Keywords: space opera, genre evolution, «hard» and «soft» science fiction, space travel motive


The article is devoted to the study of one the most popular science fiction genres of today. Space opera is the genre of science fiction where the action is set in future in the faraway space. The appearance of that science fiction genre was provoked by technological and scientific growth that shifted interest of humanity to the outer space.

The term itself was coined by W. Tucker in 1941 and initially had negative connotation meaning “uninteresting space stories”. Despite that fact the attitude toward the term ameliorated in 1960s: it is the period that may be called the dawn of space opera genre. Though it is considered that space opera appeared in XX century the first samples of proto-space opera may be found in the French literature of XIX century. The diachronical research has shown that there are some examples of early space opera in the literature of Victorian epoch. The middle of XX century is the period when space opera finally shaped into an independent genre of science fiction literature and acquired its own explicit features.

Space opera can be best studied in comparison with other related science fiction genres. There are notable differences between space opera and planetary romance. These two genres feature adventures in space settings, but space opera emphasizes space travel, while planetary romance focuses on the description of an alien world. The distinction between space opera and military science fiction is that space opera tells about future space travels that may involve war, but military science fiction centers the plot on warfare.


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How to Cite
VASYLYNA, K. M., & KARPENKO, A. S. (2017). SPACE OPERA IN THE GENRE PARADIGM OF MODERN SCIENCE FICTION. New Philology, (72), 29-34. Retrieved from