Empires and Federations
Too many things can go wrong when they get big
- Pete Seeger


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The Mote in God's Eye [S1]
by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle (1974)


The first of several successful collaborations set in Pournelle's CoDominium future. A fully-blown interstellar human empire - complete with royalty and a powerful military sub-class - finally find an ancient civilization in the mysterious Mote. At least one million years old, Moties are welcoming, kind, yet evasive, with a dark problem they have not solved in over a million years.





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Downbelow Station S1]
by C.J. Cherryh (1981)


In the 1980s Cherryh emerged as the best practitioner of modern space opera with a series of exciting novels set in her Union-Alliance future history. The book sees the balance of power between the deteriorating Earth Alliance, aggressive space-based Union and the merchant-freighter class begin to unravel. The Downbelow space station serves as a somewhat dangerous border transit point.





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Foundation's Edge [S4]
by Isaac Asimov (1982)


At last, the costly and bitter war between the two Foundations had come to an end. The scientists of the First Foundation had prevailed. They return to Hari Seldon's long-established plan to build a new Empire on the ruins of the old. But rumors persist that the Second Foundation is not destroyed after all, and that its still-defiant survivors are preparing their revenge.





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Speaker for the Dead [S2]
by Orson Scott Card (1986)


Ender Wiggin gets chance at redemption for his unintentional xenocide of an alien race. For thousands of planetary years he travels the galaxy performing community-healing ceremonies for the dead. Years later, a second alien race has been discovered, but again the aliens' ways are strange and frightening. Again, humans die. Ender must find the courage to confront the mystery... and the truth.





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The Player of Games [S2]
by Iain M. Banks (1988)


Part of the on-going Culture sequence set in a far-future where a humanoid/machine symbiotic society dominates the galaxy, living idyllic lifestyles free from scarcity or need. A master player of games gets invited to a tournament at the small alien Empire of Azad - replete with all the imperial trappings. He accepts and with it the challenge of his life, possibly his death.





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Xenocide [S3]
by Orson Scott Card (1991)


The third instalment of Card's Ender Saga has our philosophically embattled hero on the planet Lusitania trying to neutralise an extraordinarily adaptive virus as a Starways Congress fleet sent to quell the rebellious colony closes in. Hidden on the planet is the last remaining Hive Queen who may hold the key to humanity's future. Complex, so best to start with the first two instalments.





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Ancillary Justice [S1]
by Ann Leckie (2013)


On a remote, icy planet, a soldier is drawing closer to completing her quest. Once, she was the Justice of Toren - a colossal starship with an artificial intelligence linking thousands of soldiers in the service of the Radch, the empire that conquered the galaxy. Now, an act of treachery has ripped it all away, leaving her with one fragile human body and a burning desire for vengeance.





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The Collapsing Empire [S1]
by John Scalzi (2017)


The discovery of The Flow - an extra-dimensional field we can access at certain points in space-time that transport us to other worlds - has changed everything. Humanity flows away from Earth, into space, and in time forgets our home world and creates a new empire, the Interdependency. It is discovered that The Flow is moving, possibly cutting off all human worlds from faster than light travel forever.


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