There are many genres of Science Fiction, and I enjoy pretty much all of them.
But perhaps my favourite is space opera. I love the breadth of the stories, the vast sweep of space, the clashes and conflicts of different factions of humanity (and/or aliens). And of course the larger-than-life heroes and villains with their dramatic plots, counter-plots, betrayals, and high-stakes winner-takes-all victories (or losses).
All of which is a roundabout way of saying that this week’s ‘Last Words’ story is space opera.
Unlike last week’s piece about Baron Munchhausen, the influences in this one are much more modern.
Asimov’s Foundation series is probably the first space opera I remember reading, long before I knew the term. My mother had copies of them on our bookshelf, which I think I have now. And in high school, I read Iain M. Banks’ Culture novels (of which, Player of Games is my favourite). Dan Simmons’ Hyperion Cantos followed five or six years later. (I’m sure there were more in between, but I have a poor memory for titles.)
Most recently, though, and serving as more-or-less direct inspiration for this little story, I’ve devoured Ann Leckie’s Imperial Radch trilogy, about a rogue ship-based A.I.
And most recently of all, A. Merc Rustad‘s utterly fantastic “Tomorrow When We See the Sun”, which you can read in Lightspeed for free. And should read. Right now. If you haven’t already. And even if you have, to be honest.
I think there might be the tiniest amount of Steven Brust’s Phoenix Guards in there, as well, even though that’s fantasy.
(Point of interest: This story was actually the first of these five-word stories I wrote, after an off-hand comment to the editors of Liminal Stories that I was going to send them a one-word story because they didn’t have a minimum wordcount.)