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New Stuff: Stories, Updates, News, Nonfiction, Etc.

This story is set within Sharon Lee and Steve Miller’s Liaden Universe® series, and within the timeline of December Liaden novel Accepting the Lance. Maine-based Sharon Lee and Steve Miller have written dozens of short stories and twenty plus novels, most set in their star-spanning Liaden Universe®. Before the husband-and-wife team settled down to the serene and stable life of science fiction and fantasy writers, Steve was a traveling poet, a rock-band reviewer, reporter, and editor of a string of community newspapers. Sharon, less adventurous, has been an advertising copywriter, copy editor on night-side news at a small city newspaper, reporter, photographer, and book reviewer. Both credit their newspaper experiences with teaching them the finer points of collaboration. Steve and Sharon maintain a web presence at korval.com.


Scout Lina yo’Bingim inhaled, tasting the sharp, cold air, feeling a phantom flutter against her cheek. She blinked up at the gray sky, at snow—snow! She paid off the cabbie, soft flakes melting against her face.

She liked the fresh smell of the snow, but she had not come here to linger in quiet appreciation on the street. No, her purpose was to have a good time while enthusiastically expending energy.

Scout Lina yo'Bingim, off-duty for the next twenty-four hours, turned away from the curb and walked determinedly toward the building with the message lit up in bright pink and yellow lights:

WELCOME TO THE GALAXY BALLROOM

According to her information, she would find Scouts and pilots and mercenaries inside. She would find dancing, and gaming, and drinking, and—bowli ball.

She had specifically come for the bowli ball.

Inside the bar was everything one might expect of a rowdy emporium on a deep space route: twenty-three kinds of beer and ale instabrewed on the premises; both top-line and bottom-tier liquor, but none in between; and wine in quantity. A modest line of smokes was also on offer for those who sought peace.

Peace was not what Lina had come for.

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Ken Roy is an engineer who lives and works amid the relics of the Manhattan Project in Oak Ridge. He has published technology speculation pieces in such venues as the Journal for the British Planetary Society, and the United States Naval Institute Proceedings. His current interests include terraforming and geoengineering.


We’re learning that planets appear to be plentiful, with most stars having a family of such bodies. As we venture into interstellar space it would be nice to think that we would find countless Earthlike planets having good clean breathable air, plenty of liquid water, a little ice, and be free of allergens, toxins, and bacteria that would harm us. A moderate temperature, a reasonable gravity, low background radiation, kindly neighbors, etc., all would be nice to have as well. With such a world, the colony lands and sets up shop, and lives happily ever after.

We shall consider such a world a habitable planet. Stephen Dole of the Rand Corporation estimated that about 1 in 200 stars has such a world. A more recent analysis by William Pollard of the ORAU Institute for Energy Analysis estimated that this number actually ranges somewhere between 1 in 100,000 to 1 in 10,000,000 stars. With Dole’s estimate, our space-faring descendants, on average, would have to search a spherical volume of space having a radius of 25 light-years to find a single habitable planet. With Pollard’s estimate, that radius would range between 200 and 1000 light-years. Habitable planets are probably not as common as we would like and by definition already possess life. This life may not take kindly to alien invaders (us). Indeed, its ecology could lack some essential amino acids that we require and could even be toxic to humans or even Earth life in general. There is much to be learned from alien life and certainly no reason not to study it, but there are real, practical, and even ethical issues involved in trying to colonize such a planet.

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Over 170 titles from Baen Books to be published as audiobooks over the next three years

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Baen Ebooks is proud to announce an agreement to distribute the English translation of Judgment in Moscow by Vladimir Bukovsky on its retail ebook site, as well as offering a selection of other ebooks from Judgment in Moscow publisher, Ninth of November Press.

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J. J. Cragun takes home the top prize for his short story “Treason Properly.”

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Matt McHugh of New Jersey has won the grand prize in the 2019 Jim Baen Memorial Award competition for his short story "Burners."

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Baen Begins Selling Challenge Coins Through Baen.com

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When in the course of human events, in this case the passage of twelve years, it becomes necessary to change the look and feel of the company website . . . well, we do. We’ve tried to keep things Baenish and familiar to frequent users, and even more intuitive and helpful to new ones.

We’ve combined the ebooks and print books pages, so everyone can find everything they want in one place. (We will still be selling mostly ebooks here, our own Baen Books and those of other distinguished science fiction publishers, but we are also starting to dip our toe into swag merchandising as well! About which more later.) We added several filtering tools to make sorting through and searching for books more slick, and we’ve kept the ever popular “My Books” and “Not My Books” function.

We hope you’ll find the account interface more user friendly, and we’ve added a sidebar to the homepage we also hope you’ll find helpful in accessing the rest of the site.

Of course we’ve kept all the free stuff—the monthly stories and nonfiction, the extensive Teacher’s Guides, and the Baen Free Library. We hope you enjoy it, and we always welcome feedback. Feel free to stop by Toni’s Table at Baen’s Bar or for technical problems Administrivia or simply email us directly at baensupport@principledtechnologies.com.

And finally, a big shout-out to our Barfly beta testers! Love you guys. . . .

Good reading!

Toni Weisskopf
Publisher, Baen Books