ALASTAIR REYNOLDS AND SPACE OPERA
I'm now, finally, getting around to reading the second of Alastair Reynolds' three-part space opera. I'd read Revelation Space awhile back and been blown away for the most part. Now I'm into Redemption Ark and really, really finding it to be great.
The best space opera, for my money, has to have most of these elements:
(1) A grand, cosmic scope.
(2) The fate of a world or worlds or the universe in the balance.
(3) Truly odd and almost unknowable aliens.
(4) Some odd and mind-bending alien object.
(5) Damaged or damaging characters, fascinating because they are eccentric or fragile or mysterious.
(6) An essential strangeness, in the sense of an almost insane imagination that the reader accepts because the strangeness is couched in pseudo-scientific or scientific terms. In other words, the comfortable bucket for the strangeness provides form for the strangeness, but it's still bug-f*** strange.
The best space opera is really, really odd on a fundamental level. And I think Reynolds has that quality.
Anyway, really enjoying this second book.