Sunday, April 23, 2017

My Life in Fandom: Alternatives to Star Wars - Honorable Mentions

I spent most of last week giving alternatives to Star Wars for those wanting Space Opera that isn't pozzed, and I stuck to the examples I gave due to either their fundamental importance (Lensman) or their consistent high profile (all the anime), but there's more out there and before I move on to another topic I'm going to give some other mentions (some of which I've posted about previously) that merit inclusion.

  • Legend of the Galactic Heroes: This is as Space Opera as it gets without being literally a Science Fiction Opera, and it's one of the best to come out of Japan that I haven't already mentioned. Truly interstellar in scale and scope, with heroes and villains on both sides, manly men and womanly women in both major and minor roles. Now that the light novels are available easily in English, I hope that we'll finally get that official home video release (and that it will be better than all of the fansubs that float around the grey streaming sites) that many of we fans long for.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam: This is mostly in and around Earth, but that's still Space Opera just as much as the original Macross franchise is, and this gets more apparent in later entries into the franchise. Thanks to GundamInfo, getting legal access to the franchise's anime is increasingly easy-peasy (and, of course, links to the massive merchandise available). No pozzing in the original, and the more recent stuff shows what happens when pozzing occurs. (It doesn't go well.)
  • Battlestar Galactica: In particular, I'm looking at the original series from the late 1970s and not the remake from last decade, which definitely chased the zeitgest of Star Wars. It's deeply flawed, and the 1980 series is abominable, but you can see why this took off when it did. (I loved it as a kid, recycled footage and all.) Compare and contrast with the Buck Rogers series that came in this same era.
  • Babylon 5: This is one of the best Western popular media examples to come out of television, and as a narrative it still holds up now. (You can see the executive meddling easily, which is where the series is weak.) Still easily found online, and DVDs aren't hard to get. Watch this if you haven't; you'll see that Lensman influence clearly.

I'm focusing on popular fiction, and as anyone following this blog can notice that doesn't include post-1980s SF books or comics (and not that many pre-1980 either) due to all the pozzing that's gone on in the traditional publishing field. The reach of that medium retreated, becoming a route after Star Wars, and as such few works have the influence that their predecessors possess- and those that did, aren't having what they want in influence.

As for the works abroad, good God are there a lot of Japanese Space Operas and a lot of them are watchable/readable if not excellent. If I named them all I'd break the post editor, so don't take exclusion as disapproval. (I'll note that Banner of the Stars and its sequel are worth watching.) Furthermore, I can't know everything, so if you've got something that should be considered put it in the comments below (and show your work; explain why).

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