When I was seven, my Mom and Dad decided that Star Trek: The Next Generation, airing for the first time on WXXA/Schenectady, was a good show to get me out of cartoons, introduce me into more adult drama and watch as a family. Little did they know that they were turning me into an inveterate Trekkie.
Actual commercial from my childhood. You don’t get more eighties than this, people.
Someone told me the other day that your literary tastes are set in childhood and confirmed in college; whether or not that is true for everyone, it is certainly true for me. Among all of the other literary trends I adore, I still love space opera — especially the space opera of my childhood, revised for my thirtysomething attitude. Sherwood Smith and Dave Trowbridge collaborated on a wonderful five-book series called Exordium in the mid-nineties, and they’ve spent the last few years revising it, updating it and adding new material, which is now published in e-books. And it is great. It was great before, but the edits and changes just make it better. And now, for those of us who also consider ourselves the Netflix generation, one can download all five of them at once and sit on the couch eating these books up for days.
Exordium is full of all the lovely things that make space opera so delectable: a pan-galactic government, treachery, space battles, truly alien aliens, lightspeed space battles, gadgetry, cultural differences, hope, fear, striving. It is the story of the “black sheep” of the Panarchy’s imperial family, Brandon nyr-Arkad, who skips his coming-of-age ceremony — and, in the process, becomes an important part in a galactic war. This series has everything. It’s funny, it’s intelligence, it’s realistic, and it’s utterly fantastic — in both senses of the term.
On her blog, Smith noted that a Hollywood studio had once been interested in transferring Exordium to film or TV — reading it, you truly see its epic, visual scope, and think that right now the effects houses could maybe — maybe! Finally! — do it justice. Because while it would have been fun to see as a child, it’ll be absolutely stunning now.
You can buy Exordium on Amazon, but it’s better to go through Smith’s storefront on Book View Cafe: