L. E. Modesitt Jr.

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Leland Exton Modesitt, Jr.
L E Modesitt Jr at CONduit 2007.png
Modesitt at CONduit 16 in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Born (1943-10-19) October 19, 1943 (age 71)
Denver, Colorado
Occupation consultant, writer, poet
Nationality US
Genre Fantasy, Science fiction

L. E. (Leland Exton) Modesitt, Jr. (/ˈmɒdɨsɪt/; born 19 October 1943) is an author of 56 science fiction and fantasy novels. He is best known for the fantasy series The Saga of Recluce.[1] In 2015 he stated that the then 18 novels in the Recluse series had sold nearly three million copies.[2]

In addition to his novels, Modesitt has published technical studies and articles, columns, poetry, and a number of science fiction stories. His first short story, "The Great American Economy", was published in 1973 in Analog Science Fiction and Science Fact. In 2008, he published his first collection of short stories, Viewpoints Critical: Selected Stories (Tor Books, 2008).

Early life[edit]

Modesitt was born in Denver, Colorado. He graduated from Williams College in Massachusetts and lived in Washington, D.C. for 20 years while working as a political writer.

He has worked as a Navy pilot, lifeguard, delivery boy, unpaid radio disc jockey, real estate agent, market research analyst, director of research for a political campaign, legislative assistant for a Congressman, Director of Legislation and Congressional Relations for the United States Environmental Protection Agency, a consultant on environmental, regulatory, and communications issues, and a college lecturer and writer in residence.[3]

Approach to writing[edit]

Modesitt has stated, “When all the research, all the writing group support, all the cheerleading, and all the angst fade away, and they should, the bottom line is simple: As a writer, you first must entertain your readers. To keep them beyond a quick and final read, you have to do more than that, whether it’s to educate them, make them feel, anger them by challenging their preconceptions — or all of that and more. But if you don’t entertain first, none of what else you do matters, because they won’t stay around.”[4]

Recurring themes, technologies, and organizations[edit]

  • Ethical questions such as "What is more ethical? Standing by and letting a war that will kill millions or billions happen? Or killing thousands or millions in an effort to prevent that war?"
  • Earth is destroyed or nearly destroyed by ecological disaster
  • The I.S.S. spy service mentioned in many of his series
  • The Galactic Empire
  • The Galactic Empire is overthrown or thwarted by ecologists
  • Music has power
  • Flitters, aircraft that can hover and achieve low space orbit
  • Nanotechnology
  • Time travel
  • Immortality
  • Internalized information networks
  • Imbalance leads to destruction and is a perversion of nature
  • Gods are real but only because they have higher levels of technology
  • War is bad, but necessary
  • Truly thinking about what one is doing and what is happening around oneself is critical to success
  • Misuse of technology will lead to man's downfall
  • Mormons
  • Galactic War
  • Struggles between Chaos and Order
  • Shortening or slurring of the names of present day cities, countries and ethnic groups
  • Different spellings of common personal names
  • Many characters are university teachers and/or retired military personnel.
  • Although intangible power is possible, it still places strain on the tangible body.
  • Overheard conversations
  • Love of food
  • Frequently drops hints that many of his books (even those from apparently different series) are actually connected into the same universe.
    • Both The Ecolitan and Parafaith series have an armaments company known as Sasaki Industries.
    • Both The Ecolitan and Parafaith series as well as the short story Viewpoint Critical have a race called the Ursine.
    • Both the The Parafaith War and Fall of Angels feature future soldiers known as Seraphim.
    • Both the The Parafaith War and Fall of Angels feature an adversary known as "Rationalists".


Timegod's World[edit]

Drawing on Norse legend, these books follow the story of the time-traveling Immortals of Query, and their two greatest heroes – who both save and doom their people

  • The Fires of Paratime (1982)
  • Timediver's Dawn (1992)
  • The Timegod (1993) (republication of The Fires of Paratime)
  • Timegod's World (2001) Omnibus.

The Forever Hero[edit]

In the far future, when Earth is a devastated ruin, an immortal is born, wishes one great wish, and takes on a great task

  • Dawn for a Distant Earth (1987)
  • The Silent Warrior (1987)
  • In Endless Twilight (1988)
  • The Forever Hero (2000) Omnibus, combines above three books

The Ecolitan Institute novels (internal chronological order)[edit]

  • The Ecolitan Operation (1989)
  • The Ecologic Secession (1990)
  • Empire & Ecolitan (2001) Omnibus of the above.
  • The Ecologic Envoy (1986)
  • The Ecolitan Enigma (1997)
  • Ecolitan Prime (2003) Omnibus of the above.

The Saga of Recluce (internal chronological order)[edit]

  • Magi'i of Cyador (2001)
  • Scion of Cyador (2001)
  • Fall of Angels (1996)
  • The Chaos Balance (1997)
  • Arms-Commander (2010)
  • Cyador's Heirs (May 2014)
  • Heritage of Cyador (18 November 2014)[5]
  • The Towers of the Sunset (1992)
  • The White Order (1998)
  • The Magic Engineer (1994)
  • Colors of Chaos (1999)
  • Natural Ordermage (2007)
  • Mage-Guard of Hamor (2008)
  • The Order War (1995)
  • Wellspring of Chaos (2004)
  • Ordermaster (2005)
  • The Magic of Recluce (1991)
  • The Death of Chaos (1995)

Ghost Novels[edit]

SF/spy stories, set in an alternate world

  • Of Tangible Ghosts (1994).
  • The Ghost of the Revelator (1998).
  • Ghost of the White Nights (2001).
  • Ghosts of Columbia (2005) Omnibus, combining Of Tangible Ghosts and The Ghost of the Revelator

Parafaith Universe[edit]

Spellsong Cycle[edit]

Set in the world of Erde, where song has magical power – and exacts a terrible price

  • The Soprano Sorceress (1997)
  • The Spellsong War (1998)
  • Darksong Rising (1999)
  • The Shadow Sorceress (2001)
  • Shadowsinger (2002)


The Corean Chronicles[edit]

Main article: The Corean Chronicles

Set on the world of Corus (or Acorus), where strange and dangerous beasts roam and people with magical Talent can perform astonishing feats

  • Legacies (2002)
  • Darknesses (2003)
  • Scepters (2004)
  • Alector's Choice (2005)
  • Cadmian's Choice (2006)
  • Soarer's Choice (2006)
  • The Lord-Protector's Daughter (2008)
  • Lady-Protector (2011)[6]

The Imager Portfolio[edit]

The Imager Portfolio is set on the world of Terahnar, where a small number of people are imagers, who have the power to create objects through visualization; if uncontrolled, imaging can lead to the death of the imager.

Non-Series Science Fiction[edit]



  • Viewpoints Critical (2008) – collection of short stories

Short fiction[edit]

  • The Great American Economy (1973) Analog Science Fiction and Science Fact, May 1973**
  • A House by Any Other Name (1974) Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, November 1974
  • Came the Revolution (1977) Galaxy Science Fiction, September 1977
  • Iron Man, Plastic Ships (1979) Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, Oct 1979**
  • Power to ...? (1990) Analog Science Fiction and Fact, November 1990**
  • Reaction Time (1978) Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, January 1978
  • Rule of Law (1981) Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, April 27, 1981**
  • Second Coming (1979) Asimov's SF Adventure Magazine, Spring 1979**
  • Understanding (2000) On Spec, Summer 2000**
  • Viewpoint Critical (1978) Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, July 1978
  • Precision Set (2001) On Spec Spring 2001**
  • The Pilots (2002) In the Shadow of the Wall: Vietnam Stories that Might Have Been (ed. Byron R. Tetrick)**
  • The Dock to Heaven (2003) Low Port (ed. Sharon Lee & Steve Miller)**
  • The Swan Pilot (2004) Emerald Magic: Great Tales of Irish Fantasy (ed. Andrew M. Greeley)**
  • Fallen Angel (2004), from Flights: Extreme Visions of Fantasy (ed. Al Sarrantonio)**
  • The Swan Pilot (2004), Emerald Magic (ed. Andrew M. Greeley) (Tor Books)**
  • News Clips Recovered from the NYC Ruins (2005), from The Leading Edge, Brigham Young University Press.**
  • Ghost Mission (2006), from Slipstreams (ed. Martin Greenberg and John Helfers) (DAW Books)**
  • Sisters of Sarronnyn, Sisters of Westwind (2006), from Jim Baen's UNIVERSE, August 2006**
  • Spec-Ops (2007), from Future Weapons of War (ed. Joe Haldeman and Martin Greenberg) (Baen Books)**
  • The Difference (2007), from Man vs. Machine (ed. Martin Greenberg and John Helfers) (DAW Books)**
  • Black Ordermage (2008)**
  • Beyond the Obvious Wind (2008)**
  • Always Outside the Lines (2008)**
  • Life-Suspension (2009), from "Federations" (ed. John Joseph Adams (Prime Books)
  • A More Perfect Union (2013), from The Mad Scientist's Guide to World Domination (ed. John Joseph Adams)

Stories listed above marked with a double-asterisk are included in L. E. Modesitt, Jr., Viewpoints Critical: Selected Stories (New York: Tor Books, 2008) ISBN 978-0-7653-1857-2. The three stories dated 2008 appeared for the first time in this book.

Short non-fiction[edit]

  • Story behind „Antiagon Fire“ – The Antiagon Fire That Almost Wasn’t (2013), from "Story Behind the Book : Volume 1" [8]

Personal life[edit]

He met his current wife, Carol A. Modesitt, after moving to New Hampshire in 1989. Carol works as a professional opera singer[9] and now acts as a professor at Southern Utah University.[10] They relocated to Cedar City, Utah in 1993.

He has been married three times, and has six daughters and two sons.[11]


External links[edit]