The Dushau Trilogy

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Name: The Dushau Trilogy
Creator: Jacqueline Lichtenberg
Medium: books
Country of Origin:
External Links: Official Web Page, Archived version
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The Dushau Trilogy is a series of three books by Jacqueline Lichtenberg.

The most fannish thing about these books isn't the microscopic fandom, but instead Lichtenberg's reasons for writing them; they were inspired by two other canon sources: Doctor Who and Andre Norton's book, "Star Rangers." In fact, "The Dushau Trilogy" is a form of fan fiction written with planned fan fiction in mind.

Lichtenberg's encouragement to fans to write in this universe, then stalled up in publisher's legalities, was also pretty ballsy, and echoes the cross-pollination of pro writing, fan writing, and involvement in one's own fandom that got Marion Zimmer Bradley in trouble in the early 1990s. See The Marion Zimmer Bradley Fanfiction Controversy. An added element to Lichtenberg's proposal to fans was the additional complication of encouraging others to use others' source texts, Doctor Who and Andre Norton's book.

In 1987, Lichtenberg wrote about the trilogy's inception in Companion in Zeor #9.

Karen Litman has asked me to tell a bit about the Dushau background that doesn't appear overtly the trilogy. In this issue of CZ, you should find a tiny little story by a dedicated DOCTOR
 WHO fan, Leatha Ann Betts, who first wrote me about the DUSHAU books. She noticed that the DUSHAU trilogy was originally inspired by DOCTOR WHO, specifically by her favorite Doctor, Tom Baker. (He's my favorite, too, and one of my favorite people as well.)

I first encountered DOCTOR WHO via the STAR TREK grapevine - all kinds of people who liked what I liked also watched DOCTOR WHO. I tried, but discovered I couldn't understand a bit of it. It was on a not-quite-local enough PBS station, and between the snow and the British accents, and the half-hour a week format, I simply could not make head or tail out of it.


One summer, Jean Airey visited me ostensibly to talk about AMBROV ZEOR business, but we spent about 6 hours on my back porch while she enthused nonstop about DOCTOR WHO, and all the different Doctors, and I discovered that the Tardis travels through time and space, is bigger inside than out, and the Doctor is a renegade Time Lord and IS NOT HUMAN.

That did it. I had to get some kind of a handle on this show.


But with the advent of videotape recorders and cable tv that carries PBS stations fran far away, I have friends who can tape DOCTOR WHO at high fidelity. I now have something like 200 hours of WHO on tape that I haven't even gotten around to seeing, nevermind labelling and indexing.

However, the result of that first exposure to WHO at Tropicon was THE DUSHAU TRILOGY.

Also, on that same visit to Florida, I stayed with Jean Lorrah's parents and Jean and I went to visit Andre Norton (a mutual idol of ours). I raised again a long-standing issue between Andre and me - that I wanted the sequel to STAR RANGERS. But that the sequel had to be written from Zinga's point of view. If you don't know what I'm talking about, go read STAR RANGERS, and some of Andre's other "C.C." universe novels (the novels with Zacatharans and Histotechs). Andre said no, no way was she going to write such a novel. I did my usual Aries thing, and threatened, "So then I will." She said okay, go ahead.

Well, I couldn't barge into her universe to do that. (I'm not sure why that is -I have no trouble appropriating the Trek universe for my own, and I've written Darkover without a qualm, and I wrote a WTICHWORLD story for Andre's Witchworld anthologies on her invitation, and my imagination appropriates Katherine Kurtz's Deryni universe and adds things to it that Katherine knows nothing about - so why not STAR RANGERS? I don't know).

I read STAR RANGERS when I was in my early pre-teens, and I read it 16 times before I lost count - and kept on rereading it for years. It made an incredible impact on me. It could be that subconsciously, I feel it is sacred in sane way. Whatever the reason, I couldn't conceptualize a JL byline over a novel in that universe.

On the plane on the way home from Tropicon, I outlined a novel series that would lead to the STAR RANGERS sequel (the basic idea is a group of nonhunans of many species colonize an Earth of the far future where there areonly a few degenerate humans left. I changed that to another planet with a hive culture, but that came much later.)

At the Worldcon next Labor Day, in Chicago, I had breakfast with Don and Elsie Wollheim, and they asked me for a submission. At that time Sime/Gen was not available, so I had to quick come up with something new. So I started telling them about the galactic empire and the lost colony, and that sounded good to them. So, when I got home, I had to invent a whole new universe, with lots of "bemmys" and space ships and a galactic empire, and - ah, here it is - LONG LIVED ALIENS.

Well, I've done a version of the Zacathans (Andre's long-lived reptiloid telepaths) as reptiloids in my Kraith (STAR TREK) stories. But there they are trisexuals, just to make them different frcm Zacathans. Again, I couldn't steal that marvelous construct. Maybe deep down I'm still yearning for Andre to write that sequel the way it OUGHT to be done, and I can't bring myself to spoil it.

So I had to come up with something new to fill the ecological niche (yes, stories are ecological constructs) of the Zacathans. Since lots of what I've been fooling around with lately in my novels revolves around reincarnation as a viable theory, I decided that THESE aliens are long lived because they don't reincarnate, but get just one shot at perfecting themselves. Or so they believe, And their whole society and philosophy is geared to that belief.

When I had the Dushau conceptualized, the rest just naturally fell into place, and then Jindigar walked up out of my subconscious and stumbled into Krinata Zavaronne's office, and the rest is history, as they say.

I submitted the trilogy outline but before it was bought, along came Darkover Con, where I had breakfast with Marion Zimmer Bradley and told her about having had breakfast with Don and Elsie (long standing good friends of MZB's), and in the course of conversation, she suggested that she should introduce me to her agent, Russell Galen.

Well, she did mention me to him, and it turned out (to my utter amazement) that he had heard of me and had even read some of my stuff, and even more amazing (well, not really now that I know him) he actually liked my writing.

He wrote me and I wrote back, and before DAW had gotten around to reading my trilogy proposal, I had tied up with the first really great agent I had met in this business. And now he's ]]Jennifer Roberson\\'s agent (read her DAW series, CHEYSULI), and ]]Katherine Kurtz\\'s agent, and Shariann Lewitt's agent, and so forth. He likes what I like.

When DAW decided that the DUSHAU trilogy was "too depressing" (I had submitted the first chapter of the middle book which is depressing), and had rejected it, Russ turned around and submitted it to Questar which was just starting up at that time, edited by Nancy Neiman. She's now been promoted, leaving Jim Frost in charge, and since he's been there a few years, and is pretty good at it, I expect him to be promoted away any day now.

At any rate, Questar bought the DUSHAU trilogy and published it. But due to the vaguaries of the marketplace, they are not now actively seeking any more DUSHAU books (but they own the rights). So I can't write more DUSHAU for the present.

There is, as Karen suggested in her question to me, a great deal of unpublished background to DUSHAU, but there is also MORE STORY. There is another thousand years of PHANPHIHY history to unfold. There are more reincarnations of Krinata for Jindigar to make his peace with.


You see, in this version of the Who universe, the companions regenerate, and the Doctor stays the same (well, almost the same - there is Renewal.) Many DOCTOR WHO fans, especially Tom Baker fans, have pointed out how I captured nuances of Tom Baker here and there throughout the trilogy. I'd like to see DUSHAU filmed, with Tom Baker playing the lead role. And I'd still like to see Andre Norton write the true sequel to STAR RANGERS. I'm not sure which I'd like to see most.

Given that background, I invite CZ readers to send in questions about the DASHAU universe for Karen's next issue [of A Companion in Zeor]. She'll collect the questions and pick out which ones to send on to me to comment on in print.

And if anyone wants to write DUSHAU universe stories for CZ, do contact me and I'll do what I can to help.

We'd all prefer, for copyright reasons, that you limit your cross-universe ingredients to chose universes I've created (you may draw on my other short-stories, too, if you like). It makes things ever so much simpler if you do that. However, if you start wandering into one of Jean Lorrah's universes, contact her about it, and maybe we can work out a deal of some kind. Live Long and Prosper, JACQUELINE LICHTENBERG