Culled from questions received from readers, and others, in email and elsewhere
Lee and Miller on the Liaden Universe®: The Liaden Universe® is populated by mercenaries, traders, spies, turtles, scouts, soldiers and colorful people too numerous to mention. The Liadens are first among the four major races, those being: Liaden, Clutch, Terran and Yxtrang. Liadens are sneaky, Liadens are old,Liadens are prosperous, Liadens follow a strict and voluminous code of honor.
1. What is the Liaden Universe®?
The Liaden Universe® was created by Sharon Lee with the help of Steve Miller. So far, eighteen novels have been published in-Universe. All eighteen, from Agent of Change (1988) to Dragon in Exile (2015) are available as paper books, ebooks and audio books. The nineteenth novel in the Liaden Universe®, Alliance of Equals, will be released in the summer of 2016.
2. Eighteen books, huh? What’s the proper reading order? Which one should I try to see if I like what you do?
If you like action-adventure-romance (in space!) Agent of Change, the very first novel written in the Liaden Universe® is presently offered as a free ebook from Amazon.com, and from the Baen Free Library.
If you like coming-of-age stories (in space!) Fledgling, the eleventh book written in the Universe may also be downloaded for free from the Baen Free Library and Amazon.com. Fledgling is a “portal” book, and may be read by those with no prior experience in the Liaden Universe®.
Other portal books include: Conflict of Honors, Local Custom, Scout’s Progress, Balance of Trade, Fledgling, Crystal Soldier, Necessity’s Child, Dragon in Exile
For a complete list of Liaden books, and suggested reading orders, click this link.
For a complete list of which Liaden books appear in which Baen omnibus edition, click this link.
3. I believe that the short story is the highest fictional form. Have Lee & Miller written any shorts?
Why, yes. Yes, we have. All of the Liaden Universe® short stories to date have been collected by Baen Books into three hefty trade paperbacks: A Liaden Universe® Constellation, Volume I (July 2013); A Liaden Universe® Constellation, Volume II (January 2014); A Liaden Universe® Constellation, Volume III (August 2015). These collections are available in paper and electronic editions.
If you don’t want to commit to an entire collection, you may sample some Liaden short stories for free:
You may also sample some of Sharon’s stories set in Archers Beach, Maine:
. . .in addition, Lee and Miller often post stories, outtakes, and character sketches, as well as stories by guest authors, on Splinter Universe.
Also! Liaden Universe® — and other! — short stories are available as echapbooks from Amazon, BN, and Smashwords. A clickable catalog is available at Pinbeam Books.
4. Why is the Liaden Universe® so straight?
It’s not. While there is a strong emphasis on the duty of each member of society to produce a “child of the body” to carry on their work for the clan, who one loves on one’s own time is not up for discussion. At least, not on the basis of gender. Best to think of the Liaden Universe® as extensively bi-sexual.
5. Why are Liaden guys so, ummm, feminine? Don’t the authors know how to write Real Man characters?
Well, yes. The authors know perfectly well how to write Real Man characters, have done so and will doubtless do so again. Liaden men, now — are a product of their society. Liaden society is fiercely competitive, and the prudent person — male or female — speaks softly and with great politeness, unless they deliberately chose to do otherwise. There are no inadvertent insults in Liaden society, and while
duels of honor are frowned upon, they do happen.
6. Yuck! There are girl cooties in these books!
7. Have Lee and Miller written anything else, or is it Clutch Turtles all the way down?
In fact, Lee and Miller have co-authored a dark fantasy duology, Duainfey and Longeye, published by Baen, and available in electronic and print editions.
They also wrote The Tomorrow Log, a space opera set in another corner of the Liaden Universe®, and The Sword of Orion, a YA space opera.
Lee and Miller also edited the short story collection Low Port, published by Meisha Merlin, and now sadly out of print.
8. Hey! I read The Tomorrow Log! Is there going to be a sequel?
The odds against the authors ever writing a Tomorrow Log sequel are very high.
9. Sword of Orion — I read that too! Is there going to be a sequel?
At this point, I believe we can safely say no to that question. SOO was a work-for-hire, which means the copyright, the ideas, and the characters belonged to the publisher — who decided not to pursue the project beyond the first book.
10. Do you guys ever do separate projects?
Sometimes. We’re likeliest to bolt off by ourselves in short stories; each of us have written a dozen or more under our own bylines.
Independent novels are a bit of a trick when we have work under contract, which we have been fortunate to have for the last few years.
Despite that, Sharon carved out time to write three contemporary fantasy novels set in a Maine resort town that almost was: Carousel Tides (2010), Carousel Sun (2014), and Carousel Seas (2015). The entire trilogy, published by Baen, is available in electronic, paper, and audio editions.
Sharon has also written two mystery novels set in Wimsy, Maine, another almost-real town. Barnburner (1994) and Gunshy (1995) are available as ebooks from Amazon, BN, Kobo, and other ebookstores.
11. Why is Liaden Universe® trademarked? Are the authors trying to fool readers into thinking their books are like Star Trek®?
Sadly, there are people in the world who like to make trouble for other people. One such person targeted Lee and Miller, and in order to protect their work, the authors were advised to trademark their universe.
12. I want to contact Lee and Miller about a project!
Please contact our agent, Jennifer Jackson, at the Donald Maass Literary Agency.
13. I want to keep up with the Liaden Universe® news!
There are several options available to you. You can:
* subscribe to the Liaden Universe® mailing list (infrequent newsletter)
14. Do Lee and Miller have blogs?
15. Do Lee and Miller intend to continue the Theo Waitley story arc?
16. Why does it take Lee and Miller so long to write novels?
It takes us so long to write novels because we’re slow writers. We did once write 6 books in 18 months, and it took us a very, very long time to recover. We write much better if we have some down time in between novels. We do realize that there are many writers who can and do write four, six, eight books a year. We stand in awe of them, and you should, too.