Succession Series

“In the tradition of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series and Frank Herbert’s Dune books . . . a literate space opera.”
New York Times

Order this book!
Order this book!

This was my attempt to write a space opera for my 14-year-old self, who always wanted big, ass-kicking space battles and hostage rescues and armor-suited ground actions, but ones that made some kind of scientific sense. (Um, space ships don’t bank when they turn, Mr. Lucas.) So I started with that most cliched of sf protagonists, the starship captain, threw in every kind of derring-do I could imagine, and still tried to make it a pretty realistic novel. With, you know, characters and stuff.

Succession has been published as two books in Russian (Eksmo/2004) and Spanish, El Imperio Elevado (La Factoría de Ideas/2005) and El
Asesinato de los Mundos
(La Factoría de Ideas/2005), and as one book in the UK and Australia (Orbit/2005; entitled, perhaps confusingly, The Risen Empire). In the future, there’ll be a French edition as well, but I’m not sure what format. In late 2003, the Science Fiction Book Club came out with an omnibus edition with the original title, Succession.

These were also my first books in hardback, which, like your first kiss, you never forget. (Well, maybe your first mass-market book is your first kiss, which would make these my first . . . well, never mind.)

Here’s an interview with me about the book.

Here’s the site of Stephan Martiniere, who did the awesome cover artwork for the books, including both the US, UK, and Science Fiction Book Club covers.

One day, I might be writing more in this universe (see the faq). But not for a while.

The Splitting of Words

Risen Empire and Killing of Worlds were originally one manuscript, entitled Succession. But this omnibus came in at 180,000 words (about 700 pages). While the book was in production, a certain large bookstore chain did an analysis of their sales, and discovered that sales of most authors dropped off precipitously at $25. So they announced that they would be buying in much smaller numbers of any book that was priced over $25. (This amount has since inflated, but the general rule still applies.)

So Tor and I were presented a choice between cutting the book in half or having this very important chain cut their order in half. Tor suggested the former, and I went along with it. That’s why Risen Empire ends kind of, you know, suddenly.

But I really can’t complain, given that this is rip-roaring space-operatic science fiction, a genre in which "fix-ups" (a bunch of short stories strung together to make a novel) and magazine serializations are a big part of the history. Just be ready to buy Killing of Worlds within seconds of finishing Risen Empire.