Just the FAQs

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.
4Why 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)
   * subscribe to one of the several Facebook fan groups:  Clan Korval, Flaran Cha’menthi, Friends of Liad
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.

Last update August 4, 2015 by SLee
Copyright 2015 Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
Liaden Universe®  is a registered trademark of Sharon Lee and Steve Miller

49 thoughts on “Just the FAQs

  1. Is it time for a Liaden dictionary? You folks do a good job usually, but I still get caught when I just don’t remember if a word means dearest, or dessert. (chernubia?) Is the dictionary, something I want to create & pass on to the authors? This would go well with Steve’s character list.

    • Actually, it’s probably time for a concordance, but I’m not the one to do it.

      There’s a bunch of great stuff over on the Wiki: http://liaden.wikia.com/wiki/Wiki_Content
      but I’m not off-hand seeing a dictionary.

      I think I still have the Weird Words lists readers generated for the audiobooks; there might be a way to (relatively) painlessly derive from there. I’ll take a look today.

      To the case, of course, “chernubia,” being “dessert,” or “a sweet,” or “a confection,” might well find its way into pillow-talk or even in-House endearments.

      When Stephe Pagel was reading Local Custom and Scout’s Progress, where — since the characters are speaking Liaden, Daav and Er Thom refer to each other as “darling” aka “denubia” — he called us up and said, “You know, it’s. . .not usual for men to call each other darling.” We said, “Yes, but the Liaden culture is not *our* culture.” “I know,” he said, “it’s just so — *subversive*!”

  2. will you be writing about why /Ren Zel dea Judan became clanless any time soon? I enjoy reading your books more than once! Thank you

    • Gee, didn’t we do that years ago?

      Try the short story “Changeling,” most recently reprinted in A Liaden Universe(R) Constellation, Volume 1, from Baen. Or you could download the story by itself — “Changeling” — from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Smashwords.

  3. Pingback: Liaden Universe® InfoDump No. 110 | Welcome to Liad

  4. I have nearly all of your books and most of the short stories. And I’m looking forward to the new novel this coming summer. Just want to say I have enjoyed reading your work and have been known to reread favorites.

    Please keep writing, it seems a long time between publications.

    • Sadly, it takes us about a year to write a book. That’s comfortable for us; we don’t get burned out; and you guys get a continued flow of stuff to read. We have written faster — 6 books in 18 months, back around 2007 and 2008 — but it was too much, and we needed to take time off to regrow our brains. Some writers can write a book every three months forever, but we are not those writers.

  5. I just finished Dragon in Exile, it was great reading. I look forward to the story of what happens with Ren Zel dea Judan’s current dilemma and how Nova can help him with it.
    I have not read all of the short stories, but have read all of the novels and a few of the shorts. There is one story that I have not been able to find. That would be the story of what happened to cause the death of Anne Davis, and so Er Thom. Can you tell me where I might find this story if it has been written?
    I still read all of the books and shorts that I have (over and over) and am adding to my collection as I am able to. They are so well written and I find them so inviting.

    • That would be the story of what happened to cause the death of Anne Davis, and so Er Thom. Can you tell me where I might find this story if it has been written?

      In general, we try not to write stories that are Without Hope, or at least show a light at the end of a tunnel, however long. It took us more than a decade to figure out how to write a sequel to Scout’s Progress that was not an Utter Downer (though some readers insist that the sequel is an Utter Downer, we at least are satisfied that we ended on an upbeat, rather than All Is Ashes).

      A story about Anne’s death has no upside; there is no breath of hope in the offing. Korval was in a precarious spot as a clan before the beginning of Local Custom, since them, they’ve taken losses that include the delms, and (with Anne’s death) the delms’ backups. With Anne and Er Thom’s deaths, Korval has ONE elder in the Line Direct available to it — Kareen yos’Phelium — two young adults — Pat Rin and Val Con — and only one of those three is a pilot and thus fit to lead Korval. In the secondary Line, we have Shan, Nova, and Anthora yos’Galan, all adult pilots, but with no elder to support them; and a child still in nursery — Padi. For the purposes of this discussion, neither Luken nor his children are players.

      Anne and Er Thom’s deaths are the beginning of a VERY dark and chancy time for the Clan, and things don’t begin to. . .improve, if that’s actually the word I want, for some time.

      So, no; not likely to write that story, sorry.

      • So, this comment stuck in my mind. What if Er Thom and Anne’s death is covered in a split timeline novel, where Nova’s maturation as First Speaker and the birth of her twins redeems the trauma she suffered at the loss of her parents? Maybe you’ve already written Nova’s story, but I haven’t found it yet. I love your work, by the way!

  6. I have read every Clan Korval book. I am getting up in age and hope I can live long enough to be able to read several more books. When might I be able to read the next installment? By the way, I pre-purchased the last book through Amazon which was great except it meant I finished too quick. If the next book is too far in the future I may need to start reading the series again from the Crystal Soldier on which may not be a bad idea.

    • Yanno? I’m getting up in age, too.

      I’m not sure what you mean by “pre-purchased,” but, yeah, books do end if you read them.

      Alliance of Equals in the book after Dragon in Exile, which is what I think the most recent new title is. . .In any case, the next new Liaden novel is Alliance of Equals, which is scheduled to be published in hardcover in July 2016.

      Steve and I are presently working on The Gathering Edge, which is the book after Alliance. It is due to the publisher in February 2016. We don’t know when it will be published yet, because the publisher is wise in the way of authors and does not schedule until the book is in her hands.

  7. Yes we are ALL getting older. BUT my mother is 90 and still reading so I hope you may still be writing at 90. Just think of the extra books I will be able to read.

  8. My understanding is that when MM Publishing went under the sequel to the “Tomorrow Log” titled “Web of the Trident” was a casualty. Book was given title and publishing date. Was it never written? I have been waiting for years for this book and hope was revived when Baen published the “Tomorrow Log”.

    • Baen has not actually (re)published TTL, as we count publishing. They offer the ebook (non-exclusively) for sale; we ourselves also offer the ebook for sale, and for the same reason. It’s backlist, and backlist’s job is to (1) fetch in new readers, and (2) generate income. If writers had to live only on the upfront and royalties (if any) from new books, nobody could afford to write.

      Web was never written, and, as it does state in the FAQ, the chances of its being written now are…low to non-existent.

  9. I am trying to reread the Liaden books in chronological order. Somehow I have lost the meeting of Anthora and Ren Zel. Can you tell me where to find it, please?

    My husband and I love your books, characters, relationships and the cats. We have all of the books and are now buying them all again in e-book format. Thank you.

    • The group mind over on Facebook tells me that the scene is in I Dare, Chapter 28, Day 51, Standard Year 1393.

      I’m glad you and your husband enjoy our work. Thank you!

  10. Your books are full of literary puns and allusions, e.g. LeDameters (DeLameters in Smith’s Galaxtic Patrol series) and Gobelyn Market (Rosetti’s poem Goblin Market, best read with original illustrations). So I wonder if there is a list or compendium somewhere because I’m sure I haven’t caught them all ?

  11. Just re-read all the books in Kindle for the fourth or fifth time before getting Alliance. It’s a fantastic and rich universe. Alliance moved the story along very nicely with the exception of Theo/Bechimy. Hope to see that arc continued soon.

  12. I have a question, not sure if this is the right place. I am new to the Liaden universe and absolutely loved be it! Please keep writing. My question is, I am re-reading Balance Of Trade. It’s a favorite, but I began thinking, what happened to the Fractals? Balance of Trade happened long before Agent of Trade, etc. I don’t remember coming across the fractals in the future books. Are they still out there?


  13. I’m totally hooked on The Liaden Universe. My favorite characters will always be Val Con and Miri. But I love little Alys in I Dare. Is her story picked up when is older? I would love to see her as she reaches young adulthood.

  14. I just discovered the Liaden Universe and love it! I’ve re-read the first four books with Val Con and Miri three times in a row and am now exploring the myriad of short stories that are derived from those books. I love “Gambling Rover” and nearly rolled in the floor when I read “Diglon’s First Wife.” I wonder if there is a book or story featuring Alys Tiazen. She is such a fun character in Plan B and I Dare.

  15. I was introduced to Liad via a friend with whom a mutual love of Lois Mcmaster Bujold’s writing was shared. I quickly became enamored and sped through all of the omnibus books, before realising that I had no idea where to go next chronologically. I asked multiple friends, but even those who had been reading Liaden stories since the beginning could only talk to me about publication chronology. Then I came to this site, go to the FAQ’s and voila, a link to internal chronological order. Thank you so much for not only the wonderful stories, but also making it easier for those of us new to the world.

  16. I have every book published on the Liaden Universe and do enjoy them. I have however noted in the most resent of those books that the story line seems to have been slightly “diverted” or perhaps one would say there is a failure to provide a follow up on those charactors introduced when you lost your publisher and wrote chapters weekly or monthly for those of us who contributed to your efforts financially.

  17. I just think it is weird that when I purchased Dragon Ship it showed up in my Kindle as Liaden Universe #15. Today when I was looking for the next one, lo and behold, Dragon Ship is now listed at Amazon as number 17. I also found it weird that there were Liaden Universe novels and Liaden Universe (r) for registered trademark novels. I understand that novelists tend to be a bit, shall we say, less than engineer material for straightforwardness. So I figure your muse moves you as it wills instead of vice versa. But those of us who do tend to think in straight lines sometimes have difficulty.

    • Thom Davis … I know this is an old note, but staying on top of things got a little behind about the time you asked it, and we apologize. There are two things going on — one is that Amazon and Baen have been counting from different places. It didn’t help that the first three books got published slightly out of time sequence order by Del Rey, and then Meisha Merlin combined two previously unpublished novels into one book and then … Ace bought reprint rights and published in a slightly different order, and then ….so yeah, from the start, orderly has not been our hallmark. And indeed, we as novelists knew what was goign to happen in the “Crystal books” but needed to get the later stories out of the way in order for us not to be facing a hard-stop to our first book. There are several reading order lists kicking around. Sorry if it gets confusing.

  18. I have been buying your books in hardback and on Kindle – I completely love the Liaden universe. However, I find that my aging eyes are not doing so well on the paper version – with the Kindle, I can increase the text size. So I was really disappointed to see that the Gathering Edge is only listed on Amazon in hardback. Are you planning to add the Kindle version later, or is eyestrain in my future? Thank you for so many wonderful books – you have enriched my life.

    • It looks like this is another question for the FAQ. The decision of when to list the Kindle/Nook/iBook editions in their stores is the decision of the vendor. It has nothing to do with us, or with the publisher. The publisher fully intends to publish an electronic version of …Edge. However, Amazon, for whatever its reasons might be, does not put the page up for the electronic versions of our books until anywhere from a month to two days before hardcover publication. I don’t know why, I just know that this is the way it’s worked with Amazon for our last, oh, four books. I’m really sorry that this sends so very many people into a panic (you are not alone), but there’s really not one thing I/we/Baen can do about it.

      Just, yanno, Have Faith.

      Thanks for your interst in our work.

        • FYI Baen Books publishes in multiple e-formats including Kindle-compatible. This web page
          includes instructions for putting them on your Kindle, including “The Gathering Edge”. While not as convenient as buying from Amazon, I get some satisfaction from managing my device myself i.e. getting around vendor restrictions. Plus, you can splurge in eARC (see baen.com) to read the books a little sooner.

  19. I have been a fan since your first Liaden novel came out in 1988 – paperback, of course; I couldn’t afford hardback books unless I found them at a garage sale. After I found Conflict of Honors, I agonized forever over the fate of some of my favorite characters, which didn’t get resolved until … a while later. I now own all the books up until the Fledgeling sequence, which I followed LIVE, ONLINE, WITHOUT A NET, week by week. Awesome experience, and finding the printed version later to compare with what I remembered was terrific. I could actually see where things were tightened up, changed slightly, and made a better story, but seeing the work in progress was a totally different experience, and I enjoyed both the original serial and the final print version each in its own way. Saltation as well. I would LOVE to see you do it again, and would definitely support you again as well.

    I have a new Nook on order, and intend to catch up with several titles you have put out that our local library doesn’t carry, especially your Carousel trilogy. Keep them coming – you all are terrific writers!

    • I don’t think we’ll be doing a repeat serialization anytime soon. Unfortunately — or, rather, fortunately, we have Liaden books under contract with Baen through 2022, I think it is. So! While it’s not nearly as exciting as waiting for Monday noon, you can watch your local bookstore!

      Thanks for your long-term support of our work.

  20. I recently discovered your series and think I have now tracked down and read all the novels (keeping the ILL librarian busy). My favorite character is the Tree and it bothers me that I can’t seem to find a description of its move from Liad. Have I missed a book or have you not yet written about Korval’s move to Surebleak?

  21. Dear Sharon Lee and Steve Miller,
    I have every book you have written in the Liaden series, plus Carosel three. I have
    read your books since Agent of Change came out, and moreover, have reread them. Just finished the Gathering and Alliance, and will (impatiently) wait for the next
    book in Miri and Val Cons story. THANK YOU for such fascinating work and such stories that CAN be read over and over. Best Wishes for you both.

  22. You seem to have written a number of short books under Adventures in the Liaden Universe. Is there a possibility of these coming out as a Constellation Volume 4? I have only this year discovered your books and have acquired them all up to Alliance of Equals. It is quite difficult to get them in South Africa even on the local online bookstores like Loot and Takealot. To get them from Amazon becomes exorbitant by the time the freight and duty are added and our currency is particularly weak at the moment. I can see that I am going to have to succumb to getting e books. I just love immersing myself in your world. Thank you for writing such wonderful books.

    • Most of those chapbooks are already collected in the Baen Constellation series. We are writing more stories which may eventually become #4.

  23. I just finished “Wise Child” in “The Year’s Best Military & Adventure SF, Volume 3” and really enjoyed the ship/AI character. The story was entertaining and packed in a lot of backstory but did so economically and through the action and dialogue in a way that wasn’t burdensome. Makes me eager to read more about the universe.

    • We have a couple of long range projects we’d like to do and something with the twins is on the extended part of that list. More I cannot say.


  24. Any other stories about Jethri, about Clan Ixin? A real favorite. I can live in the Liaden Universe in your books in my mind all day long. Thank you both very much.

  25. I am an avid scifi reader. I have reread my favorites until I could recite them in my sleep. This past year I discovered your books. I also have had trouble accessing some of the titles thru the library. Had to resort to Marina to request books from around the country. Really like the feel of books in my hand. I searched also for the reason and the backstory of the move to Surebleak. I will be requesting Halfling Moon next.
    Thanks for the interesting story line and life like people. They are like old friends.

  26. Dear Sharon Lee and Steve Miller,

    I have just found “Cutting Corners” on Baen.com, read it, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I recommend it to all — especially those enamoured of the Theo Waitley tranche of the Liaden Universe®.

    The backstory of some of the principals out and about the Codrescu station is a tidy short story that ties many loose ends left untied in _Saltation_ and _Dragon Ship_ .

    The protagonist is identified as “Therny Chirs” in the short story, however, he is identified as “Therny Chibs” in the novels. Your editors no doubt have caught this and it will be corrected before it gets into “deathless, dead tree” print form.

    I wish to write a review for the story, as one of the reviews extant on the web cites only Hevelin and *Beeslady* as “only continuing characters”, which ignores Therny Chibs, Giodana Govans, Pelzer, and some other thinny-veiled references from Hevelin’s mind catalogue. A clarification of the cargo master’s name would be appreciated, for the sake of accuracy.

    All in all, a lovely read from a period 10-15 years before Theo attends Anlingdin Piloting Academy. Thank you for telling the story and so freely sharing it.

    (cites available on request)

  27. I LOVE your writing!!!! Thank you for enhancing my life!

    In which book does Val Con rescue the baby clutch turtle? (I want to re-read it)

    Thank you

    • That sounds like a close description of the short story “To Cut an Edge”, the first story in the first volume of the Constellation collection.

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