From the mail bag

So!  Yesterday was quite a banner day for Liaden Universe® appreciations.

There was Ryk Spoor’s guest column, here.

And there was also a column on Giant Freaking Robot, by Joshua Tyler, here.

Both are largely positive takes on the universe, and I encourage you to read them and share them, perhaps, with your friends who have yet to discover All Things Liaden.

Despite being largely positive, Mr. Tyler’s piece contains a sentence which has . . . horrified, concerned, and angered some Liaden readers and fans, and thus I find letters in my mailbox.  This blog post is a blanket reply to those letters, and statements of concern.

Mr. Tyler states:  “Sadly, Liaden co-author Steve Miller died suddenly on February 20, 2024. He was 73. It’s unclear if Sharon will continue writing the series without him. As a fan of the series, I hope not.” (bolding is mine)

Now, whether this is opinion or corrigendum, I can’t tell you.  I am not the author of the piece.  In general, it’s wise to assume that what the author wrote is what the author meant, and Mr. Tyler is, as we all are, entitled to his opinion.

What I can say is this:  There are three Liaden Universe® novels now under contract with Baen Books.  I am currently lead on one of those, the sequel to Ribbon Dance.  In addition, before Steve’s death and the attendant dis- and re-organizations engendered by that cataclysm, I was making notes for the sequel to the sequel.  Steve was lead on Trade Lanes, which had become increasingly difficult for him as his heart slowly failed him.  I may or may not be able, eventually, to finish Trade Lanes.  If not, another Liaden book will fill the third slot.

So, for the moment, Mr. Tyler must reside in disappointment.  Sharon will be continuing the series, but, not, as he supposes, “without” Steve.

The fact is that there would be no Liaden Universe® as we’ve all come to know it, without Steve’s input, genius, and wit.  He’s as much of the warp and weft of the Universe as the Tree, the Dragon, and the stars.

Summing up, and realizing that there are no guarantees, it is my intention to continue to write Liaden books and Liaden stories.  New titles will be published as by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, because that will be nothing more nor less than the truth.



27 thoughts on “From the mail bag”

  1. Amen and Amen and Amen!!!!! Will they be the _same_ new books they would have been with his physical contribution? Probably not, but! He will still be part of every word. Think about how the ‘voice’ of characters like Miri and Val Con and Shan and the rest resonate in your ears – we KNOW what they would probably say and do (mostly, this IS Korval, after all) in most situations. We trust that Sharon hear Steve’s voice just as clearly as ever, and will know what he would have said, for the most part. For the rest? We will trust the Luck.

  2. I’ve heard it said that a loved one is still with us as long as someone remembers them. Steve will be with us as long as someone reads his work.

  3. Yeah, I saw that line and thought, don’t they have 3 in play? And contracts matter, otherwise you wouldn’t have given dea’Gauss and his fam such a big supporting role in the Liaden Universe.
    Whatever you write, I will read. Equitable balance of labor.

  4. I was taken aback by the comment as well. So many Liaden fans are closely involved in the supportive community you have built, and we all know you have books under contract. That writing is the biggest part of your life, and your strongest connection to Steve. And that you are each individual writers well able to create a compelling book on your own. Then I thought, if he was not part of that community, if all he knew was that two people had created something he loves, and one of them won’t be writing anymore, then maybe a critical piece will be missing from anything that comes next. And that could have any number of negative consequences. I think in the end the comment came from his perspective as a reader, divorced from any understanding of your process as a writer. So I left it there. Nobody but you knows what the next book will look like, but you’re the best possible judge of the quality of Liaden fiction. The stories are in your head. I don’t know if he’ll make it into any of the next three books, but I am happily waiting to meet the Xtrang ambassador again, and I trust you to be able to tell me exactly what happened when he appears again.

  5. He is entitled to his opinion and I am entitled to mine which is diametrically opposed to his. You and Steve were a magnificent team, but team you were, and I know you are more than capable of continuing without his physical presence no matter how much it hurts. I applaud you, and I will continue to read your writing.

  6. Good on you! I was pretty appalled by that statement. Anyway you look at it, including the take that you just published, it’s pretty disrespectful. The universe may be bound up in Steve’s creativity, but it is equally bound up in yours. I have no doubt that you can continue to delight us. Ed

  7. Of course you will write. Of course we will read what you write. And OF COURSE Steve will forever be an integral part of the Liaden Universe. Mr. Tyler is simply uninformed.
    After so many years together in a deeply loving relationship, there is no doubt in my mind that you will always hear Steve’s voice whenever you listen for it. Stay courageous, Sharon. You are much loved.

  8. I was shocked by the casual cruelty of that remark . What a selfish statement to toss into the chasm of grief. Kudos to Sharon for taking on yet this additional burden of being proactive with the myriad questions in the midst of everything else she is already coping with. The strength of Sharon and Steve’s love and shared creativity shines through the Liaden universe for all to see. I, for one (and I anticipate that I am one of many), fully trust, respect, and support her choices and decisions at this time.

  9. “Not … without Steve.”
    Trooper, and other co-pilots, of all times, are also present and involved.
    Ride the Luck.

  10. Gas!! Don’t you just love it when a comment which stinks a little of sexism gets going.

    You, woman, are capable of doing what you say you will do, and anyone who says otherwise is also full of gas.

  11. I was flabbergasted and appalled by Mr. Tyler’s comment.

    You will of course make the decision that is best for you, but I am very much one of the crowd who hopes you will continue writing Liaden novels after fulfilling your current contract with Baen.

  12. Thanks for this. Hear those sounds in the distance? Those are the cheers for Sharon, for Steve, and for the Liaden universe.

  13. YAY! More words. Thank you, though of course those of us who have followed you all along knew you were still writing. ???

  14. I did NOT post question marks!! I didn’t know the form couldn’t handle emojis.

  15. I read that comment, and thought ‘what an arrogant and un-kind thing 1) to say, and 2) to publish!’ Not to mention, shouldn’t someone who is reviewing and writing about books have some clue about the 2 year publishing cycle, and also the idea of contracts?


    What the heckin’ EVEN?!?!?!


    Love and gratitude and ALL SUPPORT to you.

    Mr. Tyler? WTH?????

  17. Your connection to Steve sings through your work. Lifemates continue to hear and converse with one another. An uninformed, cruel and ultimately completely selfish comment – try to unhear.

  18. I linked back to his original post for a little more of the context. My almost-wholly-uninformed opinion is now that this is more-or-less a typo, that it does not express what he *meant* to say.

    I believe that had he wanted No More, he would have explained his reasoning further. He just went on “…as a fan…”

  19. I was out of the loop and am so sorry, just now hearing this.

    I hope that the words continue to flow well, and you write as many books in the series as you wish!

  20. Maybe it is just me, but I could never tell which of you guys was “lead” for any book or section thereof. I for one hope you continue writing Liaden books for as long as it gives you joy. To do so. And if at any point it stops giving you joy then I’m sure the fan base will help with dealing with the consequences of failing to fulfil contractual obligations!

  21. I’m inclined to cut the fellow a break. He’s obviously a fan who’s made a bit of a social faux pas, but; who hasn’t done that? Write On.

  22. As a fan, I hope you keep writing Liaden books and stories after the three in contract but what I hope most is that you do what feels right *to you *

  23. I also found that singular line jarring and for me, deeply offensive and presumptuous. I wanted to write to him and say so so but each time I started it looked like a screaming match on the interweb. L
    As crowded as your head must be with all the peoples, stories, and moving parts,
    I really like the idea of Steve’s continued existence in your psyche; like Alliana and Dave. I am not ready to give hime up yet. I probably never will.

  24. I agree with Richard Collier, I too cannot distinguish which author was the lead on any specific book, while I know you traded this office back and forth.
    I fully trust the books you continue to write will fit in well with the existing Liaden universe, as diverse as it is, and look forward to reading them.

    Thank you for your patience, grace and endurance in dealing with all that comes your way.

  25. ?? it ends up being “different,” writing the series without Steve, so what? You are an excellent author in your own write [sic]. And I’ll continue to pre-order each new novel in hardcover.

    The odds are in your favor. Look at other collaborative teams in the genre—Niven & Pournelle, Pohl & Kornbluth, Kuttner & Moore, Gaiman & Pratchett, Weber & Flint, GRRM & Snodgrass, etc. All proven to be worth the reader’s time, alone or together.

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