2011 Top Ten: Liaden Universe

I can’t remember who recommended this series to me. I think it was a series brought to my attention five or six years ago when I did a general plea and people pointed me to C.J. Cherryh, C.S. Friedman, and Bujold. Unlike those three I found the Liaden books hard to find which contributed to me not reading them until this year. I used to scour used bookstores for them. I bought a number of the books, but could never get them “in order” so they just piled up unread.

I finally picked one up, regardless of order, and went with it. It was Conflict of Honors which turned out to be as good of place as any to start. Great timing as the key relationship in this one reminded me of the one in the Peter Wimsey series I had just read. Where the romance is based on two strong characters finding each other while in a moment of unbalance (one in power and one not) and unwilling to move on the relationship because of fear of losing themselves in the process or taking too much. Only this one is in space and everything obviously. (handwaves) It is space opera spanning multi generations with a sentient tree and space turtles. Oh, and there are tons of books. Baen has them in kindle/ebook form which is how I read them in the end. You can buy them in bundles. I was going on a long train ride and needed to fill my Kindle. Easy sell. The authors even have a recommended reading order I completely disregarded.

The series is written by wife and husband duo Sharon Lee and Steve Miller. They’ve been writing in this ‘verse for years with no end in sight. I find Liaden ‘verse light and entertaining with some soapy drama in there too. So more like Bujold than C.J. Cherryh. There are some mob/spy stuff, some science/universe/origins stuff, sentient trees, teleporting cats, pilot stuff, commerce drama, race relations, music…it really depends on what book you pick up. I read everything this year and am now up to date with what is being written give or take a short story here or there. I regret nothing!

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