Welcome to the Scattered Worlds, the major science fiction universe of Don Sakers.

Don't know where to start exploring? Try the headings up top (People, Places, Things, Timelines) or the list of eras on the right.

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PostHeaderIcon The Indie Boom in Publishing Helps Writers Create More Than Just Novels

Authors Melissa Scott and Don Sakers had always wanted to collaborate on a project, but each attempt produced sprawling ideas and enormous casts of characters that couldn’t easily be confined to a conventional series of novels, much less to any shorter format. As electronic publishing opened up new formats and lengths, it became possible to imagine serial fiction again — and not just serial fiction, but the kind of serial fiction that would allow novelists to explore the sort of expansive, elaborate universes more commonly seen in comics. For the first time, Scott and Sakers could work at the scale their story demanded, without sacrificing character, setting, or idea.  What’s in the story? Pirates. Judges. Weird physics. Desperate refugees. Struggling colonists. Missing persons and a mystery ship. A quest for human origins in a pocket universe. A thousand individual stories that together create a much larger tale.

Thanks to websites like Patreon to handle payments, and open-source website building tools like Drupal, the sprawling serial space opera The Rule of Five launches in September 2016, taking full advantage of the enormous canvas available on the web. Each month, Scott and Sakers will post an episode of at least 2000 words — a solid short story. All subscribers will be able to see each month’s episode plus the previous episode. Subscribers at higher levels can get a quarterly ebook compilation, access to all past episodes, and even a print editions containing each completed Season, as well as public acknowledgement for their support. For readers joining the series in progress, quarterly and seasonal compilations will always be available to bring them up to speed.

Taking advantage of change, The Rule of Five offers a new kind of serial science fiction, borrowing structure from comics and series television, but firmly grounded in classic space opera. The prelude is open to all at tinyurl.com/ro5prelude. Episodes will be hosted at rule-of-five.com along with background information about the series. Readers can subscribe to The Rule of Five at patreon.com/ruleof5

PostHeaderIcon Newsletter

Want to keep up with Don's work, read some provocative opinions, and get some news on science, Africa, queer issues, and other assorted topics? The Scattered Worlds and Beyond is Don's quarterly newsletter; the next issue will go out in mid-January.

You can sign up here.

PostHeaderIcon Arisia

Don will be appearing at Arisia, New England's largest and most diverse sf/fantasy convention, January 15-18 at the Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel.

Arisia is a great, huge, three-ring circus of a con, with lots of things going on throughout the four-day weekend. In addition to thought-provoking panels, presentations by guests, and multiple concerts, there are also dances, a masquerade, parties, and tons of cool people to meet. 

This year I'm particularly excited to be one fo the adults assisting the kids' short story writing contest on Saturday. If you're a kid with an interest in writing, you definitely want to be there!

PostHeaderIcon Philcon

Don will be at Philcon this weekend (November 20-22, 2015).

He'll be onstage Saturday night as Emcee for the Masquerade, and working backstage most of Saturday helping contestants perfect their presentations.

Otherwise, you'll see Don wandering the Dealer's Room, at interesting panels, and (of course) in the bar.

PostHeaderIcon Baltimore Book Festival

Don will be appearing at the Baltimore Book Festival on Saturday, September 26 and Sunday September 27, 2015. Look for him at the SFWA Tent of Awesomeness on Rash Field.

Don will be hanging around the SFWA Pavilion all day Saturday and Sunday, and participating in several scheduled events:

  • Meet the Author Social Saturday 7-8 pm
  • Design Your Own World (panel discussion) Sunday 11 am - noon
  • Science in Science Fiction and Fantasy (panel discussion) Sunday noon - 1 pm

Come on down to the Inner Harbor and see lots of great and fascinating SF/Fantasy writers.

PostHeaderIcon Newsletter Away!

The first issue of The Scattered Worlds and Beyond has gone out to subscribers.

If you're not a subscriber, here's what you missed:

  • Welcome to the New Millennium (finally!)
  • Year of the Dwarf Planets
  • An Extinction to Celebrate

Plus: newly published, what I'm currently working on, my new favorite conspiracy theory, an obligatory hamster picture, on the Andersonville trail, and more.

If you'd like to subscribe to this quarterly treat, start by clicking here.

PostHeaderIcon PsiScouts #2: Bright Promise

Bright Promise, the second book in the PsdiScouts series, is now available in Kindle format

In the 26th century, psi-gifted teens from all over the Myriad Worlds come together as the heroic PsiScouts. Headquartered in the rebuilt Statue of Liberty, the PsiScouts struggle to make a difference in an often-hostile universe.

In the first of two adventures, three PsiScouts must travel through time on the trail of a madman whose plans threaten history iteself. Along the way, they meet some living legends and make some fast friends.

In the second adventure, a group of PsiScouts penetrates a vicious theocracy on a rescue mission that uncovers a terrible secret—a savage hunt where runaway teens are the quarry.

Fans of the Guardians of the Galaxy, the X-Men, the Teen Titans, and the Legion of Super-Heroes will certainly enjoy the exploits of the PsiScouts.

PostHeaderIcon What Happened at the Con

I want to talk about an issue of harassment and discrimination that came up at a con this weekend. I'm going to name the con, but first I want to make crystal clear that the issue was settled to everyone's satisfaction and that the con committee has done everything within their power to make things right.

Let me say that again: the con committee made everything right. For this particular con, the issue is closed with a very happy ending.

If it's all over, why talk about it at all? I have two reasons. First, I want to have this story out there to inspire and empower others who may find themselves in similar situations. And second, I want other cons to be aware so they can possibly avoid such messy situations.

Executive summary: 

A con illegally discriminated against LGBT fans by posting a "mature content, no one under 18 allowed" sign on an LGBT panel with no such content, while posting no sign on other panels with obvious adult content. We didn't get any satisfaction from the first con staffer we talked to. When we raised the issue to the full con committee, amends were made and the con intends to have a full track of diversity-in-sf/fantasy programming next year.

The long version follows, along with two morals and three irrelevant objections.

PostHeaderIcon Farpoint 2015

 Don will be appearing at Farpoint 2015 in lovely Timonium, MD, February 13-15, 2015. 

Farpoint is a small, very friendly con celebrating all sorts of creative endeavors. There are activities for all ages, plus some of the nicest people you'll meet anywhere.

If you've never been to an sf con before, Farpoint is a great place to start. Come for a day or for the whole weekend, and be sure to say hello.

Here's Don's schedule for Farpoint:

  • Friday 2:00 pm: Panel: Geniuses in Fiction
  • Friday 8:00 pm: Storytelling before Movie Night
  • Friday 10:00 pm: Farpoint Book Fair
  • Saturday 10:00 am: Reading (along with T. Eric Bakutis, David Allen Mack, and Steven H. Wilson)
  • Saturday noon: Panel: What WON'T You Write?
  • Saturday 1:00 pm: Panel: Big Bang Theory
  • Saturday 3:00 pm: Autographing (Bring your e-reader with Don's ebooks on it, and you can get an autographed digital picture of yourself with the author.)
  • Sunday 10:00 am: Panel: Animated SF
  • Sunday 11:00 am: Panel: BBC Science Fiction
  • Sunday 1:00 pm: Panel: Part-Time Writer, Full-Time World Sunday 2:00 pm: Autographing Autographing (Bring your e-reader with Don's ebooks on it, and you can get an autographed digital picture of yourself with the author.)
  • Sunday 3:00 pm: Panel: Mapping a Story


PostHeaderIcon Arisia 2015

Don will be at Arisia 2015 this weekend in Boston.

He'll be appearing on the following panels:

  • Neurodiversity in SF Saturday 11:30 am
  • Coming Out Saturday 2:30 pm
  • Stage Presentation: A Minute or Less to Impress Saturday 10:00 pm
  • Where the Hell is Everyone? Monday 11:30 am
  • The Indie Ghetto Monday 1:00 pm
  • Don is also reading along with James Cambias and Suzanne Palmer on Sunday at 10:00 am.

    Hope to see you there!

    Event Date & Time: 
    Fri, 01/16/2015 - 14:00 - Mon, 01/19/2015 - 16:00
    Westin Boston Waterfront hotel

    PostHeaderIcon Boxed Sets


    The published Scattered Worlds books are now available in two ebook sets in Kindle format.

    Beyond Our Stars: a Scattered Worlds omnibus ($8.99) contains Weaving the Web of Days, A Voice in Every Wind, All Roads Lead to Terra, A Rose From Old Terra, and The Leaves of October.

    Worlds Afire: a scattered Worlds omnibus ($6.99) contains three novels of the Hoister Family: Dance for the Ivory Madonna, The Eighth Succession, and Children of the Eighth Day.

    These ebook sets are the most inexpensive way to get up to date on the Scattered Worlds Mosaic.

    PostHeaderIcon Philcon!

    Don will be appearing at Philcon 2014 (21-23 November 2014) at the lovely Crowne Plaza Hotel in Cherry Hill, NJ. In addition to other duties, Don will Emcee the Masquerade on Saturday night. You'll find him at or near the Masquerade table most of Saturday.

    Come by and say hello!

    PostHeaderIcon What Kind of Friend...?

    I have a friend who drinks too much. When he calls from the bar and says he needs more money, I rush up there to give him some. What kind of friend am I?

    I have a friend who digs himself into a deep hole. When the handle of his shovel breaks, I send a fresh shovel down so he can keep digging. What kind of friend am I?

    I have a friend who jumps into the middle shark-infested waters. As the sharks circle closer and start to nip at him, I give him a club so he can whack the sharks on the nose to drive them off. I give him bandaids to stanch the bleeding from his wounds. If necessary, I'll jump in and help him fight off the sharks. What kind of friend am I?

    I have a friend who settles in his ancestral homeland, which has been dominated for a long time by ruthless, powerful people who hate my friend, his religion, and his culture. I provide him with military and diplomatic support. I give him weapons and intelligence to supplement his own considerable stock. I make it clear that if necessary, I will do whatever I have to, to keep him there. What kind of—oops, we're not supposed to ask that, are we?

    PostHeaderIcon The Virtual Dealers Room

    One of the best things about cons is the dealers room. Not only can you buy things you can't find elsewhere, but you can find some great deals.

    The Virtual Dealers Room is a place to find short-term deals on ebooks, and you don't even have to have a membership. This is an author's cooperative; none of the proceeds go to the site. Authors (or publishers) are invited to post their sale items and everyone cross-promotes on social media.

    I put this site together with my mad Drupal skillz. It's an experiment, so any and all feedback is welcome.

    Remember the URL: thedealersroom.com.

    PostHeaderIcon History vs the Future

    I've just finished writing a story set in 1939. There's a time travel element, so it's science fiction. I found the experience quite different from the sf writing I usually do in several ways.

    For one thing, I wasn't in full control of the characters. Various real people appeared in the story, and I had to stay consistent with what is known of them in real history. And much is known of the movements and activities of people in 1939. I couldn't just have my characters, for example, dash off to another city if the plot demanded it.

    Now, I'm used to some degree of constraint. My Scattered Worlds stories are written against a future-historical background that decrees certain things about some characters (ages, family members, etc.) And art responds to constraint, up to a point.

    What I did with the current story was to fit the demands of the plot into the nooks and crannies that real history leaves open. There's no record that y people went to Washington, DC on the date I gave…but there's no record that says they didn't.

    PostHeaderIcon SFWA Does Not Speak For Me

    Douglas Preston is circulating a letter regarding the Amazon-Hachette dispute. In this letter, Preston finds Amazon alone guilty of multiple sins against Hachette authors. He encourages readers to email Jeff Bezos about the matter.

    The dispute has exposed a big faultline in publishing, between those authors traditionally published by the Big Five (who have spared no words defending Hachette) and independent and self-published authors (who have been equally vociferous in defense of Amazon).

    Myself, I've kept quiet about this kerfluffle because I didn't have a dog in this fight. I'm an independent author (without connection to any of the Big Five publishers.) I do make the lion's share of my sales through Amazon, so there's that.

    Today, though, my professional society -- The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) -- threw my dog into the fight. The President and Board of SFWA officially endorsed Preston's letter. They did so without discussion among the membership or, as near as I can tell, any attempt to determine the wishes of the members.

    Yes, taking sides in a trade dispute is a boneheaded move. But it's worse: after years of prevarication, the lumbering SFWA dinosaur is stirring itself to address the question of whether to allow self-published writers who meet certain income requirements to join as professional authors. (Now and previously, only those published by a limited number of SFWA-approved markets could join.)

    Just last week SFWA made its first public statement on the matter, asking members to share their opinions on allowing some self-published authors to apply for membership. A vote of the SFWA membership is promised suggested by November 2014.

    For years, SFWA has been castigated in the self-publishing community, particularly by authors who support themselves and their families entirely on income from their self-publishing efforts, yet are unable to join an organization of professional writers. The public acknowledgment that SFWA was considering a change helped to smooth some feathers.

    So what does SFWA do? It publicly and officially takes the side of traditional publishing, thereby signaling to independent and self-published writers that SFWA doesn't understand or care to understand their concerns. it's about as clear a message of "You don't belong and aren't welcome" as I've ever seen.

    I know many hardworking members of SFWA who stood ready to resign if the vote goes against allowing self-published writers to join -- several of them have already said that this endorsement is the last straw.

    I don't think I've ready to take that step -- the "resign from SFWA in moral indignation" phase of my career came and went decades ago. But I did want to make it absolutely clear that in this matter, SFWA does not speak for me.

    PostHeaderIcon Other Times, Other Countries

    "He is a barbarian, and thinks that the customs of his tribe and island are the laws of nature."

    -George Bernard Shaw

    For centuries, people smoked tobacco. As old movies and the show Mad Men demonstrate, smoking tobacco was considered normal behavior. When I was young, tobacco smoking was permitted in just about every venue: theaters, airplanes, offices, hotel rooms, etc.

    PostHeaderIcon Meat and Machine and Chilling Effects

    One of my two newest books is Meat and Machine, a collection of queer sf/fantasy short fiction, essays, and erotica.

    The book will appear without two of the stories originally planned. In the print version, the pages previously occupied by those stories are blank -- a conceit that isn't effective in ebook format.

    I'm reprinting here a short essay from the book explaining the reasons for my decision to withdraw the two stories in question:

    These pages once contained two stories. I’ve chosen to withdraw them, but in order to make a point, I’m leaving very obvious evidence of their absence. As anyone who knows me will tell you, I do love to make a point.

    PostHeaderIcon Tea from Four Worlds Book Launch

    Drop by to join Don Sakers and Melissa Scott for a nice cup of tea suited to their four new SF and fantasy releases! We'll have tea and snacks to suit each world, and give away books and goodies:

    - Fairs' Point by Melissa Scott - murder at the races in the astrology-ruled city of Astreiant (fourth of the Points books)

    - Silver Bullet by Melissa Scott & Jo Graham - aviation, magic, and mad science in 1935 Colorado (Order of the Air #3)

    - Children of the Eighth Day by Don Sakers - clone paranormal geniuses vs the Galactic Empire (sequel to The Eighth Succession)

    - Meat and Machine by Don Sakers - queer short stories, essays, and erotica

    Books will be available for sale!

    Event Date & Time: 
    Sat, 05/24/2014 - 12:00 - 13:50
    Room 1026, Hunt Valley Inn, 245 Shawan Rd, Cockeysville, MD 21031

    PostHeaderIcon New Covers for Older Books


    This year, spring cleaning means new covers for the Scattered Worlds Mosaic. The new covers are based around a standard design that should help brand them as a series.

    Above, the first three covers of the new series (click to embiggen). All Roads Lead to Terra and A Rose From Old Terra are all in-house (read: public domain) art. Dance for the Ivory Madonna incorporates a stunning piece from SHAKALone (you can see more of her work at SHAKALone.deviantart.com).

    Look for further new covers as the season progresses.

    Have you read?
    The Book That Predicted Google Glass
    The final battle of the Empress
    Clone paranormal geniuses against the galactic empire
    Two Tales of the Scattered Worlds
    Visit a world in which scent and taste are as important as vision and hearing
    Opening a new chapter in the Scattered Worlds Mosaic
    How would intelligent, long-lived trees judge the Human race?
    Classic gay teenage romance
    The Fey vs the Galactic Empire
    A Datebook Like No Other
    Carmen Miranda's Ghost is Haunting Space Station Three
    Lucky's Life is Turning Around
    An anthology in celebration of queer speculative fiction.
    An anthology celebrating queer speculative fiction.
    The PsiScouts: X-Men meet Buck Rogers
    collection of sf & fantasy stories, essay, and poetry by Maryland-area writers
    A Scattered Worlds Omnibus
    a Scattered Worlds omnibus
    Psi-gifted teens tackle theocracy & a threat to history itself
    A collection of sf/fantasy diversions