Some of us may remember Alan Dean Foster’s terrible Star Wars book The Splinter of the Minds Eye. But it was a long time since I read that book. What I still remember about it was that it didn’t really fit into the Star Wars canon very well. So maybe it was just that problem and it may not have been that poorly written.
Anyway, I decided to give his “The Damned” series a chance. A Call To Arms is the first book. The cover looked cool, but it turned out that the aliens in this book was quite poor warriors. Most aliens was quite poor at most things. They were like 0-points aliens from GURPS Aliens. All aliens had disadvantages. No aliens was good at warfare.
The reason given for the aliens to be bad at warfare was that an advanced race would (normally) have to abandon all sorts of violence to become an advances race. This is something that would normally happen in the race’s prehistory. This is a quite interesting idea.
The problem was that there was a big interstellar war going on… A race called the Amplitur wanted all other galactic races to join what they call the Amplitur Purpose. A number of races think this is a bad idea and has formed what they call the Weave. Neither side has any good soldiers. Then the Weave find the Earth… This is just the start of the book.
The book is really good and the different races are well describes. The plot is interesting. I think there are lots of ideas that can be mined for your Traveller setting here. This may even inspire you to come up with a new Traveller setting.
This book is the first one in The Damned Trilogy. I will try to find and read the other two.
Affligem must be a Zhodani Beer. Just look at that trefoil.
For Traveller fans, the most interesting aspect of the books are the race called the Hani. There are lots of characteristics of the Hani that are a lot like the Aslan of Traveller.
- First (the most obvious), the Hani are cat-folk.
- Then, just like in Traveller, it is the females that are useful.
- Just like in Traveller, there are clans that are run by males.
I asked C.J. Cherryh and Marc Miller about the influences between her books and Traveller.
C.J. Cherryh said that she never has heard of the Aslan. (So it’s just like H. Beam Piper and the Sword Worlds then, just a bit more recent).
Anyway, these books are great. There are a few more races that are described. There is a map over the Compact. There are lots of ideas that can be used in Traveller. Making a subsector map over the Compact and using this as an ATU would also be possible.
The main characters are female Hani. They are the crew of the ship The Pride of Chanur. They find a Human male that has escaped from a race called the Kif (that are a bit like the Vargr). The Kif wants the human back. That is just the beginning. I shouldn’t post any more spoilers here.
While chatting with C. J. Cherryh and Marc Miller about the Hani from the Chanur novels and the Aslan from Traveller, Marc Miller said that he “envisioned that the Terran scout who first contacted them saw the resemblance to Narnia’s Aslan and used the name.”
When I commented about the idea from GURPS Traveller that the Aslan was discovered by Turkish explorers, Marc said “No one asked me. 🙁 “