Multiple Hugo award nominee, Ken MacLeod has written several successful Space Opera and Hard SF stories. Fortunately some of his short stories are available in free audio and/or text forms. Give them a read or listen and, if you like them, consider buying some of his non-free work.
• At Tor.com: "Earth Hour"
"The assassin slung the bag concealing his weapon over his shoulder and walked down the steps to the rickety wooden jetty. He waited as the Sydney Harbour ferry puttered into Neutral Bay, cast on and then cast off at the likewise tiny quay on the opposite bank, and crossed the hundred or so meters to Kurraba Point. He boarded, waved a hand gloved in artificial skin across the fare-taker, and settled on a bench near the prow, with the weapon in its blue nylon zipped bag balanced across his knees."
• At Subterranean Press: "A Tulip for Lucretius"
"I was deep in a Californian orgy when the summons came, like the voice of conscience. In fact: the voice of Father Declan, and not meant for me. But I had not been idle in the two years of the Malacandra‘s passage, nor in the even more dragging months of its inching across the Martian surface like one of the old, brave little rovers. I had the ship’s comms thoroughly tapped."
• At StarShipSofa: "Jesus Christ, Reanimator" in StarShipSofa Stories Vol. 1
"When I caught up with him, under the grubby off-season awnings of a Tiberias lakefront cafe, Jesus was philosophical about it."
• Via Free Speculative Fiction Online: "Who's Afraid of Wolf 359?" Direct Link PDF
"Here’s a fast-paced, freewheeling, frenetic romp that demonstrates that if life hands you lemons, make lemonade—no matter who gets in your way or what extremes you have to go to get them out of it. "
- At Escape Pod: "Who’s Afraid of Wolf 359?"
- At StarShipSofa: "Jesus Christ Reanimator"
- At StarShipSofa: "Lightling Out"
- At StarShipSofa: "iThink" Flash Fiction. Audio.