The best books with romances in space opera

Roger Alan Bonner Author Of Milky Way Tango: Volume One of the Belt Stories
By Roger Alan Bonner

The Books I Picked & Why


By Charles Bukowski

Book cover of Women

Why this book?

This is a fascinating, though quite odd, story about an alcoholic writer of novels and poetry. In middle age, the writer becomes famous. Fame propels him through a succession of increasingly bizarre sexual encounters with women. From this beginning, Bukowski proceeds to a surprising, conventional ending, almost a cliché, which stands out against the bizarre scenes preceding it. The writing in Women is incredibly expressive, compact, direct, and efficient. As a result, the story absolutely flies. Bukowski is the most creative literary stylist I have read; Women, his best work.

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The Prince and the Pauper

By Mark Twain

Book cover of The Prince and the Pauper

Why this book?

Among novels that combine literary invention with real world punch, none stand taller. In Prince, Twain uses careful control of character perspective to shed cold, objective, devastating light on the treatment of the poor and the lame in nineteenth century Britain. His device is a mix-up of two characters with identical looks – an impoverished street urchin and the crown prince of Britain. The reader views the Royal Court through the eyes of an urchin, and the streets of London's worst neighborhoods through the eyes of a prince. The book triggered global rage and led England towards radical change in its treatment of the poor and the weak. It is a work of genius. 

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The Old Man and the Sea

By Ernest Hemingway

Book cover of The Old Man and the Sea

Why this book?

In this short novel, an old fisherman takes his boat out to sea, is swept away on the Gulf Stream, and catches an enormous marlin which he can bring back to port only by tying it to his boat. At this he fails. In a protracted battle, a relentless shark hits the marlin repeatedly and eats most of it. Throughout, the old man keeps fighting and never loses his faith in himself or his task. When he finally returns to port without a catch, he sleeps soundly, dreaming of baseball and the great Dimaggio. To me, this novel is an elegant statement of the beauty of life and the corollary notion that it is the journey, and not the destination, that matters.

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The Lord of the Rings

By J.R.R. Tolkien

Book cover of The Lord of the Rings

Why this book?

Most everyone knows (much of) the Hobbit stories due to contemporary movies. I cherish these books for two reasons. First, the writing is structurally sound; it is literally a graduate course on writing fiction. Second, to me, these books read as a lament and a warning of cataclysmic social and political changes resulting from the rapid advance and widespread adoption of technology (particularly the production of various animals - orcs and others - designed for war). In writing these books, Tolkien saw far.

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Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

By Lewis Carroll

Book cover of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Why this book?

In terms which do not apply to any other novel – except in a trivial or superficial way – this novel is unique, an astounding achievement. Carroll conjures an entire fantastic world and its odd creatures, conventions, heroes, and villains. Most stories maintain a connection to the real world in which the author lived. In Alice, Carroll leaves all that behind in a beautiful and captivating fashion. All at the other end of a rabbit hole. Who knew?

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