Here are the 21 best space opera books of 2021 according to Google. Find your new favorite book from the local library with one click.
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“[An] all around brilliant space opera, I absolutely love it.”—Ann Leckie, on A Memory Called Empire A Desolation Called Peace is the spectacular space opera sequel to Arkady Martine’s genre-reinventing, Hugo Award-winning debut, A Memory Called Empire. An alien armada lurks on the edges of Teixcalaanli space. No one can communicate with it, no one can destroy it, and Fleet Captain Nine Hibiscus is running out of options. In a desperate attempt at diplomacy with the mysterious invaders, the fleet captain has sent for a diplomatic envoy. Now Mahit Dzmare and Three Seagrass—still reeling from the recent upheaval in the Empire—face the impossible task of trying to communicate with a hostile entity. Their failure will guarantee millions of deaths in an endless war. Their success might prevent Teixcalaan’s destruction—and allow the empire to continue its rapacious expansion. Or it might create something far stranger . . . At the Publisher’s request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
An alien artifact turns a young girl into Death’s adopted daughter in Remote Control, a thrilling sci-fi tale of community and female empowerment from Nebula and Hugo Award-winner Nnedi Okorafor “She’s the adopted daughter of the Angel of Death. Beware of her. Mind her. Death guards her like one of its own.” The day Fatima forgot her name, Death paid a visit. From hereon in she would be known as Sankofa—a name that meant nothing to anyone but her, the only tie to her family and her past. Her touch is death, and with a glance a town can fall. And she walks—alone, except for her fox companion—searching for the object that came from the sky and gave itself to her when the meteors fell and when she was yet unchanged; searching for answers. But is there a greater purpose for Sankofa, now that Death is her constant companion?
Germany, 1945. Mia, a nineteen-year-old girl, is sent by the OSS to find Wernher von Braun. Her mission- stop the Russians getting hold of Germany – and the world’s – foremost rocket scientist. Von Braun is suspicious. And so he should be. For Mia is no ordinary girl. She only looks human. And helping the Allies win the Second World War is but one part of her plan. Because there’s an even darker conflict on Earth. A secret struggle thousands of years old. It has engulfed and taken generations of Mia’s people. But can the firing of rockets finally bring about its end? Can Mia, as the last of her kind, bring the stars down to earth? And if she succeeds, what will happen to us?
From a star theoretical physicist, a journey into the world of particle physics and the cosmos — and a call for a more just practice of science. In The Disordered Cosmos, Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein shares her love for physics, from the Standard Model of Particle Physics and what lies beyond it, to the physics of melanin in skin, to the latest theories of dark matter — all with a new spin informed by history, politics, and the wisdom of Star Trek. One of the leading physicists of her generation, Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein is also one of fewer than one hundred Black American women to earn a PhD from a department of physics. Her vision of the cosmos is vibrant, buoyantly non-traditional, and grounded in Black feminist traditions. Prescod-Weinstein urges us to recognize how science, like most fields, is rife with racism, sexism, and other dehumanizing systems. She lays out a bold new approach to science and society that begins with the belief that we all have a fundamental right to know and love the night sky. The Disordered Cosmos dreams into existence a world that allows everyone to tap into humanity’s wealth of knowledge about the wonders of the universe.
The sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission to save both humanity and the earth, Ryland Grace is hurtled into the depths of space when he must conquer an extinction-level threat to our species.
Ancillary Justice meets Red, White & Royal Blue in Winter’s Orbit, Everina Maxwell’s gut-wrenching and romantic debut. A famously disappointing minor royal and the Emperor’s least favorite grandchild, Prince Kiem is summoned before the Emperor and commanded to renew the empire’s bonds with its newest vassal planet. The prince must marry Count Jainan, the recent widower of another royal prince of the empire. But Jainan suspects his late husband’s death was no accident. And Prince Kiem discovers Jainan is a suspect himself. But broken bonds between the Empire and its vassal planets leaves the entire empire vulnerable, so together they must prove that their union is strong while uncovering a possible conspiracy. Their successful marriage will align conflicting worlds. Their failure will be the end of the empire. At the Publisher’s request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
Hugo award–nominated author Stina Leicht has created a take on space opera for fans of The Mandalorian and Cowboy Bebop in this high-stakes adventure. Persephone Station, a seemingly backwater planet that has largely been ignored by the United Republic of Worlds becomes the focus for the Serrao-Orlov Corporation as the planet has a few secrets the corporation tenaciously wants to exploit. Rosie—owner of Monk’s Bar, in the corporate town of West Brynner, caters to wannabe criminals and rich Earther tourists, of a sort, at the front bar. However, exactly two types of people drank at Monk’s back bar: members of a rather exclusive criminal class and those who sought to employ them. Angel—ex-marine and head of a semi-organized band of beneficent criminals, wayward assassins, and washed up mercenaries with a penchant for doing the honorable thing is asked to perform a job for Rosie. What this job reveals will effect Persephone and put Angel and her squad up against an army. Despite the odds, they are rearing for a fight with the Serrao-Orlov Corporation. For Angel, she knows that once honor is lost, there is no regaining it. That doesn’t mean she can’t damned well try.
“This remarkable account of the 1961 race into space is a thrilling piece of storytelling….It is high definition history: tight, thrilling and beautifully researched.” (The Times, London, Front Page Lead Review) “Beyond has the exhilaration of a fine thriller, but it is vividly embedded in the historic tensions of the Cold War, and peopled by men and women brought sympathetically, and sometimes tragically, to life.”—Colin Thubron, author of Shadow of the Silk Road 09.07 am. April 12, 1961. A top secret rocket site in the USSR. A young Russian sits inside a tiny capsule on top of the Soviet Union’s most powerful intercontinental ballistic missile—originally designed to carry a nuclear warhead—and blasts into the skies. His name is Yuri Gagarin. And he is about to make history. Travelling at almost 18,000 miles per hour—ten times faster than a rifle bullet—Gagarin circles the globe in just 106 minutes. From his windows he sees the earth as nobody has before, crossing a sunset and a sunrise, crossing oceans and continents, witnessing its beauty and its fragility. While his launch begins in total secrecy, within hours of his landing he has become a world celebrity – the first human to leave the planet. Beyond tells the thrilling story behind that epic flight on its 60th anniversary. It happened at the height of the Cold War as the US and USSR confronted each other across an Iron Curtain. Both superpowers took enormous risks to get a man into space first, the Americans in the full glare of the media, the Soviets under deep cover. Both trained their teams of astronauts to the edges of the endurable. In the end the race between them would come down to the wire. Drawing on extensive original research and the vivid testimony of eyewitnesses, many of whom have never spoken before, Stephen Walker unpacks secrets that were hidden for decades and takes the reader into the drama of one of humanity’s greatest adventures – to the scientists, engineers and political leaders on both sides, and above all to the American astronauts and their Soviet rivals battling for supremacy in the heavens.
The Expanse meets Game of Thrones in J. S. Dewes’s fast-paced, sci-fi adventure The Last Watch, where a handful of soldiers stand between humanity and annihilation. The Divide. It’s the edge of the universe. Now it’s collapsing—and taking everyone and everything with it. The only ones who can stop it are the Sentinels—the recruits, exiles, and court-martialed dregs of the military. At the Divide, Adequin Rake commands the Argus. She has no resources, no comms—nothing, except for the soldiers that no one wanted. Her ace in the hole could be Cavalon Mercer–genius, asshole, and exiled prince who nuked his grandfather’s genetic facility for “reasons.” She knows they’re humanity’s last chance. At the Publisher’s request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
Outsmart Your Enemies. Outrun the Galaxy. “Just please, remember what I told you. Run. Don’t stop running for anything.” Tina never worries about being ‘ordinary’–she doesn’t have to, since she’s known practically forever that she’s not just Tina Mains, average teenager and beloved daughter. She’s also the keeper of an interplanetary rescue beacon, and one day soon, it’s going to activate, and then her dreams of saving all the worlds and adventuring among the stars will finally be possible. Tina’s legacy, after all, is intergalactic–she is the hidden clone of a famed alien hero, left on Earth disguised as a human to give the universe another chance to defeat a terrible evil. But when the beacon activates, it turns out that Tina’s destiny isn’t quite what she expected. Things are far more dangerous than she ever assumed–and everyone in the galaxy is expecting her to actually be the brilliant tactician and legendary savior Captain Thaoh Argentian, but Tina….is just Tina. And the Royal Fleet is losing the war, badly–the starship that found her is on the run and they barely manage to escape Earth with the planet still intact. Luckily, Tina is surrounded by a crew she can trust, and her best friend Rachel, and she is still determined to save all the worlds. But first she’ll have to save herself. Buckle up your seatbelt for this thrilling YA sci-fi adventure set against an intergalactic war from internationally bestselling author Charlie Jane Anders. At the Publisher’s request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
A thoughtful, literary novel about conflict, identity and community, after Earth makes contact with the seemingly harmless planet Qita. A fresh new perspective in speculative fiction from critically-acclaimed writer Aliya Whiteley. “Whiteley has a penchant for describing the disturbing… a surreal and disquieting post-apocalyptic consideration of the roles we place ourselves in.” — Barnes and Noble SF&F Blog This is a place where we can be alone, together. The Western Protectorate does not welcome visitors. When humans first went through the ‘Kissing Gate’ to the planet Qita, the protectorate turned its back on modern civilization to live in rural isolation. Now the war on Qita is over, for veteran Jem and her Qitan partner Isley, it’s a peaceful place to escape ugly memories. But their peace is disturbed when a visitor comes to Skyward Inn, bringing reminders of an unnerving past and triggering an uncertain future. Praise for Aliya Whiteley: “Its triumph lies in the way Whiteley uses the metaphor to examine the tortured process of love and attachment.” – The Guardian on The Loosening Skin “A murky delirium of sinuous language and unnerving storytelling that will delight both experienced genre fanatics and literary fiction lovers alike.” – Kirkus Reviews on The Beauty
An investigator must solve a brutal murder on a claustrophobic space station in this tense science fiction thriller from the author of Salvation Day. Hester Marley used to have a plan for her life. But when a catastrophic attack left her injured, indebted, and stranded far from home, she was forced to take a dead-end security job with a powerful mining company in the asteroid belt. Now she spends her days investigating petty crimes to help her employer maximize its profits. She’s surprised to hear from an old friend and fellow victim of the terrorist attack that ruined her life—and that surprise quickly turns to suspicion when he claims to have discovered something shocking about their shared history and the tragedy that neither of them can leave behind. Before Hester can learn more, her friend is violently murdered at a remote asteroid mine. Hester joins the investigation to find the truth, both about her friend’s death and the information he believed he had uncovered. But catching a killer is only the beginning of Hester’s worries, and she soon realizes that everything she learns about her friend, his fellow miners, and the outpost they call home brings her closer to revealing secrets that very powerful and very dangerous people would rather keep hidden in the depths of space.
This innovative sci-fi novel explores the potential impact of alien infection on humankind as they traverse the stars and find themselves stranded on new and strange planets. Amid the Crowd of Stars is a grand scale science fiction novel examining the ethical implications of interstellar travel, a topic rarely addressed in science fiction novels. What responsibilities do we have to isolate ourselves from the bacteria, viruses, and other life of another world, and to prevent any of that alien biome from being brought back to Earth? What happens when a group of humans are stranded for centuries on another world with no choice but to expose themselves to that world? After such long exposure, are they still Homo sapiens or have they become another species entirely? These questions are at the heart of this intriguing novel, explored through the complicated lives and the viewpoints of the people who have come to rescue the stranded colony, the members of that colony, and the sentient alien life that dwells on the planet. Difficult life and death choices will be made by all involved.
From the New York Times bestselling author of A Little Hatred comes a stunning fantasy novel that finds the world in an unstoppable revolution where heroes have nothing left to lose as darkness and destruction overtake everything. Chaos. Fury. Destruction. The Great Change is upon us . . . Some say that to change the world you must first burn it down. Now that belief will be tested in the crucible of revolution: the Breakers and Burners have seized the levers of power, the smoke of riots has replaced the smog of industry, and all must submit to the wisdom of crowds. With nothing left to lose, Citizen Brock is determined to become a new hero for the new age, while Citizeness Savine must turn her talents from profit to survival before she can claw her way to redemption. Orso will find that when the world is turned upside down, no one is lower than a monarch. And in the bloody North, Rikke and her fragile Protectorate are running out of allies . . . while Black Calder gathers his forces and plots his vengeance. The banks have fallen, the sun of the Union has been torn down, and in the darkness behind the scenes, the threads of the Weaver’s ruthless plan are slowly being drawn together . . . “A master of his craft.” —Forbes “No one writes with the seismic scope or primal intensity of Joe Abercrombie.” —Pierce Brown For more from Joe Abercrombie, check out: The Age of Madness A Little Hatred The Trouble With Peace The Wisdom of Crowds The First Law Trilogy The Blade Itself Before They Are Hanged Last Argument of Kings Best Served Cold The Heroes Red Country The Shattered Sea Trilogy Half a King Half a World Half a War
ONE OF BARACK OBAMA’S FAVORITE BOOKS OF THE YEAR “The best science-fiction nonfiction novel I’ve ever read.” –Jonathan Lethem “If I could get policymakers, and citizens, everywhere to read just one book this year, it would be Kim Stanley Robinson’s The Ministry for the Future.” –Ezra Klein (Vox) The Ministry for the Future is a masterpiece of the imagination, using fictional eyewitness accounts to tell the story of how climate change will affect us all. Its setting is not a desolate, postapocalyptic world, but a future that is almost upon us. Chosen by Barack Obama as one of his favorite books of the year, this extraordinary novel from visionary science fiction writer Kim Stanley Robinson will change the way you think about the climate crisis. “One hopes that this book is read widely–that Robinson’s audience, already large, grows by an order of magnitude. Because the point of his books is to fire the imagination.”―New York Review of Books “If there’s any book that hit me hard this year, it was Kim Stanley Robinson’s The Ministry for the Future, a sweeping epic about climate change and humanity’s efforts to try and turn the tide before it’s too late.” ―Polygon (Best of the Year) “Masterly.” –New Yorker “[The Ministry for the Future] struck like a mallet hitting a gong, reverberating through the year … it’s terrifying, unrelenting, but ultimately hopeful. Robinson is the SF writer of my lifetime, and this stands as some of his best work. It’s my book of the year.” –Locus “Science-fiction visionary Kim Stanley Robinson makes the case for quantitative easing our way out of planetary doom.” ―Bloomberg Green
From New York Times bestselling author Cixin Liu comes a short story collection of captivating visions of the future and incredible re-imaginings of the past. In To Hold Up the Sky, Cixin Liu takes us across time and space, from a rural mountain community where elementary students must use physics to prevent an alien invasion; to coal mines in northern China where new technology will either save lives or unleash a fire that will burn for centuries; to a time very much like our own, when superstring computers predict our every move; to 10,000 years in the future, when humanity is finally able to begin anew; to the very collapse of the universe itself. Written between 1999 and 2017 and never before published in English, these stories came into being during decades of major change in China and will take you across time and space through the eyes of one of science fiction’s most visionary writers. Experience the limitless and pure joy of Cixin Liu’s writing and imagination in this stunning collection. Stories included: “Contraction” “Full Spectrum Barrage Jamming” “The Village Teacher” “Fire in the Earth” “Time Migration” “Ode to joy” “Cloud of Poems “Mirror” “Sea of Dreams” “Cloud of Poems” “The Thinker”
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * “Brilliant . . . a celebration of human ingenuity [and] the purest example of real-science sci-fi for many years . . . utterly compelling.”–The Wall Street Journal The inspiration for the major motion picture Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive–and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills–and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit–he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him? NAMED ONE OF PASTE’S BEST NOVELS OF THE DECADE “A hugely entertaining novel [that] reads like a rocket ship afire . . . Weir has fashioned in Mark Watney one of the most appealing, funny, and resourceful characters in recent fiction.”–Chicago Tribune “As gripping as they come . . . You’ll be rooting for Watney the whole way, groaning at every setback and laughing at his pitchblack humor. Utterly nail-biting and memorable.”–Financial Times
From a New York Times bestselling and Hugo award-winning author comes a modern masterwork of science fiction, introducing a captain, his crew, and a detective as they unravel a horrifying solar system wide conspiracy that begins with a single missing girl. Humanity has colonized the solar system–Mars, the Moon, the Asteroid Belt and beyond–but the stars are still out of our reach. Jim Holden is XO of an ice miner making runs from the rings of Saturn to the mining stations of the Belt. When he and his crew stumble upon a derelict ship, the Scopuli, they find themselves in possession of a secret they never wanted. A secret that someone is willing to kill for–and kill on a scale unfathomable to Jim and his crew. War is brewing in the system unless he can find out who left the ship and why. Detective Miller is looking for a girl. One girl in a system of billions, but her parents have money and money talks. When the trail leads him to the Scopuli and rebel sympathizer Holden, he realizes that this girl may be the key to everything. Holden and Miller must thread the needle between the Earth government, the Outer Planet revolutionaries, and secretive corporations–and the odds are against them. But out in the Belt, the rules are different, and one small ship can change the fate of the universe. “Interplanetary adventure the way it ought to be written.” –George R. R. Martin The Expanse Leviathan Wakes Caliban’s War Abaddon’s Gate Cibola Burn Nemesis Games Babylon’s Ashes Persepolis Rising Tiamat’s Wrath Leviathan Falls The Expanse Short Fiction The Butcher of Anderson Station Gods of Risk The Churn The Vital Abyss Strange Dogs Auberon
Life in the Caspian Republic has taught Agent Nikolai South two rules. Trust No One. And work just hard enough not to make enemies. Here, in the last sanctuary for the dying embers of the human race in a world run by artificial intelligence, if you stray from the path – your life is forfeit. But when a Party propagandist is killed – and is discovered as a “machine” – he’s given a new mission: chaperone the widow, Lily, who has arrived to claim her husband’s remains. But when South sees that she, the first “machine” ever allowed into the country, bears an uncanny resemblance to his late wife, he’s thrown into a maelstrom of betrayal, murder, and conspiracy that may bring down the Republic for good. WHEN THE SPARROW FALLS illuminates authoritarianism, complicity, and identity in the digital age, in a page turning, darkly-funny, frightening and touching story that recalls Philip K. Dick, John le Carré and Kurt Vonnegut in equal measure. At the Publisher’s request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
Last updated on October 17, 2021