Friday, August 6, 2021

Bad Actors: (Adventures in the Liaden Universe® Number 33) by Sharon Lee (author), Steve Miller (author)

Pinbeam Books, July 2021

This is a collection of three shorter Liaden Universe adventures--and not featuring the usual type of Liaden Universe heroes. These are people who don't necessarily place the same value on honor

The first is "Excerpts From Two Lives," about a man and woman who are lovers, and part of a political entity that is hostile to Terrans, Liadens, and other political entities that might be more interested in trade and cooperation than in conquest and expansion. The man is a rising military officer; the woman is a scientist developing the means to rapidly terraform planets, enabling rapid expansion and growth for their civilization. The two are willing to cheaat, backstab, and undermine anyone who gets in their way, as they climb the political ladder by coordinating their military and scientific plans.

When something goes badly wrong with the first live test of the terraforming biotechnology, though, disaster strikes and they have a very big decision to make.

In "Dark Secrets," a small trading ship with just the owner/pilot and co-pilot, a Terran and a Liaden, are racing to reach their next port--partly to meet their delivery deadline, partly to escape the pirates chasing them. They're not entirely honest traders, not black market, but often grey, and they each have their secrets. The Liaden co-pilot's secrets are perhaps the darker and more dangerous ones, and once they're on station, with the station manager not at all happy with them, and questions about exactly what their cargo was that it was so tempting for pirates, she realizes that an old enemy is after her again. She has to decide whether she only wants to protect herself, or keep the pilot and his ship safe if she can. He has to decide whether he's going to let her walk off into danger, or follow after her.

"Revolutionists" centers on a young man living on a station where the laws and customs are not necessarily wonderful, focused on preserving healthy bloodlines in a setting where successful, healthy births are not as common as one would wish. Transfusions from those with "healthy blood" can also extend the lives and health of the elite of the station. Our healthy young man is having what he considers an enjoyable, satisfying career as a security officer, while his mother lives in comfort in the elite section of the station, giving blood on a regular basis to the elites. When the young man is told by his superior officer that revolutionists are trying to take over the station, that they have infiltrated security, and ships are coming with reinforcements for them. The very basis of their society could be overthrown! As events unfold, the reader may wonder, sooner than our hero does, who the "revolutionists" really are.

They're atypical, but interesting, and enjoyable, and give us a look at some different parts of the Liaden universe.


I bought this book.

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