Traveller Inspiration: Free e-books

Traveller was first published 1977, and was inspired by even older science fiction. While this means that the computer rules used in traveller might feel a bit obsolete, it also means that for some of the books it was inspired by, the copyright has expired. (The computer rules are quite easy to ignore or modify anyway, so that doesn’t matter much.)

At Project Gutenberg, some works that has inspired traveller can be downloaded in several formats that will fit your e-book reader. It is also possible to read them directly on the web.

Here is a suggestion of five books for you to download:

1, Space Viking by H. Beam Piper

In Space Viking, there is a group of planets called Sword Worlds that are named after legendary swords. Doesn’t that seem familiar… The image below of the spherical ships  is from the book. They look a lot like the Mercenary Cruisers from traveller.

2, Deathworld by Harry Harrison

Jason dinAlt is the hero of the Deathworld books. In the Traveller Supplement 1, 1001 Characters, you can find his stats as hero #3, the Rapscallion Gambler. Jason dinAlt is skilled in gambling and also has a psionic talent, that can help his gambling. In Traveller, gambling is a skill, and psionics isn’t impossible.

3, Gambler’s World by Keith Laumer

Jame Retief is a Diplomat for the Corps Diplomatique Terrestrienne. In Traveller Supplement 4, Citizens of the Imperium you can find his stats as hero #5.

4, A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Hero #1 of the Traveller Supplement 1 is John Carter. In the Solomani Rim (0239), there is a small planet named Barsoom.

5, Triplanetary by E. E. Smith

Triplanetary is a Lensman prequels. Kimball Kinnison of the Lensman series is hero #2 in the Traveller Supplement 1. GDW also published a game called Triplanetary before they published Traveller.

Mercenary Cruiser?

Image from Project Gutenberg. Copyright expired.

15 thoughts on “Traveller Inspiration: Free e-books”

  1. I wouldn’t even say that his tech is outdated. His computer tech, and to some extent communications equipment, yes, but that is common to all old sci fi stories. Besides that, Piper had the good sense not to try to explain the technology in too much detail and that means his stories age quite well.

  2. The list can be made very long. Please keep adding your favourites. 🙂

    I just posted 5 as a suggestion to start downloading and to keep the post from not being too long.

  3. Thanks heaps for pointing us towards these classics! I had only read the Lensmen series out of those and enjoyed them as a younger person. Now they’re a bit of fluff that I like to revisit occasionally.

    I’ve just finished Space Viking for the first time using my laptop e-book reader. I was hooked – and I CANNOT BELIEVE I never read this before as a Traveller fan! The influences in here are enormous – not that Traveller is a one-to-one copy of this story but everything from the Sword World names, to other world names, the interstellar feudalism, everything. A rattling good story, totally enjoyed it. Will be reading the others one by one.

  4. Mr. Sherlock, When you get the chance,look up H.Beam Pipers:Federation series(Which includes FEDERATION, and EMPIRE,of which SPACE VIKING completes the trilogy…)Also,I would suggest THE COSMIC COMPUTER, and FIRST CYCLE,Two excellent novels,which unfortunately have escaped public notice…DEATHSKULL

  5. Ah, thank you DEATHSKULL. That’s interesting – yes, at the beginning Space Viking felt somewhat like I was coming into a story half-way.

    I’m reading Deathworld (well, in between a whole bunch of Traveller material I just bought from FFE which arrived the other day) – and I DO remember reading this as a child now. The twist at the end – i.e. the mystery turns on a simple human social question rather than alien hostility – stayed with me for a long time. I love that trick holster, though.

  6. If you prefer audio e-books, take a trip over to Librivox ( where you will find several of H Beam Piper’s books (Cosmic Computer, Little Fuzzy and Space Viking among them) as well as a number of Andre Norton’s Solar Queen books.

  7. Have recently encountered the Solar Queen stories for the first time (?how is that possible?) I was surprised how much of the economic structure of Norton’s ‘universe’ can be found in the Traveller RPG. Description of technology in these older stories often seems a bit amusing (out-of-date) to those of us who have lived to see dramatic developments over time. These imaginings of what advanced tech would look like should rarely be a problem, I would think, in a Traveller universe that encompasses worlds from TL 1-15+. For some of those developing systems, the imagined tech from those early authors might be accurate descriptions.

  8. Yes, but you must also think about if it is cheaper to import than locally produce a device that is good enough.

    Good to see that this old post still is interesting enough to get comments. 🙂

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