Just about anything sci-fi by Iain M Banks. His novels are some of the best science fiction I have ever read. His writing is very imaginitive and often on a huge scale, and is laced through with a dark sense of humour. Most of the books are set within his Culture universe, but there are a number of standalone novels as well. Start with Consider Phlebas or The Player of Games for the Culture ones. Against a Dark Background is standalone and also particularly good.
Alastair Reyonolds is also very good, his Revelation Space series in particular. It's more 'hard' sci-fi with semi-plausible technology and space travel (the author worked for ESA before writing full time) but it still contains plenty of bizarre characters and terrifying, ancient alien technology.
Peter F Hamilton is also worth a look, though his writing is more pulp sci-fi (lots of sex and violence) and he tends to write very, very long books. His Night's Dawn Trilogy is very entertaining, even if it does get a bit silly. Fallen Dragon is also good. Mis-spent Youth is terrible, avoid.
Last edited by dworth; 12-02-2010 at 05:34 AM.