space opera

subgenre of science fiction that emphasizes romantic, often focused on adventures

Space opera is a subgenre of science fiction that emphasizes space warfare, melodramatic adventure, interplanetary battles, chivalric romance, and risk-taking. Set mainly or entirely in outer space, it usually involves conflict between opponents possessing advanced abilities, futuristic weapons, and other sophisticated technology. The term has no relation to music but is instead a play on the terms "soap opera" and "horse opera", the latter of which was coined during the 1930s to indicate clichéd and formulaic Western movies. Space operas emerged in the 1930s and continue to be produced in literature, film, comics, television, and video games. An early film which was based on space-opera comic strips was Flash Gordon (1936), created by Alex Raymond. The Star Wars films (1977–present), created by George Lucas, brought a great deal of attention to the subgenre. After the convention-breaking "new wave", followed by the enormous success of the Star Wars films, space opera became once again a critically acceptable subgenre. Throughout 1982–2002, the Hugo Award for best science-fiction novel was often given to a space-opera nominee.
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