Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Ambient Conditions (Adventures in the Liaden Universe #31), by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller

Pinbeam Books, November 2020

This book includes two shorter Liaden stories, and a foreword by the authors, that explains the circumstances of the writing of the second story.

The first story is the previously published "A Visit to the Galaxy Ballroom." Korval's removal from Liad to Surebleak has, among its other consequences, let to a split in the Scouts. Scout Pilot Lina yo'Bingim has been somewhat aware of this, but, based on Liad, it hasn't seemed to affect her directly. An unexpected assignment, taking Administrator Chola as'Barta to Surebleak, lands her directly in the conflict. Loyalty, Scout ethics, and betrayal all play a role here, and yo'Bingim has some hard decisions to make.

The second story, "Ambient Conditions," is a mirror story, "Preferred Seating" from the viewpoint of the other main character, Kishara. Kishara has been banished from her clan and from Liad for being a potentially dangerous "minor talent," while Can Ith yos'Phelium has left his clan for reasons the reader learned in "Preferred Seating." They meet, seemingly by chance, and confront a genuinely dangerous "minor talent," Mor Gan, banished from Liad at the same time as Kishara. They do not, of course, have any real chance to discuss what's going on, or why Kishara's plan for dealing with Mor Gan is the right one. Trust, improvisation, and risk-taking are the major factors here.

These are both solid, enjoyable Liaden Universe stories, though you'll better appreciate "Ambient Conditions" if you find and read "Preferred Seating" first. "Preferred Seating" is available to be read free here on the Baen website.

As I said, enjoyable stories. Recommended.

I bought this book.

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