by P.C. Haring
Space Opera requires a certain scale that is not inherently required for other science fiction. Often times, this scale is represented by a vast universe with countless stars, habitable planets, multiple space faring governments all vying for their own political wellbeing, while a single ship and its crew travel to cosmos. Slipspace Harbinger is certainly no exception to this idea, it is also not the only idea that can work. There is one series of novels I read which I consider space opera that is distilled down to the first-person experiences of one character who serves within merchant fleets with no mention of fighting, combat, or galactic conquest. But big explosions and massive space battles between fleets of mighty warships is not the defining characteristic. That, would be the world building.
I do not mean ‘world building’ in a colloquial sense that authors use to build the world in which their characters exist. I mean literally constructing planets and worlds in the context of space opera where the settings must be vivid and detailed to a point where the pictures can be painted into the mind of the reader. Whether that’s a space station the size of a small moon, or small tiny space ship, or a planet covered entirely in water, the visual images conveyed to us leave that memory that stays with us after we close the book.
This is not intended as the only aspect that makes writing space opera different. Technology is also a major component of space opera that serves differently than in other science fiction. A lot of space opera involves the use of faster than light technology. Whether we call it ‘warp drive’ or “hyper drive” or “jump drive” or some variation on those themes, or whether we have to go through some sort of gate that propels us across the galaxy, space opera almost always involves some form of technology that moves people and objects across the cosmos at speeds that 21st century physics tells us is impossible. Hard SF, by definition, does not do this and many other science fiction genres do not require such a device for their stories. This makes the challenge for the Space Opera writer to find and develop a method of faster than light travel that is both unique and, to an extent, plausible despite the fact that it is impossible given our current level of understanding of physics.
This is not to say that all space opera must have these things. There are always exceptions to the rule. But when it comes to space opera, these elements are two that spring immediately to mind. I thank you for reading this. I hope you’ve enjoyed my perspective as well as the excerpt from Slipspace: Harbinger. If you did, I hope you’ll consider stepping aboard for the maiden flight of the Mjöllnir and her crew.
P.C. Haring made his debut as a writer and podcast novelist on 01/01/10 with Cybrosis. This production met with a strongly favorable response that propelled it to number four on the Podiobooks.com Top Ten list when it was re-launched there that October. His audio fiction can also be heard in Scott Sigler’s The Crypt: Book 1 — The Crew and in Philippa Ballantine’s Chronicles of the Order anthology. His contribution for Tales from the Archives, co-produced by Philippa Ballantine and Tee Morris, won him the 2012 Parsec Award for Best Short Story. This momentum propelled P.C. Haring into publishing Cybrosis as well as his latest project, Slipspace: Harbinger independently.
When he isn’t developing new projects for podcast and publication, P.C. Haring works as a corporate accountant in the Chicagoland area and as a husband to his beautiful wife.
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P.C.'s New Sci-Fi Space Opera - Slipspace: Harbinger
Agendas collide as the bonds of duty, loyalty, and family are tested, and the major governments position themselves to prepare for what is to come next. With interstellar tensions rising, the crew of the Mjöllnir race to discover the connection between the colony’s destruction, an alien society so reclusive it has only been rumored about, and an enemy that disappeared a decade prior.
Is this merely an isolated incident, or is this a harbinger of much darker things still to come?
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