Episode 622: More about space opera

It’s not been that long since they last discussed it, but this week Jonathan and Gary return to the question of space opera, new space opera, and what contemporary SF authors might make of the concept.

Is space opera the core narrative of SF, as Jonathan suggests, or only one of them? What are its essential characteristics? Has the greater diversity of SF over the last decade changed its basic form? It seems that when the term was first coined, it clearly referred to pulp adventure tales that we popular in the 1930s. But later versions have questioned the assumptions of those old chestnuts, redefining the form for each generation.

How, for example, do current writers like Arkady Martine, Charlie Jane Anders, and Emily Tesh make use of the form? We definitely don’t settle any of these questions, but we’ll probably keep trying.

Weekend of the Fifteenth and Sixteenth

On paper, it was a good weekend.  Saturday I took the youngest out to Costco to pick up some things for her short film shoot that’s happening next week. We then stopped at Whisked the Right Wei, one of the better patisseries in Perth, and got coffee at a Kwik drive-through. I then took the eldest daughter out on our regular carpool karaoke trip to Yahava Koffee in the Swan Valley. Saturday evening was fairly quiet, with me watching a little bit of Fleishman is in Trouble and reading more of Emily Tesh’s Some Desperate Glory.

I was up fairly early on Sunday. Not as early as Marianne, who drove the youngest around to do more film shoot prep. I was out at Clancy’s Fish Pub by 9.15 am for a regular meet-up with my dear pal Richard, and then home by noon, to take M and the eldest out for lunch in Guildford (at the Guildford Hotel). Then home and back out again to the Civic Hotel to see Amanda, Dave, Karen, and Chris for drinks. Dinner was a quick barbecue, it being well into barbecue season. Hit the sack at 9 pm, but was awake by midnight, so not sleeping well.

I remain unfocused, but I need to address that.  There are some underlying health concerns I need to address, but for the moment socialising overwhelmed work this weekend. As for the week ahead, I need to seriously start on the Tachyon anthology, edit a novella, deal with the day job, and do some other stuff too. Oh, and get a haircut.

And that was the weekend that was, that was

I had a fairly quiet weekend by my standards. I had a Locus Board Meeting at 7 am, which is an ungodly hour for something like that, but the only time really to get everyone involved together. We talked about many things, including how Locus can really use your help and support. It was also good to see so many friends that I’ve not seen in so long.

Right after that, I had breakfast with my brother Stephen at Fez in Mt Lawley. It’s had a few ups and downs over the years but serves a pretty solid breakfast right now. Once that was done, home and did some work before a nice lunch out by the sea at Clancy’s Fish Pub, where I scratched my summertime margarita itch. To be honest, it wasn’t a great margarita, but it was fun. Home again to do some stuff before the family went out, M to see Alan Cummings and the girls to see a rooftop screening of Mama Mia. I had a lovely afternoon and evening, cooking up steak on the barbecue before watching some cricket, reading a bit, then having an early night.

Sunday was a little busy too. I was up early as always so breakfast, editing etc. I recorded episode 621 of the Coode Street Podcast with Gary before a long chat with Liza about the recommended reading list. We then had a quiet lunch at home. The girls were all out again so I finished reading Garth’s The Sinister Booksellers of Bath, watched some cricket, the opening of Three Pines, and then we had a power outage just before bed.

On to the week ahead!

Uneven distribution

The future is not evenly distributed. I’m no longer surprised that when Gary Wolfe and I try to talk to people for the podcast they simply don’t have the internet connectivity to record as we usually do.

Landline recording is always a bit fiddly, and just became fiddlier because the Skype add-on (Call Recorder) I used for many years to record the podcast is not compatible with Macs using Apple silicon. Which means it’s lucky I haven’t re-homed the old MacBook yet, but this next episode (to a distant Welsh valley, I believe) will likely be one of the last to a landline.

First book of the year…

The Sinister Booksellers of BathGarth Nix’s 2021 novel The Left-Handed Booksellers of London was a delight in a challenging year, a compelling tale of mythic Britain filled with terrible danger and the intriguing magic of the eponymous  booksellers. Although it was far more than that, it felt like comfort food right when you needed it most.

This coming May Susan Arkshaw, Merlin, and the booksellers return in The Sinister Booksellers of Bath, this time for an adventure set in Bath that sees Susan (again) in great peril faced by mysterious machinations of the Ancient Sovereigns, and the growing pull of her own heritage. There’s magic, intrigue, lemon drizzle cake, and, just perhaps, hints of the next big change in Susan’s life.

I don’t know if there’ll be a next book in the series, but I hope so.