New Adventures in Space Opera

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Pub Date Aug 16 2024 | Archive Date Not set

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Description

Ann Leckie / Becky Chambers / Alastair Reynolds / T. Kingfisher / Charlie Jane Anders / Anya Johanna DeNiro / Yoon Ha Lee / Lavie Tidhar / Tobias S. Buckell / Arkady Martine / Aliette de Bodard / Seth Dickinson / Karin Tidbeck

Award-winning science fiction editor Jonathan Strahan (The Best Science Fiction of the Year series) presents this quintessential guide to the New Space Opera, showcasing short stories with big adventures from fifteen acclaimed speculative fiction authors.

“There is no better or more expert editor working in SF; impeccable taste, great range, excellent choices. Anyone interested in space opera will want to buy New Adventures in Space Opera.”
—Adam Roberts, author of
The This

In “Zen and the Art of Starship Maintenance,” a cloud-based contractor finds a human war criminal clinging to the hull of the ship. The clones of “All the Colours You Thought Were Kings,” about to attend their coming-of-age ceremony, are also plotting treason. During “A Temporary Embarrassment in Spacetime,” two outlaws go on the run after stealing a device from a space cult.

Take a faster-than-light trip to the future. Discover where memes rise and fall in moments. Here are the new, adventurous, and extremely efficient—takes on interstellar battles, sentient spaceships, and galactic intrigue. The future is sooner than you think, and there’s only so much time to visit.

Ann Leckie / Becky Chambers / Alastair Reynolds / T. Kingfisher / Charlie Jane Anders / Anya Johanna DeNiro / Yoon Ha Lee / Lavie Tidhar / Tobias S. Buckell / Arkady Martine / Aliette de Bodard /...


A Note From the Publisher

Jonathan Strahan is an award-winning editor, podcaster, critic, and publisher from Belfast, Northern Ireland. He has edited or co-edited more than seventy anthologies and twenty short story collections. Strahan has received the World Fantasy, Aurealis, Atheling, and Ditmar Awards. He is currently the Reviews Editor at Locus Magazine, and a consulting editor for Tor.com. Strahan lives in Perth, Western Australia, with his family.

Jonathan Strahan is an award-winning editor, podcaster, critic, and publisher from Belfast, Northern Ireland. He has edited or co-edited more than seventy anthologies and twenty short story...


Advance Praise

“Hugo Award winner Strahan (Twelve Tomorrows) spotlights 15 sophisticated, award-winning science fiction stories from the past decade that epitomize the best of space opera. He defines the genre as ‘romantic adventure... told on a grand scale,’ set either in space or on a space station with high-stakes plot—and each of these perceptive and evocative stories perfectly fits the bill. In Tobias S. Buckell’s clever revenge tale, ‘Zen and the Art of Starship Maintenance,’ after a galactic war, a sentient maintenance robot discusses free will with a cybernetically enhanced human from the fleet that surrendered. Yoon Ha Lee’s ‘Extracurricular Activities’ delivers a lively adventure when assassin Jedao infiltrates a space station to rescue a former classmate and their crew, all while fighting pirates and evading a gene-altering substance. Aliette de Bodard’s pensive ‘Immersion’ imagines a future in which a device provides wearers with an avatar and guidance on culturally acceptable appearance, language, and gestures, while obfuscating any sense of individuality, ethnicity, and heritage. Other stories feature vindictive clones, a planet-eating blob, outlaws, and space cults. Throughout, plentiful action, enigmatic and complex worldbuilding, sinister technology, and vast space vistas impress. It’s a gift for sci-fi lovers.”
Publishers Weekly

“A collection of a “who’s who” of modern science fiction and [a] Jonathan Strahan focus on the selection of superb stories.”
Science Fiction Short Story Reviews

“There is no better or more expert editor working in SF; impeccable taste, great range, excellent choices. Anyone interested in space opera will want to buy New Adventures in Space Opera.”
—Adam Roberts, author of The This


“Hugo Award winner Strahan (Twelve Tomorrows) spotlights 15 sophisticated, award-winning science fiction stories from the past decade that epitomize the best of space opera. He defines the genre as...


Marketing Plan

  • National marketing plan with prepublication endorsements, reviews and interviews
  • Author tour including trade shows, bookstores, and science fiction conventions
  • Online features including cover reveal, Instagram and blog tour, TikTok, and publisher/aithor social media
  • Print and digital ARC distribution via Goodreads, NetGalley, and Edelweiss+
  • National marketing plan with prepublication endorsements, reviews and interviews
  • Author tour including trade shows, bookstores, and science fiction conventions
  • Online features including cover reveal...

Available Editions

EDITION Paperback
ISBN 9781616964207
PRICE $18.95 (USD)
PAGES 336

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Average rating from 11 members


Featured Reviews

This had me from the description: “Are you tired of reading science fiction novels that feel like they’re taking literal eons to finish?” Dear reader, the answer to this question is YES.

To be honest, I think sci-fi in the short story format is harder to pull off than as novels. It's a genre accustomed to four 400-page books in a series, where the world building can be detailed down to the socioeconomic consequences of how the protagonists utilize currency. Short story is HARD. The writer has to simultaneously establish the world AND hook the reader, create a cohesive narrative that stands on its own, and land the ship (pun gloriously intended) — in fewer pages than some books dedicate to single chapters.

Truthfully, it's what I prefer in sci-fi. I care about character more than climate, and when you have so little to work with it's typically character that gets the most attention. So in a lot of ways, this collection was custom made for my tastes, which probably explains the 5 star review. Though to be fair, once I looked back on the entire collection, I noted that more of the stories tended towards the upper 4 stars, so averaging out at a 5 felt justified. Plus: this is fun. We should sign more things like this.

(Mostly) short spoiler free reviews of each story:

Zen and the Art of Starship Maintenance: A top tier title and a strong start! It's hard to pick an opener and this was a good one. I’m a huge fan of "what exactly does it mean to be human?" wearing a trench coat made of narrative plot. I got lost a little bit on the world building, but the formist/robot subplot was phenom and the ending packed such a punch I didn't care. 4.5 stars

Extracurricular Activities: I really enjoyed the characters, thought them well established for how many there are and how little time they have on the page. But I felt like this was a slice of a larger story, and not necessarily something that could exist on its own. I wouldn’t be surprised if this was legitimately lifted from a full length novel. There's still too much to unpack with Meng. 4 stars.

All the Colors You Thought Were Kings: Whew, second person AND present tense? I was predisposed against it, but this story was right hook after right hook. I couldn't breathe reading this one. 5 stars.

Belladonna Nights: way way way waaaaaaaay too much superfluous lore, but when it finally got down to it, it was a good story. Something to chew on, at least. If pared down, the concept could really shine. 3.7 stars

Metal like Blood in the Dark: Tense, but not as much as All The Colors. A good premise, well executed. Kept the world building tight, which I deeply appreciated. We often talk about "learning humanity" solely in terms of empathy, compassion, etc. Not treachery. Good stuff. 4.5 stars

A Temporary Embarrassment in Spacetime: the most ridiculous thing I've ever read. So ridiculous and fun that I looked up the author halfway through and tbr'd her work. This felt like Catherynne Valente wrote a Dr. Who episode, circa 10 or 11. Sometimes space is just for fun!! 4.20 stars

Immersion: If I had a nickel for every time I begrudgingly started a second person present tense story that ended up knocking me sideways, I'd have two nickels. Which isn't a lot, but it’s weird that it happened twice. Right?
This is what Black Mirror should feel like, when the writers’ sole goal isn’t legitimately ruining your life. 4.7 stars

Morrigan in the Sunglare: “You have to go to sleep you have to go to sleep you HAVE TO GO TO SLEEP" I told myself over and over again. Still read this in one breathless sitting. It takes SOOO much talent to tell a story in such a nonlinear fashion, and the author smashed it. No notes. Discovered he writes the Destiny lore and this is the first thing that's ever tempted me into playing that series. 5 stars.

The Old Dispensation. This one threw me for a loop because I am such the right audience for this - above average understanding of the Torah and ancient Hebrew traditions, a person who likes stories about religion - but this was such a miss for me. I knew all the words and didn't get the picture. Maybe that was the problem? There was so much compounded lore. I liked the shape of it, but I just didn't love it. 3.7 stars.

The Good Heretic: So. I picked up this entire anthology for Becky Chambers, and had a rollercoaster of emotions when I saw the title.
Upside: Good Heretic is in her Wayfarers series, about a species I LOVE, but can be read as a standalone or introduction to the series.
Downside: this exists in other anthologies. Maybe that's the case with other stories in here! That's probably how anthologies work! But my heart's desire was to have more Becky Chambers content in the world, and I was a little sad to discover that isn’t the case.
Now, the story itself: flawless. Becky is a character writer like no other, and her world building is my favorite. Ten stories in, she is the first to center a narrative on a non-humanoid, non robot character. Full blown alien. Not even bipedal.
Chambers is one of the few authors I've ever encountered who actually gets creative with her aliens, and this is no exception. Sianats are fascinating. This whole story is fascinating. I wanted 30000 more pages. I wept for the hope of it all. It's the only tears I shed the whole anthology. I love her with all my heart. 500 stars.

A Voyage to Queensthroat: for a story that references so many events outside the narrative, this works so well as a short story. There's so many layers to unravel here, I'll think about this one for days. The perfect amount of lore to leave you hungry for more. A gut punch of an ending. 4.4 stars

The Justified: the lore almost lost me, but I’ll excuse a multitude of sins if you just give me a woman murdering the sh*t out of some privileged a-holes. Was Het a human? Who cares! We support women’s rights and women’s wrongs. 4.5 stars.

Planetstuck: This was some of the best character writing in the collection, with a story that got under my skin. Perfect amount of world building. Phenomenal combo of humor and humanity. Great ending. 4.8 stars

The Last Voyage of Skidbladnir: a sweet note to end on. The opener and closer of an anthology are tough picks, and this has just the right about of optimism, and melancholy, and adventure. It leaves a good taste in your mouth, which is how you want to finish this. 4.4 stars

Thank you NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an unbiased review!

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Fantastic collection of short stories! I scooped this up for Ann Leckie, T. Kingfisher, and Becky Chambers, some personal favorites. Chambers' "A Good Heretic" is functional as a stand alone story but is written about a character from her Wayfarers series, which I absolutely adore. and also highly recommend. In her short though, she's honestly written a powerful punch in such a few pages.

Now for the rest: these stories are everything I love about sci-fi! Snapshots of character profiles, rich new worlds, massive creativity... all super concentrated into a few pages. Right when you're settling in, the next story starts you over with something completely brand new and fresh. Space opera is so often hundreds of pages, and definitely several book series. I think compiling these short stories into one hefty tome, is exactly what the genre is missing!! 5 stars across the board for this stunning anthology.

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NEW adventures? These are all reprints, so I skipped two stories I'd already read. (The T. Kingfisher, which was in a Hugo packet, and the Charlie Jane Anders, which is in her short story collection.) They're all varying degrees of good, starting from pretty good to excellent, and one made me straight up cry. (Curse you, Becky Chambers!)

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An all-star line up of authors! A must-read for Space Opera fans!

It is hard to go wrong with award winning authors such as Arkady Martine, Alastair Reynolds, T. Kingfisher, Charlie Jane Anders, Aliette de Bodard, Becky Chambers, and Ann Leckie. (And as a bonus, Jonathan Strahan’s introduction also points the astute reader to other SF novels and authors, that I for one look forward to exploring.

I had previously read about half of these stories. I enjoyed reading and reading all of the stories in this collection. My personal highlights of the 14 stories are as follows (using the same order as the Table of Contents).

Zen and the Art of Starship Maintenance by Tobias S. Buckell
A space opera told from the perspective of a microbot ensouled by a downloaded human personality traveling the galaxy as a contracted maintenance worker. The society/milieu created by Buckell is entertaining and thought provoking. Interesting plot twists within!

Extracurricular Activities by Yoon Ha Lee
Having read stories/novels in this universe before helps a bit, but this is an entertaining standalone story including spy-craft, high technology, and creative new cultures. A fun adventure story.

All the Colors You Thought Were Kings by Arkady Martine
This story packs a lot of thought provoking world building, SF technology, and high risk intrigue into a small number of pages. Great reading!

Belladonna Nights by Alastair Reynolds
This story starts out with the premise of extremely long lived humans traveling the galaxy, and ends up in an unexpectedly dark place. Outstanding!

A Temporary Embarrassment in Spacetime by Charlie Jane Anders
I recommend this story for those who miss Scott Adams. An entertaining and humorous space opera.

A Good Heretic by Becky Chambers
This is a nice side story that provides background to other novels by Chambers. As such, once I realized what I was reading, I really appreciated this story.

I thank the publisher, editor, and all authors for sharing this wonderful anthology of space opera.

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Thank you to Tachyon Publishing and Jonathan Strahan for an advanced copy of New Adventures in Space Opera (Via NetGalley) for an honest review.
This collection of 14 short stories were a varied mix of Universes and Beings tackling a vast array of politics, relationships, cultures and technology.
Whilst I enjoyed all the stories in this collection, these were my highlights:
Belladonna Nights by Alastair Reynolds. I loved the tension and the mystery, culminating in a twist that ends in sacrifice.
Metal Like Blood in the Dark by T. Kingfisher. An incredible story exploring the loss of innocence and protection of a loved one.
A Temporary Embarrassment in Space Time by Charlie Jane Anders. This was really funny, with a Hitchhiker’s Guide or Red Dwarf type humor.
A Good Heretic by Becky Chambers. An exploration of sense of self, isolation in wanting to belong and the courage to be yourself.
The Last Voyage of Skidbaldir By Karin Tidbek. Explores morality in using beasts for our own ends.

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