Re: Ways To Approach Differently Space Opera

#1
So here it is. I'd like your thoughts and suggestions about how to approach in a different, unseen way, to space opera, alien civilizations, cultures, their interaction together and with humans and lesser civilizations. 

I have tried to keep the science-fiction of my The Shadow Paradigm trilogy very Earth-based and almost film noir in approach. Keep the whole alien thing to a concrete grounded way, not going too far-fetched, and most of all, to keep the mention of those alien civilizations to a bare minimum.

But despite my best intentions, it turns out the third book will be very invested in exploring in much deeper ways and in greater details those alien civilizations. The reason is that their previous interactions with Earth and Level 1 civilizations were limited by a Treaty binding the great 27 Empires from reaching out and influencing those Level 1 civilizations once the latter reached 500 millions inhabitants.
But because of a much greater enemy, the Treaty will be disbanded to allow those Empires to fight, protect, rescue, all and any civilizations from this archenemy. Which means the third book will feature extensive interactions between my human heroes and those aliens; and the resulting conflicts between aliens as well...

But... I am quite tired of all those cliché ways we've seen aliens and space opera... Jupiter Rising and its cheap simili ufology-based storyline was simply awful, and how many ways can Star Trek, Star Wars and Marvel be copied across all those movies and shows?!... 

My question is this: what annoys you about space opera and aliens? Or rather, how would you like to be presented space opera? What kinds of aliens, what cultures, how their interactions between one another and with us, could be done in a completely original way?

Tell me anything. Your thoughts, your rants, your suggestions... I'd like the input so that I can introduce the concepts from Book 2. :)

Re: Ways To Approach Differently Space Opera

#2
Space Opera stories that spend way too much time on Earth, or too much time swashbuckling. (At least with movies. That's what I'll focus on in this post.)

For movies, I think the classic, archetypal, genre-defining entry in the space opera genre is Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. It's a five-act Shakesperean tragedy wrapped up in a bunch of meta-commentary stuff about the Skywalker family melodrama, and has a bunch of grand space battles and chessmaster plots. There's even a literal opera scene!

After that, though, it's clear to me that "Space Opera" is a pretty rare genre, and most of the time, the big grand space movies are more of action-adventure films that just happen to be in space. The term is thrown around too loosely for my biased self. Jupiter Ascending, while I love it, is way too grounded on Earth for me to call it a Space Opera, though the second half certainly gets there. I would also say that Star Wars Episodes IV and V themselves aren't quite enough of the "Opera" part of Space Opera and aren't into the theatrical melodrama stuff, at least not unless you're watching the whole series chronologically. They have the big stakes, but not enough of the soap opera drama I crave for this genre.

I know the genre codifiers were Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon, both pretty solidly in that "swashbuckling space adventurer" hole, but I guess I still will be too cranky to accept stuff like Guardians of the Galaxy (the first one) and Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets as Space Opera, even if they feature lots of cool locations and interesting aliens and do have pretty big stakes.

One thing that Space Opera stories are wise to include is lots and lots of planets with interesting elements and lots of exploration of those elements. Gimme lots of aliens, give me lots of settings. The stakes have to be huge, but so does the character drama. The grand societies and worldbuilding is nice, but I want to see convoluted backstories and plot twists and love affairs and all that character stuff that goes over-the-top until it's, well, operatic.

My favorite recent Space Opera movie was Ad Astra, which fits all of this perfectly. The action is a tiny bit sparse, but the exploration is fantastic, the stakes are huge, and the entire story is just Daddy Issues in Space. 

Re: Ways To Approach Differently Space Opera

#4
Thedude3445 Wrote: .

One thing that Space Opera stories are wise to include is lots and lots of planets with interesting elements and lots of exploration of those elements. Gimme lots of aliens, give me lots of settings. The stakes have to be huge, but so does the character drama. The grand societies and worldbuilding is nice, but I want to see convoluted backstories and plot twists and love affairs and all that character stuff that goes over-the-top until it's, well, operatic.

Good point. :)  I always assumed space opera reffered to any kind of sci-fi stories involving interactions between several civilizations. Thanks for clearing that up. 
I'm still not there yet to qualify as space opera.
So in that case, what simply do you feel that is lacking in sci-fi stories, not necessarily space operas?

Re: Ways To Approach Differently Space Opera

#6
Well, I read Gam3 recently and I absolutely loved its originality and way of introduction in that it really didn't effect anyone majory except maybe a bit of hype, and the originality aspect in how their main interactions were conducted inside another space to minimize it's destructive effect, so I suppose if humans are introduced to the alien civilization, there should be something similar to Gam3 like with the virtual space to minimize damage, maybe even introduce how most of training and everyday is conducted inside the virtual reality, with training, how it reduces the threat of damage during training and spars and in everyday life, the convenience of well everything, with the virtual reality eliminating the need of wasting resources to travel literally millions of light years just for a goddamned meeting. Then introduced how the threat of the evil civilization has woken up the civilizations conducting most of their activities inside virtual reality and stopping their - whatever intricate wars they would've conducted inside virtual realities..
Actually tell me if you want me to further tell my ideas so I can save myself from the headache of overusing my two braincells

Re: Ways To Approach Differently Space Opera

#7
Aranox Wrote: Well, I read Gam3 recently and I absolutely loved its originality and way of introduction in that it really didn't effect anyone majory except maybe a bit of hype, and the originality aspect in how their main interactions were conducted inside another space to minimize it's destructive effect, so I suppose if humans are introduced to the alien civilization, there should be something similar to Gam3 like with the virtual space to minimize damage, maybe even introduce how most of training and everyday is conducted inside the virtual reality, with training, how it reduces the threat of damage during training and spars and in everyday life, the convenience of well everything, with the virtual reality eliminating the need of wasting resources to travel literally millions of light years just for a goddamned meeting. Then introduced how the threat of the evil civilization has woken up the civilizations conducting most of their activities inside virtual reality and stopping their - whatever intricate wars they would've conducted inside virtual realities..
Actually tell me if you want me to further tell my ideas so I can save myself from the headache of overusing my two braincells

Oh, that's interesting! No, it's okay, I get the gist of it. :)
That's actually very intelligent; I begun to do a similar thing, but more like a holographic projection. But virtual reality might be cool. Also could introduce the issues of using VR between civilizations at war; corruption of the system, temporarily blind the sensories between the the brain to the body while linked in VR, etc. 
Thanks, I'll take a look at the book, and see how I can adapt such an idea. *hug*

Re: Ways To Approach Differently Space Opera

#8
Np, and there are also many other inefficient systems that can be improved with something like a virtual reality e.g maybe create a virtual reality that does not spoon feed their participants knowledge like our educational systems do, but have them earn it and then let them apply the knowledge appropriately so that they mature better, and even a mostly merit system based government can be created with the job applicants being given trials in virtual reality
And another thing is, which you'll probably notice from Gam3 too, to have the main virtual reality system be mostly neutral and only some amount of backstrings be applicable as blatant manipulation and use of power for benefits in the virtual reality would only be fine by the major entities who had the power to benefit, the rest of the alien society won't just suck up unfairness. Just think of the situation nowadays with the people with too much free time complaining about the minor stuff despite the other much major problems happening around us, then imagine what would happen if a whole society who have no major problems sorroundings them react at such a blatant misuse of power?
Oh and tell me if you decide to write the novel, I've been looking desperately for a novel with such a plotline

Re: Ways To Approach Differently Space Opera

#9
Aranox Wrote: Np, and there are also many other inefficient systems that can be improved with something like a virtual reality e.g maybe create a virtual reality that does not spoon feed their participants knowledge like our educational systems do, but have them earn it and then let them apply the knowledge appropriately so that they mature better, and even a mostly merit system based government can be created with the job applicants being given trials in virtual reality
And another thing is, which you'll probably notice from Gam3 too, to have the main virtual reality system be mostly neutral and only some amount of backstrings be applicable as blatant manipulation and use of power for benefits in the virtual reality would only be fine by the major entities who had the power to benefit, the rest of the alien society won't just suck up unfairness. Just think of the situation nowadays with the people with too much free time complaining about the minor stuff despite the other much major problems happening around us, then imagine what would happen if a whole society who have no major problems sorroundings them react at such a blatant misuse of power?
Oh and tell me if you decide to write the novel, I've been looking desperately for a novel with such a plotline

Those are all very good points! 

Hehe, well, the actual space opera might be pushed into a separate series. I'll use the third book as a stepping stone into introducing these concepts. But I don't have enough pages and space in Book 3 to properly address all of this. I want the space opera to be something as big as my three current books, not something squished in half a book (as the other half is on a modern-day Earth).
So Book 3 will concentrate upon introducing some key aspects of the aliens civilizations, while keeping in mind the Earth heroes and villains need to resolve their ongoing conflict since Book 1. :D  It's just too big a jump between the two plots of the first two books (as you've properly started to notice by how Book 1 begins), and introducing all at once this whole universe in a tiny Book 3.  :D

But yeah, I'll definitively start off a new series and really focus on this space opera universe. I find it cool, and I think I can bring something different by already addressing the useless technobabbles, and the unrealism of traditional space opera, and bring it up a notch.