Pirates’ stories are extremely interesting to read or watch like the Pirates of the Caribbean movie series.
Today, let’s mix pirates with science fiction and read some sci-fi books with space pirates.
In this article, I’ve listed down the best space pirate sci-fi books I could find with some of them putting more focus on the space pirates while some of them keep the pirates on the side rather than in the center of the story.
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1. Artemis by Andy Weir
Artemis is the first city on the moon and a great place to live if you’re rich. If you’re not rich, just like Jazz Bashara, then things can get really tough.
Her job as a porter barely earns her enough to pay the rent and to survive in the harsh city, she smuggles contrabands.
When she gets the chance to commit the perfect crime and earn a lot of money, she takes it. But, her new job soon throws her right in the middle of a struggle for control over the entire Artemis city.
2. Consider Phlebas by Iain M. Banks
The Idrians are fighting a space war for their faith against a race called The Culture which used to be peaceful.
After a huge battle, a powerful artificial intelligence called the Minds escapes to a dangerous planet that not even the strongest would dare approach.
Horza is the shape-shifting captain of a mercenary group and he’s been hired by the Idrians to retrieve the Mind with the help of his motley crew before The Culture gets their hands on it.
3. The Warrior’s Apprentice by Lois McMaster Bujold
Miles Vorkosigan was meant for greatness following his legendary father’s footsteps by joining the military, but his weak body failed him before he could even get in.
After failing the tests, he returns to the Beta Colony and soon finds himself buying an obsolete freighter and falling into a huge debt because of it.
Even though he couldn’t follow his father, he still hasn’t given up. He starts his own mercenary group and takes on his first mission – deliver a shipment of weapons to the warzone.
4. On a Sunbeam by Tillie Walden
Mia fell in love with a mysterious student in her boarding school but things never worked out as she had hoped.
Years later, she joins a crew of people who rebuild destroyed structures throughout space. Her purpose for joining is to track down her long-lost love.
We follow her story as she falls in love and five years later starts her new job in reconstruction.
5. The Scar by China Mieville
Bellis has successfully escaped her home planet by boarding a ship transporting prisoners and slaves. For now, she plans to live quietly in a colony and return when things settle down back home.
But, her spaceship gets hijacked by pirates and the crew gets killed. The remaining people, along with her, are taken to Armada, a city built with the hulls of pirate ships on top of the ocean.
Sinister secrets about the city lie thousands of feet underwater and she must face them even if she doesn’t want to.
6. Revenger by Alastair Reynolds
Throughout space, civilizations rise and fall all the time, leaving behind their ruins and technologies.
The sole purpose of Captain Rackamore and his crew is to find these destroyed civilizations and loot their ancient relics, wealth, and technology. Adriana and Fura are the most recent members of Rackamore’s crew who joined to save their family from starvation and bankruptcy.
Many dangers await them on their journey, especially the most feared man in space, Bosa Sennen.
7. Starflight by Melissa Landers
Just out of the orphanage, Solara Brooks is desperate to leave Earth and start a new life in the outer realms where no one would care about her past.
She would give anything to get what she wants, even going as far as seeking help from Doran Spaulding, the rich jerk who made her life hell in high school.
But, when Doran gets framed for something he didn’t do, they both instead land on the Banshee, a notorious vessel. Now, they must work together to prove Doran’s innocence and evade those out to get them.
8. Shockwave by Lindsay Buroker
Casmir is a genius who built a robot to fight his bullies in school. Now, he’s a successful robotics engineer and a professor. His life was going great until robot assassins tried to kill him.
He boards the first spaceship he can and gets out of Earth. If he is to ever return home, he must find out who wants and kill him and why.
He soon finds himself entangled with all kinds of people, such as mercenaries and pirates, and the worst criminal in space – Captain Tenebris Rache.
9. Corsairs: Adiron by Ruby Dixon
For others being a pirate could be tough but not for the three Sithai brothers. They love being pirates, looting cargo ships, and even other pirates.
Their next treasure hunt could give them all the wealth they would ever need. The rumored Buoyant Star spaceship is supposed to have all kinds of treasures and they’ve found them in the far reaches of space.
But, it was all a trap, the beautiful human captain of the ship captured them all.
The United Earth Space Force has lost the war and Earth has been conquered by the enemies.
Captain Annette Bond was forced to escape with her hyperspace cruiser and hide from the alien enemies.
With inferior human technology and crude maps to rely on, she must find allies in pirates and slavers, if she wants to free her people. Can she destroy her enemies without becoming worse than them?
11. Junkyard Pirate by Jamie McFarlane
After coming back from Vietnam, Albert Jenkins grew quite fond of liquor. Now, he’s just a shell of his former self with a bulging waistline. His life nearly ends when scrap rocket parts fall on his house, but an alien parasite offers to save him in exchange for sharing his body.
Alien civilizations are planning to strip Earth of extremely important resources that humans don’t even know exist, and now it is up to Albert and his new friend to alert humanity using his old and rusty military skills.
Will he be able to stop the alien conspiracy before they get their hands on him?
12. Space Viking by H. Beam Piper
Lucas loses his wife on his wedding day. He sacrifices all his fortune to buy a spaceship and become a Space Viking, looting spaceships and raiding worlds, still hunting for his wife’s killer.
But, destiny has much greater plans for him than just being a Space Viking. He will go on to become a trader and one day, build his galactic empire.
13. Barbary Station by R.E. Steams
In a solar system suffering from the consequence of an interplanetary war, Adda and Iridian’s engineering degrees are worth nothing. Desperate for a job, they decide to seek employment at Barbary Station, an abandoned station now controlled by pirates.
But, as soon as they arrive, they learn that the pirates are living in an even worse situation than them. The AI of the space station has been corrupted and has killed a large part of its residents.
No one is allowed to leave the station and now, it is up to Adda and Iridian to defeat the rogue AI.
14. How We Stopped the Destroyers by Andrew Bugenis
The entire galaxy thought of “The Destroyers” as just a myth, a story parents tell to their children to scare them. Until they showed themselves one day and lived up to their name.
The Destroyers are the enemies of the entire galaxy and they’re winning. The only thing that can save the galaxy are the secrets of subspace, a space technology that everyone knows about and uses but no one truly understands.
Humanity is inching closer and closer to understanding subspace, but maybe it’s too late.
15. Space Pirates of the Black Nebula by Joseph Delmari
Humans have colonized the entire solar system after discovering space travel through Wormholes. Powerful corporations have usurped world governments to take control of space, with the biggest one being the Omega Corp.
Darion Reed, the captain of a mercenary ship, is approached by the Director of the external affairs of Omega Corp with an offer he couldn’t refuse.
16. Firebrandt’s Legacy by David Lee Summers
Despite being a notorious pirate, Ellison Firebrandt fights for his home. At the orders of the marque, he raids and loots enemy ships to slow down their progress and help Earth win the battles.
He finds a spaceship engine that could make him the most powerful pirate in space but the only person who can make it work is Suki Mori, a woman he saved on a distant planet. But, Suki is not keen on living as a pirate.
He must fight every civilization in the galaxy that wants the engine for themselves while relying on a woman who doesn’t trust him one bit.