AS MUCH AS I LOVE SCIENCE FICTION, I find few series of books worthy of my time. As a rule I hate book series in the Star Wars universe (except the Thrawn Trilogy) or Star Trek (except the Vanguard series). I love my Hammer’s Slammers books, although they really are more a collection of stories in the same shared universe.
Then there is the Caine Riordan series, or more officially Charles Gannon’s Terran Republic.
Although the series follows one protagonist, each book in the series a different style of story. From first-contact to intergalactic war to intergalactic conspiracies, it all can be found in the series. For me, the Terran Republic has just enough, but not too much, handwavium to keep me from rolling my eyes. I might also be influenced by the fact series author Charles Gannon also wrote for the Traveller RPG.
The latest installment to reach me is Lost Signals of the Terran Republic. This was not a normally published book but a Kickstarter project from November 2017. Originally to deliver in May 2018 delays meant it would not be until May 2019 that the product actually arrived.
It was worth the wait.
Lost Signals is Charles Gannon’s way of letting others play in his universe:
However, no world is defined by a mere handful of experts and heroes. Rather, just as our own world is full of different people and perspectives, Lost Signals expands the universe of the Terran Republic by bringing together new voices and new stories in a unique format that intentionally blurs the line between fact and fiction.Lost Signals Kickstarter campaign
I am still reading my way through the book but halfway through I am quite pleased. I am also intrigued. You see, the Traveller RPG universe of Marc Miller is one of my favorite settings. My RPG history is literally that of the Third Imperium. Although later years would see me explore other settings the Gold Standard, so to speak, has always been Traveller and the Third Imperium. Marc Miller wrote his own novel, Agent of the Imperium, that was another Kickstarter project. It opened my eyes to seeing Traveller in a new, refreshing way.
Which makes “A Fragment of Empire” in Lost Signals all that more interesting. Marc Miller wrote the piece, and it’s (spoiler alert) pure Traveller. Or is it? The Terran Republic doesn’t fit into Traveller canon…or does it?