• Welcome to the new COTI server. We've moved the Citizens to a new server. Please let us know in the COTI Website issue forum if you find any problems.

Favourite Traveller Writer?

Border Reiver

SOC-14 1K
Hard one to pin down this as so many products out there were big group efforts it was difficult to identify an individuals style. Even the Keith Brothers' work took some heavy editing.

Of those I can pin down I would put my top 3 as (in no particular order)

the Keith Brothers (2 beings,1 entity)
Dave Neilson
Martin Dougherty

I'm pitching these as the most readable authors though I could certainly add a few dozen more.
For whatever reason, I never really bonded with any of them as writers. I always just gleaned the information but never really focused on the actual writing.

Criminal, I suppose, but I just considered it all pretty much "technical" documentation, perhaps not seeing the overall story compared to, say, a piece of fiction.

I will say that I did enjoy Bill Keiths artwork, however. His work pretty much personified Traveller to me.
marc miller. not always the best organised adventures but strong ideas and great sci-fi themes with an unnerving feeling of reality (or at least plausability). these really set the tone for what traveller is about.
Of what I've read, the CT stuff (mainly starter set and the adventures Shadows and Mission on Mithril) is really good as adventures, and the GT stuff is really good as sourcebooks. I think that the GT authors are good as authors, and the CT authors good as adventure designers. So there you have it, does it answer your question?
Agreed. The earlier CT adventures 'felt' like adventure writing, with a little suspense, a little enigma, a little revelation, etc.
My favourite writer in Traveller is Martin, esp the 1248 sourcebook, my favourite read of all time - the gateway sourcebook is pretty cool too. MWM's adventures were difficult to follow, but as people havesaid before, great themes.
Martin Dougherty certainly tops the list as a contemporary Traveller writer.

After that it is a toss-up between Joe Fugate & the DGP gang and those mood pieces that Dave Nilsen would write for Hard Times/TNE.

The Keith bros. wrote very good adventures but I can't help feel they did not want move away from certain tropes which constantly appear in their work.

As for Marc...his adventures do contain originality but not as much as his "fiction" (see article on Luna, for example). I would want to see more from Marc's hand to accurately judge that is not simply the mechanics of the game.
I can't say I really have one. I'll say this about Bill Keith; I remember reading the first "Carrier" book in the series under the name Keith Douglass (which he cowrote with someone else), and came across a phrase out of a book by Mack Maloney. I got a little suspicious then, largely because Mack's book came out a number of years before Keith's. Also the cover art of the starport hotel "deckplans" modual is a sketch that has the appearance of being copied from a painting by Syd Mead, only with one or two other buildings added to gussy it up. I already mentioned copies of other works on other threads. So I don't have a whole lot of respect for him anymore. Just my opinion.

My favorite writer for the game would have to be Marc Miller himself. A buddy of mine got me a couple of pocket sci-fi games, way back when, neithe of which was a Traveller publication. But those two games eventually led to my interest in other sci-fi games; namely Traveller. The prose style in the Traveller books was pretty matter of fact, and I think I appreciated that more than anything else. A sci-fi setting had been presented in a matter of fact way while alluding to possibilities of books and films that had inspired the new game genre.

Just my thoughts.
I like most of the actual Traveller publications from all sources. The actual written material was fun to read just as fiction with the Traveller Universe as a common thread. This facet of Traveller has to be the "most improved" part the entire Traveller genre. I started when all there was to Traveller was Traveller & Deluxe Traveller. I have read and owned at one time or another most of what was in existance in the USA. I know that England had a big following and I only had access to a minute amount of that part of the Traveller Universe. I droppped out of the mainstream about 1990 and haven't followed that closly with the newer materials
For published work Doug Berry, John M. Ford, and whoever writes the "Humorist Anton Wilson Peale III" bits. A nod to the Authenticists and Brubeks for extra flavor.

Personally I find some of the fan bits* just as useful and often more entertaining than the published material.

Survival Margin and Gateway get nods and TTB and GT (2nd edition) are both decent reads. <shrugs> If I want good reading to inspire me for a SF game I'll usually read a good book, not a rulebook though there are exceptions.

* and by this I usually mean fanfic or (in) character stuff; i.e. not exclusively rules or tech designs

[EDIT] added the third paragraph [/EDIT]
John M Ford!
wrote some kick ass Journal amber zones
My favorite Traveller writer is the one still producing something for the game. That is worth a +5 on any Profession(Writing) check being made.

I have to admit to liking MWM, The Bros. Kieth, some of the other FASA writers, the DGP crew, and lately, the TNE crew. Penguin Boy gets an honourable mention despite the fact his opus was a GT product.