If you like Iain Banks, you might like...

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Neal Asher Gridlinked, The Line of Polity, The Skinner, and Brass Man

Fairly hard science space opera. The setting is reminscent of Iain Banks's Culture novels. The civilization at the center of the story is called the Human Polity but it's really run by AIs. Most of the stories center on the interactions between the Polity and the less advanced human worlds at its periphery. The most noticeable characteristic of Asher's books is the many varieties of technologically enhanced human (whether through cybernetic, biological, or nanotechnological means) he populates the books with.

John Barnes The Giraut Leones series:
A Million Open Doors, Earth Made of Glass, and The Merchants of Souls (this is far weaker).
In the far future, humanity has settled most of the nearby star systems using sublight ships but in the process has fragmented into the "Thousand Cultures": designer civilizations based on preservation of individual ethnic groups, literary traditions, or as-yet untried political theories. Everything changes with the invention of instantaneous matter transmission, which forces the cultures back together.

The first, and best of these books is A Million Open Doors. The protagonist, Giraut Leones is a 22ish musician in a culture based on an idealized version of French troubadour culture. He gets sent on a mission to Utilitopia, a culture founded on Rational Christianity, which consideres emotion weak and monetary transactions the only moral way to relate to other people, and somewhat accidentally starts a revolution. What's particularly fine here is how effectively Barnes manages to portray the cultures, which are completely artificial and yet somehow believable.

Barnes is fairly obsessed with violence and arguably misogynistic. Characteristic of these are Kaleidoscope Century (extremely violent) and Candle (less violent), which are both set in the "Meme Wars" universe. So is The Sky so Big and Black, which I haven't read. Mother of Storms is in a different universe but equally violent and probably more misogynistic.

Barnes has also written a lot of pulp: Patton's Spaceship, Washington's Dirigible, and Caesar's Bicycle are fairly readable, though schlocky.

Peter F. Hamilton The Neutronium Alchemist series: The Reality Dysfunction Part I: Emergence, The Reality Dysfunction Party II: Expansion, The Neutronium Alchemist Part I: Consolidation, The Neutronium Alchemist Part II: Conflict, The Naked God Part I: Flight, The Naked God Part II: Faith

Over 3,000 pages of wide scope space opera. Humans have expanded throughout the galaxy and are divided into two major sects: Christian Adamists who reject biotechnology and Edenists who use it extensively and have a telepathic link to each other and their (biological) ships and habitats. Aliens are in the picture, but don't play any active role. The basic plot concerns humanity's first encounter with what Banks calls an "Outside Context Problem"--an aggressive force they have no real way to counter. A Second Chance at Eden is set in the same universe but not in the same plotline.

Fallen Dragon, and Pandora's Star (first in a series) are pretty solid. I'm not a big fan of the Greg Mandel Mysteries A Quantum Murder and The Nano Flower but some people like them. They're SF mysteries set in the fairly near future.

Karl Schroeder Ventus
Another post-singularity story. This one's about the hunt for a fragment of an evil godlike intelligence which is set upon resurrecting itself and taking over.

An interesting premise: we've settled stars in the local area using sublight drives. Shortly afterward, we invent an FTL drive. The only problem is that it can't be started in the most of the star systems we've colonized, which surround brown dwarf stars. This creates a two-class system: worlds which have access to FTL and those which don't. Unfortunately, the actual plot lags quite a bit. Not too bad, though.

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