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30 Best Space Opera Books (2024) Review

Best Space Opera Books

Everything Your Heart Desires

Space Opera is a thrilling genre to read about as it is among the favorite sub-genres of all science fiction lovers and enthusiasts. The Space Opera genre offers reading material about stories that are always set in space or at least a huge portion of the story goes on in outer space.

This can include large and astonishing battles, space exploration filled with unexplainable and strange things, awesome tech, large ships, and so on. Make sure to check out our best space opera books list if you wish to find some of the top picks in this genre.

Dune Series by Frank Herbert



The Dune series will have the pleasure of starting off our review of a few of the top space opera books out there and this book tells you an amazing adventure story about a character who lives on the planet called Arrakis.

Paul Atreides

The main character who will be taking you on the amazing journey that follows is called Paul Atreides and his whole life is about to change after he and his family are betrayed. After this event, Paul begins his difficult journey which will teach him so much and transform him into a mysterious person who will be known as Muad’Dib.

Immense Power

You get to read the amazing story of how this person overcomes all and obtains such a power that no person was ever meant to wield.

Hyperion by Dan Simmons


Planet Hyperion

In this story by Dan Simmons, the events that you will be reading about take place in a distant world called Hyperion and you are about to discover what strange things can be found here. One of those things is the civilization of inhabitants called Hegemony of Man but an even stranger and the deadlier thing is present on this planet.

There is a creature known as the Shrike and this beast has managed to obtain influence over almost everyone on the planet.


Some of the people worship it, others fear it strongly so they stay as far away as possible, and the last want to destroy it once and for all as they are tired from living in fear. The story only gets more exciting from there as you find out just how scary this beast is.

Pandora’s Star by Peter F. Hamilton


Sphere of Worlds

The third book in our article about the best space opera books takes place in a sphere of stars far into space in the year 2380. The place where everything happens includes a sphere of these worlds that is somewhere around four hundred light-years in diameter and is home to 600 worlds.

The awesome plot created by Peter F. Hamilton revolves mostly around what is about to happen next. A scientist observes that a star near to them just simply vanishes in an instant and no one is sure how this can be possible.

Wilson Kime

The location where this happens is not very far but it is still too far to reach by one of their wormholes so Wilson Kime, an ex-NASA pilot is put in command to go there and observe what just happened to that star. A lot more will come out of this story after he starts his adventure. Learn more about this amazing book in our review of the best hard sci-fi books.

Old Man’s War by John Scalzi


John Perry

Be prepared to witness the impossible in this space opera book as the main character of the story will surprise you. John Perry is the protagonist of this book and he is about to join the military to make a difference in the long interstellar war that has been going on in space between humans and a dangerous race of aliens.

Experience Required

All of that is fine as you can guess but there’s just one thing, this man just turned 75 years old and this army actually prefers old men for soldiers as their experience in life is needed where he is about to go and for what he is about to see. This book is, without a doubt, one of the best space science fiction books ever.

Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey


Expanse Series

The story in this book takes place in a world where humans have no problem traveling around in their solar system and they have colonized a ton of it for that matter. There is still one problem remaining, they still have trouble reaching the further stars of the galaxy and this is where the fun begins.

The main character who will be taking you with him on this journey is called Jim Holden and he is about to discover something that plenty would have no trouble killing for.

The Scopuli

His job as a miner in the asteroid fields of Saturn has allowed him to discover a derelict ship, The Scopuli, and this didn’t look like good news. Make sure to find out exactly what this leads to as you check out the book for yourself.

The Forever War by Joe Haldeman


Long War

Another one of our top picks for the best space opera books ever is this one by Joe Haldeman. The story inside talks about a never-ending and dangerous war between humans and aliens that has been going on for a long time.

Another important thing to know here is that this war is taking place far away from Earth so in order to get there quickly, the form of interstellar travel is used and if you have heard of that, then you know how tricky that can be.

William Mandella

Interstellar travel tends to mess with time and Private William Mandella is about to find that out the hard way as he is sent in the middle of the battlefield to try and make a difference. Upon returning to Earth a while after, he will finally learn what interstellar travel can actually lead to. You can read more in our standalone review of The Forever War series.

Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds


Amarantin Civilization

This story starts out as you read about something that happened in the past to a civilization that was known as the Amarantin civilization. 900.000 years ago, they were just about to discover space flight, and then suddenly, something completely wiped them all out in an instant and no one knows what happened to this day.

Dan Sylveste

The story then introduces you to a scientist called Dan Sylveste who is determined to learn what happened there all that time ago before history does the same again. In the adventure that follows, you get to see a lot of cool things such as cyborgs with whom Dan has no other choice than to work together as he has nothing of his own to make his job easier. Make sure to remember what your face looks like when you finally discover the truth about the destruction of the Amarantin civilization.

On Basilisk Station by David Weber


Honor Harrington

You probably know what good space opera books look like when you start reading them and this one is one of those books.

The main character in this story through space by David Weber is Honor Harrington and you are about to read the adventure and mission that he has been sent on. The story follows him and Her Majesty’s light cruiser Fearless on an assignment that leads them to the Basilisk Station.

Entire Series

A lot of things happen on this journey that is going to leave you stunned and we don’t want to spoil those events for you so make sure to follow Honor Harrington on the adventure that is about to become serious enough to be continued in the sequel from the series that this book is in, called Honor Harrington.

Consider Phlebas by Iain M. Banks


Galaxy at War

If you are ready to read about a lot of action in a science fiction story, then this book is for you as the amount of war, battles, destruction, violence, and simply thrill in this story is insane.

The book starts immediately with war as you read about the fight that has been going around all over the galaxy. The lives lost in this war are in the billions and the ones affected by it in the crossfire are in the billions too.

The Culture

Countless worlds are destroyed, moons, big planets, small planets, nothing is safe. This war was between the ones known as the Culture and others known as the Idirans as they both fight for their own beliefs. Then comes a character who will bring this whole fight and war to a whole another level.

A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge



The next one in our best space opera books list is this story that has another amazing galactic war to tell you about.

A huge problem is unleashed onto the Universe after a very powerful artifact has been used by the Straumli realm as they unleash a power so large that it completely enslaves all-natural and artificial intelligence.

Taken Captive

The story then takes you to meet a few characters who will take over from there, they are a family of scientists who are taken captive by the Tines and are used as pawns in a game for more power. Then you read about a rescue mission launched to save the two children in this family as they might just be the key to saving countless lives.

Ringworld by Larry Niven


Massive Structure

This is the story of Ringworld, a huge structure that resembles a ring that is six hundred million miles long and ninety million miles in radius, just imagine how much that is for a bit and what kind of story could this artifact hold.

The aliens who first discovered this great big world are referred to as Pierson’s puppeteers and these creatures are feeling threatened and might just be afraid of encountering the ones who created such a thing.

Special Team

So instead of going to discover more about it themselves, they send a team that they have created consisting of two humans, a mad puppeteer, a kzin, and an enormous cat-like alien to find out more about this mysterious structure. The story that follows is too good to be spoiled so expect some exciting pages after this.

The Ship Who Sang by Anne McCaffrey



Here is a story by a science fiction and fantasy author who has no problem creating bestsellers as her stories are also something to be fascinated by. The story in this particular book talks about an interesting and unique character known as Helva.

Living Ship

She is initially born human but soon after birth, she wasn’t looking like she would make it in this world so her brain was somehow saved and was implanted into a titanium body that belonged to an intergalactic scout ship. Now, as you can imagine, she is a living ship and before her story begins, she must choose a human partner to keep each other safe during all of the dangers that are ahead.

Gateway by Frederik Pohl


Rob Broadhead

Our next top pick for one of the best space opera books ever is Gateway, a book that talks about a gateway famous to many that once crossed, has the potential of making anyone filthy rich and could offer many more desired futures.

The main character who you will be reading about inside is called Rob Broadhead. The story follows this character on his journey to fame and fortune and all of the events that happen along.

Different Man

You get to read about a man who thought he could control himself once he crossed the gateway and that he would know which mission would be the right one. Three missions later, he is famous and rich but also a totally different man. Make sure to find out what exactly happened beyond that gateway.

Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie



This is another science fiction story that has cool worlds, a lot of artificial intelligence, action, and much more. The main character in this book is a character called Breq, she is a soldier who you get to meet on a remote icy planet as she is mere moments away from completing her quest.

Justice of Toren

This is one of the most unique characters in our best space opera books review as when the story starts, she is actually embodying a colossal starship known as the Justice of Toren and she was serving the empire that conquered the entire galaxy. Now all she has is a weak human body thanks to an act of treachery that has managed to flip her entire life. There are many secrets that remain to be uncovered and that’s your job from here.

Foundation by Isaac Asimov


Hari Seldon

The story by Isaac Asimov in this one talks about a terrible prophecy that one who can see into the future fears. This person is actually the main character and protagonist of this book as well and his name is Hari Seldon. He lives in a world where the Galactic Empire has ruled over everything for 12 thousand years and it has finally started falling apart and the prophecy has begun.

Saving Everyone

This dark future that everyone is afraid of seems completely inevitable but Hari Seldon refuses to accept it without even a fight so he starts doing something about it. He finds some of the brightest beings in this world and together they try to figure out a way to save everyone from this terrible future that is approaching. They open a sanctuary called Foundation that will stand as the last hope of their world.

Dauntless by Jack Campbell


The Lost Fleet Series

Another war is the main focus of the plot in this amazing science fiction story and this war is going on between The Alliance and the Syndics for almost a century now.

Captain John Geary

The Alliance is losing badly now as its fleet has been almost destroyed and the survivors are completely stranded in the middle of enemy territory. This is when you get to meet the main character of this tale, his name is Captain John Geary, also known as Black Jack, and he is a famous hero who was thought dead. Now, he wakes up from a 100-year hibernation to try and save The Alliance from their troubles.

The Reality Dysfunction by Peter F. Hamilton



In this wonderful novel, you will get to see another version of the human race that has scattered around the stars, inhabiting countless worlds and forming tons of different and unique cultures.

Golden Era

This world in which humanity lives now seems totally perfect as there is no more disease and everything they can ever wish for is within their reach. However, this golden era seems to be threatened after something that hasn’t been seen for so long is unleashed again. This is no ordinary evil, this is something capable of destroying so much that humans have worked for in a mere instant. How this story ends is completely up to you to find out.

Shards of Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold


Cordelia and Lord Aral

Here is a fascinating science fiction book that also has a bit of science fiction romance in the story that will fit very nicely with the plot that is about to be revealed. A few of the main characters who you will be reading about inside are Cordelia Naismith and Lord Aral Vorkosigan. They are both very different people but that doesn’t always have to be a bad thing. The book is part of Vorkosigan Saga.


Cordelia is the captain of an astronomical survey ship and she originates from the Beta colony, a place described to be very peaceful.

Lord Aral, on the other hand, is the leader of a secret military mission from a planet known for constant war activities known as Barrayar. A lot of things will happen in this book and it all comes down to these two main characters who have a lot more to show you about them and their lives. Learn more about the book in our review of Shards of Honor.

Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke


Massive Discovery

This specimen for one of the best space opera books is worth being on our list as it holds yet another wonderful story about space and its mysteries. The story starts as astronomers discover a huge object in space that they have titled Rama.

They believe that it is some kind of natural object coming from something they haven’t seen before but it all gets super serious when they finally discover that this is no natural object and that it is actually an interstellar ship.

First Encounter

You can imagine the reaction of the characters inside as this is humanity’s first-ever encounter with alien life as this enormous object wasn’t built by them. The moment you have been waiting for when the aliens finally emerge from it will finally be here and it is up to you to find out what happens next. Clarke’s name can be also found on our list of the great science fiction series.

The Dreaming Void by Peter F. Hamilton


Distant Future

The first book in Peter’s amazing science fiction series is the start of a story that will be taking you on a long and wild journey. The events take place in the year 3589, just five hundred years after human extinction was almost possible thanks to a horrible war with aliens.

If you thought a threat for the humans was bad enough, wait until you see this one that has presented itself in this book. Now, the whole entire Universe might be in danger and the events that follow are no joke.


A discovery has been made, a Void exists in the center of the galaxy that is spreading rapidly and consuming everything in its path, it cannot be destroyed, breached, or simply stopped in any way. You will be surprised at how this story continues after this threat starts getting closer and closer in this one of the best space opera books ever.

Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn


Five Years Later

The story in this book is from the epic Star Wars saga and what is about to happen takes place five years after the destruction of the huge Death Star and after Darth Vader and the entire Empire were completely stopped.

Last Warlords

It seemed that the rebels had finally won the long and difficult war and now there is a new Republic formed that would serve with justice. But the fun is not yet over as the dark side is still nowhere near being destroyed as the last of the Empire’s warlords has managed to stir up a few evil plans.

House of Suns by Alastair Reynolds


New Era

This next book in our science fiction books about space list will be telling you a story that involves all-new characters in strange and mysterious worlds. This fascinating story talks about events that were started six million years ago when a new era was born, the star-faring era.

Abigail Gentian

You get to meet Abigail Gentian who then managed to split herself into one thousand male and female clones that were called shattering. The thrill of this story arrives when you find out that someone is killing off the Gentian line and something must be done about this before it is too late.

The Mote in God’s Eye by Larry Niven



When it comes to some of the best space opera books, there is no way that we can miss this one as the story here has a chance of topping most of the books on our list.

The reason for that is because this is another story that talks about man’s expansion throughout the universe and all of the excitement that comes with that journey. The discovery of a new and mysterious alien civilization, one million years old, will be the main focus of this story.

The Algebraist by Iain M. Banks


Long Journey

The story in this book takes place in the year 4034 and in a world where humans have spread throughout the galaxy. What you get to read in this book is a story that will be taking you on a journey, together with the main characters.

Hidden Secret

This journey will lead to the discovery of a secret that has been hidden for half a billion years. On top of that, there is a war coming between a few alien races who you get to meet here, and that will be something that you wouldn’t want to miss.

Redshirts by John Scalzi


Ensign Andrew Dahl

This is another fantastic story that will be introducing you to even more awesome characters. The main one here is Ensign Andrew Dahl who is finally assigned to the most prestigious and famous ship in the Universal Union.

Exciting Missions

A series of missions on this ship will teach our main character that outer space is super dangerous and on many of the deadly missions, someone always ends up being killed. Who will it be next?

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers


Adventurous Crew

We are getting closer to the end of this best space opera books selection and the stories just keep getting better and better. This time, you read about an adventurous crew and one special character.

Rosemary Harper

Rosemary Harper is the protagonist in this one and she is about to see what the exciting everyday lives of the Wayfarer crew look like. This crew consists of a few really interesting characters and you can find out all of that for yourself as you start this amazing sci-fi book.

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein



This is a story about revolution, about freedom, and about a few amazing characters who will be taking you on this fantastic journey. The story follows the penal colony located on the moon, called Luna. The events take place in the 21st century and these people in the colony live in a world ruled by a dictator and a very hated one for that matter.

Plans for Freedom

The thrilling parts start coming in when a group of cool and smart characters band together, along with the master computer watching over them, and start devising plans for freedom. If you like Heinlein’s work, take a look at our article about the military science fiction books, where you can find one of his books as well.

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card


Alien Threat

Humanity faces another alien threat in this epic science fiction book and the whole story gets super interesting once you meet the main character and protagonist in the book.

Andrew Wiggin

The story by Orson Scott Card follows Andrew Wiggin, also known as Ender, as he thinks that he is only playing computer war games until he finds out that he has what it takes to help the military in a war against aliens. The game was only a test to find the best soldier so his world gets super thrilling when he finally discovers that he is the one they were looking for.

The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester



This is one of those stories about worlds in which the rich have a lot of power and they use it in all sorts of ways against the other people. In this world, they are able to “jaunte”, teleport instantly, anywhere, with only a mere thought. They also barricade themselves in huge labyrinths and hire deadly hitmen for extra protection.

Then you meet the protagonist of the series, he doesn’t look like much at first, but he then becomes the most valuable person in this world.

Pushing Ice by Alastair Reynolds


Bella Lind

And the last book on our list is this one, a story that talks about a character called Bella Lind and her space crew. They work as space miners with their nuclear-powered ship.

Leaving Orbit

The tremendous part of this story begins after Janus, an ice moon that belongs to Saturn, leaves its natural orbit somehow and heads straight for Earth. These are some of the coolest space opera books in our opinion and there is no doubt that all of them will present fantastic reading material if you are a huge science fiction enthusiast.

Robert Hazley

Robert is a science fiction and fantasy geek. (He is also the best looking Ereads writer!) Besides reading and writing, he enjoys sports, cosplay, and good food (don't we all?). Currently works as an accountant (would you believe that?)