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on April 21, 2011
With Stars Underfoot is the tenth Liaden chapbook released by Lee and Miller and consists of two short stories.

"This House" is a short story of about 5700 words. It deals with some of the more fantastical elements of the Liaden Universe -- healers and lifemates -- and doesn't involve any of the established characters. It's not a bad story, but could safely be skipped.

"Lord of the Dance" is the reason Liaden fans will buy With Stars Underfoot. It's a short story of a little over 8000 words and for a long time was the primary source of post- I Dare information. It is told primarily from Pat Rin's perspective, and involves most of the members of Clan Korval attending a dance. The story takes place on Surebleak shortly after the end of I Dare. Although it's not particularly long, "Lord of the Dance" remains one of my favorite Liaden short stories -- with almost a decade between the publication of I Dare and Ghost Ship (Liaden Universe), "Lord of the Dance" helped fill the void about what happened to Clan Korval after leaving Liad. It may not be as important since the publication of Halfling Moon (Adventures in the Liaden Universe®) and may be even less important after Ghost Ship is published, but it will remain a good story that I remember fondly.

Longtime Liaden fans should be aware that these stories have been released before, so you may already own them. They have been released as a chapbook direct from the authors, in the short story compilation Liaden Universe Companion Volume Two, and electronically from Baen in the Liaden Unibus II.

I would recommend that Liaden fans who have not yet read any of the short stories pick up the first twelve chapbooks through the two Liaden Unibus compilations from Baen, rather than buying them all piecemeal -- it will be significantly cheaper.

Regarding DRM: One of the authors has said on her Blog that these electronic chapbooks are DRM free -- I haven't checked With Stars Underfoot (I already owned an electronic copy through the Unibus), but I can confirm that both Halfling Moon and Skyblaze are free of DRM.

Finally, I should say that in my opinion these short stories are solely of interest to fans of the Liaden Universe. Those unfamiliar with the Liaden Universe would be better served starting with the three original Liaden novels, currently available in two compilations: The Agent Gambit (Liaden) and The Dragon Variation (Liaden Universe Novel).
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on April 24, 2011
I disagree with the prior review here; I think This House is one of the best examples of the Liaden body of work. It's sentimental rather than action based, but has a delicate touch and great heart. I admit Lee and Miller often struggle a bit to convey the more metaphysical sequences (e.g. a paragraph in This House or some early parts of Crystal Dragon) as well as some other authors (the unduly maligned S. Meyer does a good job in the last Twilight book). And they haven't mastered the use of momentary humor in advancing a dramatic arc as well as McMaster Bujold. Those minor weaknesses aside, the Liaden books are worth reading and rereading. I think they're some of the best space opera ever written, and their writing continues to improve (the Ghost Ship advance reading copy is simply terrific, but read the other works first). I'm very glad I read these two stories. Lord of the Dance struck me as the weaker of the two, but it has some important tidbits for fans of the series. That said, they've been republishing things in omnibus form and so sometimes shorts like this are available in both chapbook length and also (often later) in collections. Sharon is busily porting their work to ebooks so keep an eye out for more. It might be possible to pick this up in a e-collection, but for a few bucks I wouldn't wait to read this if you're a fan of their work.
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on November 9, 2015
Just finished my second readthrough of the two short stories, "Lord of the Dance" and "This House", which make up the "With Stars Underfoot" bundle.

This House - is about healing inner wounds, or at least decreasing the scar tissue so one can move. It is a stand-alone, not closely connected to the main family of the Liaden Universe.

Lord of the Dance - clearly fits into the Liaden Universe chronology. Can be read without the background, but the point of the dance will be lost on readers not familiar with the universe.

I like both stories about the same but for very different reasons. Dance is just fun; House is captures "necessity", as defined by the Liaden Universe, and has a weight to it. Together these books bring balance.
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on December 15, 2013
The first story, "This House," is a charming and emotional story about love, deciding choices about losses or fear of losses. As with most things connected to the Liaden universe, the characters deal with truth and honor. Honor not just to others, but honor to one's own self. A man in love whose lover finds another that cannot be denied-- is it not more honorable to hurt a person than stay in a relationship that has become a lie? Does not the one left behind honor that honesty by accepting and moving on? Is the cost of great love worth the fear of loss? Well worth the read.

The second story, "Lord of the Dance," frankly had at it's main event a silliness that even on 2nd reading I could not get into. The writing is great, the easy wonderful flow of story telling on par with the writers other excellent works. But that a dance can be so challenging and complex it proves ability in piloting simply left me with a "meh" feeling. Try as I might, it just was too contrived and unrealistic. Others may find it perfectly reasonable to equate the skills, however for me it was one of the weakest MAIN THEMES I have seen from these writers. The problem lies in the fact that however silly I found it, I actually recommend reading it to anyone. Even if another reader agrees with my dismissal of that premise, I feel confident that the story as a whole will engage and be worth the time to read it.
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on July 20, 2014
These two short stories both set in the Liaden Universe, are highly recommended. The first (spoiler alert) is for anyone who, fearing the pain of loss, chooses safety over love.
The second should be read after 'I Dare'. While beautifully crafted, it isn't going to mean much if you haven't yet read at least that chapter in the exploits of Clan Korval.
It is for all those who have followed the career of Pat Rin yos Phelium (aka Boss Conrad) in Surebleak, have come to care for him and want to know WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? and Did he ever pilot again?
Reading 'I Dare' - and all the Liaden Universe books is strongly recommended so you can appreciate the second story!
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on February 14, 2015
Great additions to the Liaden Universe. Wish they were full length.

Liaden Universe Short Stories - Only downside is they aren't full length novels. They really should be. Not all of these were in the Omnibus Editions I have, so
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on April 7, 2014
Lord of the Dance concerns Clan Korval after the relocation to Surebleak, wherein Pat Rin yos'Phelium is convinced of his ability to pilot by the concerted actions of the local Master pilots led by his cousin Val Con, Val Con's lady Miri, and Scout Clonak ter'Meulen. A lovely fill-in story falling after the Clan has left Liad and settled on Miri's home planet of Surebleak.
This House concerns one Mil Ton Intassi, who is a healer with an unusual method of healing, who in healing is himself healed. An excellent short story based on Liad. Both stories are highly reccommended for fans of Clan Korval and the Liaden Universe, but also stand alone very well.
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on November 12, 2012
We're fans of Sharon and Steve's literary writings, and specifically of their Liaden Universe series. We've purchased and read all the currently published works, and are eagerly waiting on the next release!
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on April 27, 2016
Each installment is of the highest quality.
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on February 4, 2016
Interesting story about hidden powers
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