Steven Richard Miller 1950-2024
February 21, 2024 4:37 PM   Subscribe


The first person I dated introduced me to the Korval books, and I in turn introduced WizardOfDocs, the second person I've dated. I'm very sad to hear this, but glad he left the world with so many wonderful books.
posted by Canageek at 4:42 PM on February 21 [1 favorite]

posted by clew at 4:44 PM on February 21


The Liaden Universe is one of my very favorite things.
posted by elizabot at 4:56 PM on February 21 [5 favorites]

posted by adamsc at 5:08 PM on February 21

I'm bummed.

I've read a lot of the Liadenverse, though I haven't read as many since Theo came into play. I wonder if Sharon will continue with the series alone or no, or where people have been left at this moment there.
posted by jenfullmoon at 5:13 PM on February 21 [1 favorite]

Sharon Lee's Facebook post about this was so simple, direct, and tragic--just heartbreaking to imagine--and with that someone who must have understood so much about people, love, and respect for one another has gone out of the world.

Thank you for posting this. The Liaden books are amazing, and if anyone dropping into this thread hasn't tried them, the first by publication order is free online and in several formats. There's also a FAQ about their interdependencies. I see Steve Miller and Sharon Lee gave a long interview last summer too.
posted by Wobbuffet at 5:56 PM on February 21 [6 favorites]

posted by gudrun at 6:09 PM on February 21

I'm another fan of their books, who binge-read them so hard one summer that I started thinking about what mode I was using in everyday conversation at my job at the SAT prep cram school. Tutor to student? Adult to teenager?


I'm sure I would have thought 74 was old old back when I first started reading the Liaden books but now that both my parents are past the 75 year old point I can only think that Miller passed way too young.
posted by spamandkimchi at 6:37 PM on February 21

I'm sorry to hear of his death, but have to admit I'm glad to learn of this series. What is the best reading order for this series?
posted by zardoz at 6:48 PM on February 21

In theory, there are a lot of plausible reading orders, and my recollection is publication order has some quirks, like I wasn't hooked on the first book until somewhere in the middle and the second book puts some things on pause until the third, etc., etc. But that's still the storyline/order I'd recommend first. Maybe the main takeaway from the link is that if there's an interlude or sub-series you decide to skip, that'll be fine too.
posted by Wobbuffet at 7:13 PM on February 21 [1 favorite]

I love the Liaden series so much!

posted by Coaticass at 7:26 PM on February 21 [1 favorite]

Zardoz the series consists of many interwoven strands about different loosely related characters and eras. A bit like Pratchett's Discworld books in that way.. But good starting points include the first book, Agent of Change. Or Fledgling, available for free on the Baen website.
posted by Coaticass at 7:32 PM on February 21 [1 favorite]

posted by Coaticass at 7:42 PM on February 21 [1 favorite]

Or Scout's Progress (the previous generation, but written after Agent of Change.)
posted by Coaticass at 7:53 PM on February 21

I am completely unfamiliar with his works but definitely admire his obituary...

posted by jim in austin at 8:02 PM on February 21 [1 favorite]

posted by 3j0hn at 9:48 PM on February 21

posted by filtergik at 4:15 AM on February 22

posted by of strange foe at 10:45 AM on February 22

Hmmm, lemme see if I can discuss reading orders. Honestly, for a newbie I'd say go chronologically by book timeline at this point. The way they were written, the books kind of the middle...then they started writing ancient history, then they started a new sequence in which the ancient history stuff starts coming up all over the place.

Prehistory: Crystal Soldier/Crystal Dragon. These books are drastically different than anything else in the series, because they literally take place in a different/older universe and are about how everyone had to move to a different universe. Sets up the history of Clan Korval, how magic operates in the world, genetic engineering.

Jethri Gobelyn: Balance of Trade, Trade Secret, Fair Trade: these are kind of side adventures, more or less? Definitely based on prehistory books. Not as much Clan Korval, from what I remember, but I don't think I've read the last book so maybe they've come up by then.

Space Regencies: Local Custom, Scout’s Progress, Mouse and Dragon These are the love stories of the parents of the adults in the main sequences below. Local Custom is unabashedly a "secret baby" romance--honestly, it gets better--and the other two feature Daav and Aelli and the complications in their romance. Local and Scout are where I started reading originally.

Agent of Change, Conflict of Honors, Carpe Diem, Plan B, Local Custom, Scout’s Progress, I Dare. (Note: I haven't read the later listed Dutiful Passage books, can't say what's in 'em.) This sequence is the best of the books, in my opinion. Alternating back and forth between the stories of the trade ship Dutiful Passage and how they get into war, and how secret agent Val Con meets his former mercenary wife Miri (best people in the books, god, I love Miri), and how Clan Korval in general discover there's a secret department on Liad that is anti-Terrans marrying into Liaden families and how they make war on each other. Also has a great book on how the "least" member of Clan Korval does really well for himself cleaning up a lawless planet. That is really cool.

Theo Waitley: Fledgling, Saltation, Ghost Ship, Dragon Ship, The Gathering Edge, rejoining the rest of the characters in Neogenesis Theo is a character introduced after the last sequence, this follows up on her upbringing as a Korval member living far away on a Safe World and how she doesn't fit there, takes up piloting, and gets herself a very interesting spaceship. I admit that the Theo books are what got me out of reading the series. I can't really explain why because Theo herself is all right, but good god, Delgado as a planet is boring AF and I don't think I could even finish Saltation. Theo is mostly off on her own for awhile here. It's not quite "side" like the Jethri books, but it takes awhile to integrate her in.

The Korval in exile books: I haven't read all of these, but they take place after I Dare, in which Clan Korval has to make a drastic life change and adjust to new surroundings.

I really should check the library for the rest of the books. I can't even remember finding new Korvals in the bookstore the last few years.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:55 AM on February 22 [4 favorites]

Steve and Sharon were friends of my parents when I was growing up, and I always liked them. RIP.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 12:32 PM on February 22 [4 favorites]

posted by maryrussell at 7:25 PM on February 22

Here's a recommended reading order Canageek and I came up with a few years back. It starts with the Jethri books, which are my favorites and set up a lot of little things that are just kind of normal in the main series.

The Theo books are also a decent place to start if you'd rather start from very little background knowledge and learn about the setting along with the characters. But then there's a lot of backtracking to do.
posted by WizardOfDocs at 7:08 PM on March 3 [3 favorites]

Love your work WizardOfDocs (and Canageek). Have you kept up with the more recent ones?
posted by Coaticass at 8:48 PM on March 4

A memorial and review of Fledging was just published on Reactor (formerly Leaving the Nest: Fledgling.
posted by Coaticass at 11:19 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]

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