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Reviews in Project: Space Opera That Doesn't Suck (39)

Out From The Ghostly Freighter

The Red Scholar’s Wake

By Aliette de Bodard  

22 Nov, 2022

Space Opera That Doesn't Suck


Aliette de Bodard’s 2022 The Red Scholar’s Wake is a space opera set in de Bodard’s Xuya Universe.

Captured by Red Banner space pirates, scavenger Xích Si is painfully aware of a number of possible fates. She will probably have to choose between immediate death and involuntary indenture to the pirate fleet. Should she somehow survive capture without joining the fleet, she will forever be an outcast; her native An O Empire will assume that she bought her life with signing up as a pirate and will execute her for crimes against the state1. If Xích Si were to contact her relatives, they could be arrested and executed for abetting piracy.

To Xích Si’s astonishment, the recently widowed mindship Rice Fish comes to Xích Si with a proposition. Or rather, a proposal.

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Dear Old Golden Rule Days

Mars Evacuees  (Mars Evacuees, volume 1)

By Sophia McDougall  

28 Jul, 2022

Space Opera That Doesn't Suck

1 comment

2014’s Mars Evacuees is the first of two volumes in Sophia McDougall’s Mars Evacuees young-adult military SF series.

The Morrors appeared from deepest space to save humanity from unchecked global warming, in return for which they asked only minor territorial concessions. Merely in the coldest regions of Earth. Well, they demanded rather than asked and their territorial demands were major rather than minor. Since the Morrors required more arctic territory than existed at their arrival, they set about cooling the entire Earth to better suit their needs. 

For the last fifteen years, longer than Alice Dare’s entire life, humanity has been fighting a losing battle against the aliens. 

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Way Station

The Galaxy, and the Ground Within  (Wayfarers, volume 4)

By Becky Chambers  

9 Jun, 2022

Space Opera That Doesn't Suck


2021’s The Galaxy, and the Ground Within is the fourth and final volume in Becky Chambers’ Wayfarers series.

The planet Gora is the galaxy’s Milton, Ontario1; it’s an unremarkable lifeless world save for one thing: convenient location. It’s a well-placed waystation for travellers on their way from one hospitable world to another. 

Ouloo, a Laru, runs the Five-Hop One-Stop on Gora; her small business supplies fuel, housing, food, bathing, and other amenities. She is assisted by her adolescent (by Laru standards) child Tupo. Ouloo’s patrons come and go, their stays brief. At least, their stays are brief until the disaster.

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A Desolation Called Peace  (Teixcalaan, volume 2)

By Arkady Martine  

31 Mar, 2022

Space Opera That Doesn't Suck

1 comment

2021’s A Desolation Called Peace is the second volume in Arkady Martine’s Teixcalaan space opera series. 

Alerted by neighbouring Lsel Station that an unknown alien menace is impinging on human space, the Teixcalaanli investigate. First contact between a force headed by Fleet Captain Nine Hibiscus and the aliens establishes five facts: 

  • There are aliens.
  • They are of an unknown type.
  • They appear bent on conquering human worlds.
  • Communication appears to be impossible.
  • They are merciless.

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And Cast It Into the Sea

Assassin’s Orbit

By John Appel  

3 Mar, 2022

Space Opera That Doesn't Suck


John Appel’s 2021 Assassin’s Orbit is a science fiction mystery novel. 

The planet Ileri is on the verge of joining the Commonwealth, a development not all of its citizens welcome. The last thing Ileri needs is a lurid mass murder. However, Ileri Station, high above the planet for which it is named, finds itself the scene of its first mass killing in seventeen years. Among the victims is Saed Tahir, grandson of private investigator Noo Okereke’s business partner. This makes the murders very personal for Noo.

The discovery of the Commonwealth Consul’s corpse amidst the other victims means that the mass murder is also an interstellar incident.

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Revenge is Sweeter

Barbarians of the Beyond

By Matthew Hughes  

29 Jul, 2021

Space Opera That Doesn't Suck


Matthew Hughes’ 2021 Barbarians of the Beyond is an authorized sequel to Jack Vance’s Demon Princes quintet. 

A generation earlier, raiders commanded by the Demon Princes raided Mount Pleasant. The majority of the population was carried off as slaves, leaving only a small number of corpses to prove that the town was ever occupied. 

The raid had consequences for the five Demon Princes, consequences unrolling off-stage. The novel follows events in Mount Pleasant. The raid left a serviceable town empty. A religious community nicknamed Dispers soon installed themselves there. 

Dispers keep themselves to themselves. Thus, the stranger who comes calling is not entirely welcome.

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The End of Everthing That Stands

The Last Emperox  (The Interdependency, volume 3)

By John Scalzi  

22 Feb, 2021

Space Opera That Doesn't Suck


2020’s The Last Emperox is the third and final volume in John Scalzi’s The Interdependency trilogy. Three books to a trilogy is a visionary step other authors would do well to emulate. 

The Interdependency: still doomed by the impending collapse of the Flow, on which all interstellar trade depends! Emperox Grayland II: still determined to save the Interdependency’s people! The entire Nohamapetan family, with the exception of the late Amit Nohamapetan (still dead!): still an enormous pain in the ass. 

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Just Keep Listening

The Blackwing War  (Deep Witches Trilogy, volume 1)

By K B Spangler  

11 Feb, 2021

Space Opera That Doesn't Suck


K.B. Spangler’s 2021 coming-of-age space opera The Blackwing War is the first book in her Deep Witches Trilogy. It is set in the same universe as Spangler’s 2017 Stoneskin.

Tembi Stoneskin was rescued from abject poverty when the Deep, the vast, enigmatic entity that facilitates transgalactic teleportation, took a shine to her. As long as the Deep retains its affection for Tembi, she will be an ageless Witch, stepping from world to world as it pleases her. There is little chance Tembi will alienate the Deep. 

There is, however, every chance she will alienate her superiors in the Witch hierarchy. Youthful Tembi is that most dreaded of beings, an idealist. 

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This Very Hour

The Consuming Fire  (The Interdependency, volume 2)

By John Scalzi  

9 Feb, 2021

Space Opera That Doesn't Suck


2018’s The Consuming Fire is the middle volume in John Scalzi’s Interdependency trilogy. 

Faced with the impeding collapse of the Flow, the phenomena that facilitates the faster-than-light travel on which all the worlds of the Interdependency rely, Cardenia Wu-Patrick AKA Emperox Grayland II is determined to urge her subjects to recognize the impending crisis and consider ways to mitigate it. To this end, she uses her status as church figurehead to begin uttering prophecies of the Doom Which Is to Come. 

This succeeds in convincing a number of powerful people that Grayland II is quite mad.

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