Space Opera

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The Space Opera (also space opera ) is a genre of science fiction with strong action-oriented stories, playing in interplanetary or intergalactic space, often over disputes between rich space.

History of the genre

The term Space Opera was first coined by the American author Wilson Tucker in the fanzine Le Zombie in 1941 :

Westerns are referred to as horse operas , the morning housewife teasing as soap operas. For the cheap, tedious, stinking, worn or world-saving space yarn, we suggest the designation space opera. "

- Wilson Tucker

Alpers and others watch The Adventures of the Skylark , published in 1928 as The Skylark of Space , by EE "Doc" Smith as the first space opera:

“… Gigantic machines, miles of spaceships and huge distances impressed the young readers. This novel, written between 1915 and 1919, had a lasting influence on the development of the SF and can be considered the first pure space opera (based on "Horse Opera" = Wild West epic, which the Space Opera in turn unintentionally describes as what it is: "Wild west in space"), if you ignore Captain Mors, the air pirate ... "

Brian Ash saw Robert William Coles (1869–1937) The Struggle for Empire (London 1900) a space opera. Space operas were an integral part of the “ golden age of science fiction ” (approx. Late 1930s to early 1950s), to which Adam Roberts formulated: ... linear narratives, heroes solve problems or fight threats in a space opera or technological adventure . Scientific explanations, e.g. B. to spaceship propulsion is generally omitted. The focus is on romantic adventures, strange worlds and peoples and spaceship battles.

Space Opera experienced a renaissance in the 1970s. The works were often laid out as cycles or series. The first space opera in the science fiction film form the serial to Flash Gordon (USA 1936-1940) and Buck Rogers (USA 1939). The genre has also been parodied.

Well-known examples

In the literature

Amazing stories, August 1930

In film and television

FLASH Juholt

In video and computer games



  • Brian Ash (ed.): The visual encyclopedia of science fiction , London a. a. (Pan Books) 1977. ISBN 0-330-25275-5
  • Rainer Eisfeld : Farewell to space operas. Science fiction as an image of time and a criticism of time. Comments from 25 years . With a preliminary remark by Wolfgang Jeschke and a contribution by Jörg Weigand , Lüneburg (Dieter von Reeken-Verlag) 2011. ISBN 978-3-940679-47-5
  • Gary Westphal: Space Opera , in: Edward James / Farah Mendlesohn (eds.): The Cambridge Companion to Science Fiction , Cambridge 2003, pp. 197–208. ISBN 978-0-521-81626-7
  • Subchapters: "Up, Up and Away": Space Opera , in: Hans Joachim Alpers / Werner Fuchs / Ronald M. Hahn / Wolfgang Jeschke: Lexikon der Science Fiction Literatur , Vol. 1, Munich (Heyne) 1980, p. 55– 64. ISBN 3-453-01063-9 .
  • David Pringle : What is this thing called Space Opera? In: Gary Westfahl (Ed.): Space and Beyond: The Frontier Theme in Science Fiction. Greenwood Press, Westport 2000, pp. 35-47 (Contributions to the study of science-fiction and fantasy 87, ISSN  0193-6875 ). (Online copies: Questia , excerpt (Google) )
  • Kathryn Cramer, David G. Hartwell: The Space Opera Renaissance . Macmillan, 2007
  • M. Keith Booker , Anne-Marie Thomas: The Science Fiction Handbook . Wiley, 2009, pp. 40-52
  • Andy Sawyer: Space Opera . In: The Routledge Companion to Science Fiction . Routledge, 2009, pp. 505-510
  • Hans Frey : Departure into the abyss. German science fiction between democracy and dictatorship. From Weimar to the end of the Nazi dictatorship 1918-1945 , Berlin (Memoranda Verlag) 2020, pp. 416–424. ISBN 978-3-948616-02-1 . ISBN 3-948616-02-7

Web links

Commons : Space opera  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ John Clute : Science Fiction - The Illustrated Encyclopedia. Dorling Kindersley, London 1995, ISBN 0-7513-0202-3 , p. 306 (Glossary).
  2. ^ A b c Jeff Prucher: Brave Worlds: The Oxford Dictionary of Science Fiction . Oxford University Press, 2007, p. 205
  3. Telepolis , The Birth of Space Opera from the Spirit of Imperialism , June 22, 2003.
  4. Le Zombie , No. 36, January 1941 . Quotation, uncounted page 7: In these hectic days of phrase-coining, we offer one. Westerns are called "horse operas", the morning housewife tear-jerkers are called "soap-peras". For the hacky, grinding, stinking, outworn space-ship yarn, or world-saving for that matter, we offer "space opera".
  5. ^ "Up, Up and Away": Space Opera , in: Hans Joachim Alpers / Werner Fuchs / Ronald M. Hahn / Wolfgang Jeschke: Lexikon der Science Fiction Literatur , Vol. 1, Heyne, Munich 1980, ISBN 3-453-01063 -9 , p. 59.
  6. ^ Ash, p. 87.
  7. ^ Adam Roberts (Adam Charles): The History of Science Fiction (=  Palgrave Histories of Literature ). Palgrave Macmillan UK, Basingstoke [England] 2006, ISBN 978-0-333-97022-5 , pp. 195 , doi : 10.1057 / 9780230554658 : "… linear narratives, heroes solving problems or countering threats in a space-opera or technological-adventure idiom"