Saturday, August 22, 2009

Fledging by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller

Space Opera

Fledging is a side story in the Liaden Universe. On the last two pages of I Dare, the last book in the five book Liaden arc, Theo Waitley arrives looking for delm of Korval. She explains “I’m here because my father’s missing and he told me-he always told me to go to the delm of Korval, if ever there was really bad trouble”. The last line in the book has Theo talking about the trouble and saying, “It’s kind of complicated.” Theo is a totally new character from a period in Daav’ yos’ Phelium’s life that we know little about. All of the fans of the Liaden series started asking questions about Theo and pestering the authors for more information about this new character. At the same time Steve and Sharon’s publisher went out of business without paying for books that had already been sold. Writers like to get paid for their work so they went to their fans with a proposal for Theo’s story. They would write Theo’s story and published it on the web if fans would contribute to the effort. A chapter would be written and published for every $300 contributed. Fans wanted the story and enough money was donated for the entire first draft of Fledging to be written. During this time a new publisher, Baen Books, picked up Steve and Sharon for publication. Baen agreed to publish a final edition of Fledging.

Fledging is a book written for fans of the Liaden universe and is not a good first book it read in this series.

I enjoyed watching the writing process from first draft (what I read on the web) to the final published book. The first draft of Fledging told the story but without the details that moved the story smoothly toward a climax. The problems were often confusing and hard to follow in the draft. In the published version everything flows, characters are defined and more of the details of Daav’s life while away from Clan Korval are revealed. What Fledging does not answer is what problem Theo brought to the delm of Korval. The answer to that is in the next book about Theo, Saltation. The first draft of Saltation was also written on the web and like Fledging Baen contracted to publish the polished copy. Look for it in April of 2010.

If you are a fan of Liaden you have to read Fledging. Don’t stop with the first draft. Buy the book, it tells a much better story.

Baen published Fledging by Steve Miller and Sharon Lee in 2009.

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