10 Best Space Opera Books Update 05/2022

“Space opera” was made up as a way to be mean. Originally, it was a “hacky, grinding, stinking, out-of-date spaceship yarn.” It’s based on soap opera (nothing to do with music). For this list, I’m defining “space opera” as a science fiction story that has a lot of drama and adventure, with extra points for taking place mostly in space and having spaceships of some kind. If someone points to a viewscreen and says, “What the hell is that?” they get extra points.

Despite their bad start, space operas have become a huge hit. Over 10,000 books are listed on Amazon in the space opera genre. There are only so many hours in the day, so this list could be called “The 210 Best Space Opera Books.”

if you like an author, check out all of their other books! People who write space opera write a lot of space opera.

A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge – 1992

People from many different races live in a universe where the potential of each person’s mind is limited by where he or she is in space, from the super-intelligent people in the Transcend to the simple creatures and technology that can only live in the Unthinking Depths, where only simple creatures and technology can live. When the warring Straumli realms use an ancient Transcendent artifact as a weapon, they unwittingly unleash an enormous power that destroys thousands of worlds and takes over all natural and artificial intelligence. Nobody knows what kind of force split space into these “regions of thought.”

They flee the threat, but the Tines, an alien race with a harsh medieval culture, kidnap them and use them as pawns in a power struggle. They use the scientists as “pawns.” People from other species will be on a rescue mission to save the children and a secret that could save interstellar civilization.

A Talent for War by Jack McDevitt – 1989

After his uncle died, Alex Benedict starts to look into a mysterious project his uncle had been working on. He gets drawn into the history of a war between humans and another species that lived near us. He finds out things that could change the way we run the world right now.

In science fiction, A Talent for War is a good example of a mystery that is about war. A mystery in a far-future setting would be the best way to describe it. If you want to go on a wild, spaceship-exploding adventure, this isn’t the right place for you. As for the book itself, if you’re curious about what mysteries might be around in ten thousand years and enjoy getting inside the heads of characters, give it a try. A lot of people say this is not one of McDevitt’s best novels. But it’s probably his most well-known and sets the stage for a lot of well-known sequels.

Falling Free by Lois McMaster Bujold – 1988

In the world of science fiction, Lois McMaster Bujold is a well-known author. She has won six Hugo Awards and three Nebula Awards for her work. A lot of her stories have a lot of smarts mixed in with humor, drama, and even a little bit of philosophy.

Falling Free is the first book in her best-selling and huge Vorkosigan Saga, which has 16 books and a lot of shorter stories. When Leo Graf was an engineer, he was just like any other: do your job, fix what’s wrong, and move on to the next job. Every little thing was neat and done the way he liked. But when he went to work at the Cay Habitat, all of that changed for the better. Could you just stand by and watch as hundreds of helpless children were exploited by a heartless mega-corporation in order to make more money for the company?

He had to teach them how to be free. Some people think Falling Free is better than the next book in the Vorkosigan Saga, Shards of Honor.

Cassastar by Alex J. Cavanaugh – 2010

little is left to do for Byron. His cockpit skills are the only thing that can save him. Byron is going to the moon base of Guaard to learn how to fly a Cosbolt fighter plane. He wants to show that he can fly and start a new life.

Cavanaugh’s first book, Cassastar, isn’t always popular. It’s been called a bad high school essay by some people, while others say it’s a new take on the space opera genre and that Cavanaugh is like Robert A. Heinein.

Dune by Frank Herbert – 1965

Dune is the story of Paul Atreides, a boy who grows up to become the mysterious man known as Muad’Dib. It is set on the desert planet of Arrakis. His noble family was betrayed by a traitor. He would avenge that and bring to fruition humanity’s most long-held dream.

In the history of science fiction, Dune is the best-selling book of all time. It’s often called “the Lord of the Rings of science fiction.” Do not start reading science fiction books here. Instead, make this your fifth one.

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card – 1985

Because of its violence, Ender’s Game is both popular and criticized. It shows kids on a military space station, where they train to fight the Buggers, an evil alien race.

Hugo and Nebula Awards: Even though the New York Times thought the movie was a “grade Z, made-for-TV science fiction rip-off movie,” it still won the two awards.

Foundation by Isaac Asimov – 1951

Psychohistory is one of Isaac Asimov’s best inventions. By combining history, psychology, and statistics, one can predict how large groups of people will act.

This book is called Foundation, and it tells the story of how the Galactic Empire came to an end and how one man tried to bring civilization back after years of barbarism. A lot of Asimov’s characters aren’t very interesting. But his stories are so good that it’s easy to forget about that flaw.

Gateway by Frederik Pohl – 1977

Using alien technology that you don’t understand is a great way to make a story interesting. Pohl makes the best use of this in Gateway. The characters are vulnerable, the scope is wide, and it’s just a lot of fun to watch.

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams – 1979

I think this is one of the funniest books that has been written in English. It starts with the destruction of Earth, and things get worse from there. There are spaceships, aliens, and planets that are visited, but none of it is what a nice, normal person would expect.

Don’t read this book in front of other people, because you will make them angry by laughing so much.

Hyperion by Dan Simmons – 1989

There aren’t very many science fiction books that can use the same structure as The Canterbury Tales and still be good. Hyperion does, though, and it’s great.

Shrikes live on the planet Hyperion, which is outside of the law of the Hegemony of Man. They wait for the creature called the Shrike to come. There are people who are in awe of it. People are afraid of it. There are also people who have vowed to destroy it. He waits for them all. The time tombs move backward through the Valley of the Time Tombs. People set out on a final journey to Hyperion on the eve of Armageddon, when the entire galaxy was at war. They were hoping to find the answers to the unanswered questions of their lives on this journey. Each person has a desperate desire and a terrible secret. And one person can decide the fate of all of us.

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