Ray Gun Revival
August 15, 2006
round here, you may have noticed, we takeour space opera seriously. Okay, not tooseriously (having space monkeys in the office makes thatsomewhat difficult), but we do believe it is a relevantand—dare I say it?
important genre. At its very best,space opera can inspire and enlighten us in ways thatother forms of fiction cannot, because it isn’t weigheddown by silly things like “believability” or “reason.” No,the sort of story we’re slinging around here will makeyou believe you can perform impossible feats, extin-guish great evils, and deal in heroic deeds—if only youhave the courage to try. Has there ever been a moreridiculous notion? Has there ever been a better one?In that spirit, I present the ten most indispensablelife lessons that space opera taught me. Years of hidingunder the blankets with a flashlight and a raggedpaperback were not wasted on me, and now you canbenefit from the wisdom I gathered thereunder. I haveranked them in order of ascending importance becausethat’s how David Letterman does it, and that guy seemsto have a handle on the whole “list” thing.
10. Villains do not die the first time you kill them.
nastier they are, the more likely they are to returnand wreak havoc with your life and loved ones.Down time varies from villain to villain, so be onyour guard. Some wait only seconds to pop backup and take one last swing, while others lie low foryears, waiting to unleash their vengeance when youleast expect it (these types often return wearingsome sort of elaborate mask). The good news isthat their modi operandi (and theme music) don’tusually change, making them a little easier to spot.
9. Feel free to steal great ideas and make them
Nobody cares. Seriously. Just, youknow, pay attention to the second part.
8. Never let romance interfere with the mission.
Epic, enduring love is a classic element of goodspace opera, but a lover who persuades youto abandon the Thing That You Must Do is ascheming villain. Your true love will stand aside(mournfully perhaps) and let you do what youknow is right. The truly exceptional ones willeven help you do it.
7. Always assume you’re standing on a trap door,
because you probably are.
At first glance, thisone might smack of paranoia, but if you thinkabout it, it’s just good sense.
6. Never underestimate the cute and cuddly.
they good or evil, those fuzzy little fellas withthe big eyes and adorable mewlings will fool youevery time. Chances are, beneath that innocentfacade, they’re hiding unfathomable reservesof pluck, or (in less fortunate cases) six rows of razor-sharp fangs.
5. Keep a mental backlog of acerbic one-liners
that are good for any occasion.
Ten Life Lessons I Learned From Space Opera
, by Paul Christian Glenn