The 21 Best Space Opera Books

I have not read all of these yet, but the ones I have read were astounding!

Like many popular terms, “space opera” was coined as an insult. It’s based on “soap opera” (nothing to do with music) and its original meaning was a “hacky, grinding, stinking, outworn, spaceship yarn.”

For the purposes of this list, I’m defining “space opera” as a dramatic adventure science fiction story, with bonus points for occurring mostly in outer space and involving spaceships of some sort. Extra bonus points awarded if someone points to a viewscreen and says, “What the hell is that?”

Despite their poor beginning, space operas have become wildly popular. For example, Amazon lists over 10,000 books in the Space Opera category. In fact, this list could easily be, “The 210 Best Space Opera Books,” but there are only so many hours in the day.

If you find an author you like, check out the rest of their books! Most authors that write space opera write a LOT of space opera.

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