Tcherlatha is one of the Scattered Worlds, known for the speed of its ever-changing ecology. Biological evolution on Tcherlatha moves at hyper-speed. In the Scattered Worlds, a well-known saying describes a very busy person as "busy as a Tcherlathan biologist."

Despite all this frantic activity, Tcherlatha has never developed sapient life. Many conflicting theories of the development of intelligence have tried to explain this, but scientists have found none of them conclusive.

copyright (c) 2011, Don Sakers

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A Voice in Every Wind (Ebooks Make Great Gifts #2)

I have a copy of the Fifth Forbidden Book.

My friend Treyl was very anxious to see it; he did not realize that my people used books. So I led and Treyl followed with his strange ungainly waddle, away from the clevth and northward into the hills. This was in the time of the wet spring winds, when the rimmith bloom for their brief lives and the sun passes the Seam of Heaven in a shower of sparks. The clevth was upwind, and every gust brought the awareness of my people preparing for the time of breeding: young females ready to mate and drop their eggs in the shallows, half-year-olds anxious to pick up the beginnings of their coats, adolescents ready for a last taste of the ancestral waters before entering their fina1 forms. The night was alive with sensation, alive in a way that made Treyl and the Fifth Forbidden Book so much more exciting.

With Treyl watching I carefully took the Book from its wrapping — cured membranes of the large jarief flsh — and cradled it in my three forward hands. My copy of the Fifth Forbidden Book is a heavy thing, with leaves made from pressed plantfibers and separated by more membranes. As I held it, my hands detected its ancient holiness, and I caught a wisp of the long-ago scribe who had lovingly transferred the words of the original Book to this copy. I opened the Book to its first leaf, raised it to my face and caressed it with my antennae. Just as he had deposited them so long ago, I felt the thoughts of Ep-Naph the Great Warrior, thoughts that he had left to be preserved by the brotherhood for those of his descendants who could comprehend them.

Treyl leaned forward, looking naked without a coat of star-shaped pled by their hundreds, looking ready to fall over as he balanced on an amazing two limbs while reaching for me with the only other two he possessed. When I first met Treyl, I closed my mind against the onslaught of pain that had to emanate from one so crippled — only later I learned that his people are naturally malformed.

His backpack spoke: a combination of the soundless speech of my people, and the noisy chitters and clicks of the secret tongue of the brotherhood. “May I see it, Dleef?”

“It is old and fragile, my friend Treyl. Please take care as you would handling a newborn.”

He left me holding the Book, removed an antenna from his backpack and brushed it lightly over the surface of the leaf. “Amazing. That chemical traces could be so exact. That your sensory apparatus can pick them up. That they convey so much information.”

“The Book is old,” I told him, “and was but a copy to begin with. Many passages have faded and are hard to read.”

“My backpack can read them all. Possibly it can duplicate the chemicals and make those passages easier to read. Would you like me to do that?”

I regarded him well, this odd small creature from nowhere. The rest of the clevth bore him the usual disregard for a stranger who does not smell right; why did I trust him? Was it that other thing, which made me a part of the brotherhood and brought me the emnity of my people? Whatever, I knew that I did trust Treyl, trusted him with something in me that went beyond his smell and his strangeness. “The clevth leaves with morning, and although I do not wish to go south right now I shall accompany them. You may work your maglcs on the Book until daylight.”

“Until daylight.” He pressed one of his hands against mine, gently, to avoid hurting himself on my pled coat. And through the interstices and the living bodies of my pled seeped a measure of his alien feel, and once again I wondered about him.

About myself.

copyright (c) 2010, Don Sakers 
Find out more in A Voice in Every Wind ($2.50 ebook, $7.50 print)
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Ebooks Make Great Gifts Part 1: The Leaves of October

         I am but a sapling, yet already I have become proficient in the reading of the First Language, in the rustles and whispers of the Second Language, and even a bit in the vast soundless waves of the Inner Voice with its meanings from beyond the sky.

         I am also skilled in relations with the other orders of life, although this world has circled its sun but a dozen times since I broke soil. You may find it strange to hear a Hlut speak of relations with other orders— these are the Hlutr, you may say to yourselves, who stand so far above the others that they touch the clouds, who live so long that they watch mountains change, who talk among themselves in their two languages (for what can you know of the Inner Voice?) all oblivious to the world. How, you may ask, can they even be aware of others?

         And your thoughts are partly right, Little Ones— but only partly. True, the Elders…those who are old even as the Hlutr count time…do not pay that much attention to others. True, they live so slowly that your lives are but a flicker, and to them you are less than goats are to a mountain. Yet you must not make mountains of us, Little Ones, for we are alive (even as are you) and we know the pains and beauties of living. We feel kin to all life.

         Let me assure you that the Hlutr do care, tiny and ephemeral as you are. We know you and feel you and cherish you, although you may not think so; for truly, we do not speak with you and seldom acknowledge you. We are aware of the flying creatures who perch upon us, of the land beings who jump, walk and creep around us; of the grubs and many-legged crawlers who live on us and in us and within the ground beneath our roots. We appreciate, we feel for, we cherish all Little Ones— down to the tiny, primal bits of pulsing, growing, mindless life within you and their dull feeling for the Inner Voice, their dull awareness of the great world about them.

         I have been taught to be even more conscious of you, Littles, than are my brethren Hlutr. I have been taught by Elders and normal Hlutr alike, living so fast that I have fit many of your lifetimes into my scant dozen years. With each day I grow better with the First and Second Languages, the expressions of my people; with each day I become more attuned to the waves of the Inner Voice…not only that I might communicate with my brethren of far-off worlds, but also that I might talk with you, Little Ones.

         Why, you may ask, have I been created this way, why have I been bred and trained into such a non-Hlutr type of Hlut? You may wonder what need the Elders have of a Hlut like me. I wonder too, my Littles. I have some idea. There are whispers in the wind, and pulses in the Inner Voice, that bear news across the galaxy and around the world to me. There is news from the Ancients of Nephestal, whose culture is almost as old as the Hlutr.

         The Daamin, the Ancients, tell us that there is a new race ready to come forth and join the Scattered Worlds of the Galaxy. We will all have company soon, dear Little Ones, and I believe the Elders wish to be ready for these new ones.

         There are strange stories about them, stories which I do not quite understand. The Daamin tell of these new ones, these Humans, and of their distant planet and their odd ways. We have learned of our stunted relatives the Redwoods of Terra; we have been told of Animals and Dolphins and some of the Humans’ strange societal customs (some of them a little like the many-legged crawlers and some of the grubs). In their own way they have studied the Universal Song and learned some of its principles. Enough, at least, to harness some of the power of the First Cause. And they are coming, Little Ones; already their seeds flash outward from their world at speeds as fast as the Inner Voice can move, and soon they will be here among us.

         Little Ones, we must prepare for the Humans.

copyright (c) 2010, Don Sakers
Find out more in The Leaves of October (ebook $2.99, print $14.99)
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The Hallelujah Chorus

Date: Fri, August 1, 2042 08:16:18 (EDT)
To: All Residents, Guests, Visitors, and Their Sordid Entourages
From: Miranda Maris (m@maris-institute.org)
Subject: Tonight’s Festivities
Message-id: <20421316180326_512530.70601_AX020@maris-institute.org>
Content-Type: text
Status: O


Since this has been the proverbial Week From Pell, I am afraid that the Hyperspace Jig will simply Not Be Enough. Therefore, please come prepared to participate in the traditional midnight performance of the Hallelujah Chorus around the pool. This is mandatory, as Miz Miranda needs some definite cheering up. Those who feel they need to practice beforehand, should meet in the Grand Ballroom at eleven. Bring friends (or whatever passes for friends in your sad, lonely, meaningless lives).

The Calvert Ballroom will be dedicated to the memory of those who lost their lives in the Timbuktu disaster. Works of art, performances, memorial services, and remembrances are all welcome and encouraged. The U.N. Timbuktu Relief Fund and International Red Cross/Crescent/Wheel will be on hand to accept money, clothing, nonperishable food items, and volunteers. Donated materials will be auctioned on Sunday afternoon for the benefit of the Relief Fund.



NOTE: Don Sakers will be on panel discussions and other program events at this weekend's Darkover Grand Council in Timonium, Maryland. The Darkover Grand Council, a three-day celebration of diversity and creativity, is our favorite convention. Look for our room party on Friday night...and yes, the Hallelujah Chorus will be sung in the hotel lobby at midnight on Saturday. 

copyright (c) 2010, Don Sakers
Find out more in Dance for the Ivory Madonna
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The Empire of the Iaranor

A long time ago, oh, a few hundred Galactic Revolutions of Nephestal, the Iaranor thought they had ended war. They had an Empire, very like the Human one, except that it didn't control the entire Galaxy. Their colonization had not reached so far. Fewer planets were fit to support life, in those days.

The stories tell that there was a long period of peace, a Pax Iaranori I suppose you would call it. The Iaranori built many beautiful buildings, and made lovely decoration, and stumbled across some profound and stunning music. And their biologists made efforts to breed aggressiveness out of their race.

Well, this Empire of the Iaranor lasted for a good long time, but it didn't get much larger, nor did the Iaranor respond when hostile Core cultures made forays into the Scattered Worlds. Soon their Empire began to crumble around the edges, simply from entropy.

Finally the Emperor -- an Iaranori named Takonnen -- took action. He undid what the biologists had done, reintroduced the genes for aggressive tendencies, bred an entire planet of atavistic Iaranori.

Under their chieftain, Batydded, these new Iaranor supernovaed forth and, in a generation of bloody war, doubled the size of the Empire until it embraced every Iaranor in the Galaxy. Batydded herself led expeditions against the Core worlds, toppled their structures of government, and removed Core military influence for millions of years.

That generation of Iaranor produced works of visual art, symphonies, drama, and literature that dazzled all subsequent civilizations. Ismallia, Batydded's capital, is still one of the most impressive worlds in the Galaxy.

The Empire soon fell apart into warring factions. The Iaranor live longer than Humans, but they do not live slower. Batydded lived to see her Empire torn apart, and the Iaranor went through hundreds of generations of ignoble strife before they finally reached true racial maturity.

copyright (c) 2010, Don Sakers
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What's the Order?

People have been asking "In what order should I read the Scattered Worlds books?" and "In what order do the books go by internal chronology (i.e. when things happened in the Scattered Worlds universe)?" Both are good questions.

Reading Order

Unlike many series out there, the Scattered Worlds stories are meant to stand on their own. You can pick up any title without having read the others. That's why I call it a mosaic rather than a traditional series. There is no required order for reading the constituent parts. However, after a while you will come to realize that they are all part of a larger pattern, a continuing narrative. In the end (and I promise you, there is an end), the Scattered Worlds books will tell a complete story that transcends the individual parts.

That being said, The Leaves of October is a good place to start. It covers the full sweep of Scattered Worlds history from the beginning up to the Maturity of Humanity, and provides a framework that the other stories can hang from.

After Leaves you have a choice. If you want to read more kewl aliens and find out more about the alien cultures of the Scattered Worlds, you might want to move on to A Voice in Every Wind and A Rose From Old Terra, then pick up Weaving the Web of Days and All Roads Lead to Terra (just released), and fit Dance for the Ivory Madonna in whenever you're in the mood for something near-future.

If you'd rather read more about the Human cultures, then jump right into Weaving the Web of Days, follow up with A Voice in Every Wind, All Roads Lead to Terra, and A Rose From Old Terra. Dance for the Ivory Madonna, finally, will give you a feeling for how all this stuff originated.

Chronological Order

I don't suggest reading the books in chronological order your first time through, but here it is:
  1. Dance for the Ivory Madonna
  2. Weaving the Web of Days
  3. A Voice in Every Wind
  4. All Roads Lead to Terra
  5. A Rose From Old Terra
  6. The Leaves of October
(Actually, it's more complicated than that. The sections of The Leaves of October, A Voice in Every Wind, and All Roads Lead to Terra actually take place in several different time periods. But this'll do for now.)

Be aware, though, that there are more books coming -- and they will definitely appear out of chronological order. I'll periodically revisit this list as more books come out in the future.

-Don Sakers

copyright (c) 2010, Don Sakers
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Brandix was origianlly a Tr#skan deity, a capricious one at that. His worship became popular among university students in the final pre-Imperial decade, and was institutionalized over the next half-century as they grew.

It was not until TE 164, with the Council of Credix, that Brandixian theology became linked with the cults of Kaal and Meletia.

In the eternal trinity, Brandix is the Trickster, the Other, the spirit of youth and rebellion, the divine embodiment of androgyny, change, unconventionality, disaster; the Eternal Outsider. Brandix was a particular favorite of minorities and those on the outskirts of society. He was also a traditional advocate for gays.

The Brandixian sacred litany starts: "This hour, call it one. All that has gone before, forget it; wipe it out; it can hurt you no longer. All that will come, prepare to meet it."

copyright (c) 2010, Don Sakers
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The Virgo Mariner Expedition

The Virgo Mariner was a Second Terran Empire vessel, carrying a Scattered Worlds crew under the command of Mal Arin, sent on a voyage of exploration to the Virgo Cluster in 23,524 H.E.
The multi-species, multi-discipline crew included:

  • Mal Arin: Human, historian, Captain.
  • Borinat t'Lemest: Metrinaire, Economist
  • Debrettar: Iaranori, Chief Engineer
  • Kiryl: Human, Second-in-Command
  • LeMoine: Human, Poet
  • Mondappen: Iaranori, Galactic Rider
  • Doctor na-Pekah: Dorascan, Chief Astronomer
  • Explorers: Twin Hlutr, Advisors
  • Osteva Rul: Human, Geneticist
  • Fadil Tormity: Human, Galactic Rider
  • Tiglath delv Napitsha: Avethellan, Telepath
  • Tila Zakodny: Human, Biologist
  • Wu Plenr: Daamin, Librarian
  • Ximu Qin: Daamin, Geneticist  
The Virgo Mariner crew visited the planet Metaneira in the Ring Galaxy, where they contacted the Twilight Dancers. A particular Twilight Dancer, Song of the Eventide Wind, was the crew's main contact.

copyright (c) 2010, Don Sakers
Find out more in The Leaves of October
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The Mehbis Cluster

The Mehbis Cluster was an open cluster of 38 stars that existed approximately 400 million BCE. The Mehbis Cluster contained 18 habitable planets. The dominant higher lifeform was a species of "Singing Trees" which were Hlutr-descended and had strong telepathic/empathic abilites. Through the mediation of the Singing Trees and the co-operation of local Hlutr, the entire Mehbis Cluster became one single ecological unit.

In time, a form of co-operative micro-organisms developed intelligence and managed to build up a sophisticated nano-scale technology, including interstellar travel. However, technology fed upon itself and the micro-organisms severely overpopulated the entire cluster. The ecological crash, when it came, was quick and devastating; in the end, both the micro-organisms and the Singing Trees were driven to extinction, and the Cluster's biodiversity was decimated.

Over the course of Galactic revolutions, the stars of the Mehbis Cluster drifted apart. Today, there is no unity among the remaining planets, and only a few (mostly microscopic) ruins remain as evidence of the glories that once existed there.

copyright (c) 2010, Don Sakers
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The Children of Lavarren

The Children of Lavarren were a Scattered Worlds race which flourished c. 500 million BCE. Lavarren was their homeworld.
The Children of Lavarren were descended ( via Pylistroph Seed Vessel) from the Evellan. Physically, they were tall and willowy, and had rudimentary wings that allowed them to glide in Lavarren's low gravity. They were long-lived, with a juvenile phase that lasted about six to eight Human centuries, and and adulthood that could easily span ten thousand years.

Over the course of about six hundred millennia, using simple lightsail technology and a primitive form of ultrawave, the Children of Lavarren forged a union of roughly three hundred worlds across a distance of about two hundred parsecs along one Galactic Arm. They sent our exploration parties across the Galaxy.
When a long-distance exploration team from Lavarren penetrated the Gathered Worlds, the Children of Lavarren attracted the attention of Garadhros. Slowly, carefully, agents of Garadhros moved through the Lavarren union sowing the seeds of dissent and war. The Children of Lavarren, who until now had been peaceful, discovered war -- and soon the union was torn by strife.

At last, researchers on Lavarren itself developed a doomsday device: a method of triggering the simultaneous supernovae of sixteen key stars throughout the union, thereby flooding space with hard radiation that would render the entire arm of the Galaxy uninhabitable.

The crisis raised enormous moral conflicts among the ranks of the newly-formed Galactic Riders. The Riders finally came to realize that the only way to prevent the Children of Lavarren from self-destruction was to take away their freedom, and so they focussed their attention on evacuating innocent sapients, and (in the last throes) saving and preserving works of art.

In the end, of course, the doomsday device was used. And so the Children on Lavarren passed away in suicide, while the Scattered Worlds, Hlutr and Daamin and Riders alike, watched in sorrow and horror.

copyright (c) 2010, Don Sakers
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The Folk of a Thousand Suns

The Folk of a Thousand Suns were a Scattered Worlds race which flourished c. 220 million BCE in a globular cluster far below the Galactic Plane. At their peak, the Folk commanded an empire that nearly encompassed the entire globular cluster, and lasted for nearly 10 million years.

The Folk were space-dwellers, evolved in the chaotic cometary shells of stars near the center of the globular cluster. There, where stars were at an average separation of a third of a parsec or less, the intensity of radiation drove evolution at enormous speed.

Individually, the Folk were large, hundreds of kilometers across. They were very long-lived, and had means of propulsion that allowed them to move from star to star. By choosing the level of cosmic ray flux in which they reproduced, the Folk had some control over how much their offspring would diverge from the parent's form.

copyright (c) 2010, Don Sakers
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The Sardinian League

The Sardinian League formed in 5973 CE, and had a very uncertain course throgh the millennia. The League, never a formal government, was more of an economic and cultural alliance. The four main member states -- Borshall, New Sardinia, Terexta, and Sedante -- freely withdrew and rejoined many times as shifting political realities forced realignments of power in the sector.

The Sardinian League came to a formal end when it became one of the founding members of the Second Empire in 20,724 HE.

copyright (c) 2010, Don Sakers
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