Timeline

and Recommended Reading Order

for Andre Norton’s

FORERUNNERS UNIVERSE pt. 1

by Geert Cuypers © 2018
Last updated on January 15, 2019

Recreated on this website in case this link ever fails.
Reformatted and edited for this site by Jay Watts ~ Jan. 2019


Contents ~ pt.1
Introduction
Recommended Reading Order
Story Review

 

Documentation and argumentation available in the following sections:

Appendex A ~ pt.2

Time references and conflict warnings.
Footnotes used to compile the timeline.

 

Appendex B ~ pt.3

Creating the timeline.
The difficult road to ordering a chaotic Universe.

 

Appendex C ~ pt.4

Arguments.
Why did I include / exclude stories?

 

Appendex D ~ pt.5

Word Searches, Quotes, etc.
Leftovers from the word-searches I used to figure out what & where books belong in this collection.
The essential references from these searches have been moved to the previous pages by cutting & pasting.
These are the 'leftovers' and the remaining references in this page are redundant.
I included this page for completeness, and as an optional reference FYI.

 

* * * * * * *

 

Source Credits and Acknowledgements:

This timeline is based on several sources, including but not limited to:

  • About 1 year of dedicated reading and research in Andre Norton’s books;
  • My thanks and appreciation to Jay Watts, webmaster of andre-norton-books.com for maintaining this website for all these years. Jay Watts has access to most of Andre Norton's estate documents and confirmed that the author did not leave any notes relating to a timeline of the Forerunners Universe.
  • Maureen O’Brien’s 'Multi-verse' timeline ties many of Norton’s pre-1995 works into a single timeline. This listing is very different in purpose, content and presentation. I did adopt the ("story title") notation and some relevant quotes from those pages — courtesy of webmaster Jay Watts, — as no current contact information for Maureen O'Brien is available.

* * * * * * *

Request for Assistance:

Reading Andre Norton is a good pastime but it still takes time; even more so when trying to find specific information. Sometimes, just a few words in an off-hand comment can provide important clues. I'm sure I missed some.

If you can assist with refining this timeline, please do let me know. Mail geert @ avemariasongs . org [no spaces] with “Forerunners Universe” in the subject line if you don't want it to end up in my junk folder.

Geert Cuypers
SF&F-fan on isfdb.org




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I. INTRODUCTION

1. The Forerunners Universe

Andre Norton wrote 70 'Space Age' stories during 5+ decades. Forty-five of those have the "Forerunners" as a recurrent background theme.

In analogy to Norton’s ‘Witch World Universe,’ it seems logical to bring all these books together in a ‘Forerunners Universe’. (F-U) Yet, apparently this has not happened to date. Neither http://www.isfdb.org/ nor www.goodreads.com acknowledge the Forerunners Universe and their listings show many of the F-U stories as stand-alone novels. I see several reasons for that:

  • The Forerunners theme is a very loose connection, the history line remains quite vague and the socio-political background is generally ill-defined. There is no over-arching story line that ties it all together in a larger mega-saga as in Isaac Asimov's Foundation Arc. In that regard, Norton's Forerunners Universe is more like Jack Vance's Gaean Reach or Ursula K. Le Guin's Hainish cycles, which were also notoriously difficult to catalog until the authors stated that those stories belonged together. Unlike those cycles however, the F-U stories always have the same recurrent background themes present, although they may remain just that, a background.
  • Andre Norton never made a statement about her F-U stories 'belonging together.'  She never published a timeline and the documents in her estate don't have any information on that either. Apparently, this was not an issue of great importance to her. She was a writer of shorter pulp-fiction-style stories, not sweeping sagas. She wrote fast-paced adventure stories, and gave them the same recurrent background elements, but she didn’t worry overly much about being 100% consistent between all those separate stories.
  • While there are many common themes in the F-U stories, there are also quite a few inconsistencies and even some glaring conflicts between the various stories. Unlike other authors, Andre Norton never resorted to fix-up novels to tie her earlier stories together and 'fix' these problems. Understandably, the inconsistencies have led to disagreements about which books belong and which don’t. They also make it difficult to impose a clear chronology on these stories. (See Appendex B for details)

* * * * * * *

2. Recurrent themes and common elements in the Forerunners Universe

Humans are late comers to space ~ When they ventured beyond their own neighborhood, they met up with and were adopted in a vast multi-species galactic civilization called Central Control. Less than 3 centuries after First Contact, Terrans had already circumvented the limitations imposed upon them and secretly colonized 1000 planets. After that, they quickly spread ever-further to become one of the dominant races with hundreds of thousands (to millions?) colonies throughout the galaxy.

Forerunners ~ Are ancient space faring civilizations that went extinct long before Humans took to space. Some of those civilizations had a more advanced technology level than the current one. Their artifacts could be extremely valuable.

The Zacathans ~ Are long-lived reptilians, a race of scholars. They are a driving force behind the search for Forerunners.

The Guild of Thieves ~ Is a very powerful galaxy-wide criminal organization.

Jacks ~ Are localized groups of space pirates.

The Stellar Patrol ~ Is the galactic Military / Police Force. When the political system breaks down, some of them go rogue and become pirates themselves.

Spaceships remain the fastest connection between star systems.
Early colonization ships took centuries to get to their destination.
Even hyperspace travel between systems still takes weeks to months.
The lack of instantaneous space travel and communication limits trade and information exchange.

  • Survey ships (First-in Scouts) are always looking for new planets to colonize and for signs of Forerunners.
  • The major trade routes in the Inner Systems are monopolized by huge Trading Combines / Companies.
  • Free Traders compete for their leftovers and operate mostly in the Outer Systems.
  • Trade only goes where it pays. Many systems are effectively isolated with only the occasional Free Trader or Patrol ship as off-world contact, which makes them vulnerable to pirate raiding.
  • Many planets have reverted back to feudal societies where access to interstellar trade and technology is limited to a small privileged group.
  • Technology varies considerably between systems, planets and even between population groups on a single planet.
  • What is common knowledge or practice in one system may well be unknown or forgotten in another.
  • Alien races, systems and planets well-known in one sector could be unknown in others.
  • The location of Terra became disputed, legendary in distant sectors.

The political organizations of the Forerunners Universe - Central Control, Council, (Con)Federation, League of Free Traders – are frequently mentioned, but remain ill-defined. The extent of their influence or inter-relation are not described in detail. The poor definition and inconsistency of these political references is (imo) a major source of confusion.

* * * * * * *

3. The stories of the Forerunners Universe

Starting with all 70 Space Age stories, we select what belongs and what not.

* The Forerunner Stories
These are all the stories with the recurrent F-U themes, regardless of possible inconsistencies: Forerunners, Zacathans, Council / (Con-)Federation; (Stellar) Patrol, Guild of Thieves, (League of) Free Traders...
If one story of a series qualifies, the entire series is included.
These 'core' titles are chronologically bracketed by the so-called 'Central Control' series: ("Star Guard") is the very first, ("Star Rangers") the very last.

Solar Queen Cycle / x4 by Andre Norton (3 w/co-authors)
    Sargosso in Space (1955)
    Plague Ship (1956)
    Voodoo Planet (1959)
    Postmarked the Stars (1969)

Beast Master / Hosteen Storm Cycle / x2 by Andre Norton (3 w/co-authors)
    Beast Master (1959)
    Lord of Thunder (1962)

Moonsinger / Krip Vorlund Cycle / x4
    Moon of Three Rings (1966)
    Exiles of the Stars (1971)
    Flight in Yiktor (1986)
    Dare to Go A-hunting (1990)

Perilous Dreams / single book x4 short stories
    Toys of Tamisan (1969) - ss
    Ship of Mist (1976)- ss
    Get Out of My Dream (1976) - ss
    Nightmare (1976) - ss

Warlock / Lantee Cycle / x3
    Warlock (1960)
    Ordeal in Otherwhere (1964)
    Forerunner Foray (1973)

Forerunner / Simsa Cycle / x2
    Forerunner (1981)
    Forerunner: the Second Venture (1985)

Star Stones / Jern Murdoc Cycle / x2
    The Zero Stone (1968)
    Uncharted Stars (1969)

Janus / Naill Renfro Cycle / x2
    Judgement on Janus (1963)
    Victory on Janus (1964)

Dipple Books / x2
    Catseye (1961)
    Masks of the Outcasts (1964)

‘Stand-alone’ Novels
    Star Guard (1955)
    Star Rangers (1953)
    Secret of the Lost Race (1959)
    The Sioux Spaceman (1960)
    Star Hunter (1961)
    Eye of the Monster (1962)
    The X Factor (1965)
    Dark Piper (1968)
    Ice Crown (1970)
    Dread Companion (1970)
    Android at Arms (1971)
    Iron Cage (1974)
    Voorloper (1980)
    Brother to Shadows (1993)

* * * * * * *

* F-U Pre-History:
= 1st space flight, atomic wars, post-nuclear barbarism, recovery.
These stories precede First Contact with Central Control, but are remembered in the F-U as historical events.

    The Stars are Ours (1954)
    Star Born (1957)
    Star Man’s Son 2250 A.D. (1952)
    No Night Without Stars (1975)
    Moon Called (1982)
    Wizard’s World (1967)
    Mousetrap (1954) - ss
    All Cats are Gray (1953) - ss

* Questionable
Space Age stories that are somewhat consistent with F-U

    Sea Siege (1957)
    Star Gate (1958)

    A Post-Human Earth Humans leave Earth to sentient animals.

    London Bridge (1973) - ss
    Breed to Come (1972)

* Exclusions
Space Age stories that are (imo) not consistent with the F-U.

    Time Traders / Ross Murdoch Cycle / x7 (1958-2002)
    Crosstime / Blake Walker Cycle / x2 (1965)
    Star Ka’at / x4 - short stories

(Did I miss anything? Please let me know!)

* * * * * * *

4. Problems in the Forerunners Universe

* The Unpleasant Fate of Terra
Despite many recurrent F-Y themes in these stories, there are also some glaring inconsistencies. One of the more obvious is that Andre Norton manages to kill off Terra in quite a few different ways. That is a major problem when we try to bring it all together, but this conflict can be (mostly) resolved by ordering the respective stories as shown below.

Earth is the center of the Confederation, loses importance after War of 2 Sectors. ("Catseye")

Ch. 1 After War of 2 sectors, Confederation and Council = the 2 major powers that divide up planets.
Ch. 5 Terra was the center of the Confederation—or had been before the war. .../... The Council and the Octed of the Rim maneuvered for first power, while the old Confederation had fractured into at least three collections of smaller rulerships.

Reference Conflict:
Ch.1: Confederation is equal to Council,
Ch.2: Confederation has broken up, Octed of the Rim is major force...

The transition of the Confederation as 'a major power' after the war to a break-up into at least 3 confederacies is a transition that seems rather extreme for a time lapse of only 5 years.
It is also something that would probably not happen peacefully, yet there is no mention of continued war.

Earth is a radioactive dead cinder ("Beast Master")

Terra, mother planet of the Confederacy.
10-year war with Xixs, burn-off left Earth a radio-active cinder.
This can be consistent if it happens AFTER the Warlock / Korwar stories.

Earth is a legend: ("Dread Companion") a.o. ...

Location of Earth was in dispute.
This can be consistent with Empty Earth, ("Star Rangers") dead Earth ("Beast Master") or Post-Human Earth. ("Breed to Come")
It could also be a consequence of loss of information because of time and distance, without Earth being reduced to a dead planet.

Lost, Empty Earth ("Star Rangers")

Earth location unknown, rediscovered ca. 8060 A.D.
‘Empty Earth’, only a few primitive tribes remain.
3000 years may seem a bit short to get from a radio-active cinder to a garden planet, but hey, Norton had at least 2 world-wide atomic wars before that and Terra recovered quite quickly from those as well...

Post-human Earth, Sentient Animals ("Breed to come")

Scientists try to find as cure for a virulent plague. They fail, but the testing caused the animals to become sentient.
It's a bit of a stretch, but one could argue this scenario is compatible with all of the above, if in a far enough future.

Ordering the stories as shown above resolves the fate of Terra in an acceptable sequence.

* * * * * * *

* Other Inconsistencies

Did I mention INCONSISTENCIES? There are plenty, believe me!

The way we handle inconsistencies determines which stories belong and which don't. When we see inconsistencies, we can:

Ignore them, (Ouch, that hurts)
Explain them away; (Really, who’d’ve thunk? )
Use alternate timelines, (If it belongs somewhere else, what’s it still doing here?)
‘Fix’ them (Rewrite Norton? Not me!) or
Exclude them. (Burn that book!)

I did a little bit of all of the above. Motivated by lofty principles like ‘The Least Painful’ and ‘For The Greater Good,’

I have excluded the Time Traders (time travel,) Crosstime (time travel) and Star Ka’at (young readers, co-author) series from the timeline. I don't see how those stories could be reconciled with the Forerunners Universe.
I have NOT excluded Star Guard and Star Rangers, but I am also not ignoring the inconsistencies.
These 2 are the first Spage Age stories that Andre Norton wrote, precursors or 'forerunners' (pun intended,) to the Forerunner books. Despite some major story line flaws, these early stories already have most of the recurrent themes of the later F-U stories. I also think that in her later stories, Andre Norton stuck to the timeline she laid out in these 2 early stories (First contact ca. 3500 A.D. - Decline ca. 8000 A.D.)
Sea Siege could be included in the F-U prehistory with some rewriting to remove dated Cold War references.
Star Gate could be included as an abandoned colony story, even though it has none of the usual F-U themes.
I won't take it upon myself to rewrite Andre Norton to reconcile these inconsistencies. Instead, I have listed the problems for each of those stories in the various documentation pages. I invite you to review those arguments and decide for yourself what you want to include in your personal line-up, or not.

My approach:
We would do well to remind ourselves that Andre Norton was a storyteller, not a history chronicler. That — with all the inconsistencies that come with it — was the first step I needed to take on the road to creating some order in the chaos of this Universe.

Imagine Andre Norton for a moment as a collector of ancient stories in a far future rather than as the author of them. Then imagine yourself as a history student reviewing those fragmentary records from a distant past. As a history student, you would not expect 100% consistency in details between ancient stories because of the historic telephone game: details being changed in the retelling though generations. From that viewpoint, the few remaining inconsistencies between the various stories are not a (big) problem.

I did write short commentaries between stories in the Story Review section to tie them together in a greater context, like a history student might do. Most of these are direct references from Norton’s books; some are conjecture based on the changing social / political background.




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II. Time Line + Recommended Reading Order ~ a quick overview


This is in part a thematic reading order. It closely follows the main divisions of the timeline, but within those divisions titles are ordered by common themes rather than absolute chronology. The Story Review page follows the same order.

All books and series in this collection are marked as ‘read together’ or ‘stand-alone read’.

Some titles are very obviously continuing stories with a common protagonist. Some are tales more loosely connected by a common location, theme or time period. Such series should (imo) be read together for a more enjoyable reading experience. I made the deliberate choice to keep series together, even when other books fit in between chronologically.
Other titles have such different locations, societies or subjects that they seem like completely unrelated, other than being in the F-U. These can very well be read as stand-alone novels.

Reading the stories in the order as listed here will place them within the social and historical frameworks of the Forerunners Universe and may give the reader better understanding of the changing context that Norton had in mind when she wrote these books.


I. 2000- 3500 A.D. ~ Star Flight; Atomic Wars; Barbarism (6 titles)

series: Pax/Astra x2

The Stars are Ours (1954)
Star Born (1957)

series: Post-nuclear Barbarism x4

Sea Siege (1957) [would need fix-up]
Daybreak 2250 A.D. (1952)
No Night Without Stars (1975)
Moon Called (1982)

II. 2900-4000 A.D. ~ Sol System and Beyond (6 titles)

series: Sol system and Beyond x3

    Wizard’s World (1967) - ss
    Mousetrap (1954) - ss
    All Cats Are Grey (1953) - ss

series: Alien Encounters x3

Star Guard (1955)
Secret of the Lost Race (1959) aka Wolfshead
The Sioux Spaceman (1960)

III. 4000 - 4500 A.D. ~ A Time of War (20 titles)

series: The Dipple Books x2

Catseye (1961)
Night of Masks (1964)

series The Janus Books x2

Judgment on Janus (1963)
Victory on Janus (1966)

series: Star Stones x2

The Zero Stone (1968)
Uncharted Stars (1969)

series: Warlock Magic / Lantee Cycle x3

Storm over Warlock (1960)
Ordeal in Otherwhere (1964)
Forerunner Foray (1973)

Also during this era: x1

Brother to Shadows (1993)

series: Lost Worlds x5

Star Gate (1959) = a lost colony tale
Iron Cage (1974)
Eye of the Monster (1962)
Dark Piper (1968)
Dread Companion (1970)

series: Beast Master x5

The Beast Master (1959)
Lord of Thunder (1962)
Beast Master’s Ark (2002) with Lyn McConchie
Beast Master’s Circus (2004) with Lyn McConchie
Beast Master’s Quest (2006) with Lyn McConchie


IV. 4500 - 7500 A.D. ~ A Time of Peace (22 titles)

series: Solar Queen x7

Sargasso of Space (1955)
Plague Ship (1956)
Voodoo Planet (1959)
Postmarked the Stars (1969)
Redline the Stars (1993) with P. M. Griffin
Derelict for Trade (1997) with Sherwood Smith
A Mind for Trade (1997) with Sherwood Smith

series: Forerunner Planets x3

Voorloper (1980)
Star Hunter (1961)
The X Factor (1965)

series: Forerunner Simsa x2

Forerunner (1981)
Forerunner: The Second Venture (1985)

series: Criminal Minds x6

Ice Crown (1970)
Android at Arms (1971)
Toys of Tamisan (1969)
Ship of Mist (1976) - nv
Get Out of my Dream (1976) - ss
Nightmare (1976) – ss

series: Moon Singer x4

Moon of Three Rings (1966)
Exiles of the Stars (1971)
Flight in Yiktor (1986)
Dare to Go A-hunting (1990)


V. 7800-8300 A.D. ~ Death of an Empire (1 title)

Star Rangers (1953)


VI. 8500-???? A.D. ~ A Post-Human Earth (2 titles)

series: Post-human Earth x2

London Bridge (1973) - ss
Breed to Come (1972)

For more details and comments, see the Story Review section below.




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III. Story Review

Before this story begins:
Few historic records survived when the Great Galactic Library was destroyed some 10,000 years ago. During an archaeology dig on the former Library Planet almost 200 years ago, a deep underground vault was discovered that among other things held a damaged recording unit.

Several decades ago, we were finally able to obtain access to this collection.
It has taken our team this long to decipher and translate the stories that those records contained. It is with great pride that we present here to you, for the first time together in a single volume, this collection of stories of long-lost ancient Terra and the legendary First Galactic Empire.

These stories provide only glimpses of insight, brief moments spread out over a historic era that spans more than 6,000 years, with great gaps in between. Wherever possible and for added clarity, we have filled in some of those gaps with brief updates on important political or sociological references from these stories, or from other independent sources.

We hope you enjoy the result of our efforts.

Editor's Note:
Stories that are passed on over millennia change in the retelling. As may be expected, there are inconsistencies between these stories. Footnotes about time references and inconsistencies can be found here.


I. 2000- 3500 A.D. ~ Star Flight; Atomic Wars; Barbarism (6 titles)

Before this story begins:
Earth had built 3 space stations. Mercenaries occupied one of them and used its equipment to set off world-wide destruction = The "Big Blow-up, aka the Great Burn-Off" ca 2030 A.D. Scientists were blamed for the disaster and persecuted. Soon thereafter Saxon Bort organized the PAX world dictatorship.


* series: Pax / Astra
2 titles.  Continuing story, definitely read together in this order.

The Stars are Ours
The persecuted Free Scientists secretly build a starship and take off just as Pax forces break into their hide-out. They reach Astra.

Star Born
The dictatorship of the Company of Pax has fallen, and the story of the Free Men’s starship is found among their records. Many starships are sent but none return. RS-10 leaves Earth and is the first ship to reach Astra. They help the Seafolk and Terran colonists to defeat the evil 'Others.' Then they begin their return to Terra.

Editor's Note:
Many starships were sent out, none returned, including the RS-10. Earth lost hope of ever reaching the stars. The political union that had made this effort possible dissolved into nations. The wars that followed destroyed the remaining urban centers and left few survivors. (1st Atomic Wars)
Earth fell back into Barbarism, and star flight was forgotten by all but a few.

From: Star Born
There are and will be other lost colonies among the stars. We could not have been the only outlaws who broke forth during the rule of Pax, and before the blight of that dictatorship, there were at least two expeditions that went forth on Galactic explorations.

* series: Post-nuclear Barbarism
Ca. AD 2050-3500 (overlapping timelines)
4 titles, unconnected stories, read in this order.
Common elements: post-apocalypse society, mutant people and animals in symbiotic relation, shamanism and sorcery.

Sea Siege
Scientists on a remote island know something bad has happened on the mainland, but don't know what.
Then the creatures of the sea attack...

Daybreak 2250 AD ~ aka Star Man’s Son
Fors and his feline companion journey into the Great Blow-up lands to find the ancient knowledge of the Old Ones that had taken men to the stars.

No Night Without Stars
Three centuries after the cataclysm that caused the Dark Time, young Sander searches for the legendary skills of the metalworkers of the Before Time. He encounters Shaman Fanyi, and together they face incredible danger and evil in an ancient stronghold.

Moon Called
10 generations after the Before Time ends, Thora the Chosen and Kort the dog save Malkin from certain death and take her back home to the Valley of the Windriders.


II. 2900-4000 A.D. ~ Sol System and Beyond (6 titles)

Before this story begins:
New urban centers arose, but many areas remained severely damaged. Eventually, Terra recovered the lost technologies and started explored its own solar system (again). Psi- talents appeared after the first atomic wars. Espers were increasingly oppressed.

* series: Sol system x3
3 short stories linked by Mars colonization. Stand-alone reads, random order.

Wizards’ World
Esper Craike was smuggled out of an eastern E-camp and is sent to explore the area that used to be Reno. But he was tricked into revealing himself and is being tracked by an Esper hound.

Mousetrap
Sam Levatts finds a ‘sand monster’ and goes looking for the Martian race that created it.

All Cats Are Gray
Steena & friends board a derelict interplanetary pleasure liner, and kill the invisible alien that had killed the passengers and many would-be salvagers. Steena and Cliff get rich and married.

* series: Alien Encounters

Before this story begins:
Shortly after First Contact came a period of rapid expansion.
In less than 1000 years, there were Terran colonies in every sector of the galaxy.

From: Star Guard
Ca. 3650 A.D. - 1000 years after the First Atomic Wars, a reliable stardrive was developed. The 1st Human spaceship ended up in Central Control territory.
Earth was adopted as a limited member into the C.C. confederation. Humans were only allowed to go to space as mercenaries, with aptitude tests determining what jobs they could get. Being who they are, Humans quickly organized covert opposition to Central Control limitations.

Star Guard
3956 A.D. The Yorke Horde has been hired as mercenaries to in a war of succession. Kana discovers that Central Control has sent Mech Combatants to get rid of the Horde, in a systematic attempt to exterminate Human soldiers. Kana escapes and is rescued by and reports to the Hidden Prime, a resistance organization which works to get Terrans to the stars.

From: Star Guard
By this time, 1000+ planets had secret Terran colonies. Twenty X-Tee worlds were also colonizing in secret.

Before this story begins:
The duplicity of Central Control towards Humans led to open resistance against the Central Control limitations. Terra implemented a rapid colonization program by forced migration. Terra became the center of a fast-growing Confederation with a sphere of influence to rival Central Control (= Council)
The Terrans met up with many alien races (X-tees) during their explorations. Not all such meetings were friendly.

Secret of the Lost Race
stand-alone read
A young dealer in an illegal gambling den, is picked up in a raid and shipped off-world to Fenris for indentured labor. After the driver of his prison transport dies in an avalanche, he becomes a hunted man.

The Sioux Spaceman
stand-alone read

Before this story begins:
The League of Free Traders was founded to protect Free Traders’ interests from the larger Trading Companies and piracy. This “League of Worlds’ was a major economic and political power, but not much of a military one.

Kade Whitehawk, a Lakota of the Northwest Terran Confederation, is re-assigned to Klor where the Styor brutally suppress the native Ikkinni. Kade imports Terran horses with the intent to teach the Ikkinni to ride and use them in guerrilla warfare against their hated Styor masters. When his operation is ended prematurely, Kade is informed of ‘the Plan’ for human resistance and told to keep up the good work.

Editor's Note:
The Styor Empire eventually collapsed and was absorbed by the quickly-growing Terran Confederation.


III. 4000 - 4500 A.D. ~ A Time of War (20 titles)

Before this story begins:
The inevitable revelation of Terran resistance turned into rampant hostility and civil war.
THE WAR OF TWO SECTORS was a devastating civil war that tore up entire sectors of the galaxy.
The Dipple refugee camp on Korwar was created at the beginning of the war, but persisted long after.
Terra's influence was greatly reduced after the War of the Two Sectors. Contact with distant colonies was lost. Many did not survive. Others wouldn't be rediscovered until many centuries later.

Editor's note:
The 10 Warlock / Korwar stories that follow are all inter- referenced within about 40-50 years bracketing the 5-year 'War of the Two Sectors'.
These stories are not about that war. The 2 Shann Lantee stories on Warlock happen before the war. The other 8 happen shortly after, in part concurrently with overlapping time lines. ("Brother to Shadows") is the final story of this group.
For a more pleasant reading experience, these stories are listed by their series, not chronology.

* series: The Dipple Books
2 titles, linked by the Dipple refugee camp
stand-alone reads with common location, read in this chronological order.

Catseye
Troy Horan finds a job with an exotic pet store. The Terran animals are psi-gifted. He ends up allying himself with the animals and fleeing with them into Korwar’s wilderness, ends up in a ruined Forerunner city.

Editor's note:
Four stories mention the Dipple on Korwar as a recent event within 10-20 years:
Catseye, Night of Masks, Judgment on Janus, Forerunner Foray.
This story mentions the time viewer of the Fauklow expedition, which will return in Brother to Shadows.

Night of Masks
Nik Kolherne has a scarred face after a house fire in the Dipple. When the Thieves’ Guild offers him a new face in exchange for his service, he helps the Guild kidnap someone.

* series: The Janus Books
2 titles, continuing story of Naill Renfro, definitely read together in this order.

Judgment on Janus
Naill Renfro contracts as indentured laborer to get medicine for his dying mother. He finds an alien artifact on Janus that changes him into an Iftin warrior. He is hunted as a demon by the colonists, but he escapes into the forest and encounters other new Ift. They learn of the evil of “That Which Abides” and fight it to a standstill.

Victory on Janus
Naill and the other new Ift learn that “That Which Abides” was a malfunctioning computer from an alien colonization ship. They disable the computer and free its prisoners.

* series: The Star Stones / Jern Murdoc Cycle
2 titles, continuing story of Jern Murdoc, definitely read together in this order.

The Zero Stone
Uncharted Stars
When Murdoc Jern’s father was murdered by outlaw competitors, he left behind an odd ring. With his companion Eet, a feline mutant with phenomenal mental powers, he eventually discovered that the stone in the ring was actually a Zero Stone—a Forerunner device—and it was the key to powers beyond human imagination. Murdoc and Eet had to solve the secret of the Zero Stone, and very quickly, because very greedy and dangerous people wanted that ring, and wouldn’t hesitate at more murder to obtain it.

* series: Warlock / Lantee Cycle
3 titles, read together in this order for common context.
1+2 are linked stories on planet Warlock with Shann Lantee as the protagonist. These 2 stories take place before the war, some 20-40 years before ("Forerunner Foray")
("Forerunner Foray") takes place on Korwar, a generation later, = 10-20 years after the big war. Ris Lantee = son of Shann Lantee.
WARNING: These 3 stories are not connected to the Forerunner Simsa cycle.

Before this story begins:
During the early period of rapid expansion, the Terran Confederation encountered many alien races. Not all of those contacts were friendly. Some even led to open war. 100+ years before (“Storm Over Warlock”), Terrans first encountered the Throgs, an insect-like race in competition for the same colonization-suitable planets. After efforts at communication failed, the Terrans and Throgs began a war to claim the desired planets.

Storm Over Warlock
Throgs attack and wipe out a Survey planet exploration camp on planet Warlock.
Shann Lantee, sole survivor, and his wolverine pair Taggi and Togi join up with local Wyverns to defeat the Throgs.

Ordeal in Otherwhere
Charis Nordholm is brought to Warlock by a Free Trader, and is taken by the Wyverns. The Free Trader post is destroyed by Company traders on a grab-raid. Charis finds herself allied with Shann Lantee, Taggi, Togi, and the curl-cat Tsstu to help defeat the Jacks.

Forerunner Foray
A generation later
Ziantha of the Thieves' Guild on planet Korwar steals a strange stone which takes her into several ancient Forerunner societies of that world...

Also during this era:

Brother to Shadows
stand-alone read, after ("Forerunner Foray").
Jofre is an off-worlder who was adopted into and trained by an assassin clan since childhood. When his master dies, he is expelled and oaths to Zurzal, a young Zacathan searching for archaeological treasure to prove the worth of his time viewer.

* series: Lost Worlds
5 titles, stand-alone reads, random order.

Before this story begins:
These are stories from worlds that were abandoned in a time of war. We do not always know what wars these were, or when they happened. Yet, one thing remains the same throughout: in times of war, people suffer.

Star Gate
A lost colony story, stand-alone read.
The Star Lords had come from a dying Earth and settled on Earth-like Gorth where they found a primitive society and helped the inhabitants to rise to civilization. But now the native folk of Gorth have grown  resentful and jealous of the Star Lords, who have refused to share their secrets of (apparent) immortality and their powerful weapons-technology which led to the loss of Earth.

Editor's Note:
Many colonies did not survive or were lost in later wars. New or experimental technologies were sometimes abandoned as too dangerous, or were lost together with the colonies and never rediscovered.

Iron Cage
A lost colony story, stand-alone read.
Rutee and her son Jony have been kidnapped from Ishtar by Zalan (the Big Ones,) aliens who use her in a breeding experiment. They escape on an unnamed planet where they are aided by bear-like 'People.'
After their mother's death, Jony and the twins Maba and Geogee grow up among the People. During his explorations, Jony discovers a warehouse full of weapons from an early human colony.
When a scout ship arrives — fugitives from a distant war — they capture the twins, and find the warehouse. To protect the planet, Jony destroys the weapons and the ship.

Eye of the Monster
An abandoned colony story, stand-alone read.
When the Patrol begins to withdraw from Ishkur, the native Ishkurians slaughter most off-worlders. By luck, Rees survives and rescues a Terran and a Salarika child. Together with a Salarika adult they journey together to a mining camp with heavy defenses; there they signal the few remaining Patrol members and fight off the Ishkurians until a robo flyer arrives to take them off-planet.

Dark Piper
An abandoned colony story, stand-alone read.
The planet Beltane had been unscathed by the Four Sectors War. But then Vere and his friends are trapped underground when raiders bomb the surface. When they emerge, they are the last human survivors on Beltane...

Dread Companion
An abandoned colony story, stand-alone read.
First-in Survey Scout Jorth Kosgro discovers the planet Dylan in 2301 A.F.; he wanders into the Folk’s world and is lost.  Some 100 years later, Kilda becomes a teacher and governess to two young children on Dylan. One of the children has an invisible ‘dread companion’ that leads them into a Faerie world. When they escape, almost 80 years have passed on Dylan and they return to a world devastated by war.

* series: Beast Master / Hosteen Storm Cycle
5 titles, read together in this order.

Before this story begins:
Earth was burnt off and left a radioactive cinder at the end of the Xicks War. Beast Master Hosteen Storm relocates to Arzor. These are his adventures on that planet.

The Beast Master
When he investigates a livestock theft, Storm discovers that the Xicks have a ship and camp on Arzor. During his escape from a hugely destructive Xicks attack, he discovers the Forerunner Gardens.

Lord of Thunder
Beast Master’s Ark
Beast Master’s Circus
Beast Master’s Quest


Editor's Note:
The abandoned Earth disappeared in obscurity and became legend.


IV. 4500 - 7500 A.D. ~ A Time of Peace (22 titles)

Before this story begins:
The League of Free Traders had been founded ca. 4000 A.D. to protect Free Traders’ interests from the interstellar Trading Companies and piracy. The Stellar Patrol developed into a galaxy-wide police and military force to maintain Peace, Law and Order.
Without their planet of origin to rally to, Terran colonies were assimilated by their respective sectors. Trade and the Patrol consolidated and unified the colonies, leading to the 1st galactic empire and the Pax Galactica.

* series: The Solar Queen Cycle
Ca. 4500-4800 A.D. - 7 books Continuing story, definitely read together in this order.

Sargasso of Space
This is Norton’s first book that mentions Forerunners by this name.
Dane Thorson is assigned to the “Solar Queen”, a Free Trader ship. The Queen’s crew participates in a Survey auction and buys the right to exploit the planet Limbo. Accompanied by a team of archaeologists, they find Forerunner ruins.

Plague Ship
Voodoo Planet
Postmarked the Stars
Redline the Stars
Derelict for Trade
A Mind for Trade

EVENT: ca. 5000. A.D.
Foundation of the 1st Galactic Emopire.
The Galactic Empire has managed to keep the peace for nearly 3000 years… (“Star Rangers”)

* series: Forerunner Planets
3 (+2) titles, stand-alone reads, random reading order.

Before this story begins:
Council, Federation, Patrol and League: all were sending out First-in Scouts to find new worlds fit for human occupation. Their job is lonely, risky, and they don’t always get it right when they declare a planet safe.

Editor's Note:
These following 5 stories cannot be dated with any measure of  confidence.

Voorloper
Stand-alone read.
Bart s’Lorn, a “Voorloper” (wandering trader), and Illo, a Healer, both survived major attacks of the Shadow Death as children. When they meet, they end up searching out the cause of the Shadow Death and defeating the Shadows.

Star Hunter
Stand-alone read.
Ras Hume counterfeits a claimant to the Kogan fortune, and conditions Vye Lansor to be the claimant Rynch Brodie. Vye is dropped as a 'survivor' and helps Hume to escape from a Forerunner trap ...

The X Factor
Stand-alone read.
A misfit son of a First-in Scout steals a spaceship and travels to planet Mimir, where he gets mixed up with a Zacathan alien, a guild of criminals, Jacks and Forerunner ruins.

* series: Forerunner Simsa Cycle
2 titles, the continuing story of Simsa, a real-life Forerunner; could be included in the 'Forerunner Planets' series.

Forerunner
On ancient Kuxortal, Simsa grew up among garbage pickers who live upon the ancient Forerunners ruins. But then star ranger Thorn leads her to an ancient Forerunner city where She discovery her origins as a true descendant of one of the Forerunner races.

Forerunner: The Second Venture
Simsa escapes from a space ship and crash lands on another world touched by her Forerunner civilization.

* series: Criminal Minds
6 titles (2 novels + 4 ss) Stand-alone reads, random reading order.
Common theme: Criminal use of Mind Power

Editor's Note:
("Ice Crown") can be dated to ca. 5200-5300 A.D. because of references to the Psychocrats overturn of ca. 4900 A.D.
("Android at Arms")  can be dated to ca. 3700-3775 A.D.
The Dreamer stories cannot be dated with any measure of confidence.

Ice Crown
ca. 5200-5300 A.D.
Offlas Keil and his niece Roane seek Forerunner artifacts on planet Clio, but find something very different...

Android at Arms
ca. 3700-3775 A.D.
Andas Kastor, Imperial Prince of the Dinganian Empire, wakes up in a world he does not remember, imprisoned by Mengians, who are the Heirs to the Psychocrats. He ends up in a parallel world...

Perilous Dreams:
Contains 4 short stories about the ‘Dreamers’ on planet Ty-Kry.
Read together for context. 1+2 about Tamisan, the other 2 are separate stories.

Toys of Tamisan

Ship of Mist
A Dreamer and her clients end up in parallel worlds.

Get Out of My Dream
A Dreamer goes back in time to destroy an ancient threat to their planet.

Nightmare
Someone is killing Dreamers...

* series: Moonsinger Cycle
aka Free Traders cycle - aka Krip Vorlund cycle
4 titles, the continuing story of Krip Vorlund, definitely read together in this order.
Ca. 6000-6500 A.D.

Moon of Three Rings
The life of a Free Trader was all Krip Vorlund knew. That life ended after he was abducted on Yiktor.

Exiles of the Stars
The galactic trade ship Lydis lands in a battle of ancient powers and nameless evil, with a Forerunner treasure at its heart. The crew seems normal, but Krip Vorlund is a man who walks in a body not his own, and his pet hides the mind of Maelen the Moon Singer.

Flight in Yiktor

Dare to Go A-Hunting
Farree is a hunchback orphan in the slum of a tough, lawless world on the edge of the known galaxy. His only friend is a war-beast rescued from starvation and the fighting pits with whom he has a telepathic connection. Farree discovers his true heritage as one of the ancient Little People, the Faery Folk, of legend—but so far as he knows, he is the only one of his kind to survive. Then Krip Vorlund and Maelen, the Moonsinger, find a clue on a distant world which points to the location of Farree’s birthplace.


V. 7500-8500 A.D. ~ Death of an Empire (1 title)

From (“Star Rangers”)  Chapter 1:
The First Galactic Empire was breaking up. Dictators, Emperors, Consolidators wrested the rulership of their own or kindred solar systems from Central Control. Space pirates raised flags and recruited fleets to gorge on spoil plundered from this wreckage. It was a time in which only the ruthless could flourish...

Star Rangers aka The Last Planet – 8054-???? A.D.
Stand-alone read.
Jorcam Dester, the last Control Agent of Deneb, ordered the few available Patrol Ships away, allegedly to locate and re-map forgotten galactic border systems no-one had visited in at least four generations.  Starfire leaves on her last trip and crashes on Earth where they only find abandoned cities and a few primitive nomadic tribes.


VI. 8500-??? A.D. ~ A Post-Human Planet (2 titles)

* series: Post-Human Earth
2 titles, read in this order.
common themes: plague planet, evacuation by humans, sentient animals.

Editors Note:
We do not know for certain if these 2 stories are historic references, of just fantastic stories. These stories are consistent with the legendary status of Terra after ca. 5000 A.D. and sentient animals were known long before then, but these may well be merely legends explaining why the location of Terra disappeared from Human knowledge.

London Bridge
6 years after the last plague attack:
Prequel to ‘Breed to Come’.
The children who survived the plagues try to survive in the ruined cities.
When the Rhyming Man shows up, children begin to disappear. Lew follows the Rhyming and manages to get Outside, where he and the other children begin a new life.

Breed to Come
Plague had decimated humans, and the survivors fled the planet. A new breed of intelligence arose: the catlike People. When humans returned centuries later, the People are in no mood to deal once again with the “demons” who abandoned them so long ago.

THE END
Of Andre Norton’s Future History

Continued with Forerunners - Appendex A




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Reformatted and edited for this site by Jay Watts ~ Jan. 2019