Liaden Universe - Where to begin
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Is it better to begin reading Lee and Miller in publication order or chronological order? Truthfully, I'd prefer chronological order, but is there some reason not to do so?
I favor publication order because some of the mystery (and, perhaps, wonder) about Liad, Korval, Tree and Dragon, Val Con, etc., won't be as mysterious or wonderous when you get to the books written originally in the 1980's; but that's just me. Either way, don't forget to read the "chap books" (I think that's what the authors call them) that are essentially short stories written in the Liaden Universe. I think they're available in e-book packs via Baen books and/or, possibly, directly from the authors in a pamphlet format (that's how I got mine many years ago, though I think I'm missing some of the later ones).
Publication order - definitely!
A lot of the charm of the later works would be lost - even though they are chronological prequels, there is a richness of connection that would be missed.
More: in the case of the 'historically' earlier trilogy - these authors accomplished the incredible - they managed to keep the plots unpredictable.
I've followed Lee and Miller since their first appeared, published in mass market by Ballantine, originally.
Definitely publication order--start with Agent of Change. As the others have said, you will lose a lot of the sensawunda if you go in chronological order.
Once you've read them through once, you'll probably want to go back and read them again in chronological order, but then it won't matter since you will already have the whole backstory by then, and you are going to want to re-read them anyway.
Baen has most of the chapbooks - the Liaden Unibus I and II have (almost) all the short stories up through chapbook #12 (the current one, as of December 2010, is #17). The later short stories have been released directly from Steve & Sharon, through www.pinbeambooks.com on Kindle, Nook and Smashwords (all without DRM, yay). Here's a good listing - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liaden_universe . And Baen has a couple that aren't released anywhere else...and then there's Splinter Universe...
Steve & Sharon are good at keeping their fans fed. Yum yum - always hungry for more!
Not necessary to read in order, as they are stand alone books but there is that interweaving you will pick up on and then want to reread all over again.
Being a Luddite I loathe the fact the authors have jumped onto the ebook revolution...
>9 "Being a Luddite I loathe the fact the authors have jumped onto the ebook revolution..."
I find this remark so funny, since it is because of the Liaden books that I started buying ebooks. (This is back when Embiid was their epublisher.) It was at Balticon 37 in 2003 and I was intrigued when one of the con-goers (conventioneers?) was using her ebooks to find information and ask questions of the Guests of Honor.
On to the original question: I like publication order, however I started the series with Local Custom because that's the first book I found (with a lovely introduction/blurb by Anne McCaffrey). I did read the rest in publication order.
So I went to our legendary local science fiction bookstore, Uncle Hugo's, to buy a few of the books in publication order, as advised. Lo and behold, they had The Agent Gambit, The Dragon Variation, and Korval's Game. That's seven books total and two have been signed! Woot! Now I am in the middle of reading these volumes and wish I could lock myself away somewhere to finish them. Darn that job that pays the bills, but steals reading time!
Thanks all! The Liaden Universe does not disappoint.
Do not go to Uncle Hugo's alone. Always use the buddy system. And do not forget to bring extra food and water in case you get trapped in a book pile collapse.
>13 I unequivocally agree with you. Teenagers that spend at least 50% of their time texting make the best buddies for such excursions, and can assist in badgering you to leave before starving.
Thanks for the e-book reference. I have all their books but the "chap" issues. I just couldn't get past some of cost $7 to $10 for a short story. Well recheck source for e-book releases or anthologies grouping various short stories. Of course the problem with short stories is that their are well...short, and for well liked writers that always seems to leave me wanting for a full length treatment.
Oh, yes I think it is better to read in published order. But if you acquire out of sequence it isn't a show stopper, go ahead a read what you have.
Check Baen Webscriptions - the Liaden Unibus I and II are $5 apiece and contain quite a few of the chapbook stories - all but the last 2-3 books.
ETA as I said above - really should remember to look back in the thread before writing!
Hi- I'm new to this website and I joined to ask a couple questions. I have loved the Liad Books from the late eighties onward and I was ecstatic to find that Lee and Miller were able to be republished and continue in expanding the series as it so richly deserved.
I also urge you to go to http://www.baenebooks.com/ and enjoy! The sample Chapters should convince you to read the whole set. I personally would start with Agent of Change Then Carpe Diam, Plan B and I dare, then go to Local Custom and Scout's Progress, ect.
Additionally, Bean has a delightful readers forum- Bean's Bar- complete with a slush pile set of novels for the adventurous looking for a diamond in the rough. AND Bean books offers a free library where any novels are available for reading online or easy download. - http://www.baen.com/library/authors.asp.
Given my admiration foe all things Liaden, I had wondered, first, if anyone here knows if Lee and Miller are willing to allow for fan fiction to be written in the Liaden universe.
I know some authors accept fan fiction as the best form of admiration and love for their work while others are upset by fan attempts to play in their world or worry about disturbing their muses or simply have publishers who are unable to understand that fan fiction doesn't necessarily hurt sales Just look at Harry Potter or Star Trek- which had many professional writers grow out of their fan-fiction authors! Obviously fan-fiction can add to sci fi/fantasy popularity and while much of it is too amateur for more than a first glance, some fan fiction is excellent work itself!
And if Lee and Miller are open to fan fiction, are there any websites for fan-fiction out there? Or fan artwork?
No, Sharon is adamantly against fan fiction. I don't know whether she had personal experience or just heard about it from other authors, but she mentioned people claiming that the author(s) had stolen ideas from fan fiction for the next book. She also doesn't like maps (wahhhh) - says they constrain her too much and don't agree with her mental image. Steve seems to have less decided opinions but also has no reason to cross Sharon.
Do you know about the Liaden List? An email list, occasionally high volume but usually an average of maybe 2-3 messages a week, and Steve & Sharon frequently post there. http://www.fireopal.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/liad
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