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View Diary: "Europa Report": A Beautiful, Semi-Realistic, Slightly Disappointing New Sci-fi Movie (65 comments)

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  •  space opera = people; science fiction = space (1+ / 0-)
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    "Space opera" is pretty much the opposite of "science fiction".  Space opera is character-driven, with space just the setting.  Science fiction is driven by the science and technology, with the characters really just reacting to it.  Space opera is generally softer (often much softer) than science fiction because space isn't fundamental to the plot: you could easily rewrite a space opera in an earthbound or even historical setting (which is where the story probably came from originally) - WWII ... in space!, Lawrence of Arabia ... in space!, Horatio Hornblower ... in space!, samurai ... in space!, "Gunsmoke" ... in space!, etc.

    Most of what gets called "science fiction" is actually space opera.  It's not simply a matter of hardness vs. softness, realism vs. romanticism, though those things help ... but what's at the core of the story: people or space?

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