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Reviews in Project: Space Opera That Doesn't Suck (40)

All The Best

Gideon the Ninth

By Tamsyn Muir  

8 Oct, 2019

Space Opera That Doesn't Suck


Tamsyn Muir’s 2019 Gideon the Ninth is the first volume in a space opera series that may be as yet unnamed (a sequel, Harrow the Ninth, will be out in 2020). 

Gideon Nav, of poorly documented parentage, has been indentured to the Ninth House since she was an infant. 

The Ninth House is known by other names: the Keepers of the Locked Tomb, House of the Sewn Tongue, and the Black Vestals, for example. Nowhere are the houses of necromancy given any names that would suggest the they are fun places to live. No, they are not fun. Gideon has been scheming escape ever since she was old enough to form the thought of leaving. None of her efforts have succeeded … yet. Why let a 100% failure rate keep her from trying? 

As the story begins, Gideon is preparing another escape attempt, one that will surely succeed!

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You Should See Me in a Crown

Empress of Forever

By Max Gladstone  

19 Sep, 2019

Space Opera That Doesn't Suck


Max Gladstone’s 2019 Empress of Forever is a standalone space opera. 

Oligarch Vivian Liao is certain that Earth’s shadowy masters have finally tired of her. She fears that in short order she will be immured in some deep-state prison, slated for a brief but memorable terminal interview with a torturer. She attempts to avoid this dismal fate by launching a daring bid to conquer the world. She will hack and control the world’s computer infrastructure. Bwahaha! 

Before she can do more than start her attack, she is dragged off to another realm by an enigmatic woman in futuristic garb. 

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Voices in My Head

Children of Ruin  (Children of Time, volume 2)

By Adrian Tchaikovsky  

30 Jul, 2019

Space Opera That Doesn't Suck


2019’s Children of Ruin is the second book in Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Children of Time series. 

Before it annihilated itself, Earth’s first great technological civilization dispatched starships to nearby star systems, there to terraform promising worlds. Millennia later, Earth’s second great technological civilization also dispatched starships. The purpose was not to reshape worlds according to humanity’s whim, but to escape the deadly trap Earth had become. 

Nobody expected to find a planet full of portiids, genetically engineered intelligent spiders, but humans were convinced… compelled, really, to come to terms with the unintended products of Avrana Kern’s bold uplifting efforts. The starship Voyager is the product of the unexpected partnership, crewed by humans, portiids, and an emulation of the long-dead Kern, dispatched to explore a neighbouring star system. Who knows what wonders await them? 

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Let the Sun Fade Out to a Dark Sky

Escaping Exodus

By Nicky Drayden  

24 Jul, 2019

Space Opera That Doesn't Suck


Nicky Drayden’s 2019 Escaping Exodus is a standalone SF novel. 

Seske Kaleigh was born to become the leader of her spacefaring community. Becoming a leader involves onerous education and personal sacrifice. Seske would far rather spend her time having adventures with her lower-class crush, Adalla. 

Seske’s culture is trapped on the edge of survival. Allowing Seske to follow her heart is not in the cards. 

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Inciting and Inviting Me

Medusa Uploaded  (Medusa Cycle, volume 1)

By Emily Devenport  

23 Jul, 2019

Space Opera That Doesn't Suck


Emily Devenport’s Medusa Uploaded is the first volume in her generation ship series, the Medusa Cycle. 

Olympia and Titania are two vast generation ships, dispatched on a long, slow journey to another star system. This was lifetimes ago. Olympia is still functioning, but poor Titania is lifeless wreckage tumbling across the stars, the victim of an act of sabotage. Oichi was born on Titania but was fortunate enough to emigrate to Olympia before Titanias destruction. The rest of her family was not so lucky. 

Oichi isn’t one of the ruling Executives; she’s a so-called worm. Her lot is to work hard for her whole life, hoping that no Executive will order her tossed out an airlock. Oichi’s fortune turns sour. Suspected as a potential dissident, she is cast out into the interstellar cold. 

This is not the end of her story. 

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To Fall Down At Your Door

Walking to Aldebaran

By Adrian Tchaikovsky  

3 Jun, 2019

Space Opera That Doesn't Suck


Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Walking to Aldebaran is a standalone science fiction novella. 

Lucky Gary Rendell has realized his childhood dream of being an astronaut! Even better, what was thought to be Planet Nine has turned out to be an enigmatic alien artifact and Gary has been assigned to the joint mission dispatched to examine the massive structure. 

Marvels wait inside. 

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To a Brighter Sunny Day

Velocity Weapon  (Protectorate, volume 1)

By Megan E. O’Keefe  

9 May, 2019

Space Opera That Doesn't Suck


Megan E. O’Keefe’s upcoming 2019 Velocity Weapon is the first volume in her projected Protectorate series. 

In the 22nd century, Alexandra Halston’s invention of Prime gave humanity the Casimir Gates and access to the stars. By the 36th century, Prime spans many systems. Prime’s Keepers carefully maintain the network and all that is necessary to create more gates, in return for which they impose tariffs on the goods shipped from system to system. Everyone who matters agrees that this is a just arrangement — save for the planet of Icarion. 

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All Alone in the Moonlight

A Memory Called Empire

By Arkady Martine  

29 Mar, 2019

Space Opera That Doesn't Suck


A Memory Called Empire is Arkady Martine’s debut novel. It is a space opera. 

Lsel Station has spent ages engaged in a careful dance with the Teixcalaanli Empire. It tries to maintain vital trade ties to the vast polity, but avoids becoming so essential as to invite annexation. The empire is a dangerous neighbour, but it protects Lsel from neighboring polities who are even worse. Hence the dance. 

Mahit Dzmare is the latest ambassador to be dispatched by the Stationers to the empire. If she plays her cards badly, she may be the final ambassador to the empire. 

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Whisperer in Darkness

Finders  (Firstborn, Lastborn, volume 1)

By Melissa Scott  

22 Dec, 2018

Space Opera That Doesn't Suck


2018’s Finders is the first volume in Melissa Scott’s Firstborn, Lastborn series. 

The Ancestors disappeared millennia ago, leaving behind some garbled myths and the scattered relics of their nigh-godlike technology. Cassilde Sam and her partner Dai Winter make their meagre living tracking down and salvaging Ancestor relics. It’s a hard life, but not one that Cassilde will have to endure much longer. Third-stage Lightman’s will soon end her life. There is no treatment for Lightman’s.

Cassilde is desperate to secure financial security for Dai before she dies. An opportunity presents itself, but it comes at a high price: accepting scholar Summerlad Ashe as a partner once more. 

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Hearts as Black as Coal

The Trove

By Tobias S. Buckell  

27 Sep, 2018

Space Opera That Doesn't Suck


Tobias S. Buckell’s 2018 The Trove is a standalone SF adventure novel. 

Interstellar travel has not eliminated social stratification. Earth is home to oligarchs whose wealth is hard to measure. In contrast, the wealth of Jane Hawkins and her two mothers, Sadayya and Tia, is very easy to measure: it is the Nelson Inn, located in the unfashionable part of Sargasso Port. Customers are few, the inn is struggling, and Tia is slowly dying of an incurable disease. 

A more prosperous inn would have turned away rigger Villem Osteonidus. Not only does the cyborg lacks any personal charm, he’s a drug addict. But the Hawkins Inn needs every customer it can get. Villem gets a room, one his hosts expect him to occupy for only as long as it takes for the drugs to kill him. 

Villem has far worse problems than his addiction. 

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