I love it when someone asks me what I do. I get to proclaim that I am a writer! Then comes the inevitable follow-up question, “What do you write?” and I can tell a lot about a person by the way they react when I say, “Space Opera, it is a type of Science Fiction. You know, like Star Trek, Star Wars, or Buck Rodgers.”
The ones I often have a hard time befriending are those who say things like I like real stories or true stories, or “I don’t have time fiction.” Yes, people actually say things like that to me.
Space Operas are True Stories
I love the look on people’s faces when I say things like that to them. Now don’t take me wrong, I understand the difference between True and Factual, and everyone else needs to.
Good stories and the rare great stories convey more than fictitious events that happened to fictitious people, they also show character and/or events that are true to themselves and their circumstances.
Fables, parables, and allegories are not the only types of stories that can carry meaning. Any story can, even those that are not the best crafted.
We can learn from the characters example, study their spirit, and their attitudes. Anyone who wants to get more out of life can rather easily learn how to do this.
Think of a story that is near to your heart, then ask yourself why?
Any story, but I find it easier with Space Operas, can be invested with a new layer of meaning. Sometimes it happens automatically. A character somehow reminds you of a friend, and event reminds you of an exaggerated version of an event that happens to you. The best stories do this automatically, but the best fans can use these stories to help them through their problems.
Whenever I am having a hard time learning to do something, I watch Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. Luke has to learn how to be a Jedi. What’s a Jedi? When the movie was made, no one knew. His struggles with learning the force can be invested analogized to the difficulty learning most things. Sometimes all I have to do is quote Yoda or Obi-wan and I can work towards a breakthrough. Sometimes I have to invest the movie with my problem.
What is the Empire in this situation? Who is Yoda? Where is Cloud City? Why might I not want to go there? By mythologizing my life, I open my mind to aspects of a problem or situation I would not have even noticed before. Honestly, who or what is the Boba Fett in this situation is a question only a person applying this technique would ever ask.
Joining the Adventure
This sort of mythic living is not as common as it used to be. Our ancestors used to do this with their own beloved myths. It is a way to find meaning and answers when they seem so far out of grasp.
This is my favorite aspect of fandom, and for me it works best with Space Operas. What genre, series or story works best for you?