to get on top of their alien opponent in a space war.

Transgalactic : Empire of the Atom – A. E. Van Vogt
Empire Of the Atom : A Son is Born – A. E. Van Vogt
Empire Of the Atom : Child of the Gods – A. E. Van Vogt
Empire Of the Atom : Hand of the Gods – A. E. Van Vogt
Empire Of the Atom : Home of the Gods – A. E. Van Vogt
Empire Of the Atom : The Barbarian – A. E. Van Vogt
Transgalactic : The Wizard of Linn – A. E. Van Vogt
Transgalactic : Co-Operate—Or Else! – A. E. Van Vogt
Transgalactic : The Second Solution – A. E. Van Vogt
Transgalactic : The Mixed Men – A. E. Van Vogt

Voyage of the Space Beagle : Black Destroyer – A. E. van Vogt
Voyage of the Space Beagle : Discord in Scarlet – A. E. van Vogt
Voyage of the Space Beagle : War of Nerves – A. E. van Vogt
Voyage of the Space Beagle : M 33 in Andromeda – A. E. van Vogt

War Against the Rull : Repetition – A. E. van Vogt
War Against the Rull : Co-Operate—or Else! – A. E. van Vogt
War Against the Rull : The Second Solution – A. E. van Vogt
War Against the Rull : The Rull – A. E. van Vogt
War Against the Rull : The Green Forest – A. E. van Vogt
War Against the Rull : The Sound – A. E. van Vogt

Cooperate Or Else is a Rull story, where an uneasy bargain must be struck between human and alien to survive combat. Home of the Gods is a Linn story where a Venusian surprise awaits at an execution. Recruiting Station has a conflict both in space and time. The Rull has some one on one diplomacy by our hero.


The Voyage of the Space Beagle

War Against the Rull

Cooperate or Else

Home of the Gods

Recruiting Station

The Rull

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Mark L. Van Name - Blue Tyson

Mark L. Van Name is a science fiction author and editor. He has written several short stories. Of interest is his John and Lobo series, about the adventures of a pilot and his AI friend. These are available at Baen webscriptions.

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: George Turner - Blue Tyson

George Turner was a science fiction and mainstream author who wrote 14 novels and around half that number of short stories which produced one collection. He has some work of related interest involving starfarers returning to Earth and finding it remarkably changed, like Genetic Soldier or I Still Call Australia Home.

Flowering Mandrake has a plant-man in a spaceship encountering Earth xenophobes.

Flowering Mandrake

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: E. C. Tubb - Blue Tyson

E. C. Tubb was an extremely prolific author of science fiction at both long and short lengths. A large percentage of which is of subgenre interest, and most of which I have not seen. From poor series like the Cap Kennedy books to Space: 1999 tie-ins and many individual novels and stories. He most well known and likely best work is the over 30 book Dumarest series, bout an enhanced adventurer trying to find his way back to a lost Earth. The Dumarest series is worth a look, but don't expect too much.

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Karen Traviss - Blue Tyson

Karen Traviss is a science fiction writer who has written around 10 Star Wars novels and several Star Wars short stories, along with a few of her own. She also has her own series, the Wess'har Wars, about a space cop that is sent to a planet undergoing environmental conflict over exploitation - and has immortal protectors. The scope expands from there later, it seems. There are six books, of which I have only read the first because I thought it was only just ok.

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Jeremiah Tolbert - Blue Tyson

Jeremiah Tolbert is a writer of short science fiction and fantasy and has published around 15 stories. The Culture Archivist is a look at an extremely capitalist galactic federation assimilating planets, and one man's AI resistance to such. You will find this story online, and there is also a podcast version.

The Culture Archivist

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Conan T. Troy - Blue Tyson

Conan T. Troy is another curiosity like Florence Verbell Brown. He wrote two stories in the 1950s, and one of them from Planet Stories had a Brackettesque flavour with its Venusian bar and dancer setting.

The Conjurer of Venus

Target: Domino Lady - Bobby Nash

The Domino Lady's alter ego keeps getting cancelled on by a detective who is too busy - but then her masked self needs his help when a clever gangster frames her when she tries to get a hold on one of his underlings.

3.5 out of 5

Blondes In Chains - C. J. Henderson

The Domino Lady teams up with The Black Bat to find out where a bunch of rich women have been going - into mind control prison.

3.5 out of 5

The Domino Lady And The Crimson Dragon - K. G. McAbee

The Domino Lady helps a young Chinese woman who has been smuggled in to be a slave prostitute, but escapes.

3.5 out of 5

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: James Tiptree Jr - Blue Tyson

James Tiptree Jr was the author of two science fiction novels and more than 60 short stories of often high quality. These have been collected at different times in 10 books. Several stories are of interest, including With Delicate Mad Hands, We Who Stole the Dream and Happiness Is A Warm Spaceship.

A Momentary Taste of Being has an expedition to Gamma Centaurus. Mother in the Sky With Diamonds has a space safety officer hiding something. The Only Neat Thing To Do has a girl encounter a very different alien, with the sacrifices necessitated by such a meeting.

A Momentary Taste of Being

Mother In the Sky With Diamonds

The Only Neat Thing To Do

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Michael Swanwick - Blue Tyson

Michael Swanwick is a science fiction and fantasy author who has produced several novels, but is significantly more accomplished at the short form, of which he is one of the leading proponents. Along with a Barsoomian joke story Helium for his Periodic Table of Science Fiction, the only other story of interest is Ginungagap.

Gingugagap details the story of an experiment to send a young woman through a black hole to communicate with spider-like aliens on the other side.


The Rough Guide to Space Opera: S. Andrew Swann - Blue Tyson

S. Andrew Swann is a science fiction and fantasy author who has written over 20 novels and also a small number of short stories. He has a Terran Confederacy future history, of which the third sequence is currently underway, that of Apotheosis. This has animal-human hybrids, genetically engineered people, AI, aliens, lost colonies and more. The two earlier sequences are Moreau and Hostile Takeover. The excerpts of the Hostile Takeover series I have seen look solid enough.

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Lucy Sussex - Blue Tyson

Lucy Sussex is an author of science fiction has written half a dozen novels and more than thirty short stories. As an editor she has almost matched her novel output in anthologies.

Mist and Murder is a story in the New Ceres setting, and a take on an old Mary Fortune story.

Mist and Murder

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Tricia Sullivan - Blue Tyson

Tricia Sullivan is the author of around ten science fiction and fantasy novels, and a handful of short stories.

Post-Ironic Stress Syndrome is the odd story of interstellar war fought with suburban kids as avatars for each side.

Post-Ironic Stress Syndrome

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Tim Sullivan - Blue Tyson

Tim Sullivan is a not very prolific author who has produced a handful of novels, some V tie-ins and not quite 30 short stories in more than 30 years. At least one novel in Destiny's End seems to be subgenre, but I have never seen it and very little appears to have been written about this author, as is a recent story entitled Planetesimal Dawn.

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Theodore Sturgeon - Blue Tyson

Theodore Sturgeon produced a few science fiction novels or fixups and the occasional novelisation but is largely known for his short fiction work which also led to More Than Human. He also wrote the Star Trek episode Amok Time. He wrote a large number of short stories, and there are many collections of such. A few stories are of interest that I have read, such as Case and the Dreamer and the Planet Stories tale The Incubi of Parallel X.

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Charles Stross - Blue Tyson

Charles Stross is a highly talented author of science fiction and fantasy, but generally produces the former. Infonomic geekery is more his line of writing than starships plying the vast blackness of the void between the brilliant nebuale, but he has produced some work of space opera interest. This includes the story Bit Rot with some the machine people from Saturn's Children having a problem with too much radiation in space. Also the novel Iron Sunrise. Some of the later Macx family stories (Accelerando) are also of interest.

Bear Trap is a story has a man and an AI fleeing an interstellar economic crash. You will find this and Accelerando online.

The novel Singularity Sky has an outside agent on a planet under observation by a powerful AI called the Eschaton. A group of interstellar troublemaking merchants pays the planet a visit, and leaves them with replicators. The worst nightmare of a repressive militaristic right wing society, because if people can produce their own food, clothing and shelter for free, then they no longer have to do the shit jobs just to eat. Which includes military cannon fodder. All sorts of economic disruptions because in this situation it is labor that becomes far more valuable.

Bear Trap

Singularity Sky

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Martin H. Greenberg - Blue Tyson

Martin H. Greenberg
is the anthology king of the universe across many genres, and may well have edited them to a four digit number. Therefore he has published and republished many stories of interest. Hall of Fame volumes, Great Science Fiction Stories series with Isaac Asimov right up to now. And other various titles like Young Star Travelers, Intergalactic Empires, Space Dogfights and more.

DAW has a long running monthly anthology series.

For instance, this recent book - Love and Rockets, an anthology of space opera romance stories in team-up with Kerrie Hughes.

Second Shift - Brenda Cooper
Gateway Night - Nina Kiriki Hoffman
The Women Who Ate Stone Squid - Jay Lake
Wanted - Anita Ensal
An Offer You Couldn't Refuse - Sylvia Kelso and Lillian Stewart Carl
In the Night - Steven H Silver
F Isn't For Freefall - Donald J. Bingle
If This Were a Romance - Shannon Page
The Business of Love - Kelly Swails and Jay Lake
Music In Time - Dean Wesley Smith
Dance of Life - Jody Lynn Nye
Old Times' Sake - Tim Waggoner
Drinking Games - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Jonathan Strahan - Blue Tyson

Jonathan Strahan is an editor of science fiction and fantasy, first producing the magazine Eidolon, then some Year's Beast Australian Science Fiction and Fantasy volumes, and now has many other considerable books to his credit, including four volumes of a Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the year series of his own. He has edited a number of anthologies of great subgenre interest.

The New Space Opera and its sequel are original anthologies designed to deliver stories influenced by the style of writing termed New Space Opera from the nineties onward.

New Space Opera : Saving Tiamaat – Gwyneth Jones
New Space Opera : Verthandi’s Ring – Ian McDonald
New Space Opera : Hatch – Robert Reed
New Space Opera : Winning Peace – Paul J. McAuley
New Space Opera : Glory – Greg Egan
New Space Opera : Maelstrom – Kage Baker
New Space Opera : Blessed by an Angel – Peter F. Hamilton
New Space Opera : Who’s Afraid of Wolf 359? – Ken MacLeod
New Space Opera : The Valley of the Gardens – Tony Daniel
New Space Opera : Dividing the Sustain – James Patrick Kelly
New Space Opera : Minla’s Flowers – Alastair Reynolds
New Space Opera : Splinters of Glass – Mary Rosenblum
New Space Opera : Remembrance – Stephen Baxter
New Space Opera : The Emperor and the Maula – Robert Silverberg
New Space Opera : The Worm Turns – Gregory Benford
New Space Opera : Send Them Flowers – Walter Jon Williams
New Space Opera : Art of War – Nancy Kress
New Space Opera : Muse of Fire – Dan Simmons

New Space Opera 2 : Utriusque Cosmi – Robert Charles Wilson
New Space Opera 2 : The Island – Peter Watts
New Space Opera 2 : Events Preceding the Helvetican Renaissance – John Kessel
New Space Opera 2 : To Go Boldly – Cory Doctorow
New Space Opera 2 : The Lost Princess Man – John Barnes
New Space Opera 2 : Defect – Kristine Kathryn Rusch
New Space Opera 2 : To Raise A Mutiny Betwixt Yourselves – Jay Lake
New Space Opera 2 : Shell Game – Neal Asher
New Space Opera 2 : Punctuality – Garth Nix
New Space Opera 2 : Inevitable – Sean Williams
New Space Opera 2 : Join The Navy and See the Worlds – Bruce Sterling
New Space Opera 2 : Fearless Space Pirates of the Outer Rings – Bill Willingham
New Space Opera 2 : From the Heart – John Meaney
New Space Opera 2 : Chameleons – Elizabeth Moon
New Space Opera 2 : The Tenth Muse – Tad Williams
New Space Opera 2 : Cracklegrackle – Justina Robson
New Space Opera 2 : The Tale of the Wicked – John Scalzi
New Space Opera 2 : Catastrophe Baker and a Canticle for Leibowitz – Mike Resnick
New Space Opera 2 : The Far End of History – John C. Wright

This is a rare beast, a novella anthology with several great stories.

Godlike Machines : Return to Titan - Stephen Baxter
Godlike Machines : There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow/Now is the Best Time of Your Life - Cory Doctorow
Godlike Machines : Hot Rock - Greg Egan
Godlike Machines : Alone - Robert Reed
Godlike Machines : Troika - Alastair Reynolds
Godlike Machines : A Glimpse of the Marvellous Structure [and the Threat it Entails] - Sean Williams

The New Space Opera Discussion has a link to the editor's discussion with some authors and others about New Space Opera, capitalised version.

The New Space Opera

The New Space Opera 2

The New Space Opera Discussion

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Eric James Stone - Blue Tyson

Eric James Stone is an author of short science fiction, a minority percentage of which I have read. I think Tabloid Reporter To the Stars is of interest, for example

Premature Emergence is about a bored hyperspace union jockey whose life in space suddenly gets a whole less boring thanks to an AI.

Premature Emergence

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: S. M. Stirling - Blue Tyson

S. M. Stirling is an author of science fiction and fantasy and has written many novels, a lot of which have an alternate history flavour. He would appear to have written more novels htan short stories. He has also worked with Jerry Pournelle in his CoDominium Future History. With all this, it was a wonderful surprise to see him come up with the Lords of Creation series. This puts a modern twist on the Brackett and Burroughs planetary romances. What if we did discover that Mars and Venus were inhabited as these past authors suggested? In fact, there's even a cute scene in the Mars book at the start with Brackett in it. Just as the authors suggested, Venus is a hot jungle planet. With dinosaurs and primitive tribes. Mars is a dying, cooling dusty world with ancient races and the odd super science trove. It is interesting that like the past series, the Mars novel is considerably superior. Each follows the exploits of an Earth man and a local woman. The people from Earth do have some physical advantages because of the lower gravity, but of course are not as well adjusted to the local climate on Mars. There are missions on each planet of people from Earth. Full of astronaut types of course, so you have athlete scientists and hence people that can fence. Mind control, killer cave creatures, Chessmen competitions, and plenty more fun stuff like that as our heroes try not to get killed while sorting out the local situation to the betterment of all. The Mars novel is one of the few I have wanted to read again immediately after finishing it.

You'll find generous excerpts of each at the author's website. The problem being that these books of Stirling's are also afflicted with the Macmillan manacles but there are mass market paperbacks, so the Book Depository is worth it for the In the Courts of the Crimson Kings, thanks to their free shipping.

The Sky People

In the Courts of the Crimson Kings

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: B. V. Larson - Blue Tyson

B. V. Larson is a writer of science fiction and fantasy, and an interesting case. J. A. Konrath features a Guest Post by him. Apparently he has a series called Imperium that is of definite space opera flavour, with the first book being Mech. Alien-human desperate space war carnage, by the sounds of it. He has double figures in books and more, and apparently sold 38,000 books last month, and 100,000 in the last six on Amazon. The odd thing for a digital only author is that there is propaganda for the books on his website, but no excerpt. And liking to a Kindle sample is extremely pointless.

A couple of other authors I wanted to look up had no excerpts. Sara Creasy, who has a Kindle sales rank of 46,000 or so for the book in question. Sandra McDonald, who is severely afflicted by the Macmillan manacles, and has no ebooks excerpt for her third, it appears. (And if you are thinking it is dumb not to have all books in a series available, you'd be right.). The rank for her third, 144,000 or so. Hannu Rajaniemi's Quantum Thief has a rank similar to Creasy's. Rajaniemi's book is 9.99. Creasy and McDonald are not available to buy, so show no price, but Creasy's paperback is 7.99 from Eos, and they do stupid things like have higher priced ebooks sometimes so it could be 7.99 to 14.99 (the latter price I have seen from them for a 7.99 book). McDonald's is probably more likely 12.99 or something being Macmillan. Larson appears to only be at Amazon or Barnes and Noble, so if you want epub outside the USA you are SOL (as opposed to SOL completely for Creasy/MacDonald). When you are as popular as Larson is though, there'll be the usual free downloads around I'd imagine. Odd for a digital author to limit sales and excerpts though. In this case you'd have to consider the possibility that the writing is poor. There's zero chance he is better than Rajaniemi, almost zero chance he'd be better than MacDonald, but some chance better than Creasy is how'd I see it. It is even odder to be excerpt free when you know that people using the shops you can buy his books can get samples.

Mech sales rank on Kindle


Or thereabouts. So all these authors have the same no-good website problem. Larson is 1/3 the price approximately, and DRM free and kicking the living crap out of them. His sales keep going like that pretty sure he can afford to get a few hours out of a web developer to improve things. :)

2.99 is definitely Robert A. Heinlein's beer money (or cappucino money). 9.99 or 12.99 is dinner out at the pub money.

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Jacqueline Lichtenberg - Blue Tyson

Jacqueline Lichtenberg is a writer of romantic flavoured science fiction. Her most well known work is the Sime/Gen series, about humans who are energy vampires and their evolving relationship with their food source. She also has two space opera series which I have not seen, the Dushau trilogy and the Dreamers series.

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Jean Marie Stine - Blue Tyson

Jean Marie Stine is a writer, editor and publisher. She has written a few novels and has made double figures in short stories. Currently she runs Renaissance books, which have a line that is reprinting some old science fiction from the pulp era, and has published work by Edmond Hamilton, for example. She has also produce The Planets of Adventure series in double novel anthology style.

Planets Of Adventure 1 : Sword Of Fire – Emmett McDowell
Planets Of Adventure 1 : The Rocketeers Have Shaggy Ears – Keith Bennett

Planets Of Adventure 2 : Flame-Jewel Of The Ancients – Edwin L. Graber
Planets Of Adventure 2 : The Seven Jewels Of Chamar – Raymond F. Jones

Planets Of Adventure 3 : Black Priestess Of Varda – Erik Fennel
Planets Of Adventure 3 : Captives Of the Weird Wind – Ross Rocklynne

Planets of Adventure 4 : Red Witch of Mercury – Emmett McDowell
Planets of Adventure 4 : The Beast-Jewel of Mars – Leigh Brackett

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Bruce Sterling - Blue Tyson

Bruce Sterling is most well known for being a leader of the cyberpunk movement an the editor of an anthology of such. In this subgenre he produced a groundbreaking and high quality series of stories in his Shaper/Mechanist setting, of economics and posthumanity that has greatly influenced the New Space Opera. An unproductive novelist, he has only just made it past double figures in over thirty years, but has written around sixty short stories, several of which are also very quality. His fiction these days seems to grow ever more banal with an obsession with mundane architecture.

Schismatrix Plus collects all the Shaper/Mechanist stories. Swarm has some Shapers meet insectoid aliens. Spider Rose has a very old Mechanist making a new Investment. Cicada Queen has a Shaper and her Mechanist mentor Wellspring doing a deal. Sunken Gardens has a terraforming competition. Schismatrix is a novel and follows the life of a Shaper diplomat and his conflict with an old friend, and encompasses the whole period of the previous stories and more.


Spider Rose

Cicada Queen

Sunken Gardens


The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Allen M. Steele - Blue Tyson

Allen M. Steele is a science fiction author of somewhere close to 20 novels and triple that in short fiction. His best work is found in the Coyote series, which is several books long and continuing. This details the establishment of a colony on an Earthlike world at Ursa major. The story Stealing Alabama details the theft of Earth's only starship from the fascist American theocracy, and is to be found online. The Days Between is the story of one of the colonists on the Alabama who is woken during the voyage, and has to spend his life alone. The Coyote story collections themselves detail the creation and conflicts within the colony itself, and are not space opera as such, but will certainly be of interest. Later, the desperate and broken Earth sends a force to try and retake the world, for example. The associated novels Spindrift detail the discovery of an alien artifact and the voyage that allows those on the ship that does so to undertake. Galaxy Blues has a down on his luck reprobate making a deal with a dodgy capitalist to allow him to get a head start on trade with an alien race.

The Death of Captain Future has a spacer going crazy, and his new hire who get involved in a life or death adventure. It is also a homage to Edmond Hamilton's Captain Future and a brilliant story.

Stealing Alabama

The Days Between

The Death of Captain Future

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Justin Stanchfield - Blue Tyson

Justin Stanchfield is a writer of multiple genres. His website claims he has had over 100 short stories published. Some of which would appear to be other genres and for kids, including a couple of novels I have never seem. He certainly does have a couple of dozen or so SF stories I am aware of, quite a few of which are online and several of which you can buy at Fictionwise. Stories such as Bounty's Stepchild and Trader Pig are of interest.

In the River details a mission to a waterworld. Beyond the Wall details the discovery of a strange artifact that cause timeslip problems for the crew investigating it.

In the River

Beyond the Wall

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Brian Stableford - Blue Tyson

Brian Stableford is a science fiction and fantasy author who has written over 60 novels and a much larger number of short stories. He is also involved in translating some French science fiction at Black Coat Press. You can find some of his work available at Amazon, Fictionwise, etc. but unfortunately most of it is not, and this includes earlier in his career he had some space opera work, such as the six novel Hooded Swan series, about a pilot strongarmed into some missions to get himself out of trouble. Also the Daedalus series about a ship seeking to regain contact with lost human colonies. There's also the occasional short story of interest such as The Plurality of Worlds.

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Margaret St. Clair - Blue Tyson

Margaret St. Clair was a writer of science fiction and fantasy who produced eight novels but also dozens of short stories including Garden of Evil from Planet Stories, which you will find online. This nasty tale has a man discovering why a woman on this world has gone to the trouble of making him well.

Garden of Evil

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Paul Chafe - Blue Tyson

Paul Chafe is an unprolific science fiction writer at either length, with a handful of novels and a handful of short stories. Along with some work in Larry Niven's Man-Kzin wars series, he has two novels of his own about a Generation Ship.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: J. T. McIntosh - Blue Tyson

J. T. McIntosh is a science fiction author and was as a writer in other media. He about tripled his output in novels in short fiction, but has not produced any work for three decades. Some of his work is relevant, and he even had a Planet Stories tale late, Venus Mission. I have read little of his output.

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Michael P. Kube-McDowell - Blue Tyson

Michael P. Kube-McDowell is a writer in multiple genres and media, but has written over a dozen science fiction novels, a few of which I have seen. However, his Trigon Disunity series is space opera, with humans getting out into space after decoding an alien signal, and coming into conflict with aliens and having problems with deception and infighting. He has also produced some Star Wars work.

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Charles L. Harness - Blue Tyson

Charles L. Harness was a science fiction writer of a dozen novels and considerably more short fiction. The Paradox Men is a more well known work, and Stalemate In Space was published in Planet Stories, as far as space opera goes. Most of his work I have not seen but you will find Stalemate in Space online.

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Dave Freer - Blue Tyson

Dave Freer is a writer of science fiction and fantasy, often with Eric Flint. He has surpassed double figures in novels, and is also a writer of short fiction. Slow Train To Arcturus and the James H. Schmitz pastiche sequels such as Wizard of Karres are of subgenre interest, The former sounds interesting, given its origins and inspiration from an old novel. The Forlorn is also of interest, and the Rats, Bats books and short stories may also appeal, with their human and intelligent animal teamups. The Forlorn is in The Baen Free Library, and others at webscriptions.

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: F. M. Busby - Blue Tyson

F. M. Busby was a science fiction author of close to 20 novels and over double that in short stories. Many of his novels such as in the Rissa Kerguelen series of interest, and a couple of these are available from Ereads in nice DRM free format. The UET conglomerate killed some aliens and reverse engineered their FTL technology allowing human colonisation in space, apparently, from the excerpts there. I have not read any novels, but have seen a few of his short stories, which were solid enough.

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: James Blish - Blue Tyson

James Blish was a science fiction and fantasy author and critic, who has series such as Cities In Flight and the Seedling Stars which are of interest, and a common setting for some stories The Haertul Scholium. I have read some of his stories, but not the aforementioned novels. Blackout In Cygni, Solar Plexus etc. are subgenre. He is also noted for many early Star Trek novelisations, and also did Star Trek the Motion Picture.

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Roger Macbride Allen - Blue Tyson

Roger Macbride Allen is the author or over 20 science fiction novels, none of which I have read. This also includes some Star Wars work. The majority appear to be of definite space opera interest.

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Ryk Spoor - Blue Tyson

Ryk Spoor is a writer of science fiction and fantasy at both long and short lengths, both solo and in team-up. You will find some of his work online at Baen as well as for purchase, and he serialised one space opera throwback homage novel Grand Central Arena at his blog, Of what I have read, his work tends towards the lighter and charming end of the spectrum, so recommended for people looking for some of that. e.g. Digital Knight - nerd ends up doing tech support for a vampire lord living in the present.

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Bob Shaw - Blue Tyson

Bob Shaw was a science fiction who produced 30 or so novels in different subgenres, some of which are certainly of interest, such as Orbitsville, a good old Big Dumb Object Dyson Sphere story. I haven't read these as yet though. Another example is the farce Who Goes Here? A man joins a space version of a French Foreign Legion type outfit, which is more of a Carry On type outfit, and things get sillier from there with time travel. He was also a writer of short stories. such as Light of Other Days.

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Bill Baldwin - Blue Tyson

Bill Baldwin is a science fiction writer who has produced an intergalactic military sf series called The Helsman Saga. I have never seen any of these.

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Norman Spinrad - Blue Tyson

Norman Spinrad is a science fiction author with over 20 novels writter. A couple of earlier works are of interest like The Solarians and The Void Captain's Tale. He also has produced a reasonable amount of short fiction.

Maker of Worlds has a surprisingly magical conflict in a Federation of Planets application.

Maker of Worlds

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Cat Sparks - Blue Tyson

Cat Sparks is a science fiction writer, editor and publisher Her Agog! Press produced a series of anthologies, and she is now the SF editor for Cosmos magazine. She has around 50 short stories to her credit.

Bride Price is part of the New Ceres planetary romance, about the nasty things the rich will do to acquire women.

The Bride Price

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Bud Sparhawk - Blue Tyson

Bud Sparhawk is a writer of short science fiction, with around 30 published. Some of his stories are of interest, like Clay's Pride, about a military ship and an alien encounter. There's also a Primrose series about on-planet ship racing in the Solar System that may appeal.

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Bud Sparhawk - Blue Tyson

Bud Sparhawk is a writer of short science fiction, with around 30 published. Some of his stories are of interest, like Clay's Pride, about a military ship and an alien encounter. There's also a Primrose series about on-planet ship racing in the Solar System that may appeal.

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: E. E. 'Doc' Smith - Blue Tyson

E. E. 'Doc' Smith was a science fiction author and known as the father of the space opera. He wrote more than a dozen books and some short stories, which can be found in a Best of and The Vortex Blaster. Like Hamilton, Smith is a good name to have if you are into space opera.

He is most famous for The Lensman series, and this is considerably better than The Skylark of Space, The Galaxy Primes (which you fill find online), Lord Tedric, etc. And the meat of the series is Galactic Patrol, Grey Lensman and Second Stage Lensman, the early history Triplanetary and First Lensman detailing the forming of the Patrol and its history, and then the next generation of Kinnisons in Children of the Lens aren't in the same class, although the latter has its interests. This is basically space navy vs pirates on an awesome scale, with powerful aliens pulling the strings in the background.

Galactic Patrol finds young lieutenant Kimball Kinnison, newly Lensed and hence enabled of some superpowers given a mission - in charge of a ship with a new technology. What do Lensmen and the Galactic Patrol do with space pirates? Kill them. Kill them all. Them blow them up for good measure. Sometimes you have to infiltrate an enemy base to find out what is going on. Kinnison does so, gets his head handed to him, but gets out alive thanks to his Lens abilities, and a talented Patrol nurse whips his sorry massacred Lensman arse back into able-bodied humanity. A Gray Lensman is the next rank, and entitles the holder of this title to be an independent operator. When that is the case, of course you get the talented bunch of space-axe wielding marines and engineers that wetnursed green you through your first mission to come along with you again, when you can requisition anyone. The Lensman series has the classic arms race dilemma - come up with a super ship, have it copied, a new defense - new weapon. The weapon they up the ante with this time is a doozy - a planet from an anti-matter universe. A highly serious missile to be used while Kinnison's abilities expand. Second Stage Lensman is another promotion for Kinnison, and three other non-humans wearers of the Lens who are his equal. His now-fiance Clarissa also takes a lens, as there is a mission that none of the Second Stage are capable of, but she is. These all have greater powers than the lower ranked Lens bearers. So, multiple solo missions in this book, plus more things like death rays made out of stars. All while they get closer to the true nature of their enemy, and that of their Arisian alien Mentor. Highly entertaining. It is then up to the next generation to ultimately finish things off in the next book, with assistance from their elders as they see fit.

Galactic Patrol

Gray Lensman

Second Stage Lensman

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Cordwainer Smith - Blue Tyson

Cordwainer Smith was a brilliant writer of completely original science fiction as far as his Instrumentality Of Mankind Future History went. Unfortunately, his output was not very large, comparatively. A novel or three, and around 40 short stories. Also a spy novel and a couple of non-genre works to go with his writings on China and psychology. Like Hamilton, Smith is a really great last name for space opera future history.

There are a number of collections of his stories over the decades, and the complete science fiction has been done by Baen in two volumes, When The People Fell, and We the Underpeople, available at webscriptions. The Best of Cordwainer Smith contains the strongest stories. Quest of the Three Worlds contains The Casher O'Neill related 'Planet' work. You Will Never Be the Same and Space Lords are small collections. There's the SF Masterworks Instrumentality of Mankind, too.

The Planet Buyer is about Rod McBan, a young man who barely passes his Nostrilian majority test, his mental abilities defective. The planet where the immortality drug Stroon comes from has no need for defectives, and puts such down at 16. Taxes are massive, so the old North Australians aren't idle playboys, by any stretch, but Rod is still under watch. So a plot is hatched for a massively audacious economic takeover, which requires space travel. The Boy Who Bought Old Earth is a short story along these lines. The Underpeople has Rod on Old Earth, encountering Lord Jestocost of the Instrumentality, who has him transformed with the catwoman underperson C'Mell as guardian to try and keep him alive while their plans come to fruition. Norstrilia is basically The Planet Buyer and The Underpeople in slightly different form.

As far as the short stories go, On the Storm Planet finds Casher O'Neill meeting a long-lived turtle girl who needs some muscle. Himself In Anachron has a time traveling ship. The Dead Lady of Clown Town is about the rights struggles of the Underpeople of the Instrumentality and its legal system. The Colonel Came Back From Nothing At All is about a pinlighter. The Crime and the Glory of Commander Suzdal sees a captain find a lost planet where a plague means feminity is a cancer. Then we have a timeslip spacewar with a cat army. The Game of Rat and Dragon is about combat against space dragons with pinlighters and their feline partners and you will find this online. Golden the Ship Was, Oh! Oh! Oh! has a time war, and maybe a duck. The Lady Who Sailed the Soul is about intrepid adventurers in space of different eras finding something in common. Drunkboat has the lurchings of experimental spaceflight. Mother Hitton's Littul Kittons shows that Old North Australia is really rather well defended from thieves that want to plunder its immortality riches. Scanners Live In Vain is about cyborgs who are modified to enable them to handle space flight and one of their number's rebellion against the status quo.

The Instrumentality of Mankind

Quest of the Three Worlds

The Rediscovery of Man

The Best of Cordwainer Smith [The Rediscovery Of Man]

You Will Never Be the Same

Space Lords

When the People Fell

We the Underpeople

The Planet Buyer

The Boy Who Bought Old Earth


On the Storm Planet

Himself In Anachron

The Dead Lady of Clown Town

The Colonel Came Back From Nothing At All

The Crime and the Glory of Commander Suzdal

The Game of Rat and Dragon

Golden the Ship Was, Oh Oh Oh!

The Lady Who Sailed the Soul


Mother Hitton's Littul Kittons

Scanners Live In Vain

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Clark Ashton Smith - Blue Tyson

Clark Ashton Smith was a writer of science fiction, fantasy and horror. Just like colleagues H. P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard, he produced some stories of the planetary romance variety with his own particular flavour.

You will find both these online at the Eldritch Dark website. The Immortals of Mercury has an explorer on the latter finding the city of the former, whereupon they decide he looks useful - but as an ingredient. In The Vaults of Yoh-Vombis, Martians explorers have mummy and vampire problems.

The Immortals of Mercury

The Vaults of Yoh-Vombis

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Martin Sketchley - Blue Tyson

Martin Sketchley is a science fiction author who has written one trilogy and a couple of short stories. The Structure series has a man arrive in a future dominated by aliens, and has to attempt to do something about it. Other planets, time gates, rebel forces, families, alien lovers, and all that sort of thing, which should be of interest.

The Liberty Gun