Tue
Jul 6 2010 1:39pm

Announcing Sharon Lee & Steve Miller’s “Expanding Universe Contest”

The Dragon VariationWhen I think of authors who should be required reading for science fiction and science fiction romance fans, the names of Sharon Lee and Steve Miller come immediately to mind. This writing duo is the team behind the classic and ever-popular Liaden Universe®. This series of “adventurous romantic space opera” holds crossover appeal for both romance and science fiction readers.

To celebrate the release of Mouse and Dragon, Lee and Miller’s thirteenth Liaden novel, the authors are holding a cosmically cool contest. They’re giving away 36 digital copies of The Dragon Variation omnibus, which includes Conflict of Honors, Local Custom and Scout’s Progress. This contest is open to anyone and everyone who has yet to sample the galactic gold (sorry, couldn’t resist) of a Liaden Universe® novel.

Not only that, but if you’re a blogger who wants to help spread the word about it, you’ll be entered for a chance to win a $36.00 gift card from Barnes and Noble! And if you’re a blogger new to the Liaden novels of Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, you can enter both tiers of the contest!

Here is an excerpt from the official announcement at Sharon Lee’s blog:

In celebration of the publication of Mouse and Dragon, the thirteenth novel set in their Liaden Universe®, authors Sharon Lee and Steve Miller are holding an Expanding Universe Contest! Yes! No less than thirty-six electronic copies of The Dragon Variation will be given away.
The Dragon Variation is an omnibus edition of three Liaden Universe® novels—Conflict of Honors, one of the first modern SF Romances; Local Custom, second place winner of the Prism Award for best Futuristic of 2002; and Scout’s Progress, the first place winner of the Prism Award for best Futuristic of 2002, Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice for Best SF Novel of its year, and the prequel to Mouse and Dragon.
That’s three complete novels under one cover. No prior knowledge of the Liaden Universe® required. Electronic! In Baen Books’ DRM-free, multiplatform style. This omnibus can be read on your Kindle, your phone, your iPad, your desktop, or other ereader.

How great is that? Environmentally friendly, too.

To enter the contest, visit the Expanding Universe Contest post at Sharon Lee’s blog and follow the instructions you see there (it’s easy). The contest ends at midnight Eastern Daylight Time (4:00 a.m. GMT) Friday, July 16. Winners will be announced on Saturday, July 17, 2010.

In addition, I’ve made it even easier to post this on your blog. Simply click here and go to the bottom of the post. You’ll find the HTML ready to be cut and pasted.

Note: In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve exempted myself from the contest. I’m already a fan of Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, and I hope you’ll soon be one, too.


Heather Massey is a blogger who travels the sea of stars searching for science fiction romance adventures aboard The Galaxy Express. Additionally, she pens a science fiction romance column for LoveLetter, Germany’s premier romance magazine.

10 comments
Sean Arthur
1. wsean
I realize this is Perhaps Unfair®, but I'm predisposed to Irrationally Dislike® anything that throws around ®s like candy.

It gives it this unfortunate marketing flavor that makes my skin crawl. Combined with the blogger part of the contest ("link to us, maybe you'll get a small gift card!"), it doesn't exactly give a positive first impression of these authors.

Thanks for the disclosure at the end, Heather. It's really not your fault this makes me go "ick."
Pam Adams
2. Pam Adams
Well, since I already own the dead tree version, I won't play along, but will tell others.
Pam Adams
4. hapax
@wsean: Straight from the authors' FAQ (www.korval.com)

"Why is Liaden Universe® trademarked? Are the authors trying to fool readers into thinking their books
are like Star Trek®?

Sadly, there are people in the world who like to make trouble for other people. One such person targeted
Lee and Miller, and in order to protect their work, the authors were advised to trademark their universe."

If you allow the unfortunate fact that authors do have to pay the mortgage and buy cat food, etc. (all of which requires Extensive Self-Promotion in these days of shrinking publisher budgets) to guide your reading decisions, I'm afraid that Lee & Miller are not the only storytellers you'll be missing.
Rachel Hyland
5. RachelHyland
wsean @ 1

We did an interview with Lee and Miller at Geek Speak Magazine last month, along with a Fan Feature on Liad and all its works. The ® thing filled me with ennui (in fact, at the end of the latter piece I added the disclaimer: "No registered trademark symbols were injured in the making of this article"), but I do understand its legal necessity. As hapax pointed out.

As a huge Liaden fan, I think you'd be crazy not to give them a go, little-R-circle-thingie bedamned.
Paul Andinach
6. anobium
wsean, you may think the bonus spreading-the-word prize is small, but don't forget that it's a side bonus they didn't have to offer: they could have just expected people to spread the word about the contest out of the goodness of their hearts with no monetary reward to show for it.

(And people would have, because this is Lee & Miller. Never mind the gift card, introducing friends to the Liaden Universe is its own reward.)
Pam Adams
7. OtterB
I am not eligible, as a long-term Lee & Miller fan. I will offer both encouragement and a mild YMMV warning. "Scout's Progress" is one of my absolute all-time favorite books, and the new "Mouse and Dragon" is neck-and-neck with it. "Conflict of Honors" was the first Liaden book I read, and I might have discontinued it in the first 30 pages had it not come so highly recommended by people whose judgment I trusted - but shortly after that I was hopelessly hooked. And "Local Custom" is my least favorite of the whole series. Different books appeal to different people, even those who like the series as a whole.
Sean Arthur
8. wsean
@6- I think in this sort of situation, it's probably better to ask for word-spreading w/o the monetary reward. Would feel less icky. Or maybe it's just me.

Others- Thanks for the ® explanation. Still bugs me, but I guess you have to listen to your lawyers.

Anyway, I'll try to give these a shot when I've cleared up some of my reading backlog.
Sean Arthur
9. wsean
Don't know if anyone will actually see this post... but I finally got around to trying one of these books (Fledgling) and *drumroll* really liked it! Will definitely read more, despite the ®s.
Sean Arthur
10. wsean
Just on the off chance anyone comes across this page... time to eat some crow.

The Liaden series is now easily my favorite ongoing fiction series (well, right up there with Vorkosigan). I've read almost everything they've written in the universe, including all the novels and most of the short stories. And I look forward to the forthcoming novels!

On the plus side, I'm quite happy to have been totally wrong in my first impression. :)

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