If the long statistics post below is too much for you, have two quick links:
At Damien Walter’s blog, Jim Worrad explores the Stapledon Woolf space in science fiction, particularly in space opera. A very interesting observation there and well worth reading.
I suspect a variation of this is also the reason why I like urban fantasy so much, because it juxtaposes the utterly familiar everyday detail with the mindblowingly fantastical. Of course it helps if the fantastic elements really are mindblowing.