The Death of the Space Opera?

 

640px-USS_Enterprise_(NCC-1701),_ENTHas anyone else out there noticed that one of the staples of science fiction in the serial visual entertainment medium until recently known as television and the dying form of the motion picture, the Space Opera, is — how to put this delicately — older than grandpa’s snuff? To be less delicate, if the Scripted Visual Media Space Opera were a humanoid (let’s not be speciesist), it would be looking for its second duranium hip replacement and popping kidney regeneration pills like they were candy. Bendii syndrome could not more than 20 years off, at the outside.

If we just look at the some of the genre’s best-known representatives for a minute, we find that there are at present, a “new” iteration of the Star Wars (date of birth, 1976) films and a “new” Star Trek (date of birth, 1964/66, depending on when you start counting) film in the works.  The franchises are, in movie/TV terms, antiquated, and both of these original franchises are themselves derivative from even earlier models of visual-medium SF, the Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon serials of the 1940’s.

This summer movie houses were dominated by Guardians of the Galaxy, which is a film version of a 1970’s comic book written to cash in on the success of the original Star Wars, which means that its source material is not exactly Young Republicans material, either. Battlestar Galactica? Again, its origins are in the attempts of television writers and executives to cash in the success of Star Wars and the 1970’s  pop-culture obsessions with “ancient astronauts” (don’t suppose the name “von Däniken” rings a bell?). Japan’s successful 2010 revival of Space Battleship Yamato was also a revival of a property nearly 40 years old.

My wife and I were talking about this over a coffee porter and we quickly came up with a list of “newer” Space Operas that had been successful enough to have penetrated — at least a little — outside of nerd culture: Babylon FiveStargate, which also derives its key plot conceit from the Erich von Däniken craze of the 1970’s; Farscape; and Firefly, which only got in by dint of the determination of its fans. The youngest of these, Firefly, is now over ten years old. None of them is currently in production as a regular series, either.

What about Dr. Who, you ask? It strains the definition of Space Opera, it’s central conceit being time travel, not space travel per se. And if I were to grant it for the sake of argument, it would just be one more example of a dated franchise chugging on into the present day.

What has been recently been in production in the film/tv sci-fi world? The Walking DeadFringe;  Warehouse 13; Z Nation; handful of superhero shows on Warner Brothers’ network that act as feeders for its coming movie series. Ten years ago, the scene was entirely different, with the series named above all in production or in heavy syndication.

So what happened? Is the Space Opera dead? If so, what killed it?

Scientific Discoveries

It’s Kepler’s fault. No not the Protestant father of modern astronomy, talented layman in religious matters who occasionally dabbled in theology, defender of a heliocentric view of the solar system and discoverer of the laws of planetary motion that now bear his name. Not Hans. But the space telescope that was named after him. Since its launch in March, 2009, the Kepler Space Telescope has discovered 1,763 planets in orbit of stars other than our sun. In these five years and seven months, there have been repeated discoveries of so-called “Super-Earths” and “Earth Twins” that have, on further examination have proven — as far as the received data can tell — to be completely uninhabitable. Which is distressing, since the telescope’s mission statement was to:

  1. Determine the abundance of terrestrial and larger planets in or near the habitable zone of a wide variety of stars;
  2. Determine the distribution of sizes and shapes of the orbits of these planets;

The findings so far are summarized briefly in a paragraph on the mission statement, with the key sentences being:

There is now clear evidence for substantial numbers of three types of exoplanets; gas giants, hot-super-Earths in short period orbits, and ice giants.

Rare Earth CoverFor the Space Opera question, the important category of planets discovered is: hot super-Earths. Not habitable planets, but rocky planets 1.25 times the size of earth and larger that have orbital characteristics that exclude them as candidates for possible abodes of life. That is to say, each new Kepler discovery since 2009 has only served to strengthen the ‘Rare Earth’ Hypothesis put forth by Ward and Brownlee in the book of that title.

Now, science fiction worth the name is always downstream from science. When Gene Roddenberry conceived of Star Trek and Glen Larson first thought up Battlestar Galactica, it was still possible to imagine that there were hundreds of habitable worlds out there waiting to be discovered. It was also still possible to think that there might be ways to engineer supra-luminal travel that could credibly leave the passengers on a supra-luminal space vehicle alive (c.f. Dan Simmons’ idea of ‘raspberry jam speed’). And, no, the Alcubierra Warp Drive does not work without positing the existence of Impossibilium, by which I mean some form of exotic matter that has the ability to bend space time in such a way as to enable a vessel with human passengers and crew to traverse interstellar distances in human lifetimes.

Maybe, after a century of revolutionary technological changes in the maximum travel speeds available to humans, we have hit a limit that we can never exceed and the popular imagination is only now catching up with that fact. Larry Niven has posited that there were two basic preconditions for stories involving galactic civilizations, of which Space Operas are a sub-set: 1) economically feasible, reliable, faster-than-light travel and 2) the existence of multiple habitable planets. At the moment, it looks like science speaks against the former being possible and the latter existing. The sinking of that realization into the public imagination may be one explanation.

Cultural Pessimism

Rieder book coverOne other key element to stories involving galactic empires that Niven failed to mention is that the civilizations on other worlds and ours would have to want to build empires. Or maybe Republics; at least least Federations. A civilization must have some cultural drive to expand and plant itself on new territory in order for us to have a Space Opera, pitting the brave heroes of, say, New Texas, against the rapacious inhuman monsters from Chl’zhul’hagz’va’dozha. Or at least pitting them against the cyborg goons serving the Master Bureaucrat of The Beltway Collective.

In the U.S. and the West in general, we’ve come to denounce that drive to expand and conquer as uncouth imperialism and colonialism. We are not supposed to want to set up shop on the marsh-world inhabited by primitive spear-wielding frog people much less want to draw them into our cultural sphere. And that mentality, common to cultural studies and literary theory, has had its tentacles in lit crit dealing with science fiction for years. A case in point would be Colonialism and the Emergence of Science Fiction, by John Rieder. See also Black in Space: Imagining Race in Science Fiction Film, Science Fiction, Imperialism and The Third World, and, for a very quick read, this piece from the Atlantic.

Rather than glorify or re-imagine the 19th Century imperialist legacy, newer film sci-fi has tended toward attacks on that legacy and the body of thought that drove it, a la Avatar or District 9, or to focus inward and use expansion into space as an expression of class warfare, as in Elysium. This seems only to reflect the inculcation of a mindset skeptical of the kind of civilizational confidence that was the soul of earlier generations of science fiction. The thought that the culture who brought classical liberal democracy and capitalism to the world should continue that project beyond our planet is one that a generation raised on distillates of Foucault, Althusser, Derrida, and Said simply  can’t take seriously. No, they can’t even abide it in their sci-fi, one of the most escapist of film and television genres.

One Too Many Trips to the Well

There is a much more prosaic explanation for the absence of new space operas in the last decade: fatigue. The period from the mid-1990s to 2009 saw all of the series referenced in this essay rise, reach their respective apexes, and end their production runs. That’s a total of six major space opera franchises that were competing for their slice of the target audience’s leisure time and attention for a most of two decades. Perhaps the target audience has simply grown bored with the genre or comfortable with the exponents of the genre they have grown up with and is unwilling to admit new explorations of the theme.

That said, Star Trek and Star Wars still sell tickets and so they will chug on and suck up oxygen (money, time) from any new property that might be developed. This may be the best explanation, but it’s certainly the dullest. I’d like to think that what people imagine their future could — or ought to — be provides some insight the aspirations that their culture is engendering in them. The lack of new space operas can be read as a troubling sign of cultural pessimism, while the unwillingness to part with the “legacy” Space Operas of Star Trek and Star Wars can be read a wistful desire to hold on to the fundamentally optimistic view of life that underpins them.

Now, your turn. Is the Space Opera dead in story-driven visual media or not? And, yes, I have deliberately excluded online gaming from this discussion, focusing only on scripted media with defined storylines unchangeable by the viewers. Of these three explanations, which do you find most convincing? Do you have another?

There are 96 comments.

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  1. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Is there a reason you’ve excluded written space opera from your analysis?

    • #1
  2. Hartmann von Aue Member
    Hartmann von Aue
    @HartmannvonAue

    Zafar:Is there a reason you’ve excluded written space opera from your analysis?

    Yes. I wanted to keep the focus narrow. For every person who reads a new book by Simmons, Pournelle, Niven, Correia, et alia, ten (or is that 100 nowadays?) go to see the Guardians of the Galaxy or Star Trek: Into Darkness. I also excluded MPORPGs.

    • #2
  3. user_1029039 Member
    user_1029039
    @JasonRudert

    The third seems the most likely. People got bored with Westerns, too. But there are elements of the second as well. Number one seems the weakest to me. Implausibility isn’t that much of a problem.

    • #3
  4. MisterSirius Member
    MisterSirius
    @MisterSirius

    A fine, expansive piece! Bravo! (I think the colonialism and the exhaustion, myself.)

    But a quibble–minor, minor. The “Guardians of the Galaxy” movie certainly seems like a product straight from the ’70s, but IMHO it is more a cunning forgery from 2008. (I was so surprised to see an old friend, the green girl. And look, most of Adam Warlock’s story has been refitted for this Marvel movie interlinking. Interesting!)

    As for the exoplanets, I think you are taking a “glass empty” position as opposed to a “glass full” position. That those planets are detected at all is far more than was known before. Among other things, their orbits have shredded the notion of Titus-Bode orbits. Likewise, if we let go of the idea that tide-locked worlds cannot be Earth-like, then that opens up all the M-type stars (as one friend wisely put it, “M for ‘most of them'”) for habitable worlds.

    With regard to “how to get there,” the usual problems of FTL or STL: pick one and go. The problem with STL is that we don’t have a human model for how it affects things, whereas Star Trek was 19th century sea empires stuff, and even Forbidden Planet was a PT boat deal.

    • #4
  5. user_989419 Inactive
    user_989419
    @ProbableCause

    I can’t watch the newer (decade old) stuff with my kids.  FireFly has a prostitute as a main character, and her profession is occasionally germane to the plot (or so I’m told).  Then there’s Battlestar Galactica, in which the main theme seems to be: if she’s having sex with me, then she must be a cylon.  True, Captain Kirk’s weekly love interest had some… provocative apparel, but whatever clothes she started with at least remained in place (by some technology we don’t fully understand) throughout the episode.

    I agree that Star Trek/Wars sucks all the oxygen out of the room.  Though Guardians of the Galaxy has obviously done well at the box office.  Perhaps there’s hope?

    Hmmm… Bablyon 5.  That was a good series.  I bet the kids would like that.

    • #5
  6. user_139005 Member
    user_139005
    @MichaelMinnott

    It certainly doesn’t help that the SyFy channel has abandoned sci-fi for shows like Sharknado. Whether that is a cause, or symptom opens a whole other can of worms.

    It seems to me that the prototypical space opera is Doc Smith’s Lensman series of books. This set the whole premise of a galactic imperium patrolled by a band of “do-gooder” agents (Lensmen, Jedi, Federation Navy, etc.), typically portrayed as armed, secular missionaries. Perhaps what is needed is a break from the Doc Smith paradigm? Of course now someone has to come up with it and make it popular.

    • #6
  7. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    I don’t think it’s dead, just in a state of suspended animation.

    To do a good space opera requires money and talented writers. Dancing with the American Idol Ice Road Truckers requires less of the former and none of the latter. The formula should still be viable. We’ve just hit a lull. Someone will score big, then the copycats will come out of the woodwork.

    • #7
  8. Byron Horatio Inactive
    Byron Horatio
    @ByronHoratio

    We all know the greatest space opera of all time was Mystery Science Theater 3000.

    • #8
  9. user_1938 Member
    user_1938
    @AaronMiller

    Perhaps the SyFy Channel poisoned the well.

    Also, games can be competition to movies, especially now that Hollywood actors and writers do work in the industry. Games pulled in over a billion dollars just in the last month. Much of that belongs to Bungie’s sci-fi playground Destiny.

    • #9
  10. hawk@haakondahl.com Inactive
    hawk@haakondahl.com
    @BallDiamondBall

    It’s worse than you think.  These are all clones, you see, and they’re winning.

    • #10
  11. Carey J. Inactive
    Carey J.
    @CareyJ

    Probable Cause: Hmmm… Bablyon 5.  That was a good series.  I bet the kids would like that.

    Best. TV. SciFi. Series. Ever. JMS should have gotten royalties for DS9.

    • #11
  12. user_2505 Contributor
    user_2505
    @GaryMcVey

    Star Trek was a minor competitor to Mannix and Mission: Impossible in the real world of 1966-’69, and its fan afterlife was regarded for many years as the amusing equivalent of Edsel collecting. Star Wars was, of course, totally different, taking Stanley Kubrick’s ships and leftover characters from American Graffiti and creating a mix as popular as The Beatles.

    I shouldn’t confess baby boomer secrets–we’re despised enough as it is–but the success of Star Wars was greatly assisted by three extraneous factors, new to Seventies moviegoing: The then-forgotten awesome look of 70mm film, Dolby Stereo sound systems, and widespread use of marijuana before arriving at the theater. I’m sure there were people inspired to discover new worlds, but it was known, even then, that manned space travel was Moon and Mars travel, period, for centuries to come, so 1938 visions of overthrowing the king of Jupiter and rescuing his daughter Hypatia were jokes in the 70s-80s culture. There were fun movies, but vivid dramas of adventure and exploration were and are rare.

    Cop movies took over the morality and suspense roles of cowboy movies after they faded; and an excess of cheap dystopianism drove out the earlier, optimistic cheap utopian futures. The OP is right: the Twilight Zone-ish use of fantasy to rather obviously make social and political statements about our actual world has slipped over to films like “The Hunger Games”.

    • #12
  13. Carey J. Inactive
    Carey J.
    @CareyJ

    I would say Ender’s Game (movie) qualifies as space opera.

    • #13
  14. user_358258 Member
    user_358258
    @RandyWebster

    Probable Cause:I can’t watch the newer (decade old) stuff with my kids. FireFly has a prostitute as a main character, and her profession is occasionally germane to the plot (or so I’m told).

    Geeze.  Don’t be such a h8er.  She’s a companion.  Or, as Malcolm says, a whore.

    • #14
  15. EstoniaKat Inactive
    EstoniaKat
    @ScottAbel

    I’d quibble with your overall thesis that the space opera is dead. In the case of the two classic properties, Star Trek and Wars, they might just be getting started.

    Star Wars is going to have a movie about every other year between now and 2020, now that Disney is in charge.

    As for Star Trek, there is an upcoming movie, probably the final one with the rebooted crew. It needs to go back on the small screen, but there is plenty of Trek to be found there, and the technology is there for fan-made films to have as near a high a quality as anything that has been on the screen.

    That started with Star Wreck, a Finnish mashup of Star Trek and Babylon 5, which is the most-watched movie ever produced by the country. Now there are a plethora of small-screen film projects along the same lines. Star Trek: Renegades is being released soon. Star Trek: Axanar has the Star Trek community particularly buzzing, based on this 20-minute trailer.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mNf-PPdhmcU

    There are at least two other fan-made productions that have produced episode-long shows that I am aware of. The writing and the acting can be rocky, but veterans have the show have contributed their time and money to participate. I’m convinced when Trek does come back, officially to the small screen, the groundwork is being laid down now, similarly to how fan interest kept Doctor Who alive, and many of the people that worked on those non-canon productions work on the rebooted version.

    Beside Star Wars and Trek, you have Interstellar, which is coming out in a couple weeks.

    SyFy is launching Ascension, a miniseries that looks as space opera-y as you can get (it even includes the actress to played Caprica Six on Battlestar). It will air six episodes before Christmas, and if it does well, will be picked up as a regular series.

    In fact, the only thing that has swung toward the negative in terms of sci-fi space opera lately that I can think of was that the Stargate series is now dormant, after Stargate: Universe was cancelled after its second season. A pity, because it was just finding its feet in the second-half of season 2 and becoming a really good show. But even that, the property is being rebooted by the original writer of the Stargate movie for the big screen.

    Also, on the topic of exoplanets, the discovery of “hot earths” and such has made the discovery of earth-like planets in the near future much more likely than less. With our current observational technology, the planets that have been actually seen have been quite small, and the planets themselves very large, to be seen visually. Rather, they are detected by transit over their star. Even with that method, the number of planets that may be habitable already number over a dozen.

    Wait until new tech, like the James Webb telescope, gets up and running. It will make the Hubble seem primitive by comparison. We’re just scratching the surface on exoplanet hunts. About the only thing you can infer so far that planetary formation is not rare.

    • #15
  16. Indaba Member
    Indaba
    @

    The remake movie of lost in space was ok enough for me and I woukd watch more but it is more of a stage musical than an opera.
    I just saw the opera Falstaff done in the Fifties and it was incredible. Now I am wishing they did it as a space age opera. I really enjoyed David Bowie’s son’s space movie, the title escapes me and I apologize for defining Joe Bowie by his famous father. Interesting that Joe was called Moon Unit but changed his name. Again, not a space opera.
    The South African producer made a big mistake using whatshisname for the lead in Elysium and having his head shaved from the start. Hint, chicks dig the Samson and Delilah moment of the symbolism of losing your hair means losing your power. Anyway, Elysium was more about the Hypocrocy of Europe to Africa and South America. Jodie Foster was to symbolize the head of of the IMF. The producer is still young and his District 9 was fresh but still not grand scale. I hope he does a movie with a bigger canvas and think space opera to carry on exploring his themes of bureaucrasy trying to contain human and alien communities. I still laugh at what he got away with in District 9 when characterizing the Nigerian thugs.
    I love this description of Space Opera because it does make it grander in scale, theme, cast and setting. Big vision, big movie.

    • #16
  17. bowmanhome11@verizon.net Member
    bowmanhome11@verizon.net
    @JoelB

    I rather enjoyed the “Star Trek Continues” internet episodes based on the original series, continuing the final two years of the “five year mission”. If you can get over the fact that Shatner, Nemoy, and the rest of the original actors are not in it, it seems to me to be quite faithful to the look and feel of TOS. Much more so than the recent movies. See startrekcontinues.com

    • #17
  18. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Forget about it, Hartmann von Aue.  It’s Hollywood.

    Space opera isn’t the type stuff Hollywood wants to produce today.  For that matter, Star Wars wasn’t the type of SF Hollywood produced up until its 1970s release.  Zardoz was more their speed.

    All that has happened is Hollywood has reverted to type.  Give it another decade or so, and space opera will be back.

    Seawriter.

    • #18
  19. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Good space opera has always been a rare and precious thing.

    Star Wars was huge. It was also, in its original incarnation, a mere three movies spanning from 1977 to 1983.

    Star Trek was huge, if your were a fan, and a complete joke if you weren’t.

    Plus, people forget that Star Wars wasn’t the first entry in the big special effects space opera trend. It was simply the one that caught audiences’ attention.  The real first “modern” entry was Silent Running in 1972. It looked great, and Star Wars blatantly ripped off several of its FX shots (not to mention the poster design!), but really it was pretty dreadful.

    It was also a preachy environmentalist downer of a flick, just like a lot of the flicks being made today. Dreary environmentalist sci-fi is not a new phenomenon.

    How many of the many low-budget Star Wars rip-offs and coattail riders do you remember, or did you even see?  Battle Beyond The Stars?  Starcrash? The Black Hole? Enemy Mine? Outland?

    The original Battlestar Galactica and Buck Rogers shows, not to mention Space 1999 or The Starlost, really were not good television.

    In other words, there was never a “golden age” of space opera.  There was Star Wars, and there was a whole bunch of movies trying to cash in on Star Wars.

    Today, they’re still making these movies, and they aren’t all based on previously created properties.  After Earth. Edge of Tomorrow. Oblivion. Etc. That you don’t remember ’em is merely because they weren’t terribly memorable, but that was equally true of any so-called “golden age”.

    Have you seen the trailers for Chris Nolan’s next flick?

    And then, there was Avatar:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1_JBMrrYw8

    • #19
  20. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Also, Guardians of the Galaxy was freaking awesome, and I will have no denigration of it. I want a dancing Groot for Christmas!

    • #20
  21. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Indaba: I really enjoyed David Bowie’s son’s space movie, the title escapes me and I apologize for defining Joe Bowie by his famous father.

    The movie was called “MOON”, and it was freaking awesome.

    It was also the last movie made using Shepperton Studios famed miniatures FX department, before they dismantled it due to all its business being replaced by CGI.

    • #21
  22. user_2505 Contributor
    user_2505
    @GaryMcVey

    Misthi, you’re right that the real picture of the late 70s is Star Wars and everyone else. I’m willing to put up some defense of some of Dark Star, an overrated cheapie, but non-space SF like Logan’s Run and A Boy and His Dog can fend for itself.

    I always thought Bruce Dern was over the top in a “Shining”-like role of a weird caretaker of a vast, barren space who turns murderous with scenery-chewing intensity. “Silent Running”‘s final shot is more evocative than it deserves to be, though, and it’s remarkable that five years later, when director Douglas Trumbull was back in his usual special effects role, he ripped off his own ending to provide the last minutes of Steven Spielberg’s “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”. It’s interesting how the image is poignant and sad in 1972, but with a different wraparound script, it is uplifting and enigmatic.

    • #22
  23. Hartmann von Aue Member
    Hartmann von Aue
    @HartmannvonAue

    Scott Abel:Also, on the topic of exoplanets, the discovery of “hot earths” and such has made the discovery of earth-like planets in the near future much more likely than less. With our current observational technology, the planets that have been actually seen have been quite small, and the planets themselves very large, to be seen visually. Rather, they are detected by transit over their star. Even with that method, the number of planets that may be habitable already number over a dozen.

    Wait until new tech, like the James Webb telescope, gets up and running. It will make the Hubble seem primitive by comparison. We’re just scratching the surface on exoplanet hunts. About the only thing you can infer so far that planetary formation is not rare.

    Well, I’d have to disagree based on the evidence. What we have found is that about 16.5% +/- 3% of FGK stars have at least one planet orbiting them, that the planet(s) are most likely to be “Super-Jupiters” or “Hot Neptunes” rather than “Super-Earths” and that the “Super-Earths” are more aptly described as “Super-Mercuries” or “Super-Venuses” . Now, you may be right and the Webb may find planets that Kepler can’t detect due to its technological limitations, but the confirmed number of habitable planets we really know about is the same was it was when the first proto-planetary disk was imaged around Beta Pictoris: 1.

    • #23
  24. user_358258 Member
    user_358258
    @RandyWebster

    Hartmann von Aue:

    , but the confirmed number of habitable planets we really know about is the same was it was when the first proto-planetary disk was imaged around Beta Pictoris: 1.

    The earth, or is there one besides the earth?

    • #24
  25. Larry3435 Member
    Larry3435
    @Larry3435

    Michael Minnott:It certainly doesn’t help that the SyFy channel has abandoned sci-fi for shows like Sharknado.Whether that is a cause, or symptom opens a whole other can of worms.

    It seems to me that the prototypical space opera is Doc Smith’s Lensman series of books.This set the whole premise of a galactic imperium patrolled by a band of “do-gooder” agents (Lensmen, Jedi, Federation Navy, etc.), typically portrayed as armed, secular missionaries.Perhaps what is needed is a break from the Doc Smith paradigm?Of course now someone has to come up with it and make it popular.

    I would call Asimov’s Foundation series a good long way off from Doc Smith.

    • #25
  26. Carey J. Inactive
    Carey J.
    @CareyJ

    Michael Minnott:It certainly doesn’t help that the SyFy channel has abandoned sci-fi for shows like Sharknado.Whether that is a cause, or symptom opens a whole other can of worms.

    It seems to me that the prototypical space opera is Doc Smith’s Lensman series of books.This set the whole premise of a galactic imperium patrolled by a band of “do-gooder” agents (Lensmen, Jedi, Federation Navy, etc.), typically portrayed as armed, secular missionaries.Perhaps what is needed is a break from the Doc Smith paradigm?Of course now someone has to come up with it and make it popular.

    In Children of the Lens, Smith has Kimball Kinnison go undercover as a space opera writer doing “research”. Here’s a sample of what he had Kinnison writing:

    Qadgop the Mercotan slithered flatly around the afterbulge of the tranship. One claw dug into the meters-thick armor of pure neutronium, then another. Its terrible xmexlike snout locked on. Its zymolosely polydactile tongue crunched out, crashed down, rasped across. _Slurp! Slurp!_ At each abrasive stroke the groove in the tranship’s plating deepened and Qaggop leered more fiercely. Fools! Did they think that the airlessness of absolute space, the heatlessness of absolute zero, the yieldlessness of absolute neutronium could stop QADGOP THE MERCOTAN?


    Now that’s space opera!

    • #26
  27. mwupton@gmail.com Inactive
    mwupton@gmail.com
    @MattUpton

    Syfy just picked up The Expanse, a very competent and entertaining space opera series by SA Corey, pen name for a pair of good authors. The source material should work well for tv. Each book wraps up a complete story arc and promises more in later installments.

    I’m familiar with one half of the duo, Daniel Abramson. He handles economic factors well (his best character in the dagger and the coin series is a banker), and writes a good story.

    I have high hopes for the tv series.

    • #27
  28. EstoniaKat Inactive
    EstoniaKat
    @ScottAbel

    Hartmann von Aue:

    Well, I’d have to disagree based on the evidence. What we have found is that about 16.5% +/- 3% of FGK stars have at least one planet orbiting them, that the planet(s) are most likely to be “Super-Jupiters” or “Hot Neptunes” rather than “Super-Earths” and that the “Super-Earths” are more aptly described as “Super-Mercuries” or “Super-Venuses” . Now, you may be right and the Webb may find planets that Kepler can’t detect due to its technological limitations, but the confirmed number of habitable planets we really know about is the same was it was when the first proto-planetary disk was imaged around Beta Pictoris:

    Of course, I am right. ;)  The amount of Super-Jupiters and “I melt your Mozzarella” planets in our early observations doesn’t preclude, at all, habitable Earth-type planets. We just don’t have the science yet.
    And we’re gonna find all sorts of weird and wonderful. But I am, admittedly, a half-glass guy.
    And rolling through my Facebook feed, yet ANOTHER Star Trek branch off. http://youtu.be/MWD9RMp_Gfk
    I am losing count.

    • #28
  29. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Scott Abel: And rolling through my Facebook feed, yet ANOTHER Star Trek branch off.

    Has Paramount ever made any sort of official statement about all these fan-made shows/movies, or is it a don’t ask/don’t tell sorta situation?

    • #29
  30. EstoniaKat Inactive
    EstoniaKat
    @ScottAbel

    Misthiocracy:

    Scott Abel: And rolling through my Facebook feed, yet ANOTHER Star Trek branch off.

    Has Paramount ever made any sort of official statement about all these fan-made shows/movies, or is it a don’t ask/don’t tell sorta situation?

    Essentially, don’t make money off the property, and we’re all good.

    • #30

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