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  1. #1

    Space Opera recommendations?

    I'm kind of new to the science fiction genre, and while the ideas interest me, the books usually seem to be lacking in character depth. Do you know of any really good Space Opera books/series that feature strong characters and character development?

    Also, I don't want any books that are overtly sexual.

  2. #2
    Couch Commander Danogzilla's Avatar
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    Just came to search around for some too. I've been in a space opera mood and just ordered Leviathan Wakes, I'm looking for some other titles.
    Last edited by Danogzilla; January 10th, 2012 at 07:50 PM.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Danogzilla View Post
    Just came to search around for some too. I've been in a space opera mood and just ordered Leviathan Wakes, I'm looking for some other titles.
    Forgot about that book. Hmm... I'll have to check it out. I wonder how the characters are. Have you read any other space operas?


    Quote Originally Posted by Rob B View Post
    These threads might point you in the right direction for a plethora of reading suggestions:
    Epic SF and Space Opera: Here's my giant list, what's missing?
    I'm running out of space operas!
    Best Space Opera
    Thanks! I'll be sure to browse through those lists. Bad things with lists, though, is a lot of times it's just a, well, list... You never know exactly why the books are on the list. Like, what makes them good.

  4. #4
    \m/ BEER \m/ Moderator Rob B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpiderCrawler View Post
    Thanks! I'll be sure to browse through those lists. Bad things with lists, though, is a lot of times it's just a, well, list... You never know exactly why the books are on the list. Like, what makes them good.
    I know the above was in response to this thread I linked (Epic SF and Space Opera: Here's my giant list, what's missing?) but you can always ask questions about some of the books in that thread, so don't fret about "I was beginning to think I wouldn't find anything"

    Jack McDevitt's Alex Benedict series which begins with A Talent for War, from the couple of books I read, is fun.

    The Uplift Saga by David Brin is very well regarded. I plan on reading at least one or two of them this year.

    Stephen R. Donaldson's Gap cycle (though tough to track down) is highly regarded Space Opera, it is modeled/based on Richard Wagner's Opera The Ring of the Nibelung. I tracked down a full set of US MMPBs and will be reading it soon, too.

  5. #5
    +1 on the The Uplift Saga by David Brin...the sheer creativity and world building...awesome. There is a reason folks still talk about that 20-30? year old series.

    Folks also really dig the Mote in God's Eye series which if I recall right was co-written by Niven and Pournelle. Another very creative alien race, massive space battles, humanity threatened, etc. To me, that is what space opera is all about.

    I tend to think the Miles Vorkosigan books are beach reads, without the scope and imagination that to me marks a "space opera" but folks do like them, and I havent read that many.

    I agree with you on the dubious value of giant lists. However, the threads where people vote their all time favorite -- and Rob usually links a bunch when he gets in one of his linking frenzies, are infinitely more valuable.
    Last edited by ArtNJ; January 12th, 2012 at 02:39 PM.

  6. #6
    Couch Commander Danogzilla's Avatar
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    Has anyone read the Mageworld series by Debra Doyle and James D macdonald? Are they any good?

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    Registered User odo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob B View Post
    Stephen R. Donaldson's Gap cycle (though tough to track down) is highly regarded Space Opera, it is modeled/based on Richard Wagner's Opera The Ring of the Nibelung. I tracked down a full set of US MMPBs and will be reading it soon, too.
    I think they're available as ebooks now.

  8. #8
    \m/ BEER \m/ Moderator Rob B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by odo View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Rob B View Post
    Stephen R. Donaldson's Gap cycle (though tough to track down) is highly regarded Space Opera, it is modeled/based on Richard Wagner's Opera The Ring of the Nibelung. I tracked down a full set of US MMPBs and will be reading it soon, too.
    I think they're available as ebooks now.
    Point for you, I think I recall seeing on SRD's site that this is the case (or would be soon at the time he wrote the post).

    Quote Originally Posted by Michigan View Post
    The Uplift books by David Brin are very good. I would skip Sundiver though and go staright to Startide Rising. Come back to Sundiver later, easily the weakest of the Uplift books.
    This seems to be the (almost universal) consensus on the series.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Rob B View Post
    I know the above was in response to this thread I linked (Epic SF and Space Opera: Here's my giant list, what's missing?) but you can always ask questions about some of the books in that thread, so don't fret about "I was beginning to think I wouldn't find anything"

    Jack McDevitt's Alex Benedict series which begins with A Talent for War, from the couple of books I read, is fun.

    The Uplift Saga by David Brin is very well regarded. I plan on reading at least one or two of them this year.

    Stephen R. Donaldson's Gap cycle (though tough to track down) is highly regarded Space Opera, it is modeled/based on Richard Wagner's Opera The Ring of the Nibelung. I tracked down a full set of US MMPBs and will be reading it soon, too.
    The Uplift books by David Brin are very good. I would skip Sundiver though and go staright to Startide Rising. Come back to Sundiver later, easily the weakest of the Uplift books.

    Also loved The Gap cycle. Slower paced but if you want character development, Donaldson does it better then any of the aforementioned authors. Takes a disgusting antagonist in Angus Thermopyle and has you rooting for him in the end.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Danogzilla View Post
    Just came to search around for some too. I've been in a space opera mood and just ordered Leviathan Wakes, I'm looking for some other titles.
    Just finished Leviathan Wakes two nights ago. Very impressed. It's not quite as big as Hamiltons stuff, Hamilton will throw out a dozen character viewpoints while Leviathan Wakes sticks to two characters throughout the whole book. Peter Hamilton is the next obvious choice for space opera, though there is enough sex in his stuff that it might not be what you are looking for.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Michigan View Post
    Just finished Leviathan Wakes two nights ago. Very impressed. It's not quite as big as Hamiltons stuff, Hamilton will throw out a dozen character viewpoints while Leviathan Wakes sticks to two characters throughout the whole book. Peter Hamilton is the next obvious choice for space opera, though there is enough sex in his stuff that it might not be what you are looking for.
    Another thing that deterred me from Hamilton is all of his books' length: 1,000 pages (!). I don't know if I'd have the patience for one, especially when they all end on cliffhangers.

    How was the characterization in Leviathan? Was there any character development? Also, was it well-written? Sorry. I'm just looking for a well-written book; seems like SF gets too carried away (for my tastes) with the technology of it all. Just give me a well-written story with good characters.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by SpiderCrawler View Post
    Another thing that deterred me from Hamilton is all of his books' length: 1,000 pages (!). I don't know if I'd have the patience for one, especially when they all end on cliffhangers.

    How was the characterization in Leviathan? Was there any character development? Also, was it well-written? Sorry. I'm just looking for a well-written book; seems like SF gets too carried away (for my tastes) with the technology of it all. Just give me a well-written story with good characters.
    Vernor Vinge is, like Hamilton, very popular on this forum, and his stuff tends to clock in more around the 600 page mark, and his books tend to be stand alones. Better than Leviathan Wakes imho, but than again, Leviathan Wakes may still be 2.99 on Amazon (kindle only),

  13. #13
    Live Long & Suffer psikeyhackr's Avatar
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    Space Opera is bad by the original definition.

    The usage seems to have changed

    http://baencd.thefifthimperium.com/2...rnCD/index.htm

    http://baencd.thefifthimperium.com/

    psik

  14. #14
    Couch Commander Danogzilla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michigan View Post
    Just finished Leviathan Wakes two nights ago. Very impressed. It's not quite as big as Hamiltons stuff, Hamilton will throw out a dozen character viewpoints while Leviathan Wakes sticks to two characters throughout the whole book. Peter Hamilton is the next obvious choice for space opera, though there is enough sex in his stuff that it might not be what you are looking for.
    Thanks for the recommendation. I just ordered a Hamilton book, they look fun (and the sex is fine by me, I have no opinion of sex in fiction one way or the other, if it works it works, if it doesn't it doesn't).

    edit:
    Is there a search feature that I'm not seeing?
    And I just found the search function I wasn't seeing.
    Last edited by Danogzilla; January 11th, 2012 at 10:34 AM.

  15. #15
    Just my opinion, but Hamilton's space opera is in another league vs. Levian Wakes in my view. Leviathan Wakes may not even make the top 5 sci-fi books of the year in the ongoing poll, whereas we still talk about Hamilton long after his stuff came out.

    Leviathan Wakes is a well written book with A- level mystery (for part of the book), B+ charachters, B Space Opera (in system faction fighting), B+ pacing/action, and C- for the very unoriginal and silly science fiction idea underlying the reveal. I enjoyed the book, but will not automatically buy the sequel without reading reviews because it seems the unoriginal (and silly) sci-fi idea is going to play a much bigger role in the sequels. The what is really going on reveal is roughly as realistic as Umbrella Corporation's work on the T-virus.

    In fairness though, the book may still be on sale for 2.99, AND it works as a stand-alone, even though sequels are planned. I do recommend it, just not to the same degree as Pandora's Star/Judas Unchained or the Reality Dysfunction.
    Last edited by ArtNJ; January 11th, 2012 at 01:04 PM.

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