space opera

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

Space opera is a subgenre of science fiction that emphasizes science fictional space warfare, with use of melodramatic, risk-taking space adventures and chivalric romance. Set mainly or entirely in outer space, it features technological and social advancements (or lack thereof) in faster-than-light travel, futuristic weapons, and sophisticated technology, on a backdrop of galactic empires and interstellar wars with fictional aliens, often in fictional galaxies. The term has no relation to music, as in a traditional opera, but is instead a play on the terms "soap opera", a melodramatic television series, and "horse opera", which was coined during the 1930s to indicate a clichéd and formulaic Western movie. 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. Star Wars films (1977–) by George Lucas, and the Star Trek TV series (1966–) by Gene Roddenberry, brought a great deal of attention to the sub-genre. After the convention-breaking "new wave", followed by the enormous success of the franchises, space opera became once again a critically acceptable sub-genre. Throughout 1982–2002, the Hugo Award for Best Novel was often given to a space opera nominee.
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