Top Space Operas in 2020

From the page to the screen, here are all of the space operas, on screen and on the page, we're consuming in 2020.

Mando and The Child in The Mandalorian Season 2
Photo: Disney

While one of the most famous space operas of modern times—the Skywalker Saga—concluded last year, 2020 still has a number of fantastic tales aboard starships to look forward to. Some are dystopian, some are hopeful, and some tie into our favorite franchises. With plenty of Star Wars and Star Trek novels and television seasons to look forward to, it’s time to boldly take your reading where no reader has gone before.

January

Star Trek: Picard on CBS All Access

There are only a few people who embody Star Trek as much as Sir Patrick Stewart’s Jean-Luc Picard, and fans are rightly excited to have him back on the screen through CBS’s All Access. It’s also exciting to have celebrated spec fic novelist Michale Chabon on the writing team alongside Hanelle M. Culpepper (Star Trek: Discovery, The Flash), Kirsten Beyer (Star Trek: Discovery), and Akiva Goldman (Star Trek: Discovery, Titans). Given that the series was renewed for a second season before season one launched, CBS is expecting great things. Check out Den of Geek’s ongoing coverage of the show for more details.

The Last Human by Zack Jordan

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In a future where humanity was deemed too dangerous to exist, Sarya, the lone surviving human, must keep her identity hidden. On Watertower Station, there are plenty of aliens that allow her to blend in, but there aren’t a lot of ways to find out the truth about her past—and her species. On a stolen ship with an oddball assortment of allies—maybe—Sarya discovers there’s more going on across the universe than she realized, and that she might have a chance to save humanity after all. Jordan’s debut has gotten praise from well known SFF celebs including Andy Weir (The Martian) and Clint McElroy (The Adventure Zone), and the action-packed, humorous novel has garnered comparisons to the works of Douglas Adams.

Resurgence by C. J. Cherryh

Fans of SFWA Grandmaster Cherryh’s “Foreigner” series are in for a double helping in 2020; Resurgence, the 20th installment, released in January, and Divergence (#21) is set to release in September. Both continue to follow the adventures of diplomat Bren Cameron as he helps keep the atevi head of state, Tabini-aiji, secure, and the atevi government stable. In Resurgence, Cameron is working for the dowager, trying to solve an internal conflict among the atevi while also protecting the dowager from shadowy assassins.

February

Star Trek: Picard: The Last Best Hope by Una McCormack

If you’re a fan of the new Star Trek series, you may be curious to find out what transpired between when we last saw Picard and the character’s current incarnation. McCormack bridges the gap, giving readers insight into why Picard left Starfleet—and how he arrived where he is when the new series begins.

Clone Wars: The Final Season on Disney+

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It’s been a long wait, but the final season of Clone Wars has made it onto small screens everywhere. Using voice work and initial illustrations from the first run of the series, before the final season was cancelled, Clone Wars Season 7 is releasing twelve last episodes that bridge the time between Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.

March

Burning Between Worlds by Jessica Brody and Joanne Rendell

Brody and Rendell continue the YA epic they began in Sky Without Stars, which mashes together themes from Les Miserables and The Lunar Chronicles. Focusing on three outlaws in the midst of a revolution, the unlikely team must risk everything to save their world from a dangerous new weapon.

Deep Space Zine, edited by Alison Wilgus

Love Star Trek, but miss the good old days of DS9? So did these comic writers and artists, who came together to create a 64-page collection of tales inspired by DS9. Readers may be familiar with names like editor Alison Wilgus, and contributors Hannah Krieger, SJ Miller, and Wem Forster, but even if they’re not, this short collection, available for download, celebrates the love these creators have for the series.

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Fans are torn about The Rise of Skywalker, with some complaining that the movie felt like it was leaving out important information that would have helped the piece feel more fully fleshed, and better wrapped up loose strings from the earlier films (instead of seemingly directly countering them). YA author Carson’s (Girl of Fire and Thorns) novel may not satisfy all franchise fans, but it does address some of those left out moments, including why evil-Rey’s lightsaber is so mechanically specific, the failed-clone identity of Rey’s dad, and the General Leia arc sadly cut short by the death of Carrie Fisher.

April

The Last Emperox by John Scalzi

Hugo Award-winning author Scalzi continues his Interdependency Series in the third installment (following The Consuming Fire). With an interstellar pathway on brink of collapse, the nations of the Interdependency face an uncertain future. Emperox Grayland II is determined to save her people, wresting control of her empire from those who deny the pathway’s destruction. But her enemies are only beaten, not destroyed, and they will stop at nothing to steal her power—and her world.

Bonds of Brass by Emily Skrutskie

There’s a serious description of Skrutskie’s (Hull-Metal Girls) new series starter, but I was pulled in by Skrutskie’s tongue in cheek hooks: “Galactic-level bisexual disasters” with “weaponized rainbow umbrellas,” “one hell of a pilot,” a “secret prince,” “sick stunts,” and “big space battles.” The book holds onto every one of those promises, and with hefty doses of romantic tension battling for prominence with a complex political plot. Ettian is determined to save the life of his best friend, romantic interest, and roommate, Gal, even when he finds out that Gal is actually the heir to the Empire that conquered Ettian’s own people. Now, seeing a rebellion of his own countrymen on the one side and Gal on the other, Ettian has to figure out a way to make sure Gal makes it home—even if that means sacrificing everything he used to believe in. It also has that promised weaponized rainbow umbrella, used deftly by Wen, a half-burned street girl willing to take on an entire organized crime ring with her own know-how who steals every scene she’s in. Skrutskie at once managed to produce a light-hearted and fun space opera that still digs into the depths of what it means to belong, and who deserves loyalty: the land you’re born to, or the conquerors you’ve chosen in order to rise from the ashes. She never gives any easy answers, and that’s part of what makes this book so darn good—and has me eagerly awaiting the sequel.

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The stories of Zahn’s “Sibyl’s War” have been leading to this moment. Sibyls are humans with the ability to communicate with strange alien ships. Nicole, a Sibyl, and her alien allies are caught in the middle of a tumultuous war. In order to find freedom, Nicole must unite aliens being forced to fight against each other—and win the trust of an AI at war with itself.

Dark Star Rising by Bennett R. Coles

In the tradition of Patrick O’Brian’s sea epics, the novellas of the Blackwood & Virtue series follow the misfit crew of the HMSS Daring. This second novella features Subcommander Liam Blackwood and Quartermaster Amelia Virtue going undercover to dismantle a network of space pirates—and facing off against an old enemy.

Sword in the Stars by Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy

If you didn’t realize you needed an Arthurian retelling in space, with badass, queer teens and a racially diverse cast, you only have to pick up Once and Future, the first book in this series, to understand what you were missing. When Ari discovers Excalibur, she doesn’t expect to end up trying to take down the cycle of reincarnation that keeps bringing an Arthur into the timeline. With the help of a backward-aging teen Merlin, Ari strikes back against the oppressive corporation that’s enslaving Ari’s people. In the second half of the duology, Ari and her Rainbow Knights have to pull off a heist to steal the Holy Grail—thousands of years in their own past—without upending the future that created them. Capetta and McCarthy delve into issues of privilege, gender identity, friendship, and what makes a person a villain, hefty themes they weave into an action-packed YA duology.

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When the McCormack brothers introduce a new technology, they expect to make a profit, not unleash galactic war. But after the events of the latest “Delphi in Space” novel, the brothers find themselves responsible for the lives of the people who were willing to sacrifice everything to gain access to that technology. Now, still trying to spread their discovery to improve the dying environment of Earth, they search for a way to give the alien rebels a new home—and find a way to bring peace to the galaxy. Reviews have posted that this one has an ending that hooks directly into the next adventure, so McCormack fans have more stories to come.

Bone Silence by Alastair Reynolds 

In the third and final volume of Reynolds’s “Revenger Trilogy,” the infamous pirates, the Ness sisters, are being hunted for a crime they didn’t commit. Worse, their pursuers are more dangerous criminals than the Ness sisters. To keep out of their enemies’ hands, they’ll have to use the cleverest, most conniving tricks in their arsenal…

Starborn Godsons by Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, and Steven Barnes

Fans have been waiting for the conclusion of the “Heorot” series by these three luminaries of SFF for years. The first novel, The Legacy of Heorot, launched in 1987, and introduced a predatory alien species known as the grendels. Beowulf’s Children followed in 1995. In the concluding volume, the human settlement on Avalon has become safe from the dangerous grendels, but they’re forgetting what it takes to travel to the stars. When a ship enters their system from the trajectory of Earth’s Solar System, the humans of Avalon are about to have a very different kind of first encounter.

May

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Fans of space opera are sure to be familiar with Nebula and Hugo-winner Kress’s body of work. In The Eleventh Gate, the citizens of the Eight Worlds are doing their best to avoid war—but when it comes knocking, everyone vies to come out on top. When Tara Landry, the spoiled granddaughter of one of the dynasty heads battling for power, discovers a star-jump gate, she and physicist Philip Anderson find themselves at the center of events that will utterly change the Eight Worlds.

Thicker than Blood by Holly Ash

The third novel in Ash’s underwater military SF series takes to the sky, bringing the Neophian crew and their human teammates to Earth to negotiate the continued vision of an officer exchange program. Although Lieutenant Commander Crystal Wolf’s human teammates have become friends since the program started, once on Earth, she and the other Neophians face prejudice against their planet and their people. With tensions so high, Crystal has to decide whether to follow orders—or whether the officer exchange program isn’t worth continuing. Ash’s world building is intriguing, and the plots keep thickening as the series progresses. (Disclosure: I contributed editing services on two books of this series, but gain no benefit from promoting the book.)

The Human by Neal Asher

Asher’s epic Rise of the Jain trilogy comes to its conclusion as an ancient warships emerges with a vendetta: it will hunt down the alien Client and destroy anyone who gets in its way. When the Jain destroy Earth’s fleet, humanity forms an uncertain alliance with the Prador—but not everyone is happy with the alliance, and the Client has motives of her own.

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Featuring misfit spies in a cold war—in space—Moren’s second installment in his Galactic Cold War series follows Simon Kovalic’s team of operatives as they try to steal a quasi-mythical alien artifact. Of course, Kovalic’s Commonwealth team aren’t the only ones after the object; not only does it belong to a notorious crime lord, the Commonwealth’s enemies in the Illyrican Empire want it, too. This has all of the great makings of an espionage, space-set heist novel—an unusual combination that sounds like a heck of a lot of fun.

Chaos Reigning by Jessie Mihalik

Space opera needs a dash of romance now and then, and Mihalik’s “Consortium Rebellion” trilogy scratches that itch in this concluding volume. Bubbly socialite Cat is really a spy for her High House. On a mission with a bodyguard, Alex, she doesn’t want—and finds inconveniently attractive—she uncovers evidence of treason. With her family off-planet, she has to work together with Alex to expose the truth—before her enemies end all her chances.

Songs of Thalassa by Brian Tissot

Many space operas use the shorthand of single-climate planets (desert, ocean, frozen), but Songs of Thalassa may be the first to use an ocean planet to stage an ultimate surfing competition. The novel begins as Sage Thompson, former surfing star, ends seven months of space travel to arrive at the ocean planet where her father died. Here, surfing champion and viral celebrity Milo is determined to defeat her and retain all his records in the ultimate surfing challenge. But as Sage begins to hear a mysterious song, she realizes there’s more to Thalassa than just surfing. Although Tissot is not an #OwnVoices author, he draws on Hawaiian culture and language to depict Hawaiian main character Sage, and to give her a framework for her growing understanding of the universe.

June

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Imagine a world where the turbulence of the early 2000s have morphed into world-wide prosperity. On the eve of returning to space exploration with these newfound resources, a disaster is on the horizon: in 100 years, a planet-killing asteroid will destroy life on Earth. It’s from this premise that this economics space simulator begins, allowing you to build your own colonies in this far-flung future. This browser-based game has some rolling 2020 release dates. It’s in First Access, which looks similar to beta-testing, as of June 2020, with plans to launch an Early Access round for players later in the year. While there are options to pay for expansions, the base game is free to play—and worth trying for gamers who enjoy the genre.

Star Wars: Queen’s Peril by E. K. Johnston

YA author Johnston (The Afterward) returns to the Star Wars galaxy with a book about Queen Amidala’s early days in her reign. Elected at only fourteen, Amidala has a lot on her plate, including creating a team of bodyguards who can be her eyes and ears in the galaxy. When the Trade Federation attacks, her team is tested—and she will discover if what she has created will last. This is Johnston’s second Amidala book, but steps back earlier into the character’s timeline to show how a girl became a queen—and a hero.

Shadow Fall: Star Wars: Alphabet Squadron by Alexander Freed

The best fighter pilots in the New Republic are back in the second book in Freed’s trilogy. Set after the events of The Return of the Jedi, the trilogy follows Yrica Quell on a search with fellow New Republic pilots, trying to search out Shadow Wing, the deadliest TIE fighters in the galaxy. Now, those TIE pilots are led by Yrica’s former mentor, Soran Keize, the last of the Imperial aces. Star Wars: Rebels fans will be happy to see General Hera Syndulla as a recurring character.

July

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Set in the world of Asaro’s “Skolian Empire” books, this third spin-off novel is part military SF and part private investigator, with a healthy dose of political intrigue. Major Bhaajan is retired from Imperial Space Command, and she’s become a hard-bitten investigator in the Undercity—an impoverished world in the shadows of the beautiful City of Cries. Through the events of the last two novels, she’s become the investigator for royal House of Majda, and when the powerful elite of Cries begin disappearing, the royals turn to Bhaajan to figure out who’s behind it.

Demon in White by Christopher Ruocchio

Ruocchio’s “Sun Eater” series, of which this is the third, combines epic fantasy and space opera, following the adventures of Hadrian Marlowe, commander of the Red Company. Hadrian’s successes for the Empire against a dangerous alien incursion have made him a legend—and have caused his political adversaries to decide to eliminate him. Seeking safety, Hadrian travels to a distant world’s library in an effort to discover the truth behind the Quiet—a now lifeless planet where humans originated—the first Emperor, and a long-dead, extraordinary race.

The Autobiography of Kathryn Janeway by Una McCormack

McCormack jumps Star Trek series in this focus on Voyager Captain Janeway. Through Janeway’s voice, McCormack explores Janeway’s career in Starfleet, as well as the events and characters of the television series that made Janeway the farthest traveling of any of the Star Trek captains.

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With the tagline “gender-swapped Alexander the Great on an interstellar scale,” Elliott’s new series starter introduces Princess Sun, who came of age in the shadow of her legendary mother. Under her reign, all of Chaonia has been united, and all invaders have been banished. But not everyone loves Sun’s mother—and not everyone thinks Sun should be the heir, putting Sun in a contest for survival, where she needs to not just win, but conquer.

Chaos Vector by Megan E. O’Keefe

In Velocity Weapon, the first volume of “The Protectorate,” Sandra and Tomas set free the most dangerous smartship in the universe. Now they’re on the run and not sure who to trust. Sandra knows only that she has mysterious coordinates locked in her brain—and she has to figure them out before the powers of the galaxy make her into their pawn.

The Relentless Moon by Mary Robinette Kowal

The third in Kowal’s fantastic “Lady Astronaut” series focuses on the mass-exodus of Earth, as climate disaster and a meteor strike spell doom for the planet. But politics are interfering with the IAC’s efforts to save as many humans as possible. Astronaut Nicole Wargin is thrilled to be one of the settlers developing the moon colony—but is less excited that her husband, Governor of Kansas, is eyeing a run for president.

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Timothy Zahn, Travis S. Taylor, and Michael Z. Williamson imagine what might happen if a Lunar colony made an economic and scientific discovery—and had no interest in handing it over to Earth. Earth, of course, has a different opinion, and isn’t about to let the Lunar colony keep the riches for its own citizens. In three separate stories, these well-known SF writers chronicle a fight for the moon’s independence.

Worst of All Possible Worlds by Alex White

“The Salvagers” series completes with this third and final book. Although the crew of the Capricious now operates on the right side of the law, they have plenty of powerful enemies who still want them eliminated. As they flee from their foes, they decide to run toward a legend: Origin, humanity’s birthplace. But when they encounter a long-dead form of magic, it may take down the gods themselves….

August

Seven Devils by Laura Lam and Elizabeth May

Eris was once the heir to the ruthless Tholosian Empire, but she faked her own death to avoid that fate. Now, recruited by the resistance to stop the Empire’s expansion, she finds herself right back in the middle of the intrigue. Focusing on seven resistance fighters striving to free the galaxy from the Empire, this first in a feminist duology plays with the themes of an overwhelming evil fought against by determined outsiders, striving to save the galaxy before millions more die.

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In this debut, multiverse travel is possible—but a person can only travel to a world if their counterpart is dead. Cara is alive on Earth, but dead on 372 other versions of Earth across the multiverse, making her a perfect candidate for traveling. Plucked from the wastes and given her own apartment in wealthy Wiley City, Cara is enjoying her life, until one of her remaining doubles across the multiverse dies mysteriously. Cara plunges into a new world, and learns secrets that might have been better left uncovered.

Poe Dameron: Free Fall by Alex Segura

Love or hate Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the peek it gave us into the backstory of hotshot pilot Poe Dameron definitely opened some doors to curiosity about the character’s past. Here, Segura (an Anthony Award-winning mystery writer, as well as co-president of Archie Comics) covers Poe’s tumultuous teen years, and his path toward the Resistance.

Star Trek: Lower Decks

Speaking of television we love to binge, the first season of Star Trek: Lower Decks, the comedic Star Trek adult animated series, launched in August. The support crew of the incredibly unimportant U.S.S. Cerritos deal with sci-fi anomalies all while trying to keep up with their job responsibilities. Check out our latest coverage of the series, and what to look forward to in Season 2.

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The Clone Wars may have finished its final season, but there are still stories to be told from that era of Star Wars, and this middle-grade anthology features eleven well-known SFF writers, many of whom have previously written for Star Wars, delving into those tales. There’s no need for familiarity with the television series here, but for younger fans, this is a little extra before having to really say goodbye to that era of storytelling.

Critical Mass by Craig Alanson

Some series peter out after more than nine books, but Alanson left the “Expeditionary Forces” on a cliffhanger in book nine. Lucky for devoted readers, Critical Mass resolves the hook in the first chapter, letting readers follow the Merry Band of Pirates on their next adventure, encountering hostile aliens and dangerous wormholes. But if they’re lucky, they may just discover a shortcut to Earth…

September

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini

Best known for his Eragon series, Paolini is back on bookshelves with his newest, a space opera featuring epic space battles and the wonders (and fears) of first contact. The story centers on xenobiologist Kira Navarez, whose routine mission to a distant, unsettled planet goes awry when she discovers an alien artifact. Now, the future of humanity may be in her hands. Den of Geek’s Nicole Hill covered the novel in an in-depth review.

Crown Chasers by Rebecca Coffindaffer

Alyssa Farshot has no interest in ruling the quadrant. Her mother may have brought peace, and her uncle may be emperor, but Alyssa wants nothing to do with the family legacy. But when her dying uncle doesn’t name her as his heir, instead calling for a “crownchase” race to find the royal seal, Alyssa puts in her bid to win, out of a duty to her family. When the race takes a deadly turn, she realizes that there may be more at stake than her own future—she may be fighting for the future of the quadrant.

Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order: Dark Temple

The Star Wars High Republic books may have been put on hold until next year, but Marvel’s ongoing Star Wars comics are still appearing in force. The latest trade paperback to be collected is Dark Temple, a lead-in to the single-player video game Fallen Order. The story of the comic follows Jedi Master Eno Cordova and his padawan, who were sent by the Jedi Council to excavate a temple on Onthotho. It was intended to be a peaceful mission, but the galaxy has changed, and there are dangers lurking around every corner…

Fearless by Allen Stroud

In this introspective novel, paraplegic tactician Ellisa Shann has no legs, but she’s incredibly well adapted to life in Zero-G. As captain of a search and rescue ship, Shann leads her crew of twenty-five to assist the freighters that supply human colonies on the Moon, Mars, Ceres, and Europa. A distress call Shann receives while on a routine run raises questions about the politics of space exploration. 

October

The Mandalorian on Disney+

Season two of The Mandalorian is here! After the first season of The Mandalorian exploded on the scene (and brought viewers flocking to Disney+’s new streaming service), viewers have been waiting to see the future adventures of Mando and The Child/Baby Yoda. In the season one conclusion, Mando and The Child were on the search for The Child’s family. Teasers leading up to this season have promised Star Wars Rebels and Clone Wars fans that we’ll see Ahsoka Tano making her first live action appearance! The popular series could even spin off future projects we’ll have to keep our eyes out for.

Star Trek: Discovery

Star Trek: Discovery season three has arrived! Season two sent the crew hurtling 950 years into the future, which means while some of the previous cast has returned, others have gone to other spin off series. Check out our full coverage of the series.

The Legacy of Tomorrow by Audrey Sharpe

In the fourth book of Sharpe’s “Starhawke Rising” series, which began with The Dark of Light, Aurora Hawke struggles with her own abilities when a battle shows her she’s more weapon than human. Despite being fiercely loyal to her crew, she abandons everything, going on the run in order to protect her friends from the greatest she’s encountered: herself. If you haven’t yet started this series, Sharpe has a whole library: in addition to the three earlier novels, there’s a short prequel, and a sister series, “Starhawke Rogue.” These are perfect for binge reading as the nights get longer!

The Art of NASA: The Illustrations that Sold the Missions by Piers Bizony

Normally, space operas and coffee table books don’t go together, but with The Art of NASA, Bizony offers a SFnal exploration of the art created for NASA to depict future missions. The imaginations of artists have enabled NASA to bring their vision for space exploration to the public, and gain support for their continued endeavors in space exploration and discovery. While some of the early pieces now feel a bit dated, many of these images still aim toward a future—where humans explore Mars or live in terraformed space stations.

Machine by Elizabeth Bear

Bear’s newest is set in the same universe as White Space, and features ships with minds of their own. Enter Dr. Jens, who jumps out of perfectly good spaceships to try to cure alien maladies. When she encounters a crew suffering from an unknown sickness, their shipmind trapped and memory damaged, she delves into the mystery, not knowing the terrible secrets she’s about to uncover.

The Rush’s Edge by Ginger Smith

Halvor Cullen, genetically engineered former soldier, can’t help but crave an adrenaline rush: he was modified to need excitement. When his best friend and former CO gets him involved with ship salvaging as a safe way to chase the Rush, he starts to form a friendship—and hope for something more—with crewmate and hacker Vivi. But Hal’s not about to lead a simple life: an alien intelligence invades their ship’s computer, and Hal and his friends find themselves embroiled in a conflict to determine the fate of genetically engineered and naturally born humans throughout the galaxy.

Thrawn: Ascendancy: Chaos Rising by Timothy Zahn

Zahn’s reinvention of his popular villain from the original EU (now Star Wars: Legends) returns in a new series, depicting Thrawn’s rise from a simple military recruit in the Ascendancy to the Imperial tactician we love to hate. This novel is the story of Thrawn’s first command, and an inkling into his backstory in the current Star Wars continuity. (Thrawn fans might have picked up the third in the post Return of the Jedi novel, Thrawn: Treason, when it pubbed in July, giving Zahn two Thrawn novels out on the market this year.)

Seven of Infinities by Aliette de Bodard

If you’re a fan of de Bodard’s Xuya Universe, the newest in her series of novellas is set for a limited hardcover release! Like The Tea Master and the Detective, this newest story features a mindship and a human teaming up to solve a mystery; in this case, however, Vân, a poor but honorable tutor with an illegal mem-implant is teamed up with Sunless Woods, a ship known as a thief and master of disguise. Together, they work to solve a murder—and end up uncovering even more secrets along the way.

“Wine Dark Deep” trilogy by R. Peter Keith

If you’ve ever been frustrated waiting for the second and third book of a trilogy, you know how nice it would be if they came out once a week. That’s exactly what R. Peter Keith did with the three books of his “Wine Dark Deep” trilogy, starting with Wine Dark Deep, continuing in Encounter at Jupiter and The Odyssey. Keith, co-founder of a NASA Space Act Agreement partner company, writes hard science with detail. The series starts when an asteroid mine is seized by revolutionaries, leaving the Ulysses without fuel, and unable to complete their mission. Captain Cal Scott isn’t one to give in to failure, and he’s determined to get their mission objective accomplished. The second book brings encounters with an alien object, while the third sends the Ulysses deep into uncharted space. While the series is set to continue, readers who like to binge can experience the first three adventures of the crew of the Ulysses in quick succession. 

November

Nophek Gloss by Essa Hansen

In Hansen’s action-packed debut, the first in a new series, Caiden’s planet has been destroyed. The only way for Caiden to survive? Join a misfit crew of aliens on a ship that may be sentient. But Caiden has more than survival on his mind. He wants revenge, and he’ll infiltrate the regime that destroyed his planet, or die trying. Hansen, whose own author bio reads like the origin story for a superhero, formerly worked at Skywalker Sound on films such as Dr. Strange and Avengers: Endgame, and she brings some of that SF feel to her own grim, found-family novel.

From a Certain Point of View: The Empire Strikes Back

A huge buzz went wild on Twitter in June 2020 as an incredibly diverse and awesome group of authors started posting the news: their short stories would be featured in the newest Star Wars anthology, celebrating the fortieth anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back. The authors all generously donated their proceeds to the First Book charity, which provides books and learning materials to children in need. So whether you want to know the naturalist’s perspective on tauntauns, are curious about how Dengar and IG-88 teamed up, want to know about how the Ugnauts ended up on Cloud City, or just want to see some great ships (both romantic and space worthy), this is going to be an anthology you can’t miss.

Titan volume 1 by François Vigneault

In a future where the moon Titan houses Homestead Station, and genetically-engineered Titan workers are at odds with their Terran managers, violence looms. MNGR First Class João da Silva expected Homestead Station to be a peaceful assignment, but it’s clear that the tensions are running too high, and unless the situation can be defused, riots—or worse—could break out. Phoebe Mackintosh quit fighting when she left the “mixing” circuit, but as the danger mounts, she teams up with da Silva to save Homestead Station from itself. This original graphic novel looks set up for sequels, and the premise should have readers eagerly awaiting more.

Star Wars Rebels by Akira Aoki

If you can’t get enough Star Wars Rebels, this new adaptation from mangaka Akira Aoki gives you a chance to relive the events of season one in a paperback format. Originally released in Japan as a web comic, the new manga version is collected into a paper volume by Yen Press.

Doctor Aphra by Alyssa Wong and Marika Cresta

Another Star Wars comic worth picking up is issue 6 of Doctor Aphra, a series set between Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, centering on a rogue archaeologist who operates on both sides of the galactic battle between good and evil. Issue 6 starts a new story arc (the first five issues will appear in a collected paperback in 2021), and Doctor Aphra is on the run from what seems like every bounty hunter in the galaxy. This includes Sana Starros (the infamous Sana Solo who, on a slow news day, astonished readers with the possibility that Han had been married before he met Leia!), and for Sana, the score is personal. If you’re interested in picking up a series comic, this is a great one to snag on Comixology or from your Friendly Local Comic Shop.

Star Trek: The Wisdom of Picard, edited by Chip Carter

Throughout the episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Captain Jean-Luc Picard showcased plenty of quotable wisdom. Now many of his thoughts on leadership, justice, and space exploration have been collected in this gift book by Chip Carter. For fans who already have the latest novels, this could be a great holiday selection, especially given that the quotes are accompanied by photography from iconic episodes in the series.

December

Memoria by Kristyn Merbeth

Although the Kaiser family emerged as heroes in Merbeth’s first “Nova Vita Protocol” novel, they helped the system avoid a war that they might have inadvertently fueled in the first place. Now, after two of the system’s planets have been devastated by alien technology, the Kaisers are looking for peace. But for spaceborn Scorpia, peace can’t be found planet-side, so she’s off on another shady job, while Corvus struggles to leave his past as a soldier behind. But unless they discover the truth behind what destroyed the two planets, peace may be forever out of reach.

Forthcoming…

The COVID-19 Pandemic pushed back many launch dates in the publishing world. This included the anticipated launch of the Star Wars: The High Republic line of novels, graphic novels, and other media. Here are the titles you can look forward to from that series in early 2021!

Star Wars: Light of the Jedi by Charles Soule

The new multi-format Star Wars initiative, also called Project Luminous, launches with this adult novel, the first in a new time period called the High Republic. Two hundred years before the events of The Phantom Menace, the Republic and the Jedi Knights are a source of order and peace in the galaxy. But something sinister threatens everything the Jedi have built—and even the Force itself. Two additional novels are included on this list, but as the comics don’t yet have release dates, it’s worth noting you should keep an eye out for Daniel José Older’s IDW book Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures, and Marvel’s Star Wars: The High Republic by Cavan Scott.

A Test of Courage: Star Wars: The High Republic by Justina Ireland

Because kids are Star Wars fans, too, this middle grade novel introduces the new High Republic setting to the 8-12 audience. Penned by Dread Nation author and Star Wars novel alumn (Lando’s Luck: Flight of the Falcon) Ireland, the story centers on a teen Jedi, a young Padawan, a tech-genius, and the son of an ambassador all stranded together on a jungle moon. Given the hopeful setting, it’s unlikely this will turn into the Star Wars version of Lord of the Flies, instead featuring some good old-fashioned lightsaber combat.

Into the Dark: A Star Wars High Republic Novel by Claudia Gray

Gray’s Leia, Princess of Alderaan was a very popular installment in the new chronology, so it’s no surprise the “Constellation Series” author is back for her fifth Star Wars novel. In this YA installment, Padawan Reath Silas would rather stay in cosmopolitan Coruscant than travel to the frontier. But when the galaxy-wide disaster launching the storytelling of the High Republic knocks Reath’s ship out of hyperspace, and he and the other travelers take refuge in an abandoned space station, Reath realizes there are secrets at work that could spell tragedy for everyone in his group.

What space operas are your favorite to read or watch? Which do you think were the best of 2020?