Guest Post: Jaleta Clegg on Space Opera
I am thrilled to have author Jaleta Clegg come on the blog today to talk about Space Opera! First a little bit about the lovely lady:
Jaleta Clegg loves twisting words into adventures. She loves space and astronomy, too. What better way to blend the two than to write science fiction adventure stories? She also dabbles in silly horror and fantasy stories. Her poetry is bad enough to kill a Vogon, though, so you won’t find that anywhere but hidden in her deepest drawer. She enjoys creating things with yarn and a crochet hook, most of them monsters or variations of Cthulhu but occasionally they’re normal things like hats or blankets. She likes to cook most days. One of her favorite grocery games is “stump the checker” – find the weirdest vegetable or fruit they sell and see if the checker can identify it to ring it up. It also helps if you know how to cook the thing, too, which she does. Her blog features recipes every Thursday and random posts on Mondays. Check it out at jaletaclegg.blogspot.com. Find her stories at http://www.jaletac.com and her space opera series at http://www.altairanempire.com (She also thinks it’s silly to write about herself in third person, but recognizes that it is sometimes a necessary conceit.)
I don’t want to keep you from her awesomeness so let’s get right into it!
When I tell people I write space opera, I tend to get blank stares. “What’s that?” they ask, or worse, “Is that like soap operas?” usually delivered with a curled lip. Lately I’ve been telling people I write science fiction adventure.
So what is space opera? From Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_opera), that source of all knowledge both true and speculative, “Space opera is a subgenre of science fiction that emphasizes romantic, often melodramatic adventure, set mainly or entirely in outer space, usually involving conflict between opponents possessing advanced technologies and abilities. The term has no relation to music and it is analogous to “soap opera“. Perhaps the most significant trait of space opera is that settings, characters, battles, powers, and themes tend to be very large-scale.”
So, galactic empire? Check. Space battles and aliens? Check. Romance? Check. Melodrama? Sort of check. Great literary fiction? Um, no.
The Fall of the Altairan Empire series (www.altairanempire.com) was written as entertainment. It doesn’t aspire to be more than just a good story. If you’re looking for an exploration of the deep inner meaning of artificial intelligence or the cosmos, read something defined as hard SF. My books fall squarely under the “beach-read” category. If they have deep inner meaning to you, I’d love to hear about it. They have deep meaning to me, but that’s because I’ve been living with these characters and situations in my head for a couple of decades now.
My favorite books and movies tend to fall under the space opera umbrella, just like the ones I’ve written. Flash Gordon will always have a special place in my heart. Spacehunter in the Forbidden Zone is one of my all-time favorite movies, especially when it ISN’T 3D. Buck Rogers, especially the cheesy 70s tv show with the silly costumes, will always have a place on my shelves. The space tales of the Solar Queen are some of my favorites of Andre Norton’s many books. Elizabeth Moon’s Vatta’s War series is another great space opera series. Tell me my books remind you of the golden age science fiction stories or they remind you of an Andre Norton tale, and I will love you forever. That was exactly what I set out to create.
So how does today’s space opera differ from today’s science fiction? Most of the science fiction I’ve picked up lately was very bleak and depressing. It dealt with dystopias – societies that were repressive and dysfunctional. I had to read Orwell’s 1984 in high school. It reminds me of that. I prefer my future to be better than our present. I want it bright and happy. I want hope. The original Star Trek series delivered that in spades, including the bright happy sixties colors. Purple, orange, lime green, yellow – all on the same screen at the same time. Was it always happy? No. Was it always perfect? No. But they delivered a future that had possibilities. They delivered a future I wanted to be part of. The current crop of ugly futures are not where I want to be. Ever. Space opera tends to focus on broad sweeping stories that deliver a better future, a place where hope lives.
So if you’re looking for that kind of future, where heroes can happen, where evil can be defeated, where life can be better, try my books. Nexus Point is exactly that – a beginning point, a nexus of situations and people that collide into a bigger story. Priestess of the Eggstone continues building on the events of Nexus Point. Poisoned Pawn introduces more characters, both good and bad. I’ve got eight more of these books coming. The Kumadai Run is in edits. The rest are written, waiting their turn.
And if you hate it when an author with a long series keeps leaving you hanging off the edge of a cliff at the end of each book, I hate that, too. Each of my books is a complete story that will build into an even larger story through the series. I don’t leave readers dangling. At least not too much.
I hope you enjoyed this guest post as much as I did and make sure to come back tomorrow as I review Jaleta Clegg’s newest book, Poisoned Pawn, which is set to release tomorrow! Make sure to check out her books by clicking on the pictures above! ^.^ Thanks as always for reading!