Per wikipedia, space opera is a subgenre of science fiction that emphasizes science fictional space warfare, with use of melodramatic, risk-taking space adventures and chivalric romance. Set mainly or entirely in outer space, it features technological and social advancements (or lack thereof) in faster-than-light travel, futuristic weapons, and sophisticated technology, on a backdrop of galactic empires and interstellar wars with fictional aliens, often in fictional galaxies.
The term has no relation to opera music, but is instead a play on the terms "soap opera", a melodramatic television series, and "horse opera", which was coined during the 1930s to indicate a clichéd and formulaic Western film. Space operas emerged in the 1930s and continue to be produced in literature, film, comics, television, and video games.
Leviathan Wakes- James S.A. Corey
"long but smartly economical", "science fiction/space opera", "interesting and open-ended plot", "intricate and engaging"
From a New York Times bestselling and Hugo award-winning author comes a modern masterwork of science fiction, introducing a captain, his crew, and a detective as they unravel a horrifying solar system wide conspiracy that begins with a single missing girl. Humanity has colonized the solar system-Mars, the Moon, the Asteroid Belt and beyond-but the stars are still out of our reach.
Jim Holden is XO of an ice miner making runs from the rings of Saturn to the mining stations of the Belt. When he and his crew stumble upon a derelict ship, the Scopuli, they find themselves in possession of a secret they never wanted. A secret that someone is willing to kill for-and kill on a scale unfathoma ...Read More
Consider Phlebas- Iain M. Banks
"gripping, well written", "nouveau space opera", "the complex moral fabric of the universe", "the total pointlessness of war"
The first book in Iain M. Banks's seminal science fiction series, The Culture. Consider Phlebas introduces readers to the utopian conglomeration of human and alien races that explores the nature of war, morality, and the limitless bounds of mankind's imagination.
The war raged across the galaxy. Billions had died, billions more were doomed. Moons, planets, the very stars themselves, faced destruction, cold-blooded, brutal, and worse, random. The Idirans fought for their Faith; the Culture for its moral right to exist. Principles were at stake. There could be no surrender.
Within the cosmic conflict, an individual crusade. Deep within a fabled labyrinth on a barren world, a Planet of ...Read More
Ancillary Justice- Ann Leckie
"first person narrative", "far future sf", "intelligent space opera", "great space opera"
Ancillary Justice is Ann Leckie's stunning debut - the only novel to ever win the Hugo, Nebula, and Arthur C. Clarke awards - about a ship's AI who becomes trapped in a human body and her quest for revenge. A must read for fans of Ursula K. Le Guin and James S. A. Corey.
"There are few who write science fiction like Ann Leckie can. There are few who ever could." - John Scalzi
On a remote, icy planet, the soldier known as Breq is drawing closer to completing her quest.
Once, she was the Justice of Toren - a colossal starship with an artificial intelligence linking thousands of soldiers in the service of the Radch, the empire that conquered the galaxy.
Now, an act of treacher ...Read More
Old Man's War- John Scalzi
"engrossing and believable", "easy, conversational tone", "crisp and steady", "made political science interesting"
John Perry did two things on his 75th birthday. First he visited his wife's grave. Then he joined the army.
The good news is that humanity finally made it into interstellar space. The bad news is that planets fit to live on are scarce-and alien races willing to fight us for them are common. So: we fight. To defend Earth, and to stake our own claim to planetary real estate. Far from Earth, the war has been going on for decades: brutal, bloody, unyielding.
Earth itself is a backwater. The bulk of humanity's resources are in the hands of the Colonial Defense Force. Everybody knows that when you reach retirement age, you can join the CDF. They don't want young people; they want people wh ...Read More
Revelation Space- Alastair Reynolds
"clear and accessible", "clever and well executed", "grand space opera", "rich astronomical descriptions"
Nine hundred thousand years ago, something wiped out the Amarantin. For the human colonists now settling the Amarantin homeworld Resurgam, it's of little more than academic interest, even after the discovery of a long-hidden, almost perfect Amarantin city and a colossal statue of a winged Amarantin. For brilliant but ruthless scientist Dan Sylveste, it's more than merelty intellectual curiosity - and he will stop at nothing to get at the truth. Even if the truth costs him everything. But the Amarantin were wiped out for a reason, and that danger is closer and greater than even Syveste imagines …
REVELATION SPACE: a huge, magnificent space opera that ranges across the known and unknown u ...Read More
Pandora's Star- Peter F. Hamilton
"fast-paced and well written", "an intriguing story", "modern space opera", "great space opera"
"An imaginative and stunning tale of the perfect future threatened . . . a book of epic proportions not unlike Frank Herbert's Dune or Isaac Asimov's Foundation trilogy."-SFRevu
The year is 2380. The Intersolar Commonwealth, a sphere of stars, contains more than six hundred worlds interconnected by a web of transport "tunnels" known as wormholes. At the farthest edge of the Commonwealth, astronomer Dudley Bose observes the impossible: over one thousand light-years away, a star . . . disappears. Since the location is too distant to reach by wormhole, the Second Chance, a faster-than-light starship commanded by Wilson Kime, a five-times-rejuvenated ex-NASA pilot, is dispatched to learn wha ...Read More
Red Rising- Pierce Brown
"futuristic fantasy", "brutal and bloody", "a fascinating novel", "ya dystopian novel"
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
Pierce Brown's relentlessly entertaining debut channels the excitement of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card.
"Red Rising ascends above a crowded dys-topian field."-USA Today
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY, BUZZFEED, AND SHELF AWARENESS
"I live for the dream that my children will be born free," she says. "That they will be what they like. That they will own the land their father gave them."
"I live for you," I say sadly.
Eo kisses my cheek. "Then you must live for more."
Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like h ...Read More
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet- Becky Chambers
"long-haul ship stories", "plot was engaging", "science fiction adventure story", "very smooth and easy to read"
The acclaimed modern science fiction masterpiece, Hugo Award winner for Best Series!
Follow a motley crew on an exciting journey through space-and one adventurous young explorer who discovers the meaning of family in the far reaches of the universe-in this light-hearted debut space opera from a rising sci-fi star.
Rosemary Harper doesn't expect much when she joins the crew of the aging Wayfarer. While the patched-up ship has seen better days, it offers her a bed, a chance to explore the far-off corners of the galaxy, and most importantly, some distance from her past. An introspective young woman who learned early to keep to herself, she's never met anyo ...Read More
The Dreaming Void- Peter F. Hamilton
"quality science fiction", "epic space opera", "long book", "medieval fantasy"
Reviewers exhaust superlatives when it comes to the science fiction of Peter F. Hamilton. His complex and engaging novels, which span thousands of years-and light-years-are as intellectually stimulating as they are emotionally fulfilling. Now, with The Dreaming Void, the first volume in a trilogy set in the same far-future as his acclaimed Commonwealth saga, Hamilton has created another ambitious and gripping space epic.
The year is 3589, fifteen hundred years after Commonwealth forces barely staved off human extinction in a war against the alien Prime. Now an even greater danger has surfaced: a threat to the existence of the universe itself.
At the very heart of the galaxy is the ...Read More
House of Suns- Alastair Reynolds
"new space opera", "mystery, action, and surprises", "hard science fiction", "stand alone sf"
An "engaging and awe-inspiring"(SF Signal) space opera from the critically-acclaimed author of the Revelation Space series.
Six million years ago, at the dawn of the star-faring era, Abigail Gentian fractured herself into a thousand male and female clones, which she called shatterlings. She sent them out into the galaxy to observe and document the rise and fall of countless human empires. Since then, every two hundred thousand years, they gather to exchange news and memories of their travels.
Only there is no Gathering. Someone is eliminating the Gentian line. And now Campion and Purslane - two shatterlings who have fallen in love and shared forbidden experiences - must determine e ...Read More
See all the books and more recommendations at https://www.meetnewbooks.com/find-books/space-opera
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