The best books in the rise and fall of Galactic Empires

Who am I?

My dad was a subscriber of “Astounding Stories." If you know the magazine, it is famous not only because it featured the giants of science fiction genre, but also for its colorful and imaginative covers. I didn’t have the right to read those stories until later, when dad thought I could understand them, but I loved the covers and imagined myself stories which started from them or used the scenes as inspiration for a short story which I wrote for myself. The science fiction bug wormed into my brain at that time. Then, I just devoured every novel which landed at home and kept writing. 


I wrote...

The Law

By Massimo Marino,

Book cover of The Law

What is my book about?

Tancredi Gilmor is one of the Law Scholars at the Tribunal of Ahthaza, the capital planet of the subjugated Kritas race. When the Tribunal adopts tougher measures against the mounting turmoils, and the marines tighten their grip on the population, violence escalates and Tancredi is confronted with the brutality of the space marines' oppression; his steadfast loyalty to The Law falters and puts his role within the Tribunal at risk.

Tancredi's behavior intrigues Mekte, a young female Kritas who sees in him the hope for a change. As a member of the Kritas insurgence, Mekte risks everything to meet with Tancredi in secret, believing that together they can and must change the world.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Stars, Like Dust

Massimo Marino Why did I love this book?

It is not possible to talk about “galactic empires” in SF and not naming/checking Asimov’s masterpieces. Asimov describes in breathtaking detail a highly complex yet credible and vivid universe and follows its evolution and the struggles in a historical buildup, encompassing several novels. Expect to feel like watching History Channel of the Future: you will see an empire rise, swell outward, stabilize, destabilize, fall, experience a Dark Age that lasts 30,000 years, and then rise again. Asimov based many of the details of his empire on the Romans, their history, and their Empire. Impossible not to feel how real his Galaxy thus becomes: here and there you will have the sensation that something familiar is unfolding in front of your eyes… if you have studied classics and history, that is. Asimov’s Galactic Empire is thus recognizable and with a familiar shape, and at the same time, it is the epitome of SF brilliance. It’s still one of the most interesting future empires ever imagined by a SF author.

By Isaac Asimov,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Stars, Like Dust as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Mankind has conquered space and moved toward the starry heart of the galaxy. Earth is a planet of no importance, riddled with radioactivity by long-forgotten wars.

When assassins target his rooms and news arrives that, many light-years away, his father has been murdered, student Biron Farrill flees for his life.

Stunned, grief-stricken, and outraged, Biron is determined to uncover the reasons behind his father's death, and finds himself entangled in a web of deep-space rebellion, espionage, and political intrigue.

Asimov's Galactic Empire novels are among the earliest stories by one of the twentieth century's greatest visionaries. Filled with ideas and…


Book cover of Dune

Massimo Marino Why did I love this book?

The empire which Herbert’s Dune offers the readers has so many original ideas, which could be used as a blueprint to create a variety of different galactic empires in different novels. Dune’s empire is one which could be the transposition in the future of the violent Medieval times in Europe, with factions perfecting the art of evil plotting, backstabbing, betrayals, secrecy, and zest of zealotry. Even after Paul Atreides rises to become emperor, and fulfills indeed a prophecy in the novel, the complexity rather begins there and then. The empire can be followed over the span of thousands of years, seeing the rise and fall of emperors, practically divine figures, and watching humanity scatters into the unknown. The empire folds and re-folds and treats the reader like the waves to a pebble on a shore, at times lulled by gentle pushes, other times captured and thrown back with force by the never stopping cycles of an unforgiving galactic empire with too many forces and pulls to ever hope for a rest.

By Frank Herbert,

Why should I read it?

51 authors picked Dune as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Before The Matrix, before Star Wars, before Ender's Game and Neuromancer, there was Dune: winner of the prestigious Hugo and Nebula awards, and widely considered one of the greatest science fiction novels ever written.

Melange, or 'spice', is the most valuable - and rarest - element in the universe; a drug that does everything from increasing a person's lifespan to making interstellar travel possible. And it can only be found on a single planet: the inhospitable desert world of Arrakis.

Whoever controls Arrakis controls the spice. And whoever controls the spice controls the universe.

When the Emperor transfers stewardship of…


Book cover of Flesh And Gold (Lyhhrt Trilogy)

Massimo Marino Why did I love this book?

By now, it should be clear I like trilogies, reading and writing them. The Lyhhrt Trilogy is a perfect example of incredible imagination and wordsmith talent. As in some of my writings, there is palpable lyrical style and a dense compositional approach to a story that explores the awful and worming guts that must be, de facto, the only way any vast empire can form, emboweled and ejected into reality. The Galactic Federation here is a hostage of the nobility or despicable evilness of those carrying authority in the governing organization: game of thrones anyone? The spine of the story, as in The Law, is of a GalFed Judge who realizes cruelty and slavery are the crude reality in an empire focused on satisfying the same base urges that humanity spends so much energy on today. A well envisioned complicated and messy universe, the way it should be.

By Phyllis Gotlieb,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Flesh And Gold (Lyhhrt Trilogy) as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A mature alien woman judge sees an amphibious human female, obviously a slave, displayed in a tank in front of a sex palace. And so a murderous plot of interstellar proportions, involving many races and planets, galactic corporations, explosive sex and horrible slavery is revealed.


Book cover of Ender's Game

Massimo Marino Why did I love this book?

Ender’s Game won both the Hugo and the Nebula awards and for reasons. It’s a military science fiction story that resonates amazingly well with today’s young generations. How to counter incredibly powerful assaults by a conquering galactic civilization when it appears all is lost and the ending is nigh? How to “think different” when face to face with a formidable foe which is beyond the grasping power of orthodox military powers? Kids, children, who are trained through increasingly difficult games and excel in beating the AI which behaves as the invaders and destroys invariably all adults, frozen in the learned military tactics and destined to fail the human race. The idea that this is a book from the eighties is fascinating. Interesting note: It has become suggested reading for many military organizations, including the United States Marine Corps.

By Orson Scott Card,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked Ender's Game as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Orson Scott Card's science fiction classic Ender's Game is the winner of the 1985 Nebula Award for Best Novel and the 1986 Hugo Award for Best Novel.

In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race's next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, Andrew "Ender" Wiggin lives with his kind but distant parents, his sadistic brother Peter, and the person he loves more than anyone else, his sister Valentine. Peter and Valentine were candidates for the soldier-training program but didn't make the cut―young Ender is the Wiggin drafted…


Book cover of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Massimo Marino Why did I love this book?

I wanted to end with a cheerful note. This is one of the funniest science fiction books ever written. The start? The Earth is being destroyed, and from then, an incredibly funny, out of this world (literally) series of events unfold. My suggestion is to read this book alone, or people will start looking at you when you start giggling and laughing.

If you’re not into laughing while reading science fiction, then my suggestion would be John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War. Follow John Perry: on his 75th birthday he does two crucial things which change his life; first, he visits his wife’s grave, then he joins the army.

By Douglas Adams,

Why should I read it?

30 authors picked The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This box set contains all five parts of the' trilogy of five' so you can listen to the complete tales of Arthur Dent, Ford Prefect, Zaphod Bebblebrox and Marvin the Paranoid Android! Travel through space, time and parallel universes with the only guide you'll ever need, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Read by Stephen Fry, actor, director, author and popular audiobook reader, and Martin Freeman, who played Arthur Dent in film version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. He is well known as Tim in The Office.

The set also includes a bonus DVD Life, the Universe and…


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The Festival of Sin: and other tales of fantasy

By J.M. Unrue,

Book cover of The Festival of Sin: and other tales of fantasy

J.M. Unrue Author Of The Festival of Sin: and other tales of fantasy

New book alert!

Who am I?

I’m an old guy. I say this with a bit of cheek and a certain amount of incongruity. All the books on my list are old. That’s one area of continuity. Another, and I’ll probably stop at two, is that they all deal with ordinary people caught in extraordinary circumstances—those curveballs of life we flail at with an unfamiliar bat; the getting stuck on the Interstate behind a semi and some geezer in a golf cap hogging the passing lane in a Buick Le Sabre. No one makes it through this life unscathed. How we cope does more to define us than a thousand smiles when things are rosy. Thus endeth the lesson.

J.M.'s book list on showing that somebody has it worse than you do

What is my book about?

The Festival of Sin is a three-story light sci-fi arc about a young boy rescued in 6000 BCE and taken to the home planet of the Hudra. Parts two and three are exploratory excursions. It's a fish-out-of-water series. More than fish-out-of-water. Fish-on-another-planet.

Plus, there are two fantasy stories dealing with people who must overcome "supernatural" circumstances, things well beyond the realm of common understanding. 

The Festival of Sin: and other tales of fantasy

By J.M. Unrue,

What is this book about?

The Festival of Sin is a three-story light sci-fi arc about a young boy rescued in 6000 BCE and taken to the home planet of the Hudra. Parts two and three are exploratory excursions. It's a fish-out-of-water series. More than fish-out-of-water. Fish-on-another-planet.

Plus, there are two fantasy stories dealing with people who must overcome "supernatural" circumstances, things well beyond the realm of common understanding. 


5 book lists we think you will like!

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