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

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]

The collections were published by Ace Books with contributors including 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. Related works, including a comic book, have been brought out by other publishers.



Located on the southern shore of the Sea of Luck at the mouth of the Cat River, Liavek is a hot, busy trade city. Magic is present and based on a combination of 'birth luck' and the length of time one's mother was in labor. Everyone is privy to some luck, but using it to their advantage is no easy feat. On an annual basis, luck or magic must be invested in an object outside of oneself, and only then can it be used to power spells. Investment is difficult and dangerous, while not investing luck and magic will result in the magic draining away. This is more prevalent in magicians who will find their life drain away with the magic.[2][3]



Edited by Will Shetterly and 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 Shetterly and 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 and 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 Shetterly and Bull, published by Ace Books in 1987

  • An Act of Mercy - Megan Lindholm and 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 and Adam Stemple
  • The Ballad of the Quick Levars (song) - Jane Yolen and 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 Shetterly and 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 Shetterly and 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.

Cousins, by Dean appears in the 2006 anthology from Firebird Books, Firebirds Rising, edited by Sharyn November

Some stories set in the world of Liavek appear in the anthology Book of Enchantments written by Patricia C. Wrede.

On May 12th, 2015, Diversion Publishing released Points of Departure: Liavek Stories; republishing a collection of short stories set in the world of Liavek, by Pamela Dean and Patricia C Wrede.


In 2017, Shetterly announced that he and Bull were allowing the use of the Liavek setting at no cost, for works earning less than $3000, subject to certain conditions.[4]


  1. ^ "The Light Fantastic", If, September 1986, pp.29
  2. ^ Wrede, Patricia C.; Dean, Pamela (12 May 2015). Points of Departure: Liavek Stories. ISBN 978-1626815551.
  3. ^ Graham, Elizabeth (16 May 2015). "The Gates of Liavek Are Open Again in 'Points of Departure'". NPR.
  4. ^ The Liavek Independent Creator's License, by Will Shetterly; at; published January 19, 2017; retrieved November 16, 2019