I've been very interested in the planets astronomers are detecting around other suns. What they are finding is so unexpected, and so different to what we have previously imagined possible.
But is it really that strange? Life seems to evolve and adapt to all kinds of conditions, so why can't planets.
I feel that strange planets are going to turn space opera on its head. Authors like Larry Niven and Alastair Reynolds are great at creating bizarre worlds, but planets are going to be even more extreme, I think, than what we've seen in the best space opera. It's going to be even more of a challenge to write in this genre now.
Check out this slide show of strange planets at Space.com to see just what it is that astronomers are detecting out there in the Big Black.