(Today’s author: Peter Hamilton)
I’m currently going through The Temporal Void (second book in his Void Trilogy), so I thought that I should mention his works generally. Peter Hamilton’s one of the more interesting science fiction authors out there: while his work is definitely part of the ‘hard space opera’ tradition, he’s also ready to play with some quite heretical tropes – at least, heretical for hard SF.
Case in point: his Night’s Dawn Trilogy explores the reaction of an interstellar civilization to empirical proof of the existence of an afterlife, particularly when its inhabitants start escaping from it en masse. His Mindstar trilogy (based in a globally-warmed, post-Communist, future Great Britain) is likewise ostensibly one genre (cyberpunk), but one that has been modified heavily in order to make it plausible that anybody would actually live in it voluntarily. And the trilogy that I’m reading now is a sequel to the two-book series Pandora’s Star and Judas Unchained, which rather sneakily inserts elves into a classic alien war scenario without anyone quite noticing until it was over and done with.
They’re big, fat books, and quite fun. Check them all out.