Reading Order – Draft 2

Based on all the feedback I’ve received about the various options I’ve posted over the last few weeks, this is the reading order I’m currently planning to use.

If you’re considering joining in for some or all of the re-read, I’d like to hear your thoughts on this reading order.

That goes double if you were considering joining in but find this reading order off-putting. I don’t want to frighten people away; I don’t think it would be nearly as much fun to do the re-read alone.

General overview

The basic organizing principle is chronological order, the internal order of events.

There are places where I have split up novels to fit in stories that take place between chapters. If I hear from people that this is a problem for them, I’ll reconsider, but for me I see finding out how things fit together as part of the point of doing it chronological.

(For myself, I don’t have any particular problem with re-reading a Liaden novel piecemeal. Many’s the time I’ve taken one up to re-read just a particular scene or a chapter or two.)

I have resisted any urge to split individual chapters or short stories. I have mostly avoided scheduling lots of back-and-forth between novels that overlap chronologically, and attempted to keep each novel’s chapters in the same order as printed (though I Dare is a law unto itself).

I have attempted to place the splits where there’s a natural break in the flow of the story, even when that means fudging the chronology a bit. (Interestingly, in practice there turn out to be places where respecting the flow of the story means that I would rather break between chapters of a novel than between novels. For instance, I would hate to put anything between the end of Scout’s Progress and the beginning of Mouse and Dragon, while the multi-year-gap between two late chapters of Mouse and Dragon feels like fair game, the more so since it follows what might easily have been the ending point of the novel.)

Draft Reading Order

  • “Dragon Tide”
  • “Necessary Evils”
  • Crystal Soldier
  • Crystal Dragon
  • “Eleutherios”
  • “Where the Goddess Sends”
  • “A Spell for the Lost”
  • “The Wine of Memory”
  • Balance of Trade
  • Trade Secret
  • “Naratha’s Shadow”
  • “The Space at Tinsori Light”
  • “Sweet Waters”
  • “Phoenix”
  • “Pilot of Korval”
  • “A Choice of Weapons”
  • “The Beggar King”
  • Local Custom
  • Scout’s Progress ch.1-38
  • Mouse and Dragon ch.1-36
  • “Guaranteed Delivery”
  • Mouse and Dragon ch.37-41
  • “Veil of the Dancer”
  • “Heirloom”
  • “Intelligent Design”
  • “A Matter of Dreams”
  • “Moonphase”
  • Conflict of Honors ch.1
  • “Fighting Chance”
  • “To Cut an Edge”
  • “Shadow Partner”
  • “A Day at the Races”
  • “Certain Symmetry”
  • “This House”
  • Conflict of Honors ch.2-50
  • “Changeling”
  • Fledgling
  • Saltation ch.1-32
  • “Landed Alien”
  • Agent of Change
  • Carpe Diem ch.2-35
  • “Quiet Knives”
  • Carpe Diem ch.36-71
  • I Dare ch.1-4,10-12
  • “Daughter of Dragons”
  • “Persistence”
  • I Dare ch.18,20,22-23,25-27,29-30,35-36
  • Plan B ch.1-3
  • “Breath’s Duty”
  • I Dare ch.40-42
  • Plan B ch.4-30
  • I Dare ch.46-48,50
  • Plan B ch.31-35
  • I Dare ch.5-9,13-17,19,21,24,28,31-34,37-39,43-44,53
  • I Dare ch.45,49,51-52,54-57
  • “Misfits”
  • Saltation ch.33-41
  • Saltation ch.42 & I Dare ch.58
  • Ghost Ship ch.1-5
  • “Moon on the Hills”
  • Ghost Ship ch.6-23
  • “Hidden Resources”
  • “Kin Ties”
  • Ghost Ship ch.24-epilogue
  • “Prodigal Son”
  • Necessity’s Child
  • Dragon Ship
  • “Skyblaze”

19 thoughts on “Reading Order – Draft 2

  1. OtterB

    Thanks for mentioning this on Making Light. I am looking forward to reading along. Except, I’m going to have to lay my hands on the short stories. I own most if not all of them in chapbook, but the books in my household are disorganized, to say the least. Good for random encounters with old favorites while looking for something else. Not so good for organized reading of a specific thing at a specific time.

    Do you have a specific start date in July in mind?

  2. Paul A. Post author

    OtterB: No specific date, yet. A rough count suggests it’s got to be early July, but I haven’t got around to doing the proper schedule-setting yet.

    Partly that’s because there are still a couple of things in the air that could affect the timing. One is that I wanted to give a bit more time to anyone who wanted to argue that I’ve put something in Phase 1 that shouldn’t be (or left something out). The other is that I’m still a bit indecisive about the scheduling: I’ve said “one chapter per day”, but should I stick to that rigidly in the case of, say, a chapter that’s only a page or two long? (There are a few of those in these novels, from what I remember.)

  3. Paul A. Post author

    dcb: “Lord of the Dance” is not, at this time, a story of the Liaden Universe, though it was intended so at the time of writing. Sharon Lee has said on her blog that when they came to put together the whole story of Korval’s first months on Surebleak, they found that they couldn’t fit it in with everything else, so it was consigned, however reluctantly, to one of the splinter universes.

    As I said under my FAQ post, I’m not going to let that stop me re-reading it if I want to, but it’s not going to be part of this re-read.

  4. Bruce M

    This looks like great fun! I’m in!

    I did something like this a few years ago, but just the novels. I’ll be very interested with the experience of interleaving I Dare and Plan B!

  5. Paul A. Post author

    Ah, that’s the question, isn’t it? 🙂

    The theory is that I’ll have to stop at the end of the chapter to write the blog post, and then I’ll be able to resist picking the book up again. Also, at least during Phase 1 I’ll be able to tell myself that there’s no advantage in rushing because reaching the end of Balance of Trade sooner will just mean I have to wait longer for Trade Secret to come out.

  6. Alice Bentley

    I’m in – although I’m going to have to mark up your list with which short stories are in which collection and/or chapbooks. Post it notes may well be employed to mark the chapter sections.

  7. Caroline

    I’m reading along, but I’m starting early – just discovered the Liaden Universe and need something to structure my discovery… Keep reading things out of order, and started with Necessity’s Child, so it all feels wrong… Fascinating, but wrong!

  8. Jelala Alone

    The chapbook “With Stars Underfoot” has the short story “Lord of the Dance” where Pat Rin is affirmed as a pilot. Where does that fit? Why would it be in a splinter, when it clearly has all the Korval players? What is this splinter you refer to?

  9. Paul A. Post author

    The answer to “Where does that fit?” is that it doesn’t, which is the problem. If you take the various time cues one by one, some of them say it’s set during Ghost Ship, and some of them say it’s set after Dragon Ship, and there might even be one that flat-out doesn’t work at all, but certainly there’s no way they all fit together on a single evening that way.

    The authors intended it as a real Liaden Universe story when they wrote it, and when they published it in “With Stars Underfoot”, but when the novels caught up to the point where they’d thought it happened, things turned out differently. So they’ve said, officially, that it is only a might-of-been, not an actually-was.

    “Splinters” is the term the authors use for story fragments and ideas that don’t end up as real stories, either because they don’t find a place to fit or they don’t succeed in achieving a proper storylike form. Splinter Universe is one of their web sites, where they’ve posted some of those splinters for the interest of fans who like to read about might-of-beens.

  10. Jelala Alone

    So, we are to strike it from the record. Odd. Will check out your links. Thanks.

    Yes, when I read it I realized the time-sequence was wrong (baby has been born, but Daav is at the dance). I decided it was an oversight, a series-timing glitch, but no big deal. Such errors do happen occasionally across the series. As a reader, I would have no problem with keeping it in the series.

  11. Jelala Alone

    Of Lord of the Dance, you said, “So they’ve said, officially, that it is only a might-of-been, not an actually-was.”

    Officially? Hmm. Such “might-have-been” status is not indicated on or in the book itself. That would make it official. Nor is it indicated on the Good Reads synopsis, or at Amazon. Nor on the author’s Splinter Universe site — the story is not posted there at all; it has probably been removed. As an interested reader and as one who purchased the chapbook, I call for balance. 😉

  12. Paul A. Post author

    It wouldn’t, of course, be indicated on or in “With Stars Underfoot”, since that was published before the decision was made.

    I don’t think the story has ever been up on Splinter Universe, since that’s a platform for splinters that readers may not find elsewhere, a situation that doesn’t obtain with “Lord of the Dance”. (I should say that I’m not sure the authors have actually used the word “splinter” specifically to describe “Lord of the Dance”, and I apologise if I’ve confused the issue by doing so myself.)

    They have, however, discussed the matter on their blogs, whenever the subject has come up, as for instance here:

    In point of Actual Fact, “Prodigal Son,” along with “Lord of the Dance,” were written well before we even dreamed of writing Ghost Ship, and, frankly, both were thorns in the sides of the authors, as we tried to square What Had Been Written with What Must Be Written.

    We did struggle to bring the novel into line with both stories, but in the end, the narrative could only accommodate “Son.” Realizing this, Steve and I, as the authors, made the necessary ghod-like decision — that the storyline of a novel trumps the storyline of a short story, thereby making “Lord of the Dance” author-written Liaden fan fic. It’s still a nice story and we like it very much, but it is no longer, as we say, True.

  13. Jelala Alone

    Thanks for the source info, including a direct quote.

    It is a risk, and even somewhat inconsiderate, I would suggest, to rely on blogs. Not everyone reads blogs, even those written by their favorite authors. Most of my friends didn’t know about this ghod-like decision. Obviously, nor did I. Nor did the commenter further above, dcb. I would guess none of the casual Liaden readers do. So, things are out of balance.

    Easy to update the synopsis on Good Reads (I have done so in the past, for some other books). Amazon may require another step. Even an ebook may be updated, which is the format of “With Stars Underfoot” that I purchased.

    Free and unsolicited, my opinion is to let “Lord of the Dance” stay in the cannon, even tho Daav should be off-planet at this point. Of course, I see the author’s dilemma, but feel their attempt at “solving” is incomplete.

    As it is, to learn only now that it was all a…what? A dream? Now I suppose I must change my opinion of Kareen…which is fine with me. She rather grew on me in Dragon Tide: Daughter of Dragons.

    This site is great — both instructive and interesting!

  14. Jelala Alone

    Coincidentally, I am currently reading The Mysterious Island, by Jules Verne. It is part of a series, with (some) overlapping characters across books. Like Lord of the Dance and Dragon Ship there is a discrepancy between The Mysterious Island and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. Captain Nemo is alive in one book’s timeline but dead in the corresponding part of the other book, even though the dates overlap.

    Rather than dumping the books because of the timeline glitch, the publishers (typically) insert a note in the books, acknowledging the discrepancy.

  15. Galane

    Why not rework Lord of the Dance? Easier to reshape and re-issue a short to fit a novel than to warp a novel in progress to accommodate a short story. Stick a note at the beginning that “Lord of the Dance” Mark 2 is now the definitive, canon version of the short story and it’s all good.

    The first Liaden book I read was “Fledgling”. Then I found the rest of the story, and a chronology of the novels. So I re-started with Crystal Soldier on 9/25/13 and have now begun reading Saltation.

  16. mcfa

    What a fun activity! I saw the link from Sharon Lee’s blog (livejournal) and just had a chance to look through your site. I guess I will be playing catch-up, but it will be fun to reread all the books which I have never tried to do in timeline order.

    some additional random thoughts:
    I think I have reread my favorite novels over the past few years, but others not ever again after the first time. i am curious what I will think, esp since I saw a comment from you that you like each book better om the re-read..

    I just finished reading Constellation Vol 2 and was wondering how many short stories I have missed. I have some chapbooks, but not all, and one of the omnibuses, not both, etc…

  17. Paul A. Post author

    The two Constellations collect all the short stories up to 2011, or all the chapbooks up to #17. There are 17 stories in Vol 1, 16 stories in Vol 2, and eight or nine stories that have yet to be collected in an omnibus (three of which are new since I started this project!).

    The posts tagged availability contain information about which stories are in which omnibus or chapbook. (I also suggest keeping an eye on the schedule tag, as there have been several adjustments to the schedule since the last of the Reading Order Drafts — see above about new stories coming out.)

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