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Old 01-22-2011, 02:47 PM   #1
Joykins
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Need space opera recommendations

I'm looking for some good space opera to read. I like character-driven, action-filled plots (milSF is fine) and prefer at least one good female lead character.

I have read and loved Bujold's Vorkosigan books, Elizabeth Moon, Sharon Lee and Steve Miller's Liaden books, Jack Campbell's The Lost Fleet series, Feintuch's Seafort series, and Ann Aguirre's Sirantha Jax books, so I'm looking for more of that same kind of thing. I've read Heinlein and Asimov. Tried the Dune books but couldn't get into them. I'm aware of Weber's Honor Harrington books and they're on my list to try. I've also googled up Selina Rosen--anyone read her stuff? Any other recommendations?

Thanks!
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Old 01-22-2011, 03:05 PM   #2
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Tanya Huff's "Valor" series is pretty good. Lead character Torin Kerr is a strong, well-drawn character, and she's a sergeant rather than an commissioned officer so it might be a different perspective from reading MilSF depicted from the viewpoint of upper ranking commanders.

The books are very plotty and in each one there's a particular problem to solve, as well as being part of some sort of overarching arc involving an alien war. I'd place the writing style for these as mid-way between Bujold and Moon, with a touch of Heinlein thrown in.

I'm not sure the first two are available in e-book format (but DAW's put out a cheap paperback omnibus), but the latest three definitely are, and the 3rd book is where the series starts to get less standalone and it helps to know the background in future books, so it's a pretty decent jumping-on point for newcomers.
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Old 01-22-2011, 03:09 PM   #3
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Thanks! I've gone ahead and ordered the Huff Confederation of Valor paperback omnibus from Amazon, due to that promotion earlier this week with the gift card it's practically free.

Although I'm spoiled; I can't start it instantly like I can with an ebook...
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Old 01-22-2011, 03:31 PM   #4
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I'm sure you'll enjoy them, even if you have to wait to read. It's a fun series with interesting interaction with aliens and missions that have to be accomplished by clever figuring-things-out rather than suitable applications of high explosive (though there's plenty of that, too).

One series that's available immediately in e-book is Vonda N. McIntyre's Starfarers Quartet, of which the first book is being offered as a promo freebie DRM-free in multiple formats, which you might want to pick up if you haven't already.

I haven't read this series, but McIntyre has a pretty decent reputation (won a couple of awards, also used to write Star Trek novels) and the few chapters I tried before I had to switch my attention to finishing my library books first seemed like a good start.

If you do decide it's something you want to pick up after trying the first book, please note that the Omnibus bundle is cheaper even than picking up just the last 3 books, and of course the money goes directly to the author.
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Old 01-22-2011, 04:13 PM   #5
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Im not sure whether they are on ebook but Mike Shepherds' Kris Longknife series is a good read with a female lead.
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Old 01-22-2011, 04:55 PM   #6
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The best book in the genre I've read is The Mote in God's Eye by writers Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, . It's a real good science fiction and deserves to be read.

Another one I read recently is Saga of the Seven Suns by Kevin Anderson. It's a seven-book-serie, quite too long for my taste but once I started reading, I just kept on going. It has a few strong women POV characters inside.
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Old 01-22-2011, 05:24 PM   #7
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I did get the Starfarers book (free is so excellent) only it's formatted weird. Like 2 inch margins on both sides which means a sort of thin column of text marching down the middle of the page. I found this distracting. I may try again.
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Old 01-22-2011, 05:25 PM   #8
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I'm updating my virtual TBR pile as we speak...please keep these coming, they all sound intriguing!
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Old 01-22-2011, 06:31 PM   #9
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Im not sure whether they are on ebook but Mike Shepherds' Kris Longknife series is a good read with a female lead.
I was given last year's novel to read, not having read any of the others. It's a hyuge series, but I have to say that the book was enjoyable even as a stand alone. They are indeed, classic space opera written by a former navy guy. I was characterizing it to my friends as "tall ships in space".

I've been thinking about reading some of the first books, but my TBR pile is a bit daunting right now.
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Old 01-22-2011, 06:32 PM   #10
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I second Saga of the Seven Suns by Kevin Anderson. An excellent read and just the right length for my tastes. Also, in no particular order of preference:

The Night's Dawn trilogy by Peter F. Hamilton

Pandora's Star by Peter F. Hamilton

Judas Unchained by Peter F. Hamilton

The GAP sequence by Stephen Donaldson

The Culture sequence by Iain M. Banks

The Xeelee sequence by Stephen Baxter

The Mote in God's Eye by Nicen & Pournelle

The Forge of God + The Anvil of Stars by Greg Bear

The Eon sequence (Legacy, Eon, Eternity) by Greg Bear

A Fire Upon the Deep and A Deepness in the Sky (separate stories) by Vernor Vinge

Hyperion and Fall of Hyperion by Dan Simmons

The Uplift War trilogy (Sundiver, Startide Rising, Uplift War) by David Brin

Those are the ones which immediately spring to mind. Whether they're all proper "Space Operas" I'm not entirely sure, but they're certainly some of the very best SciFi books I've read.

Last edited by Belfaborac; 01-22-2011 at 06:35 PM.
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Old 01-22-2011, 06:33 PM   #11
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The best book in the genre I've read is The Mote in God's Eye by writers Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, . It's a real good science fiction and deserves to be read.
I loved that book as a teenager, but when I read it again as an adult (after having made my husband read it) I found it impossible. It didn't hold up for me very well at all. I don't think the husbeast liked it much either, but he didn't make a big deal about it. (Thank goodness because I'm still smarting over his reaction to the Time Traveler's Wife).
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Old 01-22-2011, 06:35 PM   #12
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Any other recommendations?
Lt. Leary series by David Drake

Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold. Start with Warrior's Apprentice, which is free)

Starfire series by Steve White and David Weber

The Looking Glass series by John Ringo and Travis S Taylor

These books by David Weber (not Honor Harrington)

That should keep you supplied with space opera for a bit!
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Old 01-22-2011, 07:10 PM   #13
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And also you might try Alexis Gilliland's "Rosinante" trilogy. I think it's still available on fictionwise, non-drm.

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Old 01-22-2011, 08:06 PM   #14
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I did get the Starfarers book (free is so excellent) only it's formatted weird. Like 2 inch margins on both sides which means a sort of thin column of text marching down the middle of the page. I found this distracting. I may try again.
Yeah, I'd heard that the ePub version was b0rked, but apparently all you have to do to fix it is unzip, blank the css file, and repack.

If you're willing to go library-trawling, Joan D. Vinge is excellent, if a trifle out of print at the moment.

Another freebie possibility is Peter Watts' novella The Island, which is very good and won the Hugo last year. He offers it as a Creative Commons ePub off his website along with his other short stories and novels.

It's got a female narrator on a generation ship building some sort of hyperspace bypass (cue HHGTTG jokes) so it's a bit light on the action, but heavy on the character-driving. Watts' writing is cerebral and visceral at once, kind of like an angry punk Clarke, if I had to compare him to one of the Big Three.

If you're in the mood for something more optimistic and Asimovian, Robert J. Sawyer has a couple of pretty good novels, albeit the space opera ones are mainly set from a male viewpoint. Starplex is one of those interstellar discovery things if you want a more exploratory book, and Golden Fleece, one of my personal favourites, is a locked room murder mystery IN SPAAAAACE!

They're a little pricey in the ebook editions, but he's got a page full of novellas and short stories free to read online so you can sample more of his writing first.
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Old 01-23-2011, 01:23 AM   #15
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I can't tell from your moniker or avatar whether you're male or female. Do you have any problem with romance in your space opera?

I really enjoy reading Linnea Sinclair's books. She has a few standalones (Finders Keepers, Games of Command, The Down Home Zombie Blues) and a series that starts with Gabriel's Ghost.

Sinclair straddles a hard line. Romance fans tend to think there's too much science fiction. SF fans often wonder why she bothers with the kissie stuff?!

I'd suggest Finders Keepers for a first book. I think it's got a good mix of both.

Just so you know, Bantam reissued these last year with romancy covers. Ick. Thank God we read ebooks, right? And Down Home Zombie Blues was fun, but it was set on earth (even though it has outer space visitors).
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