Books eight, nine and ten are combinable. A single highlight from each. Both big slabs of scienceficitonal worldifying. I was in a mood for that stuff. It happens.
Peter F Hamilton's The Evolutionary Void contains this handy description of the world of RIG:
"They didn’t speak any human language, she knew; nor had they ever shown any interest in anything other than their own peculiar tongue, with all its cooing and warbling and trills that conveyed only the shallowest of meaning. Commonwealth cultural experts assigned to the world-walking aliens found it hard to follow their whimsy. Allegedly it indicated a completely different neural process to that of blunt human rationality."
And this bit from Neal Asher's The Technician (Polity 4) is a brilliant and surprising truth to be found amidst the space violence.
"‘Too little drama,’ Amistad stated. ‘Humans always require drama when changing underlying belief structures else they fall back into the old patterns. They need an excess of pain, joy, strong emotion or new experience, to impress the change upon the dull recording medium between their ears.’"
And this bit from Surface Detail by Iain M. Banks will come in handy for many a presentation about technological discontinuity.
"We’re like pre-wheel primitives looking at a screen and saying it can’t work because nobody can re-draw a cave-painting that quickly.”"