The Allied Systems

Allayo of the Gariniki, "Let the Word Take Me" (art by Jared Fiori)
The Allied Systems Universe was born in my first ever published story, "Let the Word Take Me" (Analog July/August 2008).  In this universe humanity travels through space faster than light, establishing colonies and encountering aliens with whom they must forge understanding.  These humans are a bit retro-science fiction.  This allows me to give less attention to technology issues and more to linguistic and cultural misunderstandings that have drastic, often life-or-death consequences.

"The Liars" appeared in Analog's October 2012 issue, with cover art by - gasp - Michael Whelan! That was a dream come true for me - a dream that I hadn't even known I had. It features a pair of linguists, Adrian and Qing Preston, and the adorable Poik, who hide sinister secrets. An excerpt appears here on Analog's website.

"At Cross Purposes" appeared in Analog's January/February 2011 issue, with cover art by Bob Eggleton. It featured the spacefaring, otterlike Cochee-coco, who run afoul of some humans on a terraforming mission.  An excerpt appears here on Analog's website.

"Cold Words" appeared in Analog's October 2009 issue, and featured Rulii, a semi-bipedal alien of the wolflike Aurrel species trying to bring a human spaceport to his planet, thereby raising the status of his oppressed Lowland people. This story was anthologized in Analog's first ebook anthology, Into the New Millennium: Trailblazing Tales from Analog Science Fiction and Fact 2000-2010. It's a great honor.

"Let the Word Take Me" takes place on the planet Garini, where a human settlement intended to mine the planet's biodiversity is about to be kicked off because humans aren't able to communicate with the gecko-like Gariniki.  You can hear an audio podcast of the story at Starship Sofa, or read it free, here.