I'm creating a space opera video game and I was wondering if to be considered a Space Opera it had to feature some supernatural abilities like Star Wars has with the Force. Or can I completely forgo that entire idea altogether and keep the rest of what the Wikipedia page says about Space Operas?

  • I'm not entirely sure this question is on-topic for our site (you might want to check the tour and the How to Ask page), but I think, based on this answer, that you can indeed have a space opera without magik. E.g. Azimov's Foundation trilogy didn't have any supernatural abilities (that I'm aware of). It's up to you, really. Jun 12, 2017 at 18:09
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    Currently I would consider this question off topic, but I do think you have an on-topic question buried here... If you rephrased your question to ask something like "What qualities does a Sci-Fi story need to be considered a space opera?", I think this question would be better accepted here.
    – onewho
    Jun 12, 2017 at 18:12
  • I don't think so Because I didn't ask what was the difference I personally asked a specific question.Also I looked through that Post and they didnt have the answer I was looking for so I created this post. Jun 12, 2017 at 21:34
  • Perhaps a better fit for Worldbuilding? You're asking for help understanding how to classify your game - or at least that's how it reads to me... so that seems like a nice fit for them, though I'm not a user of their site, so you might check their meta first.
    – Catija
    Jun 12, 2017 at 22:00
  • @Gallifreyan There were definitely some powers in Foundation: a lot of characters had mind-reading/control abilities. Sure, that was explained by handwavy "science," but that's a character of sf as opposed to fantasy. (Also, I'm not sure that anyone classifies Foundation as a "space opera.")
    – Shokhet
    Jun 12, 2017 at 22:07

1 Answer 1


Absolutely not!

Space Opera arguably originated with E.E. "Doc" Smith. Many of his stories (the Lensman series, most notably) depended on psychic powers, but many did not (Skylark series, the independent novel "Spacehounds of IPC", and others). What makes them space opera rather than true "science fiction" is primarily that the story didn't depend specifically on the science to work (Hal Clement, by contrast, is well known for stories where the whole thing falls apart if, for instance, set in a different environment from the extreme one he wrote that story in; Arthur C. Clarke likewise).

Sometimes its hard to tell a space opera from science fiction, but my rule is to ask myself if it'd be an equally sensible story if set on a tall ship with black powder cannon, or in ancient Egypt, or in modern day Earth with Glocks in place of the laser pistols or blasters. If it would, it's space opera, with or without magic, psi powers, aliens who look like men in movie makeup, and so forth.

  • +1 for bringing up EE "Doc" Smith Skylark series ... in my top 10 favorites. Jun 13, 2017 at 0:13

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