One of the interesting things about writing in a large-ish universe for, oh, a quarter-century, is that you’re pretty often meeting people who have read your work (or, even more interestingly, haven’t read your work), and who have formed opinions about the plot-line, the characters, the theme, the authors’ childhoods, and adult proclivities. . .
That being so, and because people will say things either to me or within my hearing, I find myself with a question, which I will now throw out to you, the readers of the Liaden Universe®:
What is, in your opinion, the Big Story (also known as the Real Story) of the Liaden Universe® novels?
There are no right answers, or wrong answers. Curious author is, as advertised above, curious.
16 thoughts on “Curious writer is curious”
It seems to me that the Real Story driving the LU novels is the Story of a family and in smaller parts, the lives of the people who make up that family. Relationships, relationships, relationships. How the members inter-relate, how outsiders relate, how they relate to the larger society. Probably over simplistic, but my answer none the less.
I think the central theme is balance. In the literal sense of finding your footing, discovering who you are and how you fit into the universe. In the Liaden sense of relational balance where help and hurt are all accounted for and brought to even. The larger over-arching sense of the balance between those who do harm and those whose actions leave health and well being in their wake, sometimes on a planetary scale.
A gracious life is one lived in balance with the people and environment around you, which can only be done when you own core is in balance. House Korval is nothing if not gracious, dangerous but gracious! 🙂
Ever since I read Crystal Soldier, I’ve been waiting for the Sheriekas to discover and attack humanity again, especially since there seems to be some external–and pretty alien–force behind the Department of the Interior.
So if there’s a Big Story behind the Liaden stories, I’d guess it to be humanity’s (and their allies’) struggle against these aliens.
Gee, I have no idea. I’ve never even thought about it. When I read science fiction or fantasy, I get caught up in the author’s universe as the author created it. I don’t assume I know or presume to know an author’s universe more than the author.
Oh, and will you reveal what the Big Story really is (if there is one) after we’ve all made our guesses?
Frances, I once got an email from a school kid who had read “The Naming of Kinzel” for a school project, and wanted to ask me some questions about the story. I said OK, and she proceeded to send me what was obviously the list of questions she was supposed to answer in her term paper, including: “In your own words, tell us what the story is about.”
I wrote back to her and told her that the story was my own words.
So, I’m afraid you’ll need to wait ’til we “finish” — and even then, everybody’s answer will be different.
No big reveal? I was afraid of that… 😉
If you say, “the Big Story” then I feel the need to go back to the origins and reference the classic duel between what we consider good and evil. Within that, I see all kinds of dynamic tensions of individual good balancing with the common good. This plays out in every story as life-death, person-clan,clan-planet, planet-galactic culture, subspecies-species and so on up to universe-universe. In every book there is some awareness of the larger game over a huge time-scape. Each character’s drama is compelling but few involved in the action have awareness of their place in a universe. The exceptions are the dramliza and others with similar talents. They and the trees, turtles, etc. who have much longer lives sometimes get glimpses but none see it all. I’d like to see some side stories involving the saplings that have dispersed with the Liadens. Are they all communicating with the parent tree? Have they and the turtles established an understanding? Are any of them within the notice of the stars? There is a lot going on over-under-behind the personal stories.
I’m going with braking it all the way down:
Good vs. Evil drives much of the action
While Love in its many facets energizes the personal interactions.
I would love to write a paper on… Some of this… But those days are long gone.
Elegant, reserved Liaden man learns to loosen up via his connection to a rough-edged Terran woman with a heart of gold? That one seems to have played out in a couple of different forms.
Your stories speak to me of the triumph of the human spirit over adversity…
I think the “Big Story” of the Liaden universe is the working out of the fact that…
All things work together for the good of those whom God loves who are called according to his purpose. Those He foreknew he also predestined and those he predestined he likewise called and those He called he likewise glorified. If God is for us who can be against us.
You have chosen to call Divine Providence “The Luck” but that God loves the children of Korval and thus both protects them and makes them good is blatantly obvious.
The interpersonal relationships and the romances are charming however there seems to be a really big story is hinted at in almost every novel. Crystal Soldier provides the most insight into this but I read it a long time ago and now find it hard to put into perspective with the other narratives. What is the Suss-dryad (Korval’s tree) doing in the long term with all its manipulation of events and the genetics of clan Korval and clan Erob (and those associated). Look how Theo is developing. The Sheriekas evolved from human-like characteristics, through a period where they produced extremely advanced and malevolent AI-driven technology, to what must be a state of pure energy beings. Why should pure energy beings care about primitive physical beings. Maybe the X, Y and M strain soldiers were fighting the left-over Sherieka planet-eating – star destroying technology rather than the Sheriekas themselves. Is this the kind of technology that has melded with the Commander of the Dept of the Interior? Is there a parallel with the technology Uncle installed in Bechimo that led to the integration of Bechimo and Theo? I suspect the Sherieka are no longer a threat but their left-over timonium powered technology that has slipped into the Liaden universe IS… and Clan Korval installed its clan house and planted its tree over a timonimum deposit!!!
Be polite and eat your vegetables, and perhaps your manners and your vegetables will save your life.
It seems to me that the Big Story is Anne’s Thesis and How It Plays Out. (And yes, I know that Local Custom wasn’t the first book written :)) but: Anne Davis develops the thesis that Terrans, Liadens, ad Yxstrang were once all one people with one language. The Great Migration stories show that Anne’s Thesis was absolutely right. Balance of Trade show how Terran and Liaden cultures have fractured in just a few short centuries. [Aside — probably too few short centuries for a literate people with electronic records, but . . . ] Local Custom, Mouse & Dragon, and the Agent of Change sequence show how fragmented and unable to communicate the cultures have become — to the point Anne’s Thesis has such shock value that some on all sides will literally commit murder to prevent its acceptance and dissemination. The Theo books continue showing how Terrans and Liadens both misunderstand and can come to work together. And going forward, given the end of Dragon Ship … ?
Korval vs. All Chalengers
Following Korval as it attempts to survive and maybe save the universe.