Liavek

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Liavek is a shared world brought to life in a series of five fantasy anthologies edited by Emma Bull and Will Shetterly.

Contributors[edit]

Contributors include Bull, Shetterly, Gene Wolfe, Jane Yolen, John M. Ford, Kara Dalkey, Barry B. Longyear, Megan Lindholm, Nancy Kress, Patricia C. Wrede, Steven Brust, Nate Bucklin, Pamela Dean, Gregory Frost, Charles de Lint, Charles R. Saunders, Walter Jon Williams, Alan Moore and Bradley Denton.

Reception[edit]

Orson Scott Card found the initial volume to be "an example of what can be accomplished [in a shared-world project] when almost everything goes right."[1]

Stories[edit]

Liavek[edit]

Edited by Will Shetterly & Emma Bull, published by Ace Books in 1985

  • Badu's Luck - Emma Bull
  • The Green Rabbit from S'Rian - Gene Wolfe
  • Ancient Curses - Patricia C. Wrede
  • Birth Luck - Nancy Kress
  • An Act of Contrition - Steven Brust
  • The Inn of the Demon Camel - Jane Yolen
  • The Hands of the Artist - Kara Dalkey
  • The Green Cat - Pamela Dean
  • A Coincidence of Birth - Megan Lindholm
  • Bound Things - Will Shetterly
  • The Fortune Maker - Barry B. Longyear

Liavek: The Players of Luck[edit]

Edited by Will Shetterly & Emma Bull, published by Ace Books in 1986

  • A Happy Birthday - Will Shetterly
  • Before the Paint is Dry - Kara Dalkey
  • The Rat's Alley Shuffle - Charles de Lint
  • Two Houses in Saltigos - Pamela Dean
  • Rikiki and the Wizard - Patricia C. Wrede
  • Dry Well - Nathan A. Bucklin
  • Choice of the Black Goddess - Gene Wolfe
  • The Ballad of the Quick Levars (song) - Jane Yolen & Adam Stemple
  • Pot Luck - Megan Lindholm
  • Show of Faith - Gregory Frost
  • An Act of Trust - Steven Brust
  • Ishu's Gift - Charles R. Saunders
  • A Cup of Worrynot Tea - John M. Ford
  • The Well-Made Plan - Emma Bull

Liavek: Wizard’s Row[edit]

Edited by Will Shetterly & Emma Bull, published by Ace Books in 1987

  • An Act of Mercy - Megan Lindholm & Steven Brust
  • Green Is the Color - John M. Ford
  • Paint the Meadows with Delight - Pamela Dean
  • The World in the Rock - Kara Dalkey
  • Baker’s Dozen - Bradley Denton
  • Cenedwine Brocade - Caroline Stevermer
  • A Hypothetical Lizard - Alan Moore
  • Training Ground - Nancy Kress
  • City of Luck (song) - Jane Yolen & Adam Stemple
  • The Ballad of the Quick Levars (song) - Jane Yolen & Adam Stemple
  • Eel Island Shoals (song) - John M. Ford
  • Pot-Boil Blues (song) - John M. Ford
  • A Handbook for the Apprentice Magician

Liavek: Spells of Binding[edit]

Edited by Will Shetterly & Emma Bull, published by Ace Books in 1988

  • Riding the Hammer - John M. Ford
  • Portrait of Vengeance - Kara Dalkey
  • The Skin and Knife Game - Lee Barwood and Charles de Lint
  • Strings Attached - Nathan A. Bucklin
  • The Last Part of the Tragical History of Acrilat - Pamela Dean
  • Mad God - Patricia C. Wrede
  • The Tale of the Stuffed Levar - Jane Yolen
  • An Act of Love - Steven Brust, Gregory Frost and Megan Lindholm
  • Spells of Binding (poem) - Pamela Dean

Liavek: Festival Week[edit]

Edited by Will Shetterly & Emma Bull, published by Ace Books in 1990

  • Consequences - Walter Jon Williams
  • As Bright as New Coppers - Bradley Denton
  • The Grand Festival: Sestina (poem) - John M. Ford
  • Divination Day: Invocation (poem) - John M. Ford
  • A Hot Night at Cheeky's - Steven Brust
  • Birth Day: Sonnet (poem) - John M. Ford
  • A Prudent Obedience - Kara Dalkey
  • Procession Day/Remembrance Night: Processonal/Recessional (poem) - John M. Ford
  • A Necessary End - Pamela Dean
  • Bazaar Day: Ballad (poem) - John M. Ford
  • The True Tale of Count Dashif's Demise - Jane Yolen
  • Festival Day: Catechism (poem) - John M. Ford
  • Six Days Outside the Year - Will Shetterly
  • The Levar's Night Out - Patricia C. Wrede
  • Restoration Day: Plainsong - John M. Ford

Casting Fortune[edit]

In 1989 Tor Books published Casting Fortune, a collection of short stories by John M. Ford - this brought together his stories from the second and third volumes of Liavek together with a new novella in the Liavek shared world. The stories are:

  • A Cup of Worrynot Tea
  • Green Is the Color
  • The Illusionist

Other appearances[edit]

Moore's Liavek story was adapted into comic book format and published as Alan Moore's Hypothetical Lizard in 2005.

Dean has a new Liavek story, Cousins, in the 2006 anthology from Firebird Books, Firebirds Rising, edited by Sharyn November

Calendar[edit]

Liavek uses a calendar which is a simple adaptation of the French Republican calendar. It consists of twelve months of 30 days, called Snow, Rain, Wind, Buds, Flowers, Meadows, Reaping, Heat, Fruit, Wine, Fog and Frost. The year begins at the winter solstice, with five days of festival (Festival Week). Every four years is the Grand Festival, which lasts an extra day. There are six weeks of five days: Sunday, Moonday, Windday, Rainday, and Luckday.

Magic system[edit]

In the world of Liavek, each individual is born with the capacity to do magic by investing his luck. Each year on an individual's birthday, he can invest his luck into a physical object. If he succeeds, then for the next 364 days he is a magician of some greater or lesser degree of power —however, all his strength resides in his luck object and he is in great danger if an enemy locates and destroys that object.

Many Liavekans have invested their luck in the city —the city is called "the city of luck" for this reason— but the powerful professional magicians live on Wizard's Row. Wizard's Row is unique in that it is known to occasionally vanish, often when the street is being sought.

Politics[edit]

Politics in Liavek are complicated, both internally (among the various temples, most notably the Red Temple) and externally, among the different countries. Liavek is a port city of immigrants. The Liavek series was also unique at the time of its publication for its egalitarianism - instead of absorbing itself with the sexism and gender role strife than characterized most of the contemporary fantasies, the narrative assumed that men and women were already equal. A supporting character description, more often than not, began with the character's profession (in one case, the first mate of a ship) and personality and only later, mentioning their gender.

Recurring characters[edit]

  • Rikiki, the chipmunk god of the S'Rians
  • Count Dashif
  • The Magician
  • Kaloo
  • Granny Carry, who is the Ka'Riatha
  • Snake, owner of the Tiger's Eye
  • Aritoli ola Silba
  • Nerissa Benedicti

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Light Fantastic", If, September 1986, pp.29