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Drakas! cover Drakas! edited by S. M. Stirling

Published by Baen Books

Reviewed by Leigh Kimmel

There are some stories that take a life of their own. Such is the universe of the Draka. So powerful are the four novels written by S. M. Stirling that readers have reported dreaming about the world. In these dreams, they were living within the Draka universe, perhaps on a plantation or in a factory or a torture chamber. So intense were these dreams that it was impossible to escape them until the dreamer awakened naturally, and even after awakening it often took several minutes to reassure oneself that it had indeed been only a dream.

When dealing with such a compelling universe, other writers are often led to write fan fiction in that universe. As a result, S. M. Stirling decided to assemble an anthology of stories set in the Draka universe and written by various other authors, ranging from seasoned professionals to relative newcomers.

As is the case with any such anthology, there is a wide variation in both the themes and the quality of the stories. Some are nearly as haunting and compelling as the originals, while others instead induce a chuckle of amusement.

The stories are arranged roughly in chronological order along the Drakaverse timeline, from the early post-settlement period to the aftermath of the crosstime wars between the Draka and Samothrace. We thus see the development of Draka society and culture from a rather severe cousin of our own to something monstrous which has shed all moral constraints. And at the end there are the first hints of possible defeats for the Draka, at least in some timelines.

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Review posted April 23, 2003

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