The Serrano Legacy, also known as Familias Regnant, is a series of military science fiction / space opera books by Elizabeth Moon. The series portrays a society in the distant future where the Familias Regnant serves as the governing body for an area of the galaxy. The books feature female lead protagonists—daughters and aunts, following the story of an entire family, including unique family dynamics. The books "depict women in the military who have a greater aptitude for command than the military men in their lives". The universe of the books is also ethnically diverse.
After writing several fantasy novels including those of the Paksenarrion series, Moon began writing science fiction, initially collaborating with Anne McCaffrey, and eventually moving on to The Serrano Legacy. A central theme of the books is that, through technology, wealthy people can live much longer. The consequences of this remain a focus through the series. "Wealth is key to identity within the books", Duncan Lawie notes.
According to Moon, in Locus:
"What I'm pushing is to think about something from all sides. Don't answer the first thing that comes out. I don't have the answers; I have lots of questions. In my old SF adventure series 'The Serrano Legacy', a lot of it had to do with the effects of longevity. What would really happen if you had rejuvenation and people could live very long times? What would it do to the social structure, to economics, to politics? What would it do to the neighbors of the country that had that ability?"
Reception and analysis
George Mann considers the work space opera, also noting that Moon's time in the military grant the books "an edge of realism ... that is lacking in much military fiction by authors who have not themselves served in the armed forces". Mann favorably compares the feel of the series to older pulp fiction while noting she covers more serious topics as well.
Of the first three books, Duncan Lawie says the protagonists are "all tough, clever, and interesting and their characters drive the books in an organic way". He calls the characterization "deft" and story a page-turner, though he hoped for more depth.
Of the series in full, Jo Walton says the books "do a lot of things right", praising the adventures, the military aspects, and the background. She later says that the high number of points of view "tends to make the focus diffuse", ultimately concluding that the books are "fun". John Clute wrote that the series "was perhaps a little disappointing, though still entertaining". Maura Heaphy calls it "a stylish and imaginative space opera of the far future".
The protagonist of the first trology, Heris Serrano, has also been remarked upon for her middle-age, unlike youthful protagonists of many similar works. In a positive review of the first omnibus, Liz Bourke found the varied depiction of older women "downright refreshing".
- Heris Serrano trilogy
- Hunting Party (July 1993)
- Sporting Chance (September 1994)
- Winning Colors (August 1995)
- Esmay Suiza duology
- Once a Hero (Hardcover ISBN 0-671-87769-0, March 1997)
- Rules of Engagement (Hardcover ISBN 0-671-57777-8, December 1998)
- Suiza and Serrano duology
- Change of Command (Hardcover ISBN 0-671-57840-5, December 1999)
- Against the Odds (Hardcover ISBN 0-671-31961-2, December 2000)
- Heris Serrano, 2002 (US)
- Collecting Hunting Party, Sporting Chance and Winning Colors
- The Serrano Legacy: Omnibus One, 2006 (UK)
- Also collecting Hunting Party, Sporting Chance and Winning Colors
- The Serrano Connection: Omnibus Two, 2007
- The Serrano Succession, 2008 (UK), 2009 (US)
- Clute, John. "SFE: Moon, Elizabeth". sf-encyclopedia.com. Retrieved 2023-08-18.
- Mann, George (2001). The Mammoth Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. Little, Brown Book Group. pp. 217–218, 492. ISBN 9781780337043.
- Heaphy, Maura (2010). 100 Most Popular Science Fiction Authors: Biographical Sketches and Bibliographies. Bloomsbury Academic. p. 300. ISBN 9781591587460.
- Lawie, Duncan (29 January 2007). "The Serrano Legacy by Elizabeth Moon". Strange Horizons. Retrieved 2023-08-17.
- Bourke, Liz (Jan 19, 2012). "Horses, Aunts, and Space Battles: Elizabeth Moon's Heris Serrano: Omnibus One". Tor.com. Retrieved 2023-08-17.
- Reid, Robin Anne (2009). Women in Science Fiction and Fantasy. Greenwood Press. p. 229. ISBN 9780313335891.
- Walton, Jo (Oct 23, 2009). "Aunts in Space: Elizabeth Moon's Serrano series". Tor.com. Retrieved 2023-08-17.
- "Elizabeth Moon: Explorations". Locusmag Archive Page. Locus. March 2004. Retrieved 2023-08-17.
- Mercer, Naomi. "Malkah, [old] age, and Jewish identity in Marge Piercy's He, She and It." Femspec 15, no. 1/2 (2015): 34.
- Ruby, Mary, ed. (2016). Contemporary Authors New Revision Series. Vol. 286. Gale, Cengage Learning. pp. 296–297. ISBN 9781410311696.