"Space opera." One of those terms that began as an insult, in this case, in 1941: a reference not to the grand scale of stage opera, but to the "hacky, grinding, stinky, outwarn yarn" of the soap opera (in those days on the radio) - just with "starships". This quote is from, of all places, a fanzine. It is reassuring to know that, even then, people were bemoaning the popularisation - and possibly even femininisation (gasp)! - of the genre.
Fortunately, the term was reclaimed and repurposed - by the 1960s and 1970s, "space opera" was redefined to include the works of Leigh Brackett, Star Wars and other space-based stories where the science was subservient to the story, and not the other way around.* And... although to each to their own and all that... thank god for it.
Which, decades later, brings us to Scott Sigler's The Rookie (2009), the first in the "Galactic Football League" series. The concept is mind-numbingly simple. In the future, various alien factions have done various alien things and there are a lot of strange beasties out there and they more or less hate one another. SO LET'S PLAY SOME FOOTBALL.
It is, of course, completely nonsensical - and the book is littered with anachronisms (some deliberate) and silliness because of it. The Rookie is a Boy's Own adventure about building character, solid moral instruction and really Cool Stuff Happening.