Remember a couple of months ago when I landed in the middle of the Honor Harrington universe on the 28th book with no previous grounding? Well, I did it again.
Apparently there’s something called the Liaden Universe, written by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, and I received the 22nd book in the series (Accepting the Lance) as part of my Baen Contest prize. The cover looks amazing, so I thought I would like this one.
And… I did, but not immediately. Therein lies a tale, so here goes.
I started reading this one in DC airport on my way back from WorldCon and found it hard. Like Gene Wolfe level hard. I had no clue who the characters were, why they had multiple personalities, and why they all talked funny. Expecting the kind of read you can breeze through in an airport, I realized I needed to pay attention. Uh-oh.
Having very little choice (I was in the middle of a 48 hour adventure in which flights got canceled due to mechanical issues, my new itinerary sent me to cities I wasn’t planning to visit and in which I got to sleep at a hotel paid for by the airline), I kept reading.
The story, as I slowly began to understand who everyone was and why they acted the way they did, coalesced into a fun interplanetary adventure. It was a much quicker and more enjoyable read, to me, than the Harrington, even though it was much harder at first.
I can’t really tell you much of what else has happened so far in the series, except to say that this book seems to tie quite a few plotlines together in a satisfying way.
I would recommend starting at book one, of course, but this one seems to be really, really worthwhile.
Gustavo Bondoni is a novelist and short story writer whose latest book is called Splinter. It’s a far-future thriller which explores the limits between man and machine, and you can check it out here.