Top 15 Best Space Opera Books Of All Time (Ranked) 2022 Edition
I never knew what I was missing until I read my first space opera book.
A subgenre of science fiction highlights melodramatic adventures set in space and involves galactic events called space opera books. Our imaginations could take us beyond what we see, feel, and experience, and what better way to nurture our imaginative combats, extra-terrestrial interactions, and supernatural capabilities than by reading a bunch of good ole science fiction?
Over the years, there have been many science fictions that have successfully caught the attention of readers of all ages, so now we’re here to give you the best space operas books of all time! Grab a good wine and launch into space with these thrilling and exciting novels!
What Are The Best Space Opera Novels of All Time?
Dune, by Frank Herbert
Dune is the only planet capable of producing melange, a spice drug that, as perplexing as it may be, most beings would kill to obtain. Blinded by greed, the old rulers of Dune called the Harkonnens are secretly teaming up with the Emperor to destroy the current leader of the vast deserts of Dune named Duke Leto Atreides.
A vigilante in the making, Paul Atreides, the son of Duke Leto, who would turn into Maud’dib, has made it his mission to avenge his family. While being in the mission, Maud’dib would then discover the most ancient and impossible dream of humankind. What exactly has taken place in Dune? Discover the secrets of Dune by reading this mind-blowing science fiction.
Conjunction, by A.D. Zoltan and Steven N. Nagy
You might think space opera was a good old fashion category within sci-fi novels. Well, this far future novel proves we aren't even deep in the rabbit hole of space operas. While the story is a mixture of metaphysical and alien sci-fi genres, it holds the key ingredients of classic space operas: travelling through space and time.
In this Earth utopia, the society is looking for their next step towards to the development of humanity. They understood that this wouldn't be a technological development, but the development of mind and consciousness. The human society finally finishes the technology of long distance space traveling which opens the opportunity to discover new alien worlds, but people receive with the first encounter something completely different than what they expected. The new species not only reveals their society, but also shows to opportunity of multi-dimensional travel.
If you are looking for a mind-bending well developed sci-fi world “The Wise Society” series would be definitely a great read.
Fire Upon the Deep, by Vernor Vinge
Super intelligent beings from the Transcend and minds who have limited capacity that populates the Unthinking Depths are some of the races who have evolved in space.
Soon enough, a threat arises in this partitioned space as the Straumli realm decides to weaponize an ancient Transcendent object that may bring destruction to all natural and artificial intelligence. A family of scientists with two children was taken captive by aliens called Tines, which provoked a rescue mission composed of several beings. These beings must then save the children and the secret that could save their civilization. Find out who these beings are and what secret could save these creatures from the clutches of the Straumli realm!
Rendezvous with Rama, by Arthur Clarke
A massive cylindrical article entered Earth’s solar system, which alarms the human race. Determined to investigate the mysterious object—a group of astronauts is sent to explore it. What they discover is beyond what they could imagine, a fifty-kilometer interior; an unfathomable cylindrical sea; mysterious buildings; and some out-of-this-world machine-like animals called “biots” that populate the ship.
What had these astronauts bewildered aside from the unexplainable objects they found inside the ship is the question, “Who inhabits the ship?”. Entities called Ramans are the sole reason for the inexplicable object’s existence, but where are they? Who are the Ramans, and what strange force had them disturbed the peaceful life of the human race? Unravel the mysteries as you go page by page through this sci-fi!
Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein
Sacrifice and camaraderie are more than words for Johnnie Rico. Johnnie, who is a Mobile Infantry trooper, portrays what it means to be a real soldier. With lesser combats for military science fiction, this story dwells more on morality, and the concept of “what makes an individual a better citizen by giving service”.
The troopers are given a special mobile infantry suit, and the wearer obtains technological powers, making them almost invincible in the face of battle. As Johnnie makes his journey into becoming a successful trooper, discussions about society, political involvement in the military, and society's responsibility to its citizens are in this masterpiece.
The Crimson Deathbringer, by Sean Robins
Being caught up in the middle of a war between two space entities, the safety of humanity now lies in the hands of a super-assassin, a prankster, a top-class fighter pilot, and a stuntwoman.
The Akakies or also known as “pranksters of the galaxy” are peaceful species who are a target of a dangerous military race called the Xortaags. The Xortaags are hell-bent on taking over the universe, and good thing Tarq, the chief strategist of the Akakies who is also an exceptional shadow master, has come up with a plan.
Jim, a fighter pilot, is close to proposing to his girlfriend Liz when his friend Kurt shows up without notice, covered in injuries and blood. As they find themselves in the middle of a galactic conflict, will they be able to find ways to save humanity?
Old Man’s War, by John Scalzi
As strange as it sounds, John Perry finds himself joining the Colonial Defense Force on his 75th birthday. In this story, humanity was able to coexist with galactic species. The only problem is that; there are a few planets left that could accommodate life.
Opening Earth to threats of colonization from alien races, humanity’s safety is under the hands of the CDF. John, who has recently joined the CDF, will be sent to space for two years to protect the planet upfront.
John has no idea of what he just entered. Engaging in combat with galactic species while being light-years away from home is not what he expects his 75th birthday would turn out to be.
This military sci-fi book is a great mixture of intergalactic combat and space operas.
Pandora’s Star, by Peter Hamilton
In the year 2380, an Intersolar community in outer space was linked by transport tunnels called wormholes. Meanwhile, an astronomer named Dudley Bose observes the puzzling disappearance of a star that is a thousand light-years far. No explosion, no involvement of a black hole, it just disappears.
Set to find more about the disappearance, Wilson Kime, a former NASA pilot, is on a mission to fly the Second Chance, to investigate the missing star’s previous location. However, Bradley Johansson, leader of the Guardians of Selfhood, has fears that the Starflyer wants to lure their best starship out for its destruction. Starflyer is the alien entity that the Guardians believe is above the human race.
Falling Free, by Lois McMaster Bujold
Leo Graf is an engineer, average but is highly efficient. He doesn’t like complications, does his work in an organized manner, and moves on to another task. However, his peaceful life soon changed when he was sent to the Cay Habitat. Leo will teach welding to humanoid workers, who were genetically designed with two more arms to make them ideal for working in free fall.
Despite wanting to be free of some complications, Leo could not stand there and allow the mistreatment of those hundreds of children. In all his years of living as a peaceful engineer, Leo would have never imagined that doing the right thing would involve danger. Find out how Leo will turn his life upside down to save the poor humanoid children by reading this thrilling novel!
Space Opera, by Catherynne Valente
A hundred years ago, the galaxy was torn apart by the Sentience wars, which has almost ended the interstellar concept of life. This has given rise to a new tradition, to restore the peace and unity between the shattered worlds.
With the birth of the Metagalactic Grand Prix, different races gather to celebrate it now and then. All species are required to join, and there would be gladiatorial contests, beauty pageants, concerts, and maybe some continuation of the previous wars.
Then comes humankind, who discovered the massive universe, but instead of endless battles, wormholes, and gunships; what they find are sparkly instruments, glitters, and makeups. Instead of fighting for their fate, man-kind should compete by belting out a few notes. Come and join this sparkly journey and dance through the pages as you go further into the story!
Shadow Moves, by PR Adams
Greeted by the post inside starship Pandora, Lt. Commander Faith Benson knew her career would not have a further advancement. She figures out how she will be able to take leverage of it until the S.O.S alerts them. The signal comes from an area that is dangerously near the enemy’s lair, but they know they have to do their job.
Faith is aware that one mistake could lead them to the clutches of the aggressive Azoren Federation, but what she doesn’t see coming is their captain’s misguided decision. It’s now up to Faith and the crew to save their lives. Will Faith defy an illegal order and risk her position more, or does she have a backup plan that could save all of them, including the one who signaled the S.O.S?
Manifold: Time, by Stephen Baxter
Left with cries of humanity for salvation, Earth is almost at its destruction when one man courageously envisions a brighter future. As promising as it sounds, his vision could either be humanity’s last chance or be humanity’s end. Reid Malenfant’s answer is an exploration in space to search for another planet that could be their second Earth.
It sounds easy, but how will Reid do it? Building a spacecraft in the middle of catastrophic riots is not something Reid had in mind, but it’s the only option he has. Luckily, he successfully builds the craft and launches it deep into space. The probability of finding a new home for humanity while humanity destroys one another isn’t inspiring, but what choice does Reid have? Follow Reid’s exploration in this space opera book, and maybe, just maybe, you’d be able to discover a chance of human life after Earth.
Startide Rising, by David Brin
Dolphins in space? How absurd it sounds. However, Brin has other things in mind.
Several decades from Sundiver, a mission composed of uplifted dolphins, a chimp, and some humans, flee from different armadas while carrying a valuable secret inside their ship. This odd group of species then finds themselves in the middle of Delphin politics, where two divisions are competing to have control over their stricken spacecraft.
With the existence of complex intergalactic alliances fighting their way to obtain the secret onboarding the uplifted dolphin’s ship, who will end up having control of the “secret” in the end? Also, what exactly is this secret that one would send a whole armada to obtain it? Travel in space as you weaved through intelligent animals, talking dolphins, and Delphin politics.
Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card
With the threats of aliens, the only solution the government finds is to breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers. An Intelligent young boy, Andrew “Ender” Wiggin, who lives with his distant parents, a barbarous brother named Peter, and his beloved sister Valentine were candidates for the program. However, the two older siblings weren’t qualified to continue.
Ender then moves forward to the Battle School, where his skills make him a leader and a respected candidate in the Battle Room. However, with the pressure that comes with being seen as the hope for survival, Ender suffers a psychological battle. Despite not making it to the Battle School, Ender’s two older siblings can recreate a world.
What does fate have in store for the Wiggin siblings? Find out more about Ender’s game with this Hugo and Nebula awards recipient story!
Cassastar, by Alex Cavanaugh
Meet Byron, a skillful young lad who hides behind his rebellious façade. With a dream as high as the sky, Byron, who is trained as a Cosbolt fighter pilot, is set on proving his worth as he launches off to the Guaard’s moon base.
Despite his tough exterior, the most resilient instructor in the ship named Bassa sees past Byron’s façade and feels obliged to help Byron in reaching his full potential.
As battle looms in space and time runs short, Bassa must decide for the fate of both pilots and Byron needs the best navigator to survive. How will their skills save them in a mission that stretches way past their abilities?
Final thoughts on the best Space Opera Books
It’s fun to explore imaginations through novels, especially the ones that include extra-terrestrials activities, which humans have been so intrigued about for the longest time. Science fiction broadens your knowledge of how far a human’s imagination could go, which adds excitement to our everyday life. Have an adventurous weekend and fight off aliens as you uncover a series of mysteries with some of the best space opera books of all time!
Check also our all time favorite sci-fi books.
Cover Art: Stuart
My profession is online marketing and development (10+ years experience), check my latest mobile app called Upcoming or my Chrome extensions for ChatGPT. But my real passion is reading books both fiction and non-fiction. I have several favorite authors like James Redfield or Daniel Keyes. If I read a book I always want to find the best part of it, every book has its unique value.