Sci-fi epic.

I’ve been toying around with what I think could be a great story. It’s about a boy who wants to travel the stars. One day he wish on the first star to come out. He gets his wish granted. He is then teleported straight to space ranger academy.(Title subject to change) The idea is its a space epic in the vain of Fear Agent. Like old style sci-fi with a lot of silly 50’s ascetics and lots of R rated gore. I need reference material so I’m asking if anyone has some books or movies that I could watch to get a better feel for the genre? I guess the Genre would be called Space Opera or maybe Space Western?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fear_Agent

The only Space Operas I’ve read are a few of Iain M. Banks’ novels - if I remember correctly titles were Consider Phlebas, Matter, and Excession - and they are indeed operatic! The only thing that comes to mind for Space Western is Firefly (television series), which would be pretty good reference material; the writing is solid.
Another medium you might like to trawl is comics, there is a wealth of sci-fis and I’m sure you’ll be able to find some with Western elements - people who are not me would probably be better to recommend some to you, I’m not very familiar with the world of comics :) Though Archaia usually have a few floating around in their archives i.e. Space: 1999 and Critical Millennium. Good luck!

I would recommend some of the old Heinlein Young Reader books, like Have Spacesuit Will Travel and Farmer in the Sky. I would also recommend James White’s Sector General series. Finally the late Harry Harrison’s Stainless Steel Rat series, while not a ‘space western’, does have an unrepentant criminal protagonist turned government agent, a theme I often see in westerns.

Space Operas generally make romance a main focus, which is what grants them that title. Space Westerns mix The Wild West with space travel, Firefly being the best example but an anime called Trigun is also a great one. While I am sure there are other sub-genres of Sci-Fi, you need romance for the former and a western setting for the latter in order to earn those titles, so if they are missing it is called something else.

I think your best comparison for a Sci-Fi epic is Star Wars and Startrek.

If you’re looking for over-the-top Golden Age pulp SF, here’s a few places I’d start:

(The first two start series which you might want to continue if you enjoyed the first book.)