Space Operas
Science fiction is for real, space opera is for fun
- Brian Aldiss


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Nova
by Samuel R. Delany (1968)


Delany tones down the intellectual stuff in this rip-roaring space adventure that has become minor classic with the cyberpunks. Culturally-refined criminal outcast captain takes his ship and crew on a Grail-quest for the substance Illyrion, which unfortunately can only be found at the heart of a nova. Cyborg technology and advanced computer interfacing abounds.





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Gateway [S1]
by Frederik Pohl (1977)


Gateway opened on all the wealth of the Universe... and on reaches of unimaginable horror. Aliens hideout from 'Assassins' who have little time for any other species. Hoping to get rich quick, humans use their spacecraft in all or nothing missions from the Gateway. Wealthy three-mission veteran Rob Broadhead has to face what happened to him and what he has become.





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Startide Rising [S2]
by David Brin (1983)


With his Uplift saga physicist Brin wrote some of the most stirring sci-fi of the 1980s. Much to the chagrin of the galactic Patrons, humanity has 'uplifted' dolphins to sentiency. An exploration vessel crewed by humans and dolphins discovers the fate of the ancient Progenitors. They battle Patron-ised forces to get the secret home. Brilliant Brin.





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Shards of Honour [S1]
by Lois McMaster Bujold (1986)


Cordelia Naismith, Betan Survey Captain, was expecting the unexpected... hexapods, floating creatures, odd parasites. She was not, however, expecting to find hostile humans on an uninhabited planet. And she wasn't really expecting to fall in love with a 40+ barbarian known to cosmopolitan galactics as the Butcher of Komarr. Countless mishaps ensue while even stronger feelings emerge.





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Consider Phlebas [S1]
by Iain M. Banks (1987)


Billions had died in the war, billions more were doomed. Deep within a fabled labyrinth on a barren world, a Planet of the Dead proscribed to mortals, lay a fugitive Mind. Both the Culture and the Idirans sought it. It was the fate of Horza, the Changer, and his motley crew of unpredictable mercenaries, human and machine, actually to find it, and with it their own destruction.





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The Uplift War [S3]
by David Brin (1987)


Patrons of the alien Progenitors make it their business to seed the galaxy and 'uplift' non-intelligent creatures. It is a mystery as to who uplifted rapidly developing humankind. When a brutal alien race seizes the dying planet of Garth, the various uplifted inhabitants must battle their overlords or face ultimate extinction. At stake is the existence of Terran society and Earth.





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The Real Story [S1]
by Stephen R. Donaldson (1990)


In the first chapter a space pirate swipes a babe imprisoned by another space pirate, then the story is told in more detail. Everyone knew that Angus Thermopyle and Nick Succorso were on a pirate collision course. What nobody expected was how quickly it would be over, or how devastating victory would be. A detailed world of FTL travel, politics, betrayal, and a shadowy presence.





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The Rowan [S1]
by Anne McCaffrey (1990)


The kinetically gifted, trained in mind/machine gestalt, are the most valued citizens of the Nine Star League. Using mental powers alone, these few Prime Talents transport ships, cargo and people between Earth's Moon, Mars' Demos and Jupiter's Callisto. An orphaned young girl is discovered to have superior telepathic potential and is trained to become a Prime Talent.





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The Vor Game [S6]
by Lois McMaster Bujold (1990)


Miles Vorkosigan graduates from the Academy, joins a mutiny, is placed under house arrest, goes on a secret mission, reconnects with his loyal Dendarii Mercenaries, rescues his Emperor, and thwarts an interstellar war. If the Emperor dies, the only person who could become the new emperor is Miles himself... and that he regards as a fate worse than death.


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