In his series of Culture novels Iain Banks did this.
When I first picked up a Culture novel I was hooked from the first paragraph and like a starving man I devoured every word since.
It was a re-birth of the Space Opera sub-genre of Science Fiction when Consider Phlebas was first published back in 1987. Many have since followed with works of great worth, but for me none have reached the heights that Iain M Banks brought us.
Safe journey GSV Sleeper Service and its latest passenger on your way to Leo II.