Constellation, Volume 1 (2013) is a SF collection in the Liaden Universe. It contains an Authors' Foreword and seventeen short stories.
- "Authors' Foreword" tells of the origins of these stories and their original publication by SRM and elsewhere. It briefly relates the genesis of this reprint collection.
- "To Cut an Edge" (Two Tales of Korval, 1995) tells of the first meeting of Val Con and Edger.
- "A Day at the Races" (Two Tales of Korval, 1995) involves Val Con with Shan and a race car.
- "Where the Goddess Sends" (Fellow Travelers, 1998) relates the first meeting of Moonhawk and Lute.
- "A Spell for Lost" (Fellow Travelers, 1998) puts Lute and Moonhawk into a search for a lost villager.
- "Moonphase" (Fellow Travelers, 1998) discloses the trials of Priscilla within the temple.
- "Pilot of Korval" (Duty Bound, 1998) follows Er Thom as he defends a fellow crew member of the Dutiful Passage.
- "Breath's Duty" (Duty Bound, 1998) brings Daav back to Korval.
- "The Wine of Memory" (Certain Symmetry, 2000) shows the magic within Lute.
- "Certain Symmetry" (Certain Symmetry, 2000) presses Pat Rin into a duty to a Liaden who has killed himself.
- "Balance of Trade" (Absolute Magnitude, 1999) reveals an issue of Balance to a very junior Terran trader. This was later expanded into the novel Balance of Trade.
- "A Choice of Weapons" (Absolute Magnitude, 1999) exposes the self-declared flaws of Daav as the nadelm.
- "Changeling" (Absolute Magnitude, 2000) presents Ren Zel with a political problem.
- "A Matter of Dreams" (Distant Soil, 1999) details the problems of Fiona and Lilian on Sintia.
- "Phoenix" (Loose Cannon, 2001) illustrates the pressures on a true artist.
- "Naratha's Shadow" (Such a Pretty Face, 2000) addresses a scout's battle against a source of evil.
- "Heirloom" (Shadows and Shades. 2002) has Pat Rin and Nova assessing an old carpet.
- "Sweet Waters" (3SF, 2002) strands a scout on an inhabited world lacking certain essential nutrients.
These tales cover a wide range of plots and characters within the Liaden Universe. They also provide backstory on many characters. The previous publication of these stories was limited, so their republication in this collection is a joy to their fans.
This volume suggests some of the situations that produce the ideas leading to stories. As the authors imply, seeing a motorcar race or watching a water balloon fight or even picking up a sharp knife can worry their thoughts into a tale. As "Phoenix" indicates, such ideas may not let one rest until the story is finished.
The authors have had bad luck with their former publishers. Fortunately, Baen has been releasing omnibus editions of their previous works that were becoming harder to find. This collection extends these reprints to the shorter stories.
This reprint collection is only the first volume in the sequence. The next installment -- Constellation, Volume 2 -- will be released in January, 2014. Meanwhile, Trade Secret will be out in November, 2013.
Highly recommended for Lee & Miller fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of interesting cultures, interstellar conflicts, and a bit of romance. Read and enjoy!
-Arthur W. Jordin