Dark Secrets

In which the crack team of Kilsymthe and yo’Dira deal with some unfinished business.

Being that this story involves an entirely new cast of characters at an entirely new location, it’s a bit short of indications about where it fits in relative to the main series. It’s more recent than the Jethri books, since the team-up of a Terran spacer and Liaden is unpopular in some quarters but not considered a remarkable innovation. The bit about “the asterisked end-notes in the ven’Tura Tables” might indicate that it’s before the Tables were properly revised. Caerli uses the technique called the Smuggler’s Ace; the earliest mention we have of that is in Scout’s Progress, but I don’t think we know how old it already was then, so that doesn’t help much.

The list of customers at the drinkery includes two women in “librarian’s robes”, which I’m not sure what to make of.

Command Decision

In which Bjarni helps see in the New Decade.

Major Lizardi, from Surebleak, with the knack for recognizing the right person for the job at hand, has to be Miri’s friend Liz at an earlier stage in her career.
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Dead Men Dream – Chapter 4

In which two men decide what they will do with their lives.

It occurs to me that several of the people in the ARTS accommodation have names that resemble musical terminology. In particular Joolia Tenuta and Femta both have names resembling terms (tenuto and fermata) indicating that a note is to be held for its full length or longer, appropriate for people whose lives are on hold. It may even, considering Port Chavvy’s policy of letting people choose their call-name and the fact that there’s a musical contingent among the ARTS residents, be deliberate.
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Dead Men Dream – Chapter 3

In which two men demonstrate their utility.

The scene after the comet enters its transition phase gives us the title drop for the book, and a key theme for this story.
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Dead Men Dream – Chapter 2

In which two men find new places and new names.

Khana’s question to Joolia about the meaning of “Jeef” turns out to be exactly what Bar Jan needs, exactly when he needs it, but I don’t understand what prompts Khana to ask the question in the first place. Has he just had that much practice at anticipating what Bar Jan will need?
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Dead Men Dream – Chapter 1

In which two dead men are awaiting rescue, transport, or skillful habitation.

Well, here’s a couple of people I wasn’t expecting to see again so soon, if ever.
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Further adventures

In case you missed it elsewhere, it’s been announced that Change State, the 32nd Adventures in the Liaden Universe chapbook, will be published on 15 March 4 March. It will contain “Command Decision” (originally published in the anthology Release the Virgins a couple of years ago) and “Dead Men Dream” (new for this publication).

“Command Decision” was one of a cluster of Liaden Universe stories that were first published in anthologies. There is now only one that hasn’t subsequently been reprinted in one of the usual venues: “Dark Secrets”, published in Infinite Stars: Dark Frontiers; I am sticking to the hope that it’s only a matter of time and I won’t have to go out of my way to obtain a copy.

Ambient Conditions

In which Kishara jit’Luso takes advantage of ambient conditions.

This is an oddity: a story retelling another existing story from another viewpoint. We’ve had stories that crossed paths before (“Quiet Knives” comes to mind), but usually that’s a case of two people on different paths that happen to intersect for a sentence or two. This is a special case, for reasons that are explained in the author’s note.
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Preferred Seating

In which Can Ith yos’Phelium finds a new seat.

I see an irony in the description of Can Ith’s preferred seating: “with his back against the wall, and most of the room before him”. Presumably, it’s the being able to see most of the room that makes it his favoured way of sitting, but on this particular occasion it suits him because he has his back against the wall in more ways than one.
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