time opera n.

a subgenre of science fiction featuring adventure-driven, extravagantly dramatic plots based on time travel; a work in this genre

SF Encyclopedia

SF Criticism


  • 1953 Recommended Reading in Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction Apr. 98 page image

    As a period piece, Jack Williamson’s 1938 The Legion of Time (Fantasy Press) is grand fun, as the Old Master of the space-opera turns to the time-opera with fine swashbuckling and much ingenious speculation on alternate worlds.

  • 1955 Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction May 3 (editorial introduction to Poul Anderson’s Time Patrol) page image

    Space operas are all very well; but for real honest swashbuckling adventure, spiced with intellectual paradoxes and startling historical contrasts, give me that rarer art form, the time opera.

  • 1956 D. Knight Readin’ & Writhin’ in Science Fiction Quarterly Feb. 51/2 page image Damon Knight

    F. G. Payer’s preposterous time-opera, ‘Tomorrow Sometimes Comes’.

  • [1956 P. S. Miller Reference Library in Astounding Science Fiction May 144/2 P. Schuyler Miller

    From a writer whom we have come to recognize as the past-mistress of swashbuckling color and action on a galactic scale, we have a true novel which expresses her own personality in a way her space-and-time-opera never has. We have a plausible, understandable future created almost without gimmicks.]

  • 1978 S. L. Duff Letter in Amazing Stories Jan. 127/2 page image

    This was a thoroughly uninvolving attempt at humorous adventure. In attempting to poke fun at time-operas it succeeded in becoming much poorer than anything it sought to parody.

  • 1980 D. Broderick (title) Damien Broderick bibliography

    The Dreaming Dragons: A Time Opera.

  • 1983 H. B. Pierce Literary Symbiosis 132 page image Hazel Pierce bibliography

    Smith’s galactic police illustrate the ease with which a mystery story can slip into romantic space opera. A similar metamorphosis can occur in time opera.

  • [1993 Interzone (#68) Feb. 24/2 page image

    Old-fashioned space-and-time opera featuring a vast and cruel energy-being which lives inside stars and a human who has survived into the distant future by all the usual sf methods: freezer compartments, time dilation, [etc.].]

  • 2007 R. Kleffel in Interzone (#208) Feb. 64/2 (review of Neal Asher’s Polity Agent) page image Rick Kleffel

    Polity Agent involves all the appurtenances of Asher’s previous novels: big weapons, big monsters, and human disasters on an increasingly cosmic scale. He even slips in some of the time opera nuances we saw in Cowl and addresses the question of singularity.

Research requirements

antedating 1953

Earliest cite

(presumably) Anthony Boucher, in F&SF

Last modified 2022-09-01 14:47:53
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.