A confession: before reading The Space Opera Renaissance, I honestly thought that space opera came to be called space opera because "opera," in my blissfully uninformed opinion, was the equivalent of the Hollywood blockbuster from before they had Hollywood -- big, brash, wide screen entertainment full of fickle gods, exotic foreigners, passionate lovers and mighty warriors, all mashed up into stories of inspired, over-the-top mayhem and exhibitionism, and topped with bellowing divas howling like Hurricane Katrina in a ball gown. . . . Fortunately for me, David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer are here to try and set straight idiots such as myself, and kudos is due to them both that, for the most part, they serve as knowledgeable and engrossing guides to this once-derided area of the genre. I found their commentaries on each author to be invaluable to my enjoyment of each piece in this hefty anthology, whether I agreed 100 percent with their assessments or not . . .