Thursday, May 13, 2010

Reading orders

Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve - Liaden 01 - Agent of Change Do you struggle with working out what order to read a series? Especially if the books haven’t been written in sequential chronological order?

I’m currently having this problem.

I want to reread Sharon Lee and Steve Miller’s Liaden Universe books, and I have no idea what order I want to do it in.

Strict chronological order doesn’t work for me, since the first two books chronologically, Crystal Soldier and Crystal Dragon were written much later and I think you really need to have an appreciation of Liad and its “current” universe before going back to those two if you’re going to get the most from them.

I thought I was going to read it in publication order (something I certainly tend to prefer on a first reading) but something is stopping me. I think part of it is that the two I read first (at the suggestion of friends) weren’t published first, but I feel like they should be read first, probably because that’s the way I did it originally. When I started the series, those two were first chronologically, so it made sense to start there. But more books have been written since then which messes up my reading plan even further.

Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve - Liaden 11 - Fledgling I think I’m just going to have to make up a “Kerry” order and go with that. It won’t be justifiable by any specific logic, but if it’s most comfortable for me, surely that makes it right for me? The authors themselves say that there is no set order, so I’m free to do it my way, right?

It’s starting to feel like one of those logic puzzles where you have to fit everything into place with clues. There are small groupings that go together and do have a set order, but some overlap and there’s one coming up that ends the plot lines of more than one sub group. I’m finding it surprisingly stressful, which reading shouldn’t be.

Thinking out loud…

The Parents’ Generation

  1. Local Custom
  2. Scout’s Progress
  3. Mouse and Dragon (due June)

“Current” Books

  1. Agent of Change
  2. Conflict of Honors
  3. Carpe Diem
  4. Plan B
  5. I Dare
  6. Ghost Ship (due 2011)

Crystal Universe

  1. Crystal Soldier
  2. Crystal Dragon

Theo Waitley

  1. Fledgling
  2. Saltation

Stand Alones

  1. Balance of Trade

Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve - Liaden 05 - Local Custom That sequence doesn’t work for me, although I do like having all the mini-sequences laid out clearly. So let’s look at publication order…

Publication Order

  1. Agent of Change
  2. Conflict of Honors
  3. Carpe Diem
  4. Plan B
  5. Local Custom
  6. Scout’s Progress
  7. I Dare
  8. Balance of Trade
  9. Crystal Soldier
  10. Crystal Dragon
  11. Fledgling
  12. Saltation
  13. Mouse and Dragon (due June)
  14. Ghost Ship (due 2011)

While that makes a certain developmental sense, it isn’t what I want. So let’s try the next option…

Chronological Order

  1. Crystal Soldier
  2. Crystal Dragon
  3. Balance of Trade
  4. Local Custom
  5. Scout’s Progress
  6. Mouse and Dragon (due June)
  7. Conflict of Honors
  8. Fledgling
  9. Saltation
  10. Agent of Change
  11. Carpe Diem
  12. Plan B
  13. I Dare
  14. Ghost Ship (due 2011)

Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve - Liaden 13 - Mouse and Dragon Okay, that’s looking better, but I don’t want to read those first three first. What if I move them to the bottom, take out the two Theo books since I’m reading them now and add in the short story collections? I think that leaves me with something I can work with…

Kerry’s 2010/11 Reread Plan

  1. Local Custom
  2. Scout’s Progress
  3. Mouse and Dragon (due June)
  4. Conflict of Honors
  5. Agent of Change
  6. Carpe Diem
  7. Plan B
  8. I Dare
  9. Crystal Soldier
  10. Crystal Dragon
  11. Balance of Trade
  12. Liaden Unibus I
  13. Liaden Unibus II
  14. Ghost Ship (due 2011)

I don’t know that this is the slightest bit of interest to anyone, beyond a look into my disordered mind, but writing it down has helped me work out what I want to do. That means it was a useful exercise.


sausconys-books said...

I love the Liaden series but I'm so ashamed to admit that I haven't finished it yet. I've read the first four in publication order and I plan to finish the series this year, except for the new books unless I get them before the end of the year.

BTW, I started following you on Twitter, I don't post there very often but I've started posting my GoodReads ratings on Twitter. My screen name is quaisior over there.

Kerry said...

I'm following you back - it's always intersting to see what people are reading.

Carolyn Crane said...

Okay, how weird we both posted on this today! I love your "Kerry Order" idea. I've never read this Liaden series..but now I know the best place to start - pub order!

I love this. This is a huge series!

Li said...

The only series I have ever re-read properly is Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan books, and that was sort of accidental, in the sense I started re-reading one and had to re-read the next, and so on.

I like your final ordering though, that's probably the order I would choose to re-read them if I did. Esp seeing I am halfway through M&D at the moment, and I have the feeling it will fit in very nicely there.

orannia said...

I'm terrible about reading things in order (have you seen my latest post?), although I do try :)

I love the idea of Kerry order. Out of interest, has the author got any suggestions?