Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need to read the books in order?
Unlike many series, the Scattered Worlds tales are meant to stand on their own. Readers can pick up any title without having read the others. In fact, it is more a mosaic than a traditional series. There is no required reading order for the constituent parts. However, they are all pieces of a larger pattern, a continuing narrative. In the end the Scattered Worlds books will tell a complete story that transcends the individual parts.
So feel free to start with whatever Scattered Worlds book you want!
How do you pronounce Hlutr?
I have to start out by saying that I'm usually not good at pronouncing things correctly. Many times I've found that I'm saying an author's name wrong, or mis-pronouncing a name or term from a fantasy or science fiction book. To my dismay, I've even had this happen with my own work -- several times, readers have shared their own pronunciations with me, and I've found that they make more sense than the way I thought it was pronounced. So maybe I'm not the best person to ask. :)
That being said, I AM pretty sure of this one. "Hlutr" rhymes with "looter." The H is definitely voiced. As for the singular, I tend to rhyme "Hlut" with "soot" rather than "lute/loot."
What does "HE" mean?
The abbreviation HE after a date stands for "Holocene Era" or "Human Era," and refers to the late Cesare Emiliani's proposal for a calendar reform. In the Scattered Worlds Mosaic, both The Fereration of Kindreds and the Second Terran Empire adopted this system of dating.
What is a "Language analog"?
Using a technique
stolen borrowed from J.R.R. Tolkien, language analogs are my attempt to give a subconscious sense of the relative relations of the different culture in the Scattered Worlds Mosaic. In this scheme, the primary human culture (the Terran Empires) is analogous to modern English.
Names and other language elements are chosen to suggest cultural distance from the primary culture. Thus, if the First Emprie is flavored with modern English, then closely related cultures are flavored with German, Italian, or French. More distantly-related Human cultures are flavored with Polish, Russian, or Slovak.
Even more distantly-related nonhuman cultures might have the flavor of more distantly-related languages, such as Hindu, Chinese, or Polynesian.
Alien cultures of the distant past, still more removed, might have the flavor of ancient Hebrew, Egyptian, or even Babylonian.
This doesn't mean that those cultures are depicted as actually using those languages, only that their names and words will sometimes be evocative of them. It's all supposed to operate below the level of conscious thought, leaving the reader with an impression of "this place is more familiar than that one" or "wow, I'm in really alien territory here."
The best place to see this technique at work is in A Rose From Old Terra. See if you can pick out the different language analogs in that book.
What's with the errors in contemporary history? Mars wasn't settled in 2011.
The first works in the Scattered Worlds Mosaic were published in the 1980s. Some of those works (most notably Dance for the Ivory Madonna, published in 2002) refer to people and events that are now history (or, to put it more accurately, are not history).
I've chosen to retain consistency with published works here. So if Dance for the Ivory Madonna says that Mars was settled in 2011, that's the way it is on this site.
Don't worry, the specific dates and names aren't really important to the grand flow of the Mosaic. No crucial plot points center on the exact date of Martian settlement, for example.
Technically, this means that the Scattered Worlds Mosaic takes place in an alternate world, not our own. That's been obvious since Dance for the Ivory Madonna appeared, for in that book I took some liberties with existing history (i.e. the career of Washington Westwood Hohokus).
And after all, isn't every science fiction universe an alternate one?
Some characters are listed with a "Previous name" -- what's that all about?
Over the years I've re-conceived large parts of the Scattered Worlds universe. Part of this re-conception involved changing some character names.
In older notes and previous drafts, these characters still have their old names. Including the "previous name" allows me to search and find out that, say, "Bill Reed" is now known as "Wilyan Reed."