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Great sci-fi space opera books for 2017

Updated on March 12, 2017

The best epic space opera science fiction books to explore.

The best space opera novels are set in the big universe. The authors of the top space opera sci-fi books normally write more then one novel in the same universe. Authors like Frank Herbert with his space opera sage Dune and Alistair Reynolds with his Revelation Space explore new territories and planets with alien environments and often with alien encounters as well.

The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams can be seen as a space opera but more in a crazy lunatic intelligent way. The book, or rather books, are not like what we expect from the Space Opera genre. They are a persiflage on the genre but with many philosophical layers and hidden jokes.

And we should not forget Iain M. Banks (R.I.P) who created a whole universe with his culture sci-fi novels. He is an amazing creative and inventive author who wrote besides universe and time spanning space opera sci-fi books, "normal" fiction as well. Personal I found Consider Phlebas one of his best space-opera sci-fi books.

So lets step into the realm of space opera sci-fi and go boldly where no one has gone before...

Lets encounter those strange and new worlds full of hi-teck and alien space crafts. Jungle planets, desert planets and alien life forms living in suns or drifting in star nebula.

A Fire Upon the Sky, The first book of Zones of Thought

A Fire Upon The Deep (Zones of Thought)
A Fire Upon The Deep (Zones of Thought)

A fire upon the sky is one the best space opera sf books of the year 2015. It won the Hugo award in 1991 and if you haven't read it, well it's highly recommended.

 

Vernor Vinge - Zones of Thought Trilogy

The zones of thought trilogy by Vennor Vinge can be read separately. It is a great trilogy that is set in an universe similar to ours. The interesting thought Vinge add to the story is that the universe exists in different zones. A slow zone where faster then travelling with the speed of light is impossible and another zone where faster then light travel is possible.

The first novel starts with a discovery that ends up with a disaster, a bit like finding and opening Pandora's Box. From here on a inter galactic chaise of starships begins.

Throughout the stories of the books we encounter aliens. Venor Vinge has the ability to describe whole new worlds with alien societies. Living different, with different technology and thoughts. They are not human like, something that always surprised me in the other great space opera science fiction series Star Wars.

Zones of thought is a thought provoking and great trilogy, a must read for the science fiction aficionado. I read it with pleasure this summer and would definitely recommend it.

A Fire Upon the Deep is the first book of the Zones of Thought trilogy is a 1993 Nebula Award Nominee for Best Novel.

Great North Road
Great North Road

Peter F Hamilton wrote with Great North Road a real page turner. In this complex far-future saga he shows again his tallent as a story teller. Hard Sci Fi together with suspense and space opera settings.

“Satisfying and powerful . . . Space Opera doesn’t get much more epic.”—SFFWorld

The book already has 92 customer reviews and 4.5 stars !!!!!

 

The new science fiction space opera novel by Peter F Hamilton 2013 - Great North Road - an epic space opera sci fi book and thriller in one.

Peter F Hamilton is one of the bestselling SF authors in the UK, He started with his detective / military operation / not to far future novels where an ex military with a gland, Greg Mandel solved several political and industrial espionage cases.

He wrote some other grate sci-fi space opera sagas like The Night's Dawn trilogy and Pandora's Star. All spanning time and space big time.....

Now he's back where he started with a new space opera novel. Great North Road takes place a century from now, humanity has solved its energy problems and can cross space instantly. But still human nature is not that far of as it is today.

A dead body has been found in the river. in the English city of Newcastle. One of the North family. Murdered in the same way as his family was 22 years back. It looks like the murder was done by an alien.

A military operation is set up to find the alien on it's home planet, a planet that's also crucial for bi-oil, the main fuel used on earth. In the meantime detective Hurst has to find the murderer at all costs. Politics, a who done it, a thriller, a space opera with military operations.

Peter F. Hamilton did it again, The Great North Road is a killer of a book, you can't stop reading.

The Hydrogen Sonata an amazing sci-fi opera novel by Iain M. Banks

A Great New Culture Novel - Space Opera Sci-fi book 2012

The Hydrogen Sonata, a new culture novel by Iain M. Banks is a great book as might expected from this highly creative writer. The book has already 4 **** at Amazon. and 306 reviews.

The Scavenger Aliens are circling and the last days for the Gzilt civilization is near.

An ancient species, organized on military grounds but still almost as peaceful as you can imagine. The Gzilt was one of the founders of the Culture ten thousand years before and where one of its founding societies deciding not to join it, only at the last moment.
Now they have made the decision to go to Sublime, elevating themselves to a higher and complex form of existence..

But during the preparations though, the Regimental High Command is destroyed. Lieutenant Commander (reserve) Vyr Cossont appears to be involved and now she's wanted, dead or alive.... Supported only by her old android, Cossont has to complete her last mission that is given by her superior Commander. She has to find the oldest person in the Culture, a man over nine thousand years of age. who maybe can help her and know what really is going on.....

Classic epic space opera sci-fi books - What is a good sci fi space novel ?

So what is a good sci fi space novel ? Well, the science fiction genre knows many sub-genres. Cyberpunk, Steampunk, Alien encounter stories and Space opera novels. But a good space opera sci-fi novel is about pace, action, intrigue and imagination.

The Player of Games (Culture)
The Player of Games (Culture)

Iain M. Banks, sadly passed away this year. But he gave us a dazzling collection of space opera sci-fi novels set in his "culture" universe. A thrilling universe with original story lines and plots. Iain M. Banks was one of the greatest space opera authors around.

 

My Iain M. Banks collection

My Iain M. Banks collection
My Iain M. Banks collection

Iain M. Banks passed away.

R.I.P - 9th June 2013

Iain M. Banks

Your spirit and imagination will live forever in your books.

Thank you for all.

My Peter F Hamilton Collection (part of it....)

My Peter F Hamilton Collection (part of it....)
My Peter F Hamilton Collection (part of it....)

My favorite Science fiction author Peter F. Hamilton at it's best. imaginative space opera (with aliens..)

Pandora's Star (The Commonwealth Saga)
Pandora's Star (The Commonwealth Saga)

The books of Peter F. Hamilton are set in a huge universe. With lots of ideas and plots his books are real space opera novels. Pandora's Star is perhaps one of the easy reads. It's the first book of a set of two. Well written, a real page turner, with an alien encounter as well. Very weird.

Pandoras Star is one of my favorite science fiction books perhaps because it writes very plausible about aliens and our encounter.

 

Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds

one of the best sci fi opera books

Revelation Space is a huge, magnificent space opera that takes us across the know and unknown universe...

Nine hundred thousand years ago, something or somebody wiped out the Amarantin. For the human colonists who are now settling on the Resurgam, the Amarantin home planet it's of no interests...

Even after a long-hidden, almost perfect preserved Amarantin city is discovered. For Dan Sylveste, a ruthless but brilliant scientist it becomes a quest. Why where the Amarantin wiped out.What triggered the event of a mass extinction ? Sylveste will stop at nothing to find out the truth. A truth that will shatter Dan Sylveste's imagination.

This book is a great read and a story that is thrilling and full of suspense. A Page turner for sure. I loved the book and it was my first introduction to the work of Alastair Reynolds. Now my bookcase is packed with his books...


Dark space opera SF by Alastair Reynolds

Revelation Space
Revelation Space

Revelation Space is Alasatair Reynolds first sci-fi novel and what a space opera novel it is. But it's not his last, since then he wrote more dark sci-fi books like Absolution Gap, Redemption Ark and his last novel Blue remembered Earth. Alastair Reynolds is a sci-fi author that should not be missed.

 

Redemption Ark by Alastair Reynolds - a top space opera syfy book

This is an amazing fast reading hi-teck space opera boook. It combines hard sci-fi with thriller and suspence. I enjoyed every minute of the book, it has to be said that Alastair Reynolds never let me down. He is one hell of a science fiction writer.

Star Wars Space Opera number 1

The New Star Wars Space Opera novel.

Star Wars the most famous Space Opera of all time.

It's clear that Star Wars has become a legend under the science fiction movies. Although there are loads of books written in the Star wars universe it's first of all a movie. The latest star wars book that came out was : Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens Lost Stars So for al the fans have a look, it got 4.5 stars at Amazon with 450 customers reviews. I have not read the book but the good reviews says a lot.

I know I will disappoint many Star Wars aficionados but this small space opera review is about books and the Star Wars universe is big and full of stuff to talk about. So much that it could easily fill a whole planet full of books written about the Han Solo only.

Frank Herbert - Dune - the classic space opera
Frank Herbert - Dune - the classic space opera

The best Space opera novels, explorations in space

science fiction on a huge scale

Space Opera is like Cyberpunk and Steampunk another sub-genre of science fiction literature. The setting is in the gigantic universe when travel through space between galaxies and planets are possible. Often the space opera sci-fi books involve conflicts and intrigue.

The term Space Opera has nothing to do with the opera of the theatre but probably comes from the word "soap opera". The space opera genre distinguishes itself from other sci-fi genres like Cyberpunk and Steampunk in the way that it settings, characters, wars, alien encounters and themes are unseally on a very large scale.

Wilson Tucker mentioned the term "Space Opera" for the first time in a fanzine article in 1941 in a belittling way. When Tucker wrote the article, serial radio shows in the US had become popularly know as soap operas because they where often sponsored by soap manufactures. For Tucker "Space Opera" was quote : "hacky, grinding, outworn, spaceship yarn..."

The term "horse opera" went around as well, it was used for western films. And actually some "space operas" in the time simply translated the wild-west plots and put them into an outer space environment.

The picture above is from the movie Dune based upon the clasissic Sci-fi Space Opera Dune

Enders Game, the top scifi now the long awaited movie.

Enders Game, Scott Card classic space sci-fi novel.

Enders Game was written in 1985. But as all good space sci-fi novels it is still read today. Enders Game which is the first book of the scifi serie Ender's Game. Tells us about the first contact with an alien species and how humanity reacts upon it.

Enders Game tells us about the battle between the human race and the aliens. But as well about the battle of a lonely boy who has to fight for survival.

Besides the military scifi theme, Ender's Game is a touching story about a boy who is faced with tough decisions and emotions in extreme conditions he finds himself in. The science fiction book of Orson Scott Card is a classic and it undaubtely will be a great success in the theaters.

Ender's Game the movie is directed by Gavin Hood, known from Stargate.

Among the stars are Harrison Ford and Asa Butterfield ( known from the steampunk movie Hugo )


Enders Game space opera sci fi movie 2013
Enders Game space opera sci fi movie 2013

Ender's Game 2013 - new space opera science fiction movie - Orson Scott Card's Enders game on the big Screen

The boy who had to save the earth, because an adult couldn't. But what are the consequences. And what are the sacrifices. Ender's Game is a story about human emotions, military scifi action and fear. Fear for the other, fear for ourselves.

Ender's Game has the potential to be a great movie. Full of action but psychologically as well. Orson Scott Cards military science fiction book has all the ingredients to become a top movie.

The movie is due to come out in November 2013

Redemption Ark (Revelation Space Sequence)
Redemption Ark (Revelation Space Sequence)

The Inhibitors are back and Humanity is doomed! Many, many millennia ago, the Inhibitors seeded the universe with machines designed to detect intelligent life - and then to suppress it. But after hundreds of millions of years, the machines started to fail and intelligent cultures started to emerge. Then Dr Dan Sylveste and the crew of Infinity discovered what had happened to the long-vanished Amarantin race ...and awakened the Inhibitors.

 

The universe is big, really big you know... - And it all started with a bang.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

The best space opera scuff is for me above all the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy

Although I love the Dune saga and space opera series like Startrek and Babylon 5, my heart still goes out to the brilliant book of Douglas Adams.

The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy is a witty and wise book at the same time. For me it belongs to the space opera category, but with a wink. It is a hilarious book, even die hard science fiction haters love it. I mean... a depressed robot, poetry as torture, a space ship with an improbability drive !!!

The book started of as a radio show, a real soap opera...the ones Wilson Tucker was referring to.. And because of it's popularity it became a book, two books, 5 books in the end, ending with the novel Mostly Harmless. Well, if you have not read it yet, you should. The book makes you smile.

The Space Opera by Douglas Adams - the Hitchhikers Guide To the Galaxy

The ultimate question asked in the Hitchhikers Guide To the Galaxy

Star Trek the first 150 years - The best opera syfy movie - The best space opera science fiction.

Star Trek the first 150 years\ is a must for every Trekkie in the universe. Star Trek Federation: The First 150 Years is a wonderful illustrated book that tells us about the first encounter with the Vulcans. The troublesome Romulan War in 2156 and the start of the Federation in 2161.

The Star Trek book about the first 150 years of it's exsistance is not only enjoyable for the hard core Trekkie, The book is also a good read for all the other space opera sci-fi fans. Star Trek the first 150 years is written like a historical document. This sounds perhaps a bit boring but the author David A. Goodman writes in an entertaining way.

It's great to read about the Enterprise and its crew in this fictional history book .

4 stars and 72 reviews !!!!

Startrek : Space Opera at it's best

Startrek : Space Opera at it's best
Startrek : Space Opera at it's best

Space the final frontier...Think big, think different.

Thinking about the future and the past opens your eyes for the present.

Love to hear from you, What is your favorite science fiction book / author. Perhaps it's Margaret Atwood or Terry Pratchett or Jules Verne, just to name a few.

© 2012 PeterStip

Hi, there is plenty of space to fill

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    • profile image

      Echo Phoenix 4 years ago

      Kurt Vonnegut was always a winner for me among so many more, how could you choose a fav? Recently, I am rediscovering Dick's work since I have a long standing obsession with Blade Runner;) awesome lens!

    • PeterStip profile image
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      PeterStip 4 years ago

      @Echo Phoenix: I've got two books by Philip K. Dick, which I both love. So there is lot's to discover on that front....Same for Kurt Vonnegut. I'm reading Game of Thrones at the moment, in Spanish...To learn Spanish the difficult but fun way...thanks for the comment.

    • artbyrodriguez profile image

      Beverly Rodriguez 4 years ago from Albany New York

      I haven't heard the term Space Opera. I really feel like reading a Science Fiction book now! Very well done reviews.

    • Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      I adore Pratchett and the writers of Babylon 5.

    • PeterStip profile image
      Author

      PeterStip 4 years ago

      @Margaret Schindel: Pratchett does write Lol books indeed, they are incredibly funny and intelligent. A good summer read. He gave fantasy genre a complete other twist as well. Thanks for the blessings.

    • PeterStip profile image
      Author

      PeterStip 4 years ago

      @artbyrodriguez: thanks for the blessing, like an angel from outer space ;-) Always there when you least expect it.

    • profile image

      kimmanleyort 4 years ago

      Don't know much about space opera but you have done a great job of presenting the best. Blessed.

    • Gayle Dowell profile image

      Gayle Dowell 4 years ago from Kansas

      Never heard of space opera, but your lens is very informative on the subject. I believe I've learned something new today. Blessed~

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 4 years ago

      So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish!

    • Rangoon House profile image

      AJ 4 years ago from Australia

      Thank you for the opportunity to learn about Space Opera!

    • Kailua-KonaGirl profile image

      June Parker 4 years ago from New York

      I too love "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" and using this new sci-fi background is awesome for this lens, but I have not read several of the "newer" books you have recommended! added to my "Read List".

    • MikeRobbers LM profile image

      MikeRobbers LM 4 years ago

      I have read all five "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" books and it is definitely one of the greatest novels of the century! I appreciated your lens a lot, you are seriously into the Sci-Fi subject :)

    • PeterStip profile image
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      PeterStip 4 years ago

      @MikeRobbers LM: The "sci-fi" books of Douglas Adams are great. I enjoyedDirk Gentley's Holistic Detective Agency as well. Great author.

    • PeterStip profile image
      Author

      PeterStip 4 years ago

      @KimGiancaterino: thank you, and watch out for the number 42

    • LabKittyDesign profile image

      LabKittyDesign 4 years ago

      Suppose we were looking for a science fiction novel that doesn't have (1) aliens or (2) time travel (and isn't Quarter Share). Can you recommend something?

    • PeterStip profile image
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      PeterStip 4 years ago

      @LabKittyDesign: William Gibson is a great writer of techno sci-fi of the near future. It's quit realistic, but not always a easy read. Real literature. He invented the name cyberspace, and many of his novels are about cybercrime and the internet in the near future.

      Peter F. Hamilton wrote some books in the Greg Mandel series (can be read separately) like A Quantum Murder. It's more a "who done it". And a classic and really exciting read is Snowcrash by Neil Stephanson. More sci-fi books without aliens or time travel can be found on my page about cool hard edge cyberpunk sci fi. Hope this was a bit of advise you were looking for ;-)

      Good Luck Labkitty.

    • Brians Secretary profile image

      Brians Secretary 4 years ago

      I thought I liked the original Dune series until i read the books written by his son. I love the new books, they may not be as intricate and mystical but they are a darned good read and that is what i want from a book.

      Hitch Hikers Guide To The Galaxy - loved the original BBC Tv series and really liked the film, never read the books and not sure I will now

    • PeterStip profile image
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      PeterStip 4 years ago

      @Brians Secretary: The Hitch Hikers Guide is far better than the film or series. To me the film was to superficial, and the HHG is anything but that. Beside witty and great fun it is a book of great insight in well...Life the universe and the rest....

      Loved the Dune series (not all) and the books of books of Brian Herbert too, although at times I found them to repetitive. But still a great sci-fi space opera epos

      Thanks for your reaction Brians_Secretary

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      Tanya Jones 3 years ago from Texas USA

      I'm a great fan of the novel, Dune, buy Frank Herbert. Though I've considered reading the other books in the series, I'm content with the first book.

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      nonya4444 2 years ago

      Never heard of space opera:>) Thanks for the info.

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