I don’t know your tastes, but if “modern”:Space Opera is your thing you could try the late Ian M Banks Culture series (start with The Player of Games, even though Consider Phlebas was published first and is chronologically first).
Alistair Reynolds’s Revelation Space is worth a look.
So is Anne Leckie’s Imperial Raadch series, starting with Ancilliary Justice
If you want something (much) more down to Earth, the alternate history space program in Robinette Kowal’s The Calculating Stars might appeal. (It won the Hugo for best novel this year - presented by Jeanette Epps - very appropriate).
If you are prepared to put up with fantastic elements in your SF, then N. K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth trilogy or Yoon Ha Lee’s Machineries of Empire series might be worth trying (for the latter read The Battle of Candle Arc first - as a taster and because it introduces some of the weirder stuff}
quote:The great classics rarely are, by definition. Publication date is not a concern.
I don’t think that The Mote in God’s Eye is a “great classic” in that sense. It was a work of its time and - in SF - a major work in its time. But things change.
For real classics I’d go to Stapledon for First and Last Men or Wells for War of the Worlds and The Time Machine. Or some of Ursula le Guin’s SF - The Dispossesed is considered a classic.
For influential works I’d go for E. E. Smith’s pulpy Lensman series (skip Triplanetary for sure and probably First Lensman too). Maybe the original Foundation trilogy, too (although I haven’t reread it at all recently and I was greatly disappointed by a reread of Asimov’s robot stories).
quote:I remember really enjoying Dune - are the sequels worth delving into?
Dune Messiah is good. Children of Dune completes the original trilogy. The sequels written by Frank Herbert are interesting enough I won’t tell you not to read them, but don’t expect them to match the originals. If you can get through God Emperor of Dune you may as well read the rest.
As for the additions by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson I refer you to my previous answer.