Karen Traviss is a science fiction author from Wiltshire, England. She is the author of the Wess'Har series, and is also known for writing tie-in material based on Star Wars, Gears of War, Halo, and G.I. Joe. Her work crosses various forms of media including novels, short stories, comics, and video games.
Traviss is originally from the Portsmouth area. She worked as both a journalist and defence correspondent before turning her attention to writing fiction, and has also served in both the Territorial Army and the Royal Naval Auxiliary Service. Traviss is a graduate of the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy workshop. Her first published novel, City of Pearl (2004) centered on the clash of several distinct alien civilizations, several hundred years in the future. It was shortlisted for the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Science Fiction Novel and the Philip K. Dick Award. She has since written five sequels to City of Pearl: Crossing the Line (2004), The World Before (2005), Matriarch (2006), Ally (2007), and Judge (2008).
In 2014, Traviss published Going Grey, a techno-thriller and the first novel in a planned series called Ringer.
In addition to creating her own fictional settings, Traviss has written numerous novels using existing intellectual property—particularly in the Star Wars universe. Traviss wrote the Republic Commando Series, beginning with Hard Contact in 2004 and continuing with Triple Zero (2006), True Colors (2007), and Order 66 (2008). In 2009, a related novel featuring the same characters was released (Star Wars Imperial Commando: 501st).
In addition to the Republic Commando Series, Traviss was one of three authors retained by Lucasfilm and Del Rey Books to pen a nine novel series called Legacy of the Force (the other two authors were Aaron Allston and Troy Denning). Her three contributions to the series are: Legacy of the Force: Bloodlines (2006), Legacy of the Force: Sacrifice (2007) and Legacy of the Force: Revelation (2008). Thematically, her work within the Star Wars universe has frequently centered on Mandalorians and their culture. In particular, her Republic Commando novels have explored themes of identity with regards to clone troopers, their Mandalorian heritage, and their interaction with Jedi leadership. Traviss has since parted from Del Rey due to creative differences.
Other media tie-in works
In addition to Star Wars novels, Traviss also wrote a Gears of War prequel novel, Gears of War: Aspho Fields which was released on 28 October 2008. She then went on to write the sequels Gears of War: Jacinto's Remnant, released on 28 July 2009, Gears of War: Anvil Gate, released on 31 August 2010 and Gears of War: Coalition's End, released on 2 August 2011, and Gears of War: The Slab, released in May 2012. She also served as the lead writer for Gears of War 3.
She wrote together with Eric Nylund and Tobias S. Buckell and many other authors the short story collection Halo Evolutions: Essential Tales of the Halo Universe, which was released in November 2009.
On 21 July 2010 Traviss announced on her blog that she had signed a multi-book deal to write novels set in the Halo universe. The first book is set after the events of Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, and is a continuation of that story line. Explaining why she had agreed to write in the Halo universe, Traviss said that "Believe it or not, I really have found the backbone to turn down other series featuring heavily armoured, unfeasibly cannoned-up chaps struggling to find their place in an unfriendly world. I'm not a soft touch for any old bloke with a codpiece, people. But this is Halo. There's an awkward and upsetting moral dilemma at the heart of the story, and if there's something I can't resist more than money, it's exploring moral dilemmas. (With big weapons, naturally.) You haven't spotted it? Pay attention at the back, there. There is a story."
The Wess'har Wars
- City of Pearl (March 2004) Book 1 of The Wess'har Wars
- Crossing the Line (September 2004) Book 2 of The Wess'har Wars
- The World Before (October 2005) Book 3 of The Wess'har Wars
- Matriarch (October 2006) Book 4 of The Wess'har Wars
- Ally (March 2007) Book 5 of The Wess'har Wars
- Judge (March 2008) Book 6 of The Wess'har Wars
Star Wars novels
- Republic Commando
- Hard Contact (November 2004) Book 1 of the Republic Commando series
- Triple Zero (February 2006) Book 2 of the Republic Commando series
- True Colors (October 2007) Book 3 of the Republic Commando series
- Order 66 (September 2008) Book 4 of the Republic Commando series
- 501st (October 2009) Book 1 of the Imperial Commando series
- The Clone Wars
- Legacy of the Force
Gears of War series
- Aspho Fields (October 2008) Book 1 of the Gears of War novel series.
- Jacinto's Remnant (July 2009) Book 2 of the Gears of War novel series.
- Anvil Gate (September 2010) Book 3 of the Gears of War novel series.
- Coalition's End (August 2011) Book 4 of the Gears of War novel series.
- The Slab (May 2012) Book 5 of the Gears of War novel series.
- Kilo-Five Trilogy
- Going Grey (2014)
Star Wars short stories
- Omega Squad: Targets, in Star Wars Insider 81 (Reprinted in Star Wars Republic Commando: Triple Zero)
- In His Image, in Vader: The Ultimate Guide (reprinted in paperback edition of Star Wars: Legacy of the Force - Betrayal)
- A Two-Edged Sword, sequel to In His Image, in Star Wars Insider 85 (reprinted in paperback edition of Star Wars: Legacy of the Force - Betrayal)
- Odds in Star Wars Insider 87 (Reprinted in Star Wars Republic Commando: True Colors)
- Boba Fett: A Practical Man e-novella (2006) (Reprinted in paperback edition of Star Wars: Legacy of the Force - Sacrifice)
Other short stories
- Strings, in Realms of Fantasy July 2002
- A Slice at a Time, in Asimov's Science Fiction July 2002
- Suitable for the Orient, in Asimov's Science Fiction February 2003
- Return Stores, in Realms of Fantasy February 2003
- The Man Who Did Nothing, in Realms of Fantasy June 2003
- Does He Take Blood?, in Realms of Fantasy August 2003
- Human Weakness, in Halo: Evolutions: Essential Tales of the Halo Universe (Tor Books, November 2009)
- Gears of War #15-24 (February 2011 - June 2012)
- Batman: Arkham Unhinged #44-58 (September 2012 - January 2013)
- G.I. Joe (IDW Publishing) #1- (September 2014 -)
- Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman (DC Comics) #14 (September 2015)
- I Gotta Get Me One of Those, in the essay anthology, Navigating the Golden Compass: Religion, Science & Daemonology in Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials (Smart Pop Series, BenBella Books, August 2005)
- Driving GFFA 1: or How Star Wars Loosened My Corsets, in Star Wars on Trial : Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Debate the Most Popular Science Fiction Films of All Time (ed. David Brin, 2006).
- Guide to the Grand Army of the Republic in Star Wars Insider 84 (with co-author Ryan Kaufman)
- The Mandalorians: People and Culture in Star Wars Insider 86
- Sprinting the Marathon in Emerald City. Karen explains why she writes spin-off fiction.
- Cheryl Morgan (27 March 2006). "Interview: Karen Traviss". Strange Horizons. Retrieved 18 October 2014.
- The Clarion Foundation - Alumni List
- "Karen Traviss". Internet Science Fiction Database. Retrieved 18 October 2014.
- Traviss, Karen. "Why have you stopped writing Star Wars?". karentraviss.com. Karen Traviss. Archived from the original on 2014-08-26.
- Traviss, Karen. "Is it true you hate Jedi?". karentraviss.com. Karen Traviss. Archived from the original on 2013-12-17.
- "'Gears Of War 3′ Writer Is Noted 'Star Wars' Author Karen Traviss". MTV Multiplayer. 2010-04-13. Retrieved 2010-05-09.
- Joey Esposito (25 September 2014). "Batman: Arkham Unginged gets a new writer". IGN. Retrieved 18 October 2014.
- Karl Keily (5 September 2014). "Novelist Karen Traviss Flips the Script in IDW's "G.I. Joe" #1". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 18 October 2014.
- Interview with Karen Traviss on Randomhouse.com
- "Karen Traviss to pen next Halo novel". Gaming Target.
- See also John Hickman. "Implacable Justice: Arguing Politics and Theories of Law via the Encounter with Powerful Alien Species." Extrapolation. (September 2007) 48(2): 302-313. Available at http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_hb1421/is_2_48/ai_n29374468/.