I complained to Janos that all sci-fi is based on feudal societies, dictatorships, monarchies, everything but liberal democracies. So Janos recommended The Prefect, by Alastair Reynolds.
At times in the book I thought, 'Inspector Morse in space'.
Well written, would work as a detective novel without the sci-fi bit. But what makes it really good is that the technology, aliens and spaceships etc are brilliantly thought out.
There are plenty of moral questions raised, and dealt with in a mature way.
I thought that perhaps Reynolds could have made Aurora less evil. It would be more morally interesting if her only crime were to suspend democracy. How many lives would it be worth to keep democracy, if the alternative was a benign dictatorship?
Janos has lent me Revelation Space, which I'm looking forward to reading in France.