The author, Stephen Bennett, is an old retired fart who had a story he wanted to tell and no skills, just gave it a whirl. Even after four books it comes off as amateurish, pretty much the opposite of the literature than Banks wrote, but I just love his story. Surprisingly it's almost completely bereft of typos, misspellings, etc. It's so original, and uplifting and possibilities for it to continue to expand just abound. But anyone who goes ahead and tries it, be forewarned, it's not literature. There was a thread on the Amazon fantasy forum last year asking if you had a guilty pleasure book that you would be embarrassed to admit to. This is mine.
Along comes an interstellar cruise ship that they capture and take the humans to their training planet, which is very harsh and has some real vicious predators, to play with. Even the Krall don't populate this planet, it and the native creatures are more than a match even for the Krall.
The Eden books by Chris Beckett, especially Dark Eden
Vorkosigan by Bujold, especially Memory
Dune and Dune Messiah, the rest I can take or leave
Maps in a Mirror by Card (don't like him, love the writing...)
Me too... Although I love A Civil Campaign - the dinner party scene is priceless...
I'm more of a fantasy person, but...
The middle books in David Weber's Honor Harrington series - where it's starting to really hit its stride with scope, but before it lost steam.
John G. Hemry's JAG in Space series - it's not great literature, but it's an interesting concept and done well.
I've got more books that I'm fond of, in a nostalgic sort of way, or that were interesting. My husband introduced me to Arthur C. Clarke; not really my sort of thing, but it's eye-opening how the man could write stories that weren't necessarily complex, and in some cases are very dated, but are still compelling. A Fall of Moondust is one I particularly remember: very dated, the way the men solve the problem and the women make tea, and the story has a distinct lack of space battles etc... but he writes characters that live (and make tea), and he nails the suspense.