Misfits, Adventures in the Liaden Universe #15
by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller
Cover Artist: Paul Davies
Review by Gayle Surrette
SRM Publisher, Ltd. Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9781935224044
Date: Undefined 2007 List Price $11.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Sharon Lee and Steve Miller are known for their Liaden series of novels. To write such fully realized and textured novels with characters that practically leap off the page because they seem so real, there's a lot of background development and backstory that helps the writers to flesh out their world, societies, and characters. For years, Lee and Miller have been publishing chapbooks which contain short stories or novelettes that fill in more detail about an event precipitated by one of the main story lines of a novel or just a snippet of backstory for a character.
Miri Robertson once served with Lizardi's Lunatics on a planet called Klamath. In Carpe Diem, when Miri is injured, she mutters about people and events that dealt with that time. When Val Con asks about it later, she tells him how her mercenary unit had taken a contract and landed on Klamath. The weather was very unstable and the meteorologist on the space station needed better data. Miri was assigned to learn how to operate and care for the meteorological equipment. The war on planet wasn't going well, or going too well depending on your point of view. Miri said they wouldn't have survived if it wasn't for the weatherman.
In Misfit, we are introduced to Ichliad Brunner, a meteorologist, his clan, and what his life has been like since Klamath. With flashbacks we now learn what happened during that time from Brunner's point of view. Knowing the sociological and political climate on the space station, the role of the Scout's, and Brunner's view of it all, helps to add greater meaning to that snippet of story that we heard about in Carpe Diem. Now, we truly get a feeling for just how terrifying it was to be trapped on a planet that was being torn apart while the colonists were intent on killing each other and stopping anyone from surviving.
Misfits is being recounted as Brunner is reminded of his work on Klamath as Plan B brings Clan Korval back to Liad to face the Department of Interior. Readers of the series will know just how a weather man would fit into things and nod, having a good idea of just how Brunner will fit into this segment of the novel and how his background on Klamath becomes relevant.
If you're a fan of the Lee and Miller's Liaden series, this chapbook along with their other stories are essential to filling in the background of the series characters and their interconnections. If you're just getting into the stories in this universe, don't worry, you can read this as a stand-alone – but I'm warning you, you'll probably want to get all the books – the writing is just that good.