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The Best New Space-Opera Sci-Fi Novels of the 21st Century

Science Fiction, or as it’s often referred to as, “Sci-Fi” has been a ubiquitous genre for at least 100 years. In years past, the genre has been used to explore some of humanity’s biggest concerns, from technological developments to extraterrestrial contact. Today, sci-fi still represents one of the most consumable genres, and the space opera subgenre is becoming more and more popular.

What is Space Opera?

Let’s begin with the basics – what is space opera? Broadly speaking, it’s a sub-genre within sci-fi that emphasizes space warfare, adventure, and exploration. Space operas typically have a broad scope and focus on character-driven stories, which are set within massive and complex universes.

Space opera writers think big – and this shows in their books, including beautiful descriptions of space battles between fleets of warships, intricate mythologies, and imaginative alien races. The subgenre compels readers to take in awe-inspiring elements of science with interstellar space travel and time warp, that allow readers to suspend disbelief in a way that few other genres can.

The Best New Space-Opera Sci-Fi Novels of the 21st Century

In no particular order, here are some of the best space-opera sci-fi novels of the 21st century that are sure to engage, entertain, and excite:

“Leviathan Wakes” by James S.A. Corey:

This novel revolves around two core characters – James Holden, an honest, straightforward ship captain, and Miller, a down-on-his-luck detective. It’s an exciting and well-plotted book where the duo gets embroiled in a story that leads to peacekeepers, a group of belters (citizens of the asteroid belt), and a massive cover-up.

“The Expanse” by James S.A. Corey:

“The Expanse” was later transformed into an incredibly successful television series, but before that, it all started with this book. The novel tells the story of humanity’s first encounter with an extraterrestrial threat, which leads to the uncovering of a vast conspiracy.

“A Memory Called Empire” by Arkady Martine:

In this novel, readers are taken on a journey to a vast interstellar empire called the Teixcalaanli. It’s a poetic and contemplative piece of work that focuses on culture clash, politics, and intergalactic diplomacy.

“The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet” by Becky Chambers:

“The Long Way To A Small, Angry Planet” is an ode to the human spirit and spirit of adventure that the space opera sub-genre represents. The novel brings together a diverse cast of characters and gives them an unusual mission across the galaxy.

“Ancillary Justice” by Ann Leckie:

This novel is a space epic about an AI spaceship that develops a sense of self, taking revenge for atrocities committed against it in the service of larger empire machinations. It deals with fascinating themes like societal norms and the relationship between an individual and the state.


Space opera sci-fi novels offer an escape from the mundane to explore awe-inspiring new worlds and adventure. These novels are the perfect way to travel to fantastic universes with epic battles and larger than life characters. From worldbuilding to characterization and epic stories, these books have something to offer for everyone. So, if you’re looking for a new book to read, dive into space opera sci-fi novels, and let your imagination soar!