Friday, May 8, 2009

Hop on a Wagon Train to the Stars

With the recent release of the new Star Trek Movie I thought some space opera would be fitting. This type of science fiction uses a large scale narrative often extending over long periods of time, and involving many people who are in some cases related. Intergalactic adventures have come a long way since the old “westerns in space”.

Isaac Asimov, the Foundation series start with Foundation

Asimov’s classic, Hari Sheldon founder of the theory of psycohistory attempts to prevent the Galactic Empire from falling into a new dark age.

Lois McMaster Bujold, The Vorkosigan Series start with Ethan of Athos

Ethan braces himself for his first encounter with those most alien of aliens--females of his o
wn species. Light and full of laughs.

Michael Flynn The January Dancer

Full of rich echoes of space opera classics from Doc Smith to Cordwainer Smith, this is the story of an ancient pre-human artifact of great power, and the people who found it

The Firestar Series start with Firestar

A story set around the rebirth of innovative technological expansion on earth and in space.

Peter Hamilton, The Night's Dawn Trilogy start with The Reality Dysfunction

Epic in scale, with dozens of characters, hundreds of planets, and universe-spanning plots,
that range from wooden huts and muddy villages to sentient starships and newborn suns.

The Commonwealth Saga start with Pandora’s Star

Over one thousand light-years away, a star . . . vanishes. It does not go supernova. It does not collapse into a black hole. It simply disappears. Since the location is too distant to reach by wormhole, a faster-than-light starship, the Second Chance, is dispatched to learn what has occurred and whether it represents a threat.

The Void Trilogy start with The Dreaming Void

Now an even greater danger has surfaced: a threat to the existence of the universe itself. At the very heart of the galaxy is the Void, a self-contained microuniverse that cannot be breached, cannot be destroyed, and cannot be stopped as it steadily expands in all directions, consuming everything in its path: planets, stars, civilizations.

Ken Macleod Newton's Wake

Across the universe in the aftermath of the Hard Rapture-a cataclysmic war sparked by the explosive evolution of Earth's artificial intelligences into godlike beings-a few remnants of humanity managed to survive. Lucinda Carlyle, head of an ambitious clan of galactic entrepreneurs stumbles upon a forgotten relic of the past that could threaten the Carlyles' way of life.

Alastair Reynolds the Revelation Space Series start with Revelation Space

Something annihilated the Amarantin civilization just when it was on the verge of discovering space flight. For the human colonists now settling the Amarantin homeworld, what caused the species' destruction is of little more than academic interest. Reynolds is an astrophysicist expect some "hard science".

John Scalzi Old Man’s War Series start with Old Man’s War

John Perry did two things on his 75th birthday. First he visited his wife’s grave. Then he joined the army. The good news is that humanity finally made it into interstellar space. The bad news i
s that planets fit to live on are scarce—and alien races willing to fight us for them are common. So: we fight. Reading Scalzi is a lot like reading Robert A. Heinlein.

Karl Schroeder Permanence

This is the story of Rue's quest to visit and claim this ship and its treasures, set against a background of warring empires, strange alien artifacts, and fantastic science. It is a story of hope and danger, of a strange and compelling religion, Permanence, unique to this star-faring age, and of the re-birth of life and belief in a place at the edge of forever. A complex and satisfying story of interstellar intrigue, cosmology, theology and nanotechnology.

The Virga Series start with Sun of Sun’s

An adventure filled tale of sword fights and naval battles set on Virga, a balloon-world warmed by artificial suns.

Charles Stross, Accelerando

For three generations, the Macz family has struggled to cope with the rampant technological achievements that have rendered humans near obsolete. And mankind's end encroaches even closer when something starts to dismantle the nine planets of the solar system in an effort to annihilate all biological lifeforms.

David Weber, Honor Harrington Series start with On Basilisk Station

The Basilisk Station was a place to sweep incompetents, fools, and failures under the rug or to punish officers with enemies in high places. Commander Honor Harrington has enemies, and she's about to make more of them. It’s Horatio Hornblower in space.

Starfire Series start with Crusade

Neither side in the Human-Orion war was strong enough to defeat the other, so it fizzled into an uneasy peace filled with hatred and mistrust on both sides. Then a ship appeared from the dim mists of half-forgotten history, and fired on the Orion sentry ship, igniting the fires of interstellar w
ar anew. Weber is at his best when writing military science fiction.

Scott Westerfield Risen Empire

The undead Emperor has ruled his mighty interstellar empire of eighty human worlds for sixteen hundred years. Because he can grant a form of eternal life, creating an elite known as the Risen, his power has been absolute. He is worshiped as a living God. No one can touch them. Not until the Rix, machine-augmented humans who worship very different gods: AI compound minds of planetary extent. The Rix are cool, relentless fanatics, and their only goal is to propagate such AIs throughout the galaxy.

Walter Jon Williams Dread Empire’s Fall start with The Praxis

For millennia, the Shaa have subjugated the universe, forcing the myriad sentient races to bow to their joyless tyranny. But the Shaa will soon be no more. The dread empire is in its rapidly fading twilight, and with its impending fall comes the promise of a new galactic order . . . and bloody chaos.

Verner Vinge A Fire Upon the Deep

A gripping tale of galactic war told on a cosmic scale. Thousands of years hence, many races inhabit a universe where a mind's potential is determined by its location in space, from superintelligent entities in the Transcend, to the limited minds of the Unthinking Depths. Nobody knows what strange force partitioned space into these "regions of thought," but when the warring Straumli realm use an ancient Transcendent artifact as a weapon, they unwittingly unleash an awesome power that destroys thousands of worlds and enslaves all natural and artificial intelligence. A Fire Upo
n the Deep won the Hugo Award in 1993.


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