Two Types of Teeth

Last week I learned that my novella “Two Types of Teeth” has been accepted for

Some of Known Space

publication in Larry Niven’s latest Man/Kzin Wars anthology.

Wait! Saith you…  Jane Lindskold writes Fantasy.

Not so fast, saith me…  Of my first five novels, Marks of Our Brothers and Smoke and Mirrors were definitely Science Fiction.

As I saw it, my first novel, Brother to Dragons, Companion to Owls was also Science Fiction, even though Avon put “Fantasy” on the spine.  Donnerjack, one of the two novels I completed for Roger Zelazny, was also science fiction.  And quite a few of my sixty or so short stories, including the Captain Allie series, recently released in e-book versions (see “Dipping in a Toe,” WW 8-10-11) have been science fiction.

And I’m writing Science Fiction again in my current collaboration with David Weber (see WW 11-10-10).

Okay, saith you, but Man/Kzin Wars?  That sounds pretty military.  The other books aren’t military science fiction, are they?

Well, that’s true enough.  I don’t usually write military science fiction, although I’ve blown up a few ships in my time and sincerely enjoyed doing it.  I’ll admit, if I’d been asked to write a blasters blazing, laser cannons flashing tale, full of tactical details and hanging on a thread of statistical probability, I probably would have declined,

But I would have declined reluctantly, because Larry Niven’s Known Space stories are among my favorites in science fiction.  Since I can’t live in Known Space, writing a story set there is the next best thing.

When I say Known Space, I am including not only the wealth of Niven’s short stories, but also the associated novels, including Protector, The Long ARM of Gil Hamilton, and, of course, Ringworld.

Among the many things I love about Niven’s Known Space stories are the complex and fascinating interactions between human and alien cultures.  So, when given a chance, that was the sort of story I wanted to write.

“Two Types of Teeth” is set at the very beginning of the First Man/Kzin War, later than Niven’s classic “The Warriors,” but before humanity has anything like a complete understanding of what it’s up against.  The main character is a doctor with an interest in xenology, living in a universe where the existence of aliens has only been recently confirmed – and that under very hostile circumstances.

This brings me to one of the challenges of setting a story in another author’s universe.  “The Warriors” – the story in which Niven introduces the Kzinti – is a first contact story in two ways.  It is the tale of the first contact with the Kzinti.  It is also the story of humanity’s first contact with any alien race at all.

However, if you read elsewhere in the Known Space stories, there are references that indicate that contact with the bandersnatchi came even earlier.  Then there are the questions of the “Sea Statue” and of Brennan…

I e-mailed Mr. Niven and asked what his preferences were.  His reply noted that there was a certain “randomness” in the early Known Space stories and he encouraged me to make my own choices.

So I did.  Since “The Warriors” is the story of first contact with the Kzinti, I decided to make that my foundation.  My main character has always wanted to meet aliens and now she has her chance.  The situation rapidly evolves into something neither she nor her employers could ever have anticipated.

The projected release date for the anthology is May of 2012.  I’ll certainly mention here when it’s actually out. I hope you’ll join me there to learn what “Two Types of Teeth” has to do with understanding another type of person and how that understanding might change the course of many lives.

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9 Responses to “Two Types of Teeth”

  1. Dominique Says:

    Can’t wait!

  2. raartori Says:

    Cool! I really like Niven too, so that’s doubly awesome!

  3. heteromeles Says:

    Rat cats??!! Looks great!

  4. janelindskold Says:

    Thanks for the expressions of interest… I enjoyed the project.

    It can be fun being invited to become part of a universe that, up to that point, you viewed only from the outside.

  5. CBI Says:

    Jane, you just added a whole bunch of books to my “must-read” list. I first have to plough through the two 2-3/4 foot stacks awaiting me.
    The fun never ends.

    • janelindskold Says:

      If you’re thinking of the Niven novels I mentioned, it will be absolutely worth your time!

      On the other hand, you can read my novella when it comes out without having read anything else set in that universe. I made certain of that!

  6. Karl Erich Martell Says:

    Hi Jane,

    Kewl – you doing Known Space stuff! BTW, that friend of mine you talked to at G’s party and his wife are SF people – they were excited to learn who you were (since you were too demure to say). I gave David _Smoke and Mirrors_ to check out . . . .

    cheers, erich (G waves from the easy chair)

  7. Man-Kzin Wars XIII – Svensson's Guide to the Galaxy Says:

    […] sites and sources: Wyrd Net, Wikipedia, Goodreads, Baen Books, Jane Lindskold, Charles […]

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