Space Operas

I’m a Sci-fi nut. I consume rediculous volumes of it. Unfortunately, due to my restless hands and need to multitask, I’m limited to Audible. Here’s my take on audio-rendered intergalactic warfare:
-love voice narrators Mark Boyett and Humphrey Bower. Those men could read the dictionary and I’d be piqued…
-the Undying Mercenary series by BV Larson is a balance of asinine rediculousness and science with plenty of charismatic shenanigans.
-the new Andy Weir (the Martian), while an insult to intellegence, is still fun. Project Hail Mary.
-James S A Corey’s The Expanse you may know from HBO. It’s a good series, but the characters can be exhausting.
-To Sleep in a Sea of Stars. This is a great book by the guy that wrote Eragon. Don’t dismiss it for that; he spent several decades writing it. The ending is rather cringey, but still well worth it. Good writing.
-Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Children of Ruin was okay, but the second book, Children of Time was amazing. Doors of Eden was disappointing though.
-John Scalzi is for teenagers
-CiXinLiu’s Three-body problem is fun and unique
-Vernor Vinge is underrated
-Dennis E Taylor is for teenagers
-Peter F Hamilton, while good, is more for the fantasy inclined
-my son absolutely loves Hyperion by Dan Simmons. It’s good, but doesn’t rank among my faves.
-currently listening to Shattered Galaxy by Scott Bartlett. So far so good minus the suspension of disbelief.
So many more, but Id like to hear suggestions for science heavy, and and/or fun pursuits among the stars.


My favorite writer in the space opera vein is probably Iain M. Banks - Culture series, but not just those; pretty much anything he wrote under that name (vs Iain Banks, same person, but more literary fiction).

Can’t speak to the quality of the audiobooks, I’m afraid.

This isn’t Space Opera by most definitions, but if you like audio, have you looked into Big Finish? They produce audio dramas, lots of them sci-fi - at this point probably thousands of Doctor Who ones, but others as well. I believe a lot of their older stuff (i.e. pre 2012 or so?) is available on Spotify. Some good stories in there, but definitely not science heavy.

I liked Ancillary Justice, but haven’t yet read the other two books in the trilogy. And Ninefox Gambit, exactly the same: Book 1, great! I’ve got to read Book 2! A couple of years later, um, oops. But I’ve become very bad at finding / making time to read. Both of those are definitely space opera, but not science heavy.

I’ve heard good things about the to-me-horribly-named Murderbot series, but haven’t started reading them yet.

EDIT: I’ve also liked everything I’ve read by Becky Chambers - she’s usually more in a novella form. “To Be Taught, If Fortunate” is mildly hard sci-fi about exploring distant planets for life. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet is a delightful story where nothing really much happens, but I enjoyed every step of the way.

Most of the sci-fi I’ve read in the past few years has been Hugo & Nebula stuff, recommended by the folks at the Incomparable podcast. Every year they have episodes where they review the Hugo & Nebula nominees. Here’s their most recent episode on this, from a couple of weeks ago. Oh yes, this one recommends The City We Became, by NK Jemisin, which I thought was good but not great - if you know New York, it’s probably a must-read. I really liked Jemisin’s The Broken Earth trilogy, but definitely not hard sci-fi. It’s only about 90% of the way through the first novel that you realize it’s more sci-fi than fantasy.

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Children of time really was amazing. It is the first book of the Children of time series.

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Ah. I got them backwards. Read the next one; it’s even better.

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This is something for me to look into

I like them a lot. Deep deep catalogue by now; pick and choose by topics you like from their archive or index. They are facing a bit of an issue now that they’ve covered most of the obvious sci-fi and fantasy stuff - the main host semi-regularly points out that he feels they’re running out of topics - so I’d recommend starting with topics of interest rather than the most recent episodes. They do well at making the episodes “timeless”.

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I went down a C.J. Cherryh rabbit hole a while ago. She’s a gooder.

Oh. I don’t know this one…

I don’t see how anyone can listen to audiobooks. The narration is slow AF
and speeding it up makes the pitch messed up. Even if I were blind, I’d probably read in Braille.

No idea if on audio book, but Firefall by P Watts is a must if you like hard sci-fi. Amazing concepts and language. Not an easy read but so rewarding.


Responding to “Here’s what I like. Does anyone have recommendations?” with “How can anyone like that?!” is … a choice, I guess.

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Best book I’ve read in years – “Perilous Waif” by E. William Brown. He was supposed to have released the second book in the series almost two years ago, but can’t seem to make up his mind about what to write. He has a SubscribeStar thing and has released something like 35 chapters of it on there, but seems to have given up again and is writing something else entirely.

Paul J. McAuley’s “jackaroo” series is interesting. The best of them was a short story, “Winning Peace,” which is set long after the rest of the series and has little noticeable connection with the rest.

Jason Anspach and Nick Cole’s “Galaxy’s Edge” series is good, particularly the initial short story, “Tin Man” (free if you sign up for their new-book announcements mailing list, or if you just look around the internet a bit). They’ve just started releasing what they have termed the “second season” of the books. In some ways it is a Star Wars ripoff told from the viewpoint of the stormtroopers, but different enough to avoid being sued by Disney.

Becky Chambers is good, although I don’t know that I would call it “space opera.” It’s more like “random things happening to people in their day-to-day lives, with occasional human/lizard interspecies sex.” Unfortunately, she seems to have indicated that there won’t be any more Wayfarers books, which is sad, because I would have liked to have seen more of the crew from the first book. She has one or two books out in a different series that I haven’t looked at yet.

I’m surprised no one has mentioned Martha Wells’ Murderbot series. The first four were great, but the fifth and sixth (really the four-and-a-halfth) were iffy. In particular, the fifth book didn’t make much sense. She had a perfectly good setup for the next novel at the end of the fourth, and threw it out to write a bunch of nonsense about “alien remnants” doing weird things to people. Note, a lot (a LOT) of people have bitched about the cost of these books. They’re very short, really not even novel length, but are priced as if they’re as long as “War and Peace.”


Maybe I haven’t been reading enough and I’m taking out my frustrations on the internet.

Maybe getting Covid and reading in a hospital bed for two weeks would do me good.

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Nah. I agree with you, I don’t see how anyone can enjoy audiobooks. Miss a phrase and have to go through contortions to rewind and re-listen. Catch something that you think was brought up a few minutes earlier and you have to search back through the audio to see if you heard what you thought you heard. They’re just plain painful to listen to.

The best part of text is being able to scroll back quickly, and even search it. Even paper books aren’t as nice any more, now that I’m used to electronic.

But how do I do this if I’m holding a book?


That’s both beautiful and itch-inducing.

You have something else to focus on. That probably makes the audiobooks much more agreeable. In fact, that’s some impressive multitasking. I’m only good at ignoring my children’s screams while reading.

But, Taiwanese climate?

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Yeah the ones I’ve got, I’ve picked up as daily deals on Amazon. These days plenty of novellas are priced lower; one great thing about e-books is the return of novellas as more of a form. The Murderbot books are usually priced more like doorstop novels, which gets annoying when you’re asking readers to buy a series of six.

@Bree I assume you know about kindle/audible pairing, where if you’ve already got the kindle, the audible version can be a lot cheaper? (I don’t think it works if you started with the audiobook.) However I’m guessing in your situation you’ve got an audible subscription anyway.

It’s for my son. He lives in fu¢<¡ng Kansas!

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This would be a deterrent. I like my books fat. They would have to be quite special for me to fork over US$12 each for them.
Thanks for the other suggestions.

I’ve never tried kindle, I never understood its advantage over an actual book