In the late 80s authors Sharon Lee and Steve Miller wrote a series of three novels set in a galaxy far far away called Agent of Change, Conflict of Honors, and Carpe Diem. And then no one read them… or so they were told.
Their publisher claimed the series was a flop and so it seemed as though it would die right there. Enter the internet where, one day, Miller and Lee stumbled onto a Usenet group flush with fans who, all but demanded more in the series. The surprised authors went back to work and the series now spans more than ten books with more on the way.
Make it a point to read them all.
The Liaden Universe, the name most commonly used to encompass their work, is unlike anything you’ve read before. What’s most impressive about the Liaden books is the variety of settings and styles in which they take place. Agent of Change for instance, is an intimate spy novel focused on a small handful of characters engaged in a complex game of cat and mouse which is confined primarily to a single planet. Balance of Trade is the story of the crew aboard a massive, intergalactic merchant ship, making their way from one planet to the next. Local Custom is almost a romance novel, set amongst the complex politics of an honor driven society. The series contains massive war stories, smuggler runs, psychic warfare, and nearly every kind of science fiction you can imagine, but all in one universe. Best of all, it fits together. They aren’t random stories but larger parts of the same whole, each told in their own way and from their own angle.
It’s probably a stretch to call the Liaden series groundbreaking but it is incredibly entertaining for something which has, for the most part, flown completely under the radar for nearly two decades. What the series might lack in substance it makes up for in creativity and style. No two Liaden stories are ever the same yet, at the same time they are. No matter what your sci-fi fix you’ll find something to love in the complex, rich universes (that’s right, more than one!) of Liad. Do yourself a favor and give Sharon Lee and Steve Miller a chance.
For more information on the series, head over to the authors’ page on Korval.com.