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1.
An increasingly popular genre of Science Fiction. The term is largely self explanatory in that a space opera is a drama that is simply put in the context of science fiction. Although it can be "hard" science fiction, space operas typically focus on the characters to a point where the actual setting (space obviously, but more specifically, a technological future) is largely unimportant.
Have you seen Cowboy Bebop or that new Battlestar Galactica show?

No, I've never been a fan of space operas.
by draque February 15, 2005
 
2.
Generally speaking, refers to an epic adventure in space that focuses less on the technical details and more on good vs. evil and action. The mechanics of how things work ('hyperspace', 'the force') tend to be glossed over, as opposed to traditional "hard sci-fi", like Poul Anderson's "Tau Zero", where realism is emphasized, generally leading to stories smaller in scope.

Not an absolute term - Star Wars is more space opera than Star Trek, which itself is more space operaish than Deep Impact
Star Wars
Mass Effect
Bio of a Space Tyrant
Dune
space opera
by regulargonzalez February 02, 2010
 
3.
A space opera is a grand epic drama or adventure set in a distant sci-fi future. What precisely fits into this genre is notoriously difficult to define, as it appears to encompass everything from Star Trek to the Culture universe.
'Excession' (Iain M Banks), 'A Fire Upon The Deep' (Vernor Vinge) and 'Second Foundation' (Isaac Asimov) are instantly recognisable as space operas.
by Tactical Grace June 11, 2005
 
4.
a.
Boring science fiction that puts the classic hero storyline in space.

b.
A musical genre that blends sci-fi, horror and fantasy with electronic music.

c.
Holy Scientologist scripture.
You know more Space Opera!
by Toby-Won July 28, 2010