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Best Space Opera Books

Blast off into epic adventures with the most thrilling space opera books. These interstellar reads have been hailed across the galaxy of literary critics and fan favorite lists.

Recommendations from 44 articles, Elon Musk, Richard Branson, Mark Zuckerberg and 66 others.
100 books on the list
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Leviathan Wakes book cover
Leviathan Wakes
James S. A. Corey - 2011-06-02
Goodreads Rating
Explore a world where humanity has colonized our solar system, but the stars are still out of reach. Follow Jim Holden, XO of an ice miner, and Detective Miller as they uncover a dangerous secret aboard a derelict ship. Tensions rise between Earth governments, revolutionaries, and corporations as Holden and Miller strive to unravel the mystery and prevent a war that could change the fate of the entire universe.
Recommended by
Sean KernerAlan Cooper
Dune book cover
Deluxe Edition
Frank Herbert - 2019-10-01 (first published in 1965)
Goodreads Rating
Explore a unique and captivating world in this bestselling science fiction novel, now available in a deluxe hardcover edition. Set on the harsh desert planet Arrakis, the story follows the young Paul Atreides as he navigates a treacherous political landscape where the only valuable resource is a coveted drug called "spice." As Paul's family is betrayed and destroyed, he embarks on a journey that will lead him to a destiny beyond his wildest dreams. With a stunning blend of adventure, mysticism, and politics, Dune is a triumph of the imagination and a true masterpiece of science fiction.
Ancillary Justice book cover
Ancillary Justice
Ann Leckie - 2013-10-01
Goodreads Rating
A soldier named Breq, once part of a vast empire, is left with only one human body and a thirst for revenge after an act of treachery. Will she complete her mission on a remote, icy planet?
Revelation Space book cover
Revelation Space
Alastair Reynolds - 2002-05-28 (first published in 2000)
Goodreads Rating
A scientist must solve the mystery of the ancient Amarantin civilization before history repeats itself. With the help of a dangerous alliance, he gets closer to discovering the truth, but a killer is on his tail. Uncovering the reason for their destruction could irreversibly alter the universe and reality itself.
Ninefox Gambit book cover
Ninefox Gambit
Yoon Ha Lee - 2016-06-14
Goodreads Rating
In this exhilarating space opera, Captain Kel Cheris must redeem herself by recapturing a conquered fortress. To achieve this, she must ally with the undead and notorious tactician Shuos Jedao. But as the siege wears on, Cheris must decide whether she can trust the madman or end up as his next victim. Get ready for an impossible war, unconventional methods, and ancient weapons in this first installment of an epic trilogy.
Ender's Game book cover
Ender's Game
Orson Scott Card - 2004-09-30 (first published in 1985)
Goodreads Rating
Child prodigy Ender Wiggin has spent his entire life training for one purpose: to save humanity from an impending alien invasion. But the pressure and isolation of Battle School, where he is taught to be a tactical and strategic mastermind, may be taking its toll on him. Can Ender lead Earth's military to victory in a real-life battle against the enemy? This bestselling sci-fi novel is now a major motion picture event, starring Asa Butterfield, Harrison Ford, and Ben Kingsley.
Hyperion book cover
Dan Simmons - 1990-03-01 (first published in 1989)
Goodreads Rating
In this science fiction epic, a creature known as the Shrike awaits on the world of Hyperion, beyond the reach of galactic law. Some worship it, others fear it, and some have vowed to destroy it. On the brink of Armageddon, seven pilgrims set out on a final voyage seeking answers to the unsolved riddles of their lives. With each carrying a desperate hope and a terrible secret, one among them may hold the fate of humanity in their hands. This masterwork by the award-winning author of The Hollow Man is a stunning, inventive narrative that transcends space opera into a new kind of poetry. An essential part of any science fiction collection, Hyperion is a tour de force filled with awe, wonder, and excitement.
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet book cover
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet
Becky Chambers - 2014-07-29
Goodreads Rating
Discover the meaning of family in the far-off corners of the galaxy with a motley crew on an exciting journey through space. Join Rosemary Harper as she unexpectedly finds herself aboard the aging Wayfarer and among a diverse crew unlike any she's ever met. Chaos and danger ensue when the crew is offered the job of a lifetime, and they must rely on each other to survive. This light-hearted debut space opera from a rising sci-fi star offers thrilling adventures, love, and trust in the depths of deep space.
Consider Phlebas book cover
Consider Phlebas
Iain M. Banks - 1988-04-14 (first published in 1987)
Goodreads Rating
In this seminal science fiction series, readers are introduced to a utopian conglomeration of human and alien races that explores the nature of war, morality, and the limitless bounds of mankind's imagination. As a galactic war rages, billions are doomed and principles are at stake. A fugitive Mind becomes the object of both sides' desires and only a motley crew of unpredictable mercenaries can find it. Will they save the world or find their own destruction?
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy book cover
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Douglas Adams - 2005-01-01 (first published in 1979)
Goodreads Rating
This hilarious sci-fi adventure follows Arthur Dent, a man saved from Earth's destruction by his friend Ford Prefect, a researcher for The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Using advice from the guide ("A towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have"), they traverse space with eccentric characters like Zaphod Beeblebrox and the depressed robot Marvin. Get ready for a galaxy full of laughs and absurdity.
Startide Rising by David Brin
Falling Free by Lois McMaster Bujold
A Fire Upon The Deep by Vernor Vinge
Foundation by Isaac-Asimov
Pandora's Star by Peter F. Hamilton
A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine
Shards of Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold
Old Man's War by John Scalzi
On Basilisk Station by David Weber
Trading in Danger by Elizabeth Moon
Triplanetary by Edward E. Smith
Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein
The Forever War by Joe Haldeman
House of Suns by Alastair Reynolds
Dawn by Octavia E. Butler
Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi
Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke
Gateway by Frederik Pohl
Babel-17 / Empire Star by Samuel R. Delany
The Stars Are Legion by Kameron Hurley
Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky
Barrayar by Lois McMaster Bujold
The Reality Dysfunction by Peter F. Hamilton
The Uplift War by David Brin
Galactic Patrol by Edward E. Smith
Ringworld by Larry Niven
Revenger by Alastair Reynolds
An Unkindness Of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon
Empire of Silence by Christopher Ruocchio
Judas Unchained by Peter F. Hamilton
The Fall of Hyperion by Dan Simmons
Unconquerable Sun by Kate Elliott
Downbelow Station by C. J. Cherryh
The Best of All Possible Worlds by Karen Lord
Use of Weapons by Iain M. Banks
All Systems Red by Martha Wells
Caliban's War by James S. A. Corey
Cities in Flight by James Blish
Sundiver by David Brin
The Paradox Men by Charles Harness
Binti by Nnedi Okorafor
Cyteen by C. J. Cherryh
Cordelia's Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold
The Player of Games by Iain M. Banks
ThrawnStar Wars by Timothy Zahn
Mirror Dance by Lois McMaster Bujold
The Hydrogen Sonata by Iain M. Banks
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman
Excession by Iain M. Banks
Chasm City by Alastair Reynolds
Hyperion / The Fall of Hyperion / Endymion / Rise of Endymion by Dan Simmons
Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card
The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester
Duel in the Dark by Jay Allan
The Mote in God's Eye by Larry Niven
The Algebraist by Iain M. Banks
The Ship Who Sang - 01881-8 by Anne McCaffrey -
Vacuum diagrams by Stephen Baxter
The Killing of Worlds by Scott Westerfeld
Wayfarers Series 4 Books Collection Set by Becky Chambers (The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, A Closed and Common Orbit, Record of a Spaceborn Few & To Be Taught, If Fortunate) by Becky Chambers
Solaris by Stanislaw Lem
Sentients of Orion by Marianne de Pierres
Gray Lensman by Edward E. Smith
Children of the Lens by Edward E. Smith
The Rise of Skywalker by Rae Carson
Fortune's Pawn by Rachel Bach
Machine by Elizabeth Bear
The Risen Empire by Scott Westerfeld
First Lensman by Edward E. Smith
The Diadem Saga Books 1–3 by Jo Clayton
Tau Zero by Poul Anderson
To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini
A Talent for War by Jack McDevitt
The Last Human by Zack Jordan
A Passage of Stars by Kate Elliott
Cassastar by Alex J. Cavanaugh
Red Rising by Pierce Brown
Surface Detail by Iain M. Banks
Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
The Warrior's Apprentice by Lois McMaster Bujold
The Dispossessed by Ursula K. le Guin
Galactic North by Alastair Reynolds, John Lee, Tantor Audio
The Seafort Saga Books 1–3 by David Feintuch
The Deep Sky by Yume Kitasei
Schismatrix Plus by Bruce Sterling
Empress of Forever by Max Gladstone
Hidden Empire by Kevin J. Anderson
The Mimicking of Known Successes by Malka Ann Older
Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente
The Great Dune Trilogy by Frank Herbert