Author Archives: Paul A.

Since the question has been raised…

I haven’t yet set a date for a chapter-by-chapter blogging of Fair Trade. The current plan is “a few weeks to a month before Trade Lanes comes out, whenever that turns out to be”.

This, you will have noticed, is a departure from the way I’ve been doing things.

The thing is, when I started this blog, it was all about re-reading the Liaden novels chapter-by-chapter, finding new things in old favourites and giving old not-favourites a chance to change my mind. Then eventually I ran out of Liaden novels I’d already read, but there were new ones coming out, and I was feeling so enthusiastic I decided to just keep on reading Liaden novels and blogging them chapter-by-chapter. But I’ve been increasingly feeling that this isn’t sustainable and has been injuring my ability to enjoy the new novels in the way they’re meant to be enjoyed. (Accepting the Lance, in particular, wasn’t done any favours by being chopped into a hundred pieces and spread over three months, and I’ve regretted that I didn’t give it a fair shake on its own terms.) On the other hand, I do enjoy revisiting the novels and finding details that I didn’t notice before.

So what I’m going to try is a return to this being a re-reading blog. I’m going to read Fair Trade by myself, at whatever speed it wants to go. And then, in the lead-up to Trade Lanes, I’m going to re-read it and do the chapter-by-chapter blog then.

There’s a certain symmetry to the new Jethri books being the ones where I try out this plan: one of the reasons I started this blog when I did was to give myself an excuse to re-read Balance of Trade in the lead-up to Trade Secret coming out.

From Every Storm a Rainbow

In which Sinit safeguards the clan’s treasures.

I’m always pleased to have another opportunity to spend time with Sinit, who’s one of my favourite characters in the series.

It’s also (speaking now as the presumptuous author of a suggested chronological reading order) something of a relief after the last few stories to have one that says up-front exactly where it fits chronologically.
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Our Lady of Benevolence

In which the bakery goes forward.

I had forgotten that we already knew of a character called “Our Lady of Benevolence” until I was re-reading the earlier bakery stories in preparation for this new one. (Well, actually, the authors’ foreword gave it away, but if not for that it would have been re-reading “Fortune’s Favors” that did it.)
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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.