I welcome today to Shelf Full of Books, M. Pax, author of Precipice, a space opera. There's a lot going on, so hold grab your cup of coffee, sit down and find out more about this exciting book.
by M. Pax
In the far future, humanity settles the stars, bioengineering its descendants to survive in a harsh universe. This is the sixth book in the science fiction series, The Backworlds. A space opera adventure.
The Backworlds hang by a Quantum string, a thread about to snap. Annihilation is coming if Craze can’t stop it.
The genocidal alien he had trapped breaks free, destroying a ship belonging to the Backworlds’ oldest enemy, the Fo’wo’s. The murderous alien wants to overtake the galaxy. The Fo’wo’s want another war.
The Backworlds’ best chance to survive is to overcome a century of hate and forge an alliance with the Fo’wo’s. Because of his history with the alien, Craze is recruited to represent his people. Now he’s the most hated man in the galaxy.
The looming war will be a holocaust unless he can stop it, knowing salvation comes at a price.
Boing Boing gives The Backworlds 5 stars! "This is a fun, fast paced novel that reminded me a bit of early Heinlein".
Engaging the thrusters on the jetpack strapped to her back, Rainly steered herself through space. Its vastness terrified her. Her skin prickled. The man in the white robe jabbering in her head overwhelmed her, blocking out all until she found herself back on the Sequi opening the box she had retrieved. She had hoped answering the man’s summons would end her blackouts.
“I don’t want to know what I did,” she whispered, her teeth chattering and limbs quaking. She couldn’t take much more of this.
The size and dimensions of a coffin, the box was also a ship. One more sophisticated than the Sequi. Using a control paddle, Rainly maneuvered a dolly under the box, then she wheeled it into the living quarters. Her sister had moved the couches, creating ample space.
Her hands clapping, her sister beamed. “Let’s meet our master.”
Together they pried open the chamber per instructions pulsing in Rainly’s head. The flood of data had to be making a clamor in her sister’s mind too, because she moved in the same ways.
Inside the box lay a brain in a sac of goo. Nothing like Rainly expected. “Is it a Fo’wo?” she asked her sister.
“Not yet. We have to reboot him first.”
Rainly had to wonder whether she and her sister had gone insane.
There’s no Pavarotti in this Opera
Space Opera? What’s that? How is it different than science fiction?
It’s part of the science fiction family, so space opera is science fiction. There are many subgenres under the science fiction umbrella: steampunk, alternative history, space western, etc... They’re all science fiction and many works in the genre (in print and on screen) have elements of several subgeneres.
So what defines space opera? Mainly, it’s a story set predominantly or wholly in space involving adventure and fun. They’re enthralling tales, rife with discovery and exploration. What is out there?
More importantly, space opera examines the question who we are. It can exaggerate society’s ills and greatness and highlight bravado and romance and grit.
Great examples in literature: Enders Game, the Honorverse series, the Vorkosigan series, the Confederation novels, and the Lost Fleet series.
Examples on the screen: Star Trek, Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, Babylon 5, Doctor Who, Stargate, Firefly, and Guardians of the Galaxy.
Space opera became a legitimate genre of science fiction in the 1990’s. From the examples, you can see it existed well before the 1990’s. The stories are full of color, action, heroes, and an optimistic outlook of the future. Drama and conflict drive the stories, just like in any other genre, and offer hope that us Earthlings will continue to survive and evolve.
A future where chocolate is the most valued commodity? A future where factions of humans fight over who is the most human? What’s it like to live on the edge of the human frontier? These are some of the themes I play around with in the Backworlds series.
M. Pax is author of the space adventure series The Backworlds and the contemporary science fiction series The Rifters, plus other novels and short stories. Fantasy, science fiction, and the weird beckons to her, and she blames Oregon, a source of endless inspiration. She docents at Pine Mountain Observatory in the summers as a star guide, has a cat with a crush on Mr. Spock, and is slightly obsessed with Jane Austen. Learn more at: