For space opera, look no further among my works than the Pelted of the Paradox universe. This setting deals with the social implications of genetic engineering, the culture clashes between aliens, the frictions that lead to interstellar wars and of course, space elves and their royalty. The sprawling Pelted universe has been in continuous development since the early 1990s and it shows in the depth and breadth of the material. Constructed languages, artificial cultures, multiple alien species working together in harmony (or not)… if you want big, friendly universes full of growing pains, this is your stop.

The Paradox universe is so big there are three distinct branches: the general stories involve the Pelted and their relationship with humanity, which engineered them; the military stories involve the Pelted’s quasi-military as it struggles to re-invent itself as something effective despite its conflicting missions; and the Eldritch stories involve the reclusive “space elves” of the setting and tend toward the romantic. These threads often cross over, so in addition to reading orders for the specific branches, I’ve included one for all the stories.

All e-books (at all vendors) are DRM-free. Short stories are set off in quotes, books in italics. Links go to book descriptions and vendor links where available; short stories that are not yet linked will be bundled into future collections.

Pelted Reading Order: General
1. “Broken Chains” (also published as “A Distant Sun”)
2. “Rosettes and Ribbons”
3. “The Elements of Freedom”
4. “Pantheon”
5. “Brass Candy Girl”
5. “Tears”
6. “Butterfly”

Most of the Pelted general stories can be read as the collection Claws and Starships.

Pelted Reading Order: Military
1. Alysha’s Fall
2. “Second”
3. “Who is Willing”
4. “In the Line of Duty”
5. Sword of the Alliance
6. Either Side of the Strand
7. “Dark Lighthouse”
8. “Season’s Meaning”
9. “Stormfront”

Pelted Reading Order: Eldritch
Jahir and Vasiht’h: xenopsychiatrists who specialize in multicultural/multispecies therapy.
1. Mindtouch
2. Mindline
3. Dreamhearth
4. “The Case with the Poisoned House”
5. “The Snow Maiden, or the Case with the Holiday Blues”
6. Dreamstorm
7. “Family”

Lisinthir: duelist turned ambassador—to the most dangerous society in known space.
1. Even the Wingless
2. Some Things Transcend
3. Amulet Rampant
4. Only the Open
5. In Extremis
6. From Ruins

Reese and Hirianthial: intrepid (poor) trader meets space-prince wanted by slavers; hijinks inevitable.
1. “Field Research” (Prequel short to Earthrise, available in The Furry Future anthology).
2. Earthrise
3. Rose Point
4. Laisrathera
5. A Rose Point Holiday

1. “Precious Things”

Pelted Reading Order: All (Chronological within setting)
Note: Different planets having different length years and being astronomical distances apart make exact chronology difficult. This is as close as it gets.

1. “Precious Things”
2. “Broken Chains”
3. “Butterfly”
4. “The Elements of Freedom”
5. “Pantheon”
6. Alysha’s Fall
7. “Brass Candy Girl”
9. “Tears”
10. “Second”
11. “In the Line of Duty”
12. Mindtouch
13. Mindline
14. Dreamhearth
15. “The Case with the Poisoned House”
16. “The Snow Maiden”
17. Sword of the Alliance
18. Either Side of the Strand
19. “Dark Lighthouse”
20. “Rosettes and Ribbons”
21. “Season’s Meaning”
22. “Field Research”
23. Dreamstorm
24. “Stormfront”
25. “Family”
26. Earthrise
27. Even the Wingless
28. Rose Point
29. Some Things Transcend
30. Laisrathera
31. Amulet Rampant
32. Only the Open
33. In Extremis
34. From Ruins

Additional information on the Pelted can be found on the wiki; a good starting page for them is this one. Likewise, the Eldritch have a wiki landing page as well as an inspirational pinterest board.