Melissa & Don

is creating Serial Space Opera

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Access to the current episode plus the previous month's episode on the website.


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Access to the current month's and previous month's episode on the website. Also, you'll receive our quarterly and annual ebook compilations — all of each quarter's episodes and specials — via email.


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All the previous rewards, including the ebook quarterlies and annual, plus access to all previous episodes at the website and an acknowledgement in each of the ebooks.




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We have always loved world-building, brainstorming together, and we have always wanted to do a shared story. The Rule of Five is that perfect story, big, sprawling space opera, with a complex cast and complicated plots — in fact, it's too big for a single novel, or even a trilogy. It's ideal, however, for a serial, one episode a month, and that's why we've turned to Patreon. With your help, we can tell our story as it should be told.

What do you get?

Pirates! Judges! Weird physics! Desperate refugees! Struggling colonists! Missing persons and a mystery ship! A quest for human origins in a pocket universe!

Each month, we’ll post an episode with a minimum length of 2000 words — a solid short story. All subscribers will be able to see each month’s episode plus the previous episode; if you subscribe at higher levels, you can get a quarterly ebook compilation, access to all past episodes, and even a print edition containing the completed Season, as well as public acknowledgement for your support. These stories will be hosted at our dedicated website,, where you can also find various bits of background information about the series.

The Rule of Five is a journey, a story that will take its characters to the farthest reaches of known space, and to the very core of their being. We hope you’ll join us on the way.

- Melissa Scott & Don Sakers
Who is Don Sakers?

I was launched the same month as Sputnik One, so there was a certain inevitability about becoming a science fiction writer. A Navy brat by birth, I spent my childhood in such far-off lands as Japan, Scotland, Hawaii, and California. In California, rather like a latter-day Mowgli, I was raised by dogs.

As a writer and editor, I’ve explored the thoughts of sapient trees (The Leaves of October), brought ghosts to life (Carmen Miranda's Ghost is Haunting Space Station Three), and beaten the "Cold Equations" scenario ("The Cold Solution," Analog 7/91, voted best short story of the year.)

I’m best known for my high space opera series The Scattered Worlds Mosaic, but I’ve also written dark fantasy (Curse of the Zwilling), future superheroes (the PsiScouts series with Phil Meade), and gay young adult romance (Act Well Your Part and Lucky in Love). Meat and Machine is a career retrospective collection of my queer short fiction and essays.

In 2009, I took up the position of book reviewer for Analog Science Ficiton & Fact, where I write the "Reference Library" column in every issue.

I live at Meerkat Meade in suburban Baltimore with my spouse, Thomas G. Atkinson. I’ve just recently become a retired librarian, after 42 years on the payroll, so now I am able to devote all my attention to my lifelong goal of becoming a poor, starving writer.

Who Is Melissa Scott?

I was born and raised in Little Rock, Arkansas, with a brief excursion to Mississippi when I was two, and the southern story-telling tradition remains a definite influence on my work. I discovered SF after I broke my arm in 7th grade gym class, and was sent to the library until the cast came off. One of the librarians saw me reading a Joe Poyer techno-thriller and said, “If you like that, you might like Heinlein — or what’s-his-name, Andre Norton.” He was right about that, even if he was wrong about Norton's gender. I picked up an Andre Norton novel and never looked back.

I got my undergraduate degree from Harvard College, and my PhD from Brandeis, working in their comparative history department — my particular interest was in the relationship between technology and society. (My dissertation, which looked at tactics for early gunpowder weapons, was like doing an SF novel in reverse, or maybe inside-out — I was looking for the mental scaffolding early tacticians used to figure out how to use these strange new devices, and for the unforeseeable consequences of choosing classical literature for their models.)

I’ve been writing science fiction and fantasy since — well, my first published novel came out from Baen Books in 1984, while I was still in graduate school, so it’s been a while. (And that doesn’t count the things I wrote before my first sale.) I’ve won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, four Lambda Literary Awards, and four Spectrum Awards. I’ve written space opera based on Hermetic and neo-Platonic science (Five-Twelfths of Heaven, Silence in Solitude, and The Empress of Earth) and near-future queer cyberpunk (Trouble and Her Friends, The Jazz). I’ve written alternate histories in which Alexander the Great turned west instead of east (A Choice of Destinies), and Elizabeth I sent poets Sir Philip Sidney and Christopher Marlowe to save the King of Scots from a plague of witches (The Armor of Light), not to mention a secret history, the Order of the Air, in which Jo Graham and I follow a group of veteran flyers, survivors of the First World War, as they face occult threats in the interwar years (Lost Things, Steel Blues, Silver Bullet, Wind Raker, and Oath Bound). I’ve collaborated on two fantasy mystery series, one set in a very different Victorian England (Death by Silver and A Death at the Dionysus Club), and the Astreiant novels, where astrology steers most things, including murder (Point of Hopes, Point of Knives, Point of Dreams, and Fairs’ Point).

In short, I’ve done a lot of very different kinds of stories over the years, and have no intention of cutting back now. Currently on the drawing board are an epic fantasy, a far-future SF novel about salvage and immortality, and a steampunk Martian invasion. (And the idea that arrived unbidden last week, complete with working title: The Unmurdered Poet.) But space opera remains a particular and perennial delight — and the serial format allows us to work on a larger-than-usual canvas. I’m looking forward to exploring this universe, where everything happens in fives…
$100.04 of $250 per month
In addition to the monthly episodes, we'll post a special Midwinter episode, which will also be included in the Quarterly and Annual.
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By becoming a patron, you'll instantly unlock access to 58 exclusive posts
By becoming a patron, you'll instantly unlock access to 58 exclusive posts

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