Space Opera recommendations?

Discussion in 'Science Fiction' started by SpiderCrawler, Jan 11, 2012.

  1. Dakota

    Dakota Registered User

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2012
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Hello again all,

    So I have just finished the commonwealth saga ! Again just great, such a great story. As you said, I prefered a bit more (but by a very little margin) the night's dawn trilogy but still, it was again a great ride :)

    Now what ? I think I will continue with the Void trilogy, any comments on it before I buy it ? compare to night's dawn and commonwealth saga ? Or maybe should I try something else from Hamilton ? Cheers
     
  2. krisbslick

    krisbslick Executor

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2010
    Messages:
    239
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Yes, definitely go for the void trilogy, if you have the time. I think I waited a total of 5 years for the releases of all 3 of these books in the US (in paperback) and it was well worth the wait! Hamilton is the best! And it's best if you read them all back to back, as I found out the hard way. I got Dreaming Void, read it, and then had to wait forever for Temporal Void to come out, and the same for Evolutionary.

    It's really too close to tell, but I'd say the void trilogy was as good, if not better, than the commonwealth saga. But still, I'd say Night's Dawn is at the top. I never want his novels to end!

    Also, if you don't have the time to devote to a trilogy, I thought Fallen Dragon was very, very good as well.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2012
  3. Dakota

    Dakota Registered User

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2012
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    It was funny ! I was in waterstone 15 min ago, having the dreaming void (hamilton), Pushing ice (Reynolds), consider phlebas (Banks) (all advised books here) in my hands and I did not know what to go for...I just browse the forum quickly on my phone with no hope for an answer to my question of this afternoon about the Void trilogy ..and here we are, you answered :) So you made my choice ! Bought the dreaming void ;) And it makes sense as it is linked to the common wealth saga (I did not know) that I just finished.

    For Night's dawn and the common wealth saga, I prefered the main idea of the commonwealth saga (the barrier of dyson alpha etc etc), I prefered the end of the book also (I found it short for night's dawn)...But I thought the commonwealth saga (pandora's star and judas unchained) were a bit messy sometimes, jumping from situations/characters to situations/character a bit quickly, difficult to follow on some parts...Also all the trip of Ozzie on the silfen path with the gas halo was quite tough to vizualize, to imagine....And I got a bit less attached to the characters in general. The margin between the 2 is really nothing and maybe it is just a question of mood of the day finally ;) In any case, These are 2 great great work of SF...Congrats to Hamilton :)

    Thanks for the advice on Fallen dragon, after the void trilogy, that will be my next read...And the greg Mandel series ? is it worth it ?
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2012
  4. Wilson Geiger

    Wilson Geiger Greymane

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2011
    Messages:
    1,215
    Likes Received:
    82
    Trophy Points:
    58
    I actually haven't finished the Night's Dawn by Hamilton yet, I'm on the last two books, and then I got on a serious fantasy kick, and haven't gone back to his books for a good year. I will say they were outstanding, and I hope to finish it soon. I also read Fallen Dragon and loved it. Still have to read his Commonwealth saga, have book 1 but it's untouched at the moment.

    For recommendations, I suggest Scott Westerfeld's Succession series. Book 1 is The Risen Empire, book 2 is The Killing of Worlds. Fantastic stuff, with interesting space combat, nanotechnologies, world intelligence that becomes self-aware, I really loved it. I wish he'd go back to that universe, but he's been writing YA stuff lately.
     
  5. Nicolas

    Nicolas Intrigued diletante

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2008
    Messages:
    113
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Not Space Opera at all, if I remember correctly (I read the first one, Mindstar Rising, quite a while ago), more like a cyberpunkish near future noir story, as far as I remember. Networks everywhere, talking guns, this kind of stuff. I don't know about the other two.

    The latest I've read that really made me think of Hamilton was Leviathan Wakes, by James Corey. Plenty of suspense (I got hooked in about 3 chapters), jaw dropping moments, regular individuals getting swept into the maelstrom of a looming interplanetary Armageddon, constant tension etc, etc... absolutely brilliant.
     
  6. Nicolas

    Nicolas Intrigued diletante

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2008
    Messages:
    113
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Been meaning to pick that up for a while, thanks for reminding me, I'll bump it up my list of "to read soon" books.
     
  7. Dakota

    Dakota Registered User

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2012
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I was hesitating to buy this one as well but lots of critics are saying that it is far from Hamilton books...But as you advise it, I will give it a go certainly :) thanks !
     
  8. krisbslick

    krisbslick Executor

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2010
    Messages:
    239
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Glad I could help! I haven't read the Greg Mandel series. (probably the only one i haven't jumped on) I think it's a detective style series and I usually stick try to stick to space operas, but it should be good (since we are talking about Hamilton here)... looking forward to his Great North Road.. he's be tooting his own horn on that one (on his blog) for a while now

    and damn! I should have mentioned to you that the void trilogy is a continuation of the commonwealth saga (even if some centuries have gone by since then)
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2012
  9. krisbslick

    krisbslick Executor

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2010
    Messages:
    239
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Dakota - Seriously... you NEED to get Leviathan Wakes. Put it on top of your list after your done with Hamilton. I highly recommend it. Needless to say, I did not get too much sleep those few days it took me to read it. Also, Caliban's war (the second book in the series) comes out in a month or so!

    Scott Westerfield's Succession was pretty good as well. I don't want to give anything away, but I felt it attacked the whole Space Opera genre in a totally different way, which was very refreshing. I got both books in one binding for pretty cheap online, as well.

    Also, another series that I think is underrated is Walter Jon Williams' Dread Empire's Fall Series.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2012
  10. Dakota

    Dakota Registered User

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2012
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Ok ok :) Leviathan wakes will be the following book so :p

    thank you very much for all these advices !

    Started to read the dreaming void yesterday evening and looked already attracting...Quite a lot of references to the comonwealth saga in 30 pages :)
     
  11. Danogzilla

    Danogzilla Couch Commander

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2012
    Messages:
    699
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    26
    I just want to go on record as saying Leviathan Wakes didn't seem similar to Hamilton at all to me. I've only read half of Pandora's Star (didn't really appeal to me, someday I'm sure I'll go back to it, maybe I should have started with Nights Dawn trilogy), so I don't have much to compare it with, but from what I've read Hamilton's stuff has a very different feel. I loved Leviathan Wakes, and would definitely recommend it in it's own right though (the second book in this series comes out next month, I can't wait).

    Also, since posting in this thread I've read a number of Alastair Reynolds books. His books are good but not great. There are some really mind blowing ideas that pop up, and those are a lot of fun, but there is some weak writing to get through in places too. A lot of people go crazy for Chasm City, but I thought it was just good, not exceptional.

    Iain M Banks is my guy. He's by far the most talented writer of the group, and every book I've read of his thus far has been a winner. I started with Consider Phlebas and really enjoyed it, but it is different in subject matter and style than his others. Although they are basically stand-alone books I recommend reading them in the order they were written.
     
  12. Dakota

    Dakota Registered User

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2012
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I can personally understand why it is difficult to get into Pandora's star (as I explained, lots of characters/situations and Hamilton jumps from one to another easily, which does not help the reader to focus on the story..also he has some complicated concepts in the commonwealth trilogy that are really hard to imagine/to vizualise..Silfen path, Far away...I think it is not an easy read but it worth the pain definitly..you can still read Hamilton without understanding 100% of his concepts as well, there is still enough action I think).

    I definitly advice people to start by night's dawn which is much less confusing and easier to read (still it is Hamilton so it is quite "Rich"). The fact that I read Night's dawn trilogy helped me a lot to stay into pandora's star and I did not regret it. It is Epic as Night's dawn can be epic.

    As I said, I started to Read the Void trilogy yesterday and it seems that you need to read the commonwealth saga if you want to enter in this new trilogy easily.

    But definitly I will buy Leviathan wakes as it seems that you are advising it strongly guys ! ;)

    About Banks, it is very strange as people have really mixed feeling about him on this forum (I was reading a subject on him yesterday on this forum)...But I will certainly try it soon also to make my own idea about this author.
     
  13. Danogzilla

    Danogzilla Couch Commander

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2012
    Messages:
    699
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    26
    That's about the way of it with Banks. There are very divergent opinions. I think maybe the only consistent opinion about him is that his prose is excellent. There are even very divergent opinions within the ranks of those who adore him about which books are better than others. Some say Use of Weapons is his best and they dislike Consider Phlebas, some say the opposite. I think it mostly speaks to him doing very different things both compared to other writers, and even to himself book to book. I think he writes what interests him. It's possible my favorite thus far has been Excession, but there are plenty who rank that in the middle of the pack and lower.

    As you say, read him and form your own opinion, in the end that's the only one that matters.

    And because I am a big fan (and naturally want other people to be fans), I have to suggest that you don't just read one book by him. If after two, he's not for you, then so be it, but just one book won't give anyone the best idea of what sort of writer he is or what sort of books the Culture series are. His first two are Consider Phlebas, and Player of Games. After reading those two you will have a pretty good idea of what Banks is up to.
     
  14. Nicolas

    Nicolas Intrigued diletante

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2008
    Messages:
    113
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Apologies for the confusion.
    By linking Leviathan Wakes to Hamilton, I meant that even if Hamilton and Corey have very different styles (Hamilton loves infodumps and descriptions, for example, whereas Corey minimizes them and has the reader discover the world more or less alongside the characters), I think there are a few similarities that can be noticed, especially with the Night's Dawn Trilogy:
    -Both stories start small scale, with characters pretty much stuck in their little corner of the universe without any real opportunities for their situations to evolve, I'm thinking J. Calvert stuck in his scavenging job or the colonists on Lalonde. Similarly, both main characters of LW start the story pretty much in dead end jobs.
    -Both stories slowly expand their narratives in an incremental way: the more you read, the bigger the scope of the story, the higher the stakes become, the stronger the tension.
    -Without giving too much away, both stories are about the discovery of an alien artifact or object and the ramifications and consequences that those discoveries have on a HUGE scale.
    -The "infected" people of LW can be seen as an echo of the possessed of Night's Dawn. Both are almost unstoppable with conventional firepower, for example.

    I didn't mean to say that the books are copycats. They are not. However, I found a sort of resonance between them. Reading the Wow! moments of LW, I immediately thought about Hamilton. Not Reynolds or Banks or Vinge or Baxter. Hamilton.

    Regards,
    Nick
     
  15. DDCOrange

    DDCOrange Registered User

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2011
    Messages:
    319
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    28
    I haven't yet read Leviathan Wakes but it's on my TBR pile and I'm looking forward to it. I can understand why so many people are put off by Hamilton. I think it comes down to a matter of taste. If you like the action and plot to take off from the word go and discover the universe as you're pulled along then Hamilton won't be your guy.
    Hamilton likes to set up his universe in rich detail; he's very good at it and he comes at you from multiple story-threads often leaving the reader at a cliff-hanger moment then segwaying into a completely different story thread. All these threads seem unrelated at first and half the fun of his stories is seeing how they gradually wind together into powerful story lines. His stories tend to start off slow and build into a furious finish. Some people like that (I do) and some people want their action right away. There's no right or wrong to it, just a matter of taste.
    I actually started reading Hamilton with Pandora's Star and felt half-lost until I read the chapter that introduced the evolution of the motile aliens. Everything seemed to click for me at that point and I was hooked and have been devouring Hamilton's books ever since.
     
  16. Dakota

    Dakota Registered User

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2012
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0


    Hello all,

    You were right :) the Void is top notch ! finished it 2 weeks ago, I loved it to bits ! Quite similar in some ways, for the epic, to Night's dawn trilogy . I think it is compulsory to read the commonwealth saga before.

    So for now, if you want to read Hamilton, I would read finally :

    1) The commonwealth Saga (to start slowly :D)
    2) The Void
    3) Night's dawn

    Even if it is long time I have not read SF, I'm personally rating Hamilton in the kind of Asimov or Dan Simmons, not a genre of space-Opera author, but THE space-opera authors :) It is full-on, with rich details and all the ingredients you need to enjoy a good book. It is indeed a bit slow at start but worth the effort.



    I agree with you, it is indeed subjective.

    I have also finally finished Leviathan Wakes yesterday.


    Good Book, a little sweet between 2 big chocolate cake from Hamilton :D. Fast book to read, too fast maybe... I see why people could talk about Hamilton a tiny bit. The plot is epic in some ways.

    But seriously, it is too fast. Miss some descriptions in my perspective..Descriptions are important to make you imagine the world the author is creating and to enter a bit more into the book. it seemed a bit weak for me on this point as I found it difficult to imagine the environment several times (the Belt, Eros, Ceres..).

    Regarding the characterization, It think it is quite a success to make us like his characters, even if it is fast. Simple characters but loveable.

    Nice, twisting and interesting plot. (A bit scared when the zombie story started but finally, relieved :D)

    Miss totally of some political and religious views, just action :) Hamilton is a bit more interesting on this side I think.

    Overall, I liked it and I will buy Caliban's war, there is a lot of potential here but he should write 300 pages more full of description and characterization :D

    I went today to my favourite book shop but no Caliban's war :( will have to order on the web. I decided to buy Consider Phlebas :) to give a try to Ian Banks.


    I'm waiting with impatience for the new Hamilton in September.

    Did somebody read the thousand emperors from Gary Gibson ? I liked his first trilogy Stealing the light.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 14, 2012
  17. Kazz Wylde

    Kazz Wylde Rogue Warrior

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2007
    Messages:
    903
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Yeah I wanna read Stealing Light. I know Liviu really like Thousand Emperors, he has a good review over on FBC.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 14, 2012
  18. Dakota

    Dakota Registered User

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2012
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Hello All,

    I have continued my quest and re-discovery of Science-fiction, especially the one called "Space opera" ! Sorry do not mean to steal this thread but I feel like talking about my last readings (chosen with all your good advises).

    I let you on my way to Ian M Banks. As several people were recommending Mr Banks, I gave it a good try. I read Consider Phlebas, The player of the game and Use of weapon from the Culture series.

    Lets be honest : I have been overall disappointed, Maybe I have been not enough focused (summer, holidays etc) but definitly, I'm not a Banks Fan. I did not appreciate at all Consider Phlebas, never really entered in the story, I had the impression that there were some books missing before and after to explain all the context of the Culture universe. I enjoyed and found the player of the game much more interesting, fun, original and entertaining. I was really waiting for something great with Use of weapons as a lot of people seemed to have enjoyed this one but , finally, never really enjoyed a lot the book. Strange characters, some sort of Anti-heros (a bit like some manga boy I thought, a bit dark characters)...Lots of Jump between the heros past and present, A bit lost sometimes, not too sure what the author was following...Yep A bit disappointed overall. Maybe I will give a try again later, Maybe that was not the right time or the right mood to read Banks. It is not crap, do not get me wrong but, imho, far from an Hamilton for example, If comparable.

    After my Banks month, I decided to return to something more classical that I have never read : Alastair Reynolds. I went for Pushing Ice as several people recommended it to start on Reynolds. Really enjoyed this book (being honest I forgot the book somewhere and I just retrieved it and I still have some pages to read for the end), Great science fiction, Reynolds goes far in his own idea and scenario, great scale. A bit strange characters, friends one day et enemies the other day, they kill easily, a bit unbelievable human relationships but really a nice not boring book that you want to continuesly read. Maybe found somebody of the talent of Hamilton ??

    As I said a bit earlier on this page, I wanted to continue on the expanse series and I bought Caliban's war last weekend. I'm already 100 pages in Caliban's war and it is, for now, breathtaking. It is absolutely fast paced and have more point of view than Leviathan Wakes, which makes the plot and story more complex and interesting. Still missing something compare to guys like Hamilton but good improvement compare to the first book...A bit scared how it will end and how the author will make something good out of all htese stories, lets see.

    And Finally, I do not know if I'm lucky, but I found in Waterstones Picadilly (London) the Zones of Thoughts of Venor Vinge (it is 2 books in one, the fire upon the deep and the deepness in the sky). It has been recommended several times on this thread and I have read wonderfull critics, maybe the best Space Opera of all time (wow). I have read the prologue and already it smells the good cooking :p I will finish Caliban's war first and then will start this VERY BIG 2 books in one !

    Plan also to Buy Great North road but the one I have seen is too big and hard paper publish. Will wait for a smaller edition.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2012
  19. Duras1989

    Duras1989 Registered User

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2015
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Here's a series i recoment: BALADA: A Symphony of Eternity

    This is the summary of the first book in the series:

    On Caliupus 27th, Imperial year 1898, Federal year 3941, and Republican year 953 on the small home world of the Tolstoy sector, a Federal fleet clashed for less than 3 hours with an Imperial one. This small battle which was the first shot in The Great War was situated above a place called Graperust Manor, owned by a Novo Albetan lawyer called William Murasaki Kuckluck.
    After the Battle of Graperust, mister Murasaki said that he had enough of the whole affair and decided to move his family 560.000 light-years to a town called New Hope within the Tremera system, to a house called Woodgrom Courthouse with the intention of avoiding the war in its entirety.
    Years later the commanders of the belligerent forces came to that very same courthouse to sign the ending of all hostilities. So when it was over Mr Murasaki could boast that the war began on his front lawn porch and ended in his backyard gazebo.
    The Great War raged across millions of star systems, billions of planets and trillions of light years, within it farm workers from Nova Bronze City of the Towar System, clashed with fisherman from Seshrim 9, lawyers and schoolteachers from the Brumbaki Plains of Bulla 8 with doctors and accountants from The Tjigu asteroid cluster.
    Whole nations and ways of life would disappear only to be replaced by new ones and within this age of chaos great heroes and villains would emerge, several sentients would join the war, each from the three superpowers, they would be at the most crucial and most bloody of the battles and somehow survive them all, and give testimony of just how unrealistic reality could become.
    A smuggler would save a country , a shadow warrior would emerge from the darkness, a rebel would reshape the galaxy, a sentient would change the way things were forever, and a potions brewer who did not go a single day to military school would become the greatest commander the known universe had ever seen or perhaps would ever see. So the sands of time flowed and with their passing the universe changed forevermore.

    Grand Scholar and Great War Expert Djanus Todomari
    Imperium Archives


    Here's the link to it:


    http://www.amazon.com/BALADA-weighe...with+sleep+I+quench+the+evening+candle's+glow