Current Reading: A Liaden Universe Constellation Volume 4

A Liaden Universe Constellation Volume 4, by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, Baen Books 2019 science fiction short story collection, 324 pages.

The Liaden universe is the setting for an ongoing series of science fiction novels and stories written by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller. The series covers a considerable time period, some thousands of years in all, although since it also covers more than one universe the exact chronology is…difficult. However the main timeline extends across only a few generations.

The central stories primarily concern Clan Korval, a leading house in Liaden society. The stories are primarily in the genre of space opera, with some incidental romance, intrigue, and even a small dose of psionics. The Liaden universe is chock-a-block with characters, planets, clans, politics and action. As of this coming November there will be 22 novels, plus the story collections, of which this is the fourth and latest. All are available as ebooks.

I have read only a small few of the novels. While they are good solid SF, I have a tendency to forget who is who and the complicated social structure of the setting. Last time I read one, I consulted an on-line primer to help me get up to speed (I have the same problem with the Expanse novels by Corey, though there are many fewer of those).

NOTE: There is a pretty complete article on Wikipedia on the Liaden books, HERE, including chronology, timelines and characters. If you’re interested, it’s worth your time.

But these story collections can be enjoyed without much bother about all that. I figure if the necessary background isn’t at least sketched out, it’s not important to the story, in my experience that has held true. So I have read each of the previous collections, and now have finished this one.

“Street Cred”  *
“Due Diligence”
“Friend of A Friend”
“Cutting Corners”
“Block Party”  *
“Degrees of Separation”
“Excerpts from Two Lives”

In this one, I enjoyed all (but the last) story, especially those I starred, which is a good percentage for a story collection. This has made me want to read another of the novels. Are you a Liaden universe reader?

Meanwhile, what are you reading?

About Rick Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
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13 Responses to Current Reading: A Liaden Universe Constellation Volume 4

  1. I’m not a Liaden Universe reader, but I am a Liaden Universe buyer. I have a whole shelf of Liaden Universe books (including this one) but I haven’t gotten around to reading them yet. Now that SHERLOCK HOLMES WEEK is over, I’m reading a stack of books that have built up. I am caught up on my Library Books and I’ve gone a whole month without ordering any books from AMAZON! Maybe that’s why AMAZON stock is down…

    • Good for you, George! You’ll be cutting the backlog of unread books on hand (BOH) soon, too. I’m going to give the two Crystal Variation novels a go when I finish up the stack of library books that have recently poured in.

  2. Patti Abbott says:

    LADY IN THE LAKE by Lippman, which is very good. Also a book about the Flint Water crisis.

  3. Jerry House says:

    I’m also not a Liaden universe reader. I just never got around to it. If/when I start, it will probably be with the story collections, so thanks for this reminder, Rick.

    Only one novel this week — my FFB, PATTERN OF CONQUEST by George O. Smith. Good old-fashioned, don’t-look-too-close, 1940s SF in the John W. Campbell/ASTOUNDIND STORIES mode.

    Once again, I’ve been reading a lot of short stories.The three anthologies I finished were TOMORROW’S UNIVERSE edited by H. J. Campbell, OUT OF THIS WORLD 7 edited by Amabel Williams-Ellis and Mably Owen, and THE UNICORN ANTHOLOGY edited by Peter S. Beagle and Jacob Weisman. There’s some pretty good stuff in each but I especially liked the Beagle.

    Like a fool, I started on THE COLLECTED SHORT STORIES OF J. G. BALLARD, a massive doorstop of about 1200 pages of small print. I’ve always liked Ballard’s short stories over the few novels of his I read. Each is a dense, polished jewel and his experimental :”new Wave” stuff is no exception. I’ll be dipping into this volume for the foreseeable future. I’m also reading NIGHT GAUNTS AND OTHER STORIES by Joyce Carol Oates. Some interesting stuff there, too.

    Coming in this week from the library are two by Max Allan Collins that I hadn’t got around to.

    I’ve been spending most of my time indoors. The weather has been either hot or blazingly hot. What’s a New England guy doing down here in the South, anyway?

    Have a great week, and — if you have anybody you want rid of — I’m getting pretty good with an ax. Just sayin’

    • I read that FFB of course, and admit it sounds interesting, but I’m feeling swamped with library, and other, books just now, so I’ll not go there. I’m pretty sure I’ve read something by Ballard, the name is certainly familiar, but I don’t know what and it would have been a long time ago. I don’t seem to have any on the SF shelves. I sometimes start a very long book like that, and dip in, since it’s short stories, now and then. I did that with ROGUES edited by Dozois, and it took me a year to read, but I enjoyed it when I picked it up.

      Hot, eh? Well, you did move to Florida, man. (see what I did there?) Hopefully you have AC. An axe, eh? Now I wonder why you’d be getting good with one. A little yard work?

  4. Jeff Meyerson says:

    No. But every once in a while, series like this one tempt me. Maybe the first story collection….

    Current reading. Lies, Damned Lies, and History by Jodi Taylor, book seven in her Chronicles of St. Mary’s series. So far, less time travel jumps than usual, so not as good as some. I also started (library ebook) book two in William Shaw’s Paddy Breen & Helen Tozer series, set in 1968 London, THE KINGS OF LONDON. Will get back to it when I finish the other. Another library ebook came in – Peter Orner’s book on Chekhov, Kafka, Eudora Welty, and many other writers (this is a George Kelley-type book), Am I Alone Here?: Notes on Living to Read and Reading to Live.. And yet a third ebook from the library came in yesterday, so I have six days to download it. I’m also reading and enjoying the Q. Patrick collection of Lt. Timothy Trant stories from Crippen & Landru. And I’m reading Chuck Wendig’s collection of very bizarre short stories (bought for Kindle), Irregular Creatures.

    This week I also read (and definitely recommend) Garry Disher’s (so far) standalone about Melbourne Sgt. Alan Auhl, brought back out of retirement to work on the Cold Case Squad. As usual in books like this, there are several unconnected cases. Title is Under the Cold Bright Lights.

    I have the Lippmann on hold.

    • I fell so far behind on the Jodi Taylor, I’m not even sure how far I got. I sure enjoyed them, though. Must get back to that series, one of these days. I have Under the Cold Bright Lights in hand from the library now, and will start it today.

  5. Steve Oerkfitz says:

    I tried one of the Liaden novels a long time ago and found it poorly written and have never been tempted to try another.
    Read Shameless, the new Ace Atkins and Bad Axe County by John Galligan. Not sure what I’m starting next. I have a ton of books on my tbr pile.
    I’m a big fan of Garry Disher. Really enjoyed Under the Cold Bright Lights.

    • I haven’t had a problem with the writing of the Liaden books I’ve read, Steve, but you may have higher standards than I. Yes, those TBR piles keep growing, don’t they? I don’t get new to me books very often, yet I outpace my reading, because of my from-the-library reading, I guess. But the library saves me lot of money. As for Under the Cold Bright Lights, I’ll be starting it today.

  6. tracybham says:

    Right now I am reading City of Shadows by Ariana Franklin, set in Germany in 1922. Almost as depressing as the Philip Kerr book I was reading, If the Dead Rise Not, which was set in 1934 Germany mostly, but at least this one has more nice characters. A pretty long book for me, but I think I will like it overall.

  7. Pingback: Sensor Sweep: Richard L. Tierney, Diana Gabaldon, Jirel of Joiry, Stan Lee – Herman Watts

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