Archive for the ‘Liaden Universe®’ Category

And not only that!

Steve reminds me that today! is Book Day for the mass market edition of Necessity’s Child!

So, those who’ve read/listened to previous editions, you want to tell people who may have been hanging back, not sure that they want to read a book that’s not in the “main line” why they should give Necessity’s Child a chance?  No spoilers, please.


So, Today I Read Agent of Change

Agent of Change (it says here) was completed in October 1984.  It was acquired by Del Rey Books in December 1986, and published on February 1, 1988.

That’s like. . .wow.  Written thirty years ago.

According to this list here, 1,496 science fiction and fantasy novels were published in 1988.  Lee and Miller were responsible for two of those — Agent, and Conflict of Honors (completed in 1986, a mere 28 years ago).

Now, what you need to understand about Life, and Science Fiction, and All, back thirty years ago, is that. . .Things Were Different.  It’s rather amazing, how many things/ideas/cultural norms have changed in a mere thirty years, including science fiction, how it was written, and who it was written for.

The happy proliferation of women kicking ass that we enjoy today; stories of strong relationships between passionate equals. . . that’s a recent development.  Thirty years ago?  We didn’t have that.

We were starting to have it.  Lois Bujold had already published Ethan of Athos, Shards of Honor and Falling Free (among others, but those especially), by the time Lee and Miller got their break.  And of course, Anne McCaffrey had been doing her particular thing since 1967.

What Agent of Change, and Conflict of Honors were, back a quarter-century ago?  They were ground-breaking.

And the thing is?  We meant to do it.

We meant to tell stories about strong, capable, smart women.  We meant to tell stories about men who weren’t threatened by strong, capable, smart women, and who were themselves strong enough to accept the vulnerability that comes with being in touch with their own emotions.

We meant, in short, to effect change.

We intended, ourselves, to be agents of change.

And! Because we were determined to write science fiction, we had to do all this, like Ginger Rogers, while dancing backwards, in heels.  We had to write a science fiction adventure story that would appeal to the audience science fiction was at that time written for — that mythical fourteen year old boy.

On all those levels, Agent still succeeds.

There are car chases and gun fights and bar brawls and Interesting Aliens and All Kinds of Exciting Things Going On, and even a Girl In Trouble.

However.  Miri Robertson is a self-directed woman who is more than capable of taking care of herself and, as needed, her less-than-completely-sane partner, and the other women in the book are equally powerful: Suzuki Rialto is the senior commander of a mercenary unit; Liz Lizardi is retired from the same business.  Even the daughter of the local mob boss has moxie and self-worth, and, frankly?  Angus is not gonna be wearing the pants in that family.

And the struggle of Miri’s less-than-completely-sane partner?  Is the struggle for his integrity, and his soul.

So, my thoughts upon reading the child of our youthful ambition?  Am I ashamed of it?  I am not.  Do I think we could have done better?  Not at the time.

I think Agent still stands.  Yes, it was written thirty years ago, by young and possibly too earnest writers.  And, if it’s no longer a subversive work; it still stands as an adventure story, with heart.

. . .If you’d like to read Agent of Change, you may download it, for free, from the Baen Free Library or from Amazon.


On the topic of space leathers

NOTEThis is not a call to seek out the review cited below and castigate the reviewer, who is, after all, entitled to her opinion.  Indeed, I’m grateful to her for presenting a viewpoint that would have never occurred to me, and for presenting me with an opportunity to explain the origin of an important part of the Liaden Universe®

This is a riff off of a reader review of Carousel Sun.  I do read reviews, and sometimes I riff off of them.  Consider yourselves warned.  This particular review took exception to the appearance of the word “leathers” in Carousel Sun, when, if I understand the argument correctly, “leathers” had already been co-opted by the Liaden Universe® and ought never appear in any other work written by me or by Steve.

Even, apparently, when it is the correct word (i.e. the protective clothing worn by motorcyclists are referred to as “motorcycle leathers,” or “leathers.”  Here’s an example of cycling leathers.) used in the correct world, by the correct people.

Which is, IMHO, a. . .really interesting viewpoint.*

But!  It got me to thinking about the origin of “space leathers” in the Liaden Universe®.

Steve and I grew up in the 1960s, when the Great Public Mind was in the process of mythologizing World War II.  That meant that we saw a lot of war shows on television, including:  Combat!, McHale’s Navy, Twelve O’Clock High, The Rat Patrol, Hogan’s Heroes. . .among others, and a whole stack of movies:  The Longest Day, Dirty Dozen, The Great Escape, Bridge on the River Kwai, von Ryan’s Express, &c, &c

My dad used to make it a point to take me to see war movies, as a father-daughter bonding thing.  Most, if not all, of these movies, featured pilots.  And the pilots were. . .heroic. They wore their leather jackets with pride and with attitude.  The other characters might have reservations, but even those who did honored the pilots for their courage, derring-do, and amazing ability to pull things out of hats.

When it came time to write the Liaden Universe®, and fill in Clan Korval’s pilots-by-intention lineage, with a birthright of attitude, courage, and over-the-topness — we dressed them as they deserved — in space leather:  protective gear that was instantly recognizable, even by those who were not pilots (or Scouts), which not only protected them, but illuminated and increased their mystique.


*Leather has, of course, been used throughout history as protective clothing; after all, it’s tough.  Conquistadors wore leather; American Indians wore leather; Vikings wore leather.  I speak here only of the leathers that influenced us.

For Hugo consideration

It’s silly season in the SF/F world; the season when All the Writers remind All the Readers, and especially those who vote on the Hugo Awards, which of their works are eligible for Hugo consideration.

The 2014 Hugo Awards, for works published in 2013, will be presented at the 72nd World Science Fiction Convention, LonCon 3, to be held in London, England, August 14-18, 2014

If you’re not sure if you’re eligible to nominate and/or vote in the 2014 Hugo Awards, here’s the link to the rules.

If you are eligible to nominate, I will now mention that Sharon Lee and Steve Miller published several works in 2013, which are eligible for consideration.  They are:

Necessity’s Child, Baen, February 2013
Trade Secret, Baen, November 2013

“Eleutherios,”, January 2013
“Moon’s Honor,” Splinter Universe, February 2013

Short Story:
Out of True,”, October 2013

When nominating, please keep our work in mind.

Thank you for listening.


Trade Secret audiobook giveaway a true international affair

Reposted from Welcome to Liad

We’ve just sent out the redemption code to our five lucky Trade Secret Audible audiobook giveaway winners — congratulations!

If I’ve previously contacted you as a winner, do let me know if you don’t get the email in a reasonable time.

And for the record, those winners identify themselves as coming from Boston (Mass, USA), Flensburg (Germany), Innisfail, (Alberta, Canada), USA (city unreported), and Omaha (NE, USA). We’d like to thank everyone for playing, sharing, and reading our work!

If you’ve been holding off while hoping to win and want to grab yours now that you haven’t, here’s your spot!

Authors’ copies arrive!

Coming soon, very soon, to a bookstore near you!

A Liaden Universe® Constellation, Volume Two. On sale January 4, 2014 Art by Stephen Hickman

A Liaden Universe® Constellation, Volume Two.
On sale January 4, 2014
Art by Stephen Hickman

Contest Over!

Thanks to everyone who told the story of their First Contact with the Liaden Universe®. The topic — HERE — is still open to those who want to tell their stories, but the contest is now closed.

The recipients of the five free Trade Secret audiobooks graciously supplied by Audible, will be chosen from among those who commented before the midnight, Friday, December 6, deadline.

Watch Welcome to Liad to find out if you’re one of the lucky winners, and for instructions on how to claim your prize.

Steve and Sharon

Regarding scheduling and the “next REAL book”

Good morning.

I hope everyone’s weekend is going well.

Here at the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory, we’re shredding and cleaning, and getting ready for the book tour — you’ve heard about the Trade Secret Book Tour, right?  Here’s the link.   Hope to see you at one or more of our stops!

So, last week the ebook edition of Trade Secret hit virtual bookshelves at Baen, BN, Amazon &c.  This means that a number of people have read the novel; and that, of that number of people, a smaller, but very eager, number have written to me wondering when they can read (choose one) the sequel/the next Theo book/the next book in the REAL timeline/what happens to Daav/fill in the blank.

I’m answering those questions here in part because I don’t want to have to answer every single one of those emails individually, and also in the hope that all the rest of the people who are wondering these same things will read this before they feel compelled to shoot off an email.

Regarding the title of the new next book to be published by an Author of the Confusion Factory — that will be, to the best of my knowledge, Carousel Sun, in February 2014.  (Yes, I do realize, as a couple folks have pointed out, that Carousel Sun is not listed on the Baen website as an upcoming book; UPDATE:  A kind friend points out that Carousel Sun is, indeed, on the Baen Publication Schedule.  Here’s the link.  I take the word of the young man who told me that it was not listed as being part of any “bundle,” since the ways and means of “bundles” are obscure to me.  I don’t know why any of these things are so — or not so.  My information is this:  Carousel Sun is listed on Amazon and BN as a February book.  Further, I’m told by Baen that the galleys will possibly be ready for me to read when we return home from the book tour.  That’s all I got.)

OK, so:  Carousel Sun, February 2014 is the next “new” book; after that — perhaps Carousel Seas (which was turned in in August, so it could possibly appear in the Spring of 2014 — this is, please note, pure speculation on my part; I don’t make the Baen publishing schedule.)

After that?  I dunno.  The next book set in the Liaden Universe® is due on Madame the Editor’s desk in May 2014.  Again, pure speculation, and assuming such variables as a very clean manuscript and space in the schedule, it could, maybe, appear at the very end of 2014.  Could.  Maybe. See above re my involvement in making the publishing schedule.

For those who are “turned off,” as one correspondent put it this morning, by the Carousel books — you’ve got, yes, a long wait before you.  While I know you may be disappointed, I will ask that you please keep your disappointment to yourself — done is done.  The particular set of delivery schedules that created this inconvenience for yourselves was set years ago, ‘k?  And I happen to like the Carousel books, and hearing how they’re minor, or disappointing, or whatever, makes me sad.  It’s far more difficult for me to write anything when I’m sad.  Just sayin’.

So, moving onward, what can the longtime readers of the Liaden Universe® expect?

You can expect, eventually, five books.  I can say with complete confidence at this point that NONE of those five books concerns the doings of Jethri Gobelyn ven’Deelin, so those of you who are jonesing for a third (!) Jethri novel are going to have to find solace elsewhere.

Will any of those five books be in the REAL storyline?  Well, that’s more difficult to say, there being a number of definitions of what, exactly, the REAL storyline is.  Steve says all of them are in the REAL storyline (he can say so, if he likes; after all, he was there at the beginning), but some readers interpret the series differently than he (and I).

Let’s put it this way:  The books — as pitched, and purchased — concern the ongoing adventures encountered by members of Clan Korval as the Clan tries to settle into its new role, on Surebleak, and in the wider Galaxy.  The next book — the book we’ve started work on just recently, is not a Theo book, by which I mean that Theo is not the main character.

Those of you who have been with us since September 2012, at least, will recall that these five books — The Five-Book Dash, as we’ve been calling it — are, in their entirety, the “sequel” to Dragon Ship.  I am made to realize, from email, and other comments, that this is, in essence, “pulling a Wheel of Time.”  Which is apparently a Bad Thing.  Whatever*.

The way we look at is that the five books coming are sequels to all the books preceding them:  Agent of Change, Crystal Soldier, Fledgling, and all the etceteras of them — every one of the seventeen prior Liaden novels feed into the action of the melded storylines you’ll be seeing.  Remember how we say, over and over again, that the Liaden Universe® is not a straight-line series?  We really mean that.

Think of it this way:  The Books of  Before are a short road that intersects and flows along with another little street, The Space Regencies.  That combined street makes a slight bend and suddenly we’re on the main thoroughfare of the Agent of Change Sequence, down which we proceed for quite a number of blocks until it crosses The Theo Waitley Sequence, with which it runs parallel for a time, eventually merging with it onto the interstate — The Five-Book Dash.

If this seems unnecessarily complicated to you — well. . .it’s the way our shared mind-space works, so we’re all sorta stuck with it.

Now!  Not to belabor the point, but in the interests of Absolute Clarity, I offer here the publication schedule as it is known As Of This Moment:

November 2013 Trade Secret
January 2014A Liaden Universe® Constellation Volume 2
January 15, 2014:  “The Gift of Music,” free short story, Baen website
February 2014Carousel Sun; Necessity’s Child mmp
March 2014Necessity’s Child mmp

Here is the delivery schedule for the next five Liaden Universe® novels (aka the date that each novel is due in Madame the Editor’s hands):

May 15, 2014:  First of Five
February 15, 2015:  Second of Five
November 15, 2015:  Third of Five
August 15, 2016:  Fourth of Five
May 15, 2017:  Fifth of Five

* * *

OK.  Who has questions?


*The published Liaden Universe® is almost exactly two years older than the Wheel of Time.  Just so you know.

Mark your calendars

Remember!  On October 15 — hey that’s next Tuesday! — Baen will be serving up “Out of True,” by Lee and Miller on its front page.  That’s right, free story!

Here’s a taste:

Squithen was gone from the forest clearing, which was good. The stench of the recent carnage was starting to reach him now and had it reached her she’d been here still, covering her nose as well as her eyes, counting or vocabing, one or the other.

That’s October 15, at, front page, below the fold.


. . .In other news, I finished proofing the galleys for A Liaden Universe® Constellation Volume 2



Madame the Editor asks a boon of the readers of Liad

Many thanks to everyone who sent Hevelin cites!  We have them all now, and Madame the Editor sends her gratitude!  You guys are great.

* * *

Advertent readers will have noticed that Dragon Ship bore a dual dedication — to Anne McCaffrey and to Rusty Hevelin.

While many, many readers knew Anne and/or her work, fewer people knew Rusty, who was an active and impish presence in the science fiction community for 70 years.  Yes, you read that right.  Seventy years.

I met Rusty when his hair was still red (here’s a picture from that era), at. . .CONfusion, I guess it was, in the late 1970s, and we’d run into him, in the way of con-going fandom, off and on over the years.  I think I last saw him to speak to at the Denver WorldCon in 2008, where he greeted me with, “Good to see you here!  Denvention THREE.  Who would have thought?”  (Here’s what he looked like, then.)

By reason of having been a member of the community for so many years, Rusty, of course, knew everybody.  And it was this aspect of him that Steve and I chose to celebrate when we created Hevelin the norbear for the Liaden Universe®.

Now, for the last several years of his life, Rusty made his home with Joe and Gay Haldeman, who are Personages in the sf community — and very nice people.  It is on behalf of the Haldemans that Madame the Editor asks her boon.

Madame would like to locate all of the sections in the Liaden books that feature Hevelin the norbear, in order to send them to the Haldemans.  I think this is lovely; I think they’ll be amused.  Hell, I think Rusty would have been amused.

I will appoint myself as gathering-point.  What I would like to ask, adding my plea to Madame’s is this:

If those who have the time would send to me, at rolanniATkorvalDOTcom, scenes in which Hevelin appears, I would very much appreciate it.

I will need the following information:

Title of Book (and if included in a omnibus edition)

Pages on which scene starts and ends (if paper) with a search phrase from the scene

Cut ‘n paste of the scene itself (if electronic)

. . .I’m thinking that Hevelin first appears in Mouse and Dragon, and has parts in Saltation, (possibly) Ghost Ship, and Dragon Ship.  Please note that we are at this time only interested in Hevelin; other norbears need not apply.

Thanks in advance for your help!


What Has Gone Before