The New Space Opera (2007)
Edited by: Gardner Dozois and Jonathan Strahan
Genre: Short Stories/Science Fiction
Pages: 517 (Trade Paperback)
The premise: with anthologies, I always laugh when I force myself to define a "premise" but I will say that the stories--all original to the anthology--are based on upon the premise that space opera, as a genre, has evolved from its roots and become something rather different, maybe harder to define, and each of these stories illustrates that. The editors didn't want to pigeon hole readers into a specific definition of what "new space opera" is, and instead let the readers try and figure it out for themselves, based on the stories in the anthology.
Buy the Paperback: and by that I mean the mass-market, which is all you'll really find in stores anyway, unless you're going through Amazon. It's a good anthology overall, and while I feel that only half of these stories might fit any sort of definition for space opera, new or old, I do feel that whatever your story preferences, you're probably going to like more stories than not. IF, and only IF, you are a fan of 1) space opera and 2) space-based and planet-based SF in general. The stories in this anthology cover a large spectrum in terms of taste, and my faves might be someone else's hates and vise-versa. For my buck, the stories that make this anthology worth the cash are the Mary Rosenblum, Alastair Reynolds, Greg Egan, Dan Simmons, Nancy Kress, and Robert Silverberg. However, depending on your SF tastes, your mileage may vary. I liked this volume enough that I'm going to pick up the second volume, and if I have one complaint about the anthology as a whole, it's this: while all the stories are original to THIS anthology, some are written in the author's existing universes. In some cases, the author pulls off a story that works as a stand-alone, but in other cases, the author doesn't even try and that gets frustrating: knowing that you're reading something that you know you don't have the big picture on since you haven't read the related work. At least only a handful of stories do this. For the most part, it's worth the cash, and I applaud the editors for publishing (much like Pyr does with its Fast Forward anthologies) an anthology of ORIGINAL work, rather than a bunch of reprints.
Review style: for this anthology, I really have no interest in sitting down and discussing each individual story (there's 18!), so I'm grouping each story into categories with perhaps a sentence or two commentary for each. No spoilers here, just generalities and some story premises.
So if you're interested in the full review (remember, no spoilers!), feel free to head over to my LJ. As always, comments and discussion are most welcome. :)
REVIEW: THE NEW SPACE OPERA edited by Gardner Dozois and Jonathan Strahan
List of Contributors
Paul J. McAuley
Peter F. Hamilton
James Patrick Kelly
Walter Jon Williams