Introduction to Volume One:
Korval's Legacy Collection
Are we having fun yet
A lot of you have heard the story already. The story about how the Liaden Universe® sprang forth from a single sentence*, a bottle of cheap wine, and two creative brains with time on their hands.
We're not going to tell that story again. We've told it a lot, and we're tired of it, frankly.
(You knew there had to be a but, didn't you )
We'd like to tell the story before the story of How The Universe Began.
Back before there was a Liaden Universe®, back before there was the Writing Team of Lee and Miller, 'way, 'way back before the rocks cooled, there were two people who read...not just a lot, but a whole freaking lot; who read omnivorously; who bought books before groceries, and sometimes instead. They lived in the same city, though they'd never met, but more importantly, they lived in the same universe.
No, not the Liaden Universe®. Not then. Not yet.
The universe they lived in was the universe of What If The universe of If This Goes On... The universe built and described by such pioneers as Anne McCaffrey, Roger Zelazny, Andre Norton, Doc Smith, CJ Cherryh, Damon Knight, Vonda N. McIntyre, Issac Asimov, Ursula K. LeGuin, James H. Schmitz—to name but a few of that proud company.
They read other things, of course—Sharon read mysteries and romances; Steve read science and poetry. But those were day-trips undertaken for the interesting scenery. They lived, these best friends who had yet to meet—they lived in the science fiction universe of ideas, of speculation. And fun.
That's right. Fun.
Let there be no doubt about it: Talking to dragons, even vicariously, is fun. Walking to Amber, unsettling as it may be, is fun. Sitting in the Siege Perilous is fun; psychohistory is fun. Serious fun, some of it. Perhaps even most of it. New ideas, and different ways of seeing things are fun, too.
Eventually, those two readers met, and recognized themselves as compatriots, fellow-dwellers-in-another-time-and-place. They married their fortunes and their futures together and eventually it came time for them to make their own contribution to the universe.
Which brings us back, yes, to that sentence*, the wine, and the all-night planning session in which seven books in series were conceived. The story that we weren't going to tell again—and we're not.
We're just going to mention here, because we sometimes forget, in the telling of the tale, that those two friends made a pact that night, in the midst of building their own What If
What did they promise, you wonder
Glad you asked.
They promised each other that whatever story they told, it would be fun, and sometimes, as necessity dictated, serious fun. That it would be fun not only to our (then-only-hoped-for) readers, but it would be fun for us, the writers. The creators.
So it has been—for us. Fun, we mean. And we hope that it will be, for you.
Welcome to the Liaden Universe®. It's big, and not without its dangers; nor is everything quite what it seems. Come in, take a look around, listen. Think.
And above all else—have fun.
Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
January 10, 2007
*For those of you who haven't heard the story, the sentence that launched a universe is: The man who was not Terrence O'Grady had come quietly. That's the first sentence of Agent of Change.