I finished the most recent (in internal order) Liaden book, Plan B by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, before the weekend. Overall, this has both the virtues and the vices I noted in its predecessor, Partners in Necessity. I enjoyed it quite a bit—Anne McCaffrey writes (rather gushingly) in the intro to Partners that they’re her comfort books, which I can definitely see—but I have to say I don’t feel like the plot’s been advanced that much, since the whole book was basically spent dealing with an invasion that happened to be of the planet that Our Heroes happened to be on, which is largely unrelated to the enemy set up by the last books. Also, we have an even more prominent appearance of the weird sfnal theme of lovers merging into one person, living in each other’s heads, taking each other’s injuries, etc. (Yeah, it’s a good line when, in Shards of Honor, Cordelia says of Aral, “When he’s cut, I bleed”—but she was being metaphorical.) It’s a wish-fulfillment theme that I can’t say does much for me (I like being separate people). Will I still buy I Dare the instant it comes out next year? You bet.