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Frequently Asked Questions

Perhaps it is because of the nature of the books that David writes, perhaps it is because David Weber's fans are unusually dedicated and inquisitive... but it seems that everyone has a question! Here are a few that David finds he gets asked most often.

If you have a question that you would like to see considered as a FAQ, please e-mail us at Responses will be posted if and when David can get to them. We'd love to hear from you! 

Series Question Posted
General How do I set up my e-reader to get electronic books from Baen? June 2011

David's releases from Tor and Baen can be purchased from in the Kindle store as well as other websites that host e-reader downloadable formats.


You can actually buy all of David’s books from Baen Books in Kindle friendly, downloadable formats, as well as download from the Baen Free Library. Go to:


for complete information on how to download books to your e-reader.

General Would you be willing to read the fan-fic I've written? Can I post it to the forums? January 2011

From David, posted to a forum:

Fanfic poses all sorts of problems for an author, and not just of the "how dare you publish in MY universe" sort of hurt feelings.

   As Mike pointed out in his post, it leads to a situation in which an author can be accused of "ripping off" someone else's idea, which can both impugn his/her honesty and even lead to ugly courtroom scenes as some non-pro attempts to sue because his or her original idea was "stolen" by a pro. (This has actually happened.) It would also be possible for a pro actually TO rip off an idea, perhaps without even realizing that he or she has done so. (I have never seen any actual documentation of such an event, but I HAVE seen a couple of stories, by authors who shall remain nameless, in which I personally suspect that that is precisely what happened.)

   Even more importantly, the publication (even in electronic form) of fiction based on a writer's work, without the specific, documented permission of said writer (on a case-by-case basis) can void the writer's copyright. This has actually happened, and does not represent mere paranoid fantasy on my part. Nor am I the only writer concerned about it. Misty Lackey, for example, has a legal contract form drawn up which anyone publishing fanfic in her universe(s) is required to sign and return to her before they may use any of her material. (I have a copy of it thumbtacked to my wall for use as a model if I ever decide to go that way.) Anyone who publishes WITHOUT said signed contract is in violation of her copyright and she will, if it comes to her attention, take legal action against them. (Mind, I suspect many authors in such a position might take some pains to avoid having the unapproved fanfic come to his/her attention if he/she believes the fans' intentions were pure, but there is a limit to how many times someone can look the other way and still convince a judge, at need, that his/her ignorance was genuine.)

   I deeply regret that this should be the case, as fanfic is often at least as imaginative and enjoyable as anything the writer who created the character/universe/whatever is likely to turn out. It is also rather flattering to an author to know that other people want to come over and play at his house, as it were. Unfortunately, the situation has become such that a writer cannot allow the free use of his universe without risking the loss of his own rights to it, and so I must regretfully ask that no fanfic appear on this group. Should that happen, I would have only two choices: (a) to take legal action (which I would hate to do and would endeavor to make as painless as possible for all concerned), or (b) leave the group and not return, as the only way I could avoid taking legal action NOW and still be in a position to defend my copyright down the road at need would be to avoid learning that the fiction was being published, electronically or otherwise. Since I would like to lurk and keep an eye on what's happening whenever projects (and things like weddings and house buying expeditions) allow me the time, I would very much appreciate it if it didn't happen here.

   Again, my sincere regrets at having to take this position. I checked with my attorney when the matter first came up for me a couple of years ago, however, and he confirms what Baen, Misty, Roger Zelazny, Fred Saberhagen, and several other pros had all told me on previous occasions. With that much experienced opinion on one side of the question, I see no choice but to believe they know what they're talking about.

   Take Care,

General Okay, we love David's work and we would like to invite him to be our guest at a Sci-Fi Con/Book Fair/Writing Conference/etc. What do we need to know and who do we need to talk to? January 2010

Due to David's writing schedule and having 3 kids, he is only able to do about 5-6 events a year, including the events that his publisher requests. We are always glad to consider your convention, but currently we are booking about two years ahead for cons. E-mail with all of the pertinent information, and we'll get back to you as soon as possible!

General Why is David split between 2 publishers? (Asked Sat Sep 03, 2011) December 2013

Baen pays me just fine, thank you. [G] The problem was that at the moment I needed to get some cash in the door, Jim Baen was already about as committed to DMW as he could get. I have (literally) a couple of dozen books currently under contract to Baen, which is a really nice situation to be in. Most authors aren't fortunate enough to have that sort of job sewcurity! But when the Tor deal came up, Jim Baen actually played rabbi with Tom Doherty for me to make the deal work. This was in no wise a case of Tor buying me away from Baen; it was a case of my finding two publishing houses that I can work with simultaneously without anyone stepping on anyone's toes.

General Why do you write so much about empires or monarchies? (Asked Wed Sep 04, 2013) December 2013

I've had people comment on this before. There are several reasons I tend to write about empires and kingdoms, but please note that even most of the monarchies I write about (at least approvingly) have both input from those governed (which may or may not be called a parliament) and a means whereby an incompetent/corrupt monarch may be removed. I also write about monarchies/empires in transition towards other forms of government quite a lot, as well.

Historically, monarchy has a much longer track record than democracy, and outside a high-bandwidth society, real participatory government on a nationstate level is pretty thoroughly impractical. Note that in this case I'm using "bandwidth" in a rather sweeping sense which doesn't necessarily have anything to do with electronics. Electronic communication interfaces are good, but what I'm really speaking of here is a broad-based educational system and widespread news availability. Obviously it's possible for people to vote without possessing --- or availing themselves of --- either of the above (as some recent US elections demonstrate, whichever side of the political aisle one might be on), but the intelligent, effective use of the franchise means that the voters have to be at least reasonably well-informed upon the issues facing them (in a direct democracy) or their elected representatives (in a representative democracy). You don't get that sort of voters if the information they need isn't available to them, and that requires both sufficient education to access information and set it in a coherent context and avenues by which that information can reach them in the first place. While I can get seriously pissed off with the gentleman (and gentlewomen) of the Fourth Estate, widespread, open, and at least reasonably honest news reportage is essential to a functioning elective form of government.

Direct democracy begins to break down very rapidly once one gets beyond purely local government. Athens, so frequently referred to as the mother of democracy, had a very limited franchise and was not a very large social entity, whether in terms of population or geographic extent, compared to the vast majority of modern nationstates. In addition, whatever their other advantages (and I grant that the advantages are legion), elective forms of government tend to be less efficient in the face of an emergency than monarchial ones. Mind you, there's something to be said for governmental inefficiency under normal circumstances, given that government inevitably accrues all of the power it can. This isn't necessarily because the government in question is inherently evil, either. A government's job — its entire reason for being — is to govern, and it seeks the tools and authority it needs in order to accomplish that task. (The fact that governments tend to be made up of fallible, corruptible, and often corrupted human beings who seek power for reasons of ego, personal wealth, or any number of other regrettable motivations only makes a potentially bad situation worse in that respect.) However that may be, in times of great emergency, successful democratic/representative governments tend to adopt rules and procedures which vest enormous power in the state's executive with the understanding (or at least the hope) that the power in question will be returned to the electorate and/or its representatives once the emergency passes. And the reason they do that is because there isn't time for reasoned debate and to seek parliament/congress' approval of every decision or action.

One-person rule is more efficient (note that I did not say it was necessarily better) than a representative democracy, and a representative democracy is more efficient than a pure democracy. I think it should be evident that the empires and monarchies of which I write approvingly are generally constitutional monarchies with a powerful representative element. It should also be noted that I also write rather approvingly of representative democracy in general. The restored Peoples' Republic of Haven in the Honorverse is one example of that, I would say. So are quite a lot of the system and planetary governments in the Honorverse. Both the Protectorate of Grayson and the Star Kingdom of Manticore became monarchies for quite different reasons, but the trend even in both of those star nations is towards increasing representation. The Solarian League, on the other hand, is an example of one type of façade democracy, while several of the pre-annexation governments in the Talbott Cluster were examples of other sorts of façade democracy is.

From a literary perspective, there are some significant advantages in writing about monarchial governments, of course. It allows the writer to focus more directly on individual strong characters whose decisions have immediate impact and who become personally responsible for the outcomes of those decisions. It's clearly not impossible to come up with characters and situations where both that focus and that responsibility can also be achieved in non-monarchial systems, and I've done that, too. For example, Eloise Pritchart in the Republic of Haven has to work within the constraints of a representative democracy. It's easier and "cleaner" (at least in my opinion and experience) to work with someone who is expected by both his/her fellow citizens and by the reader to be able to make, implement, and "own" critical decisions of state quickly and on his/her own recognizance, however.

In a more general sense, I tend to believe that the jury is still out on the longevity, effectiveness, and universality of representative/democratic government. I happen to think that that type of government offers the greatest opportunities politically, economically, and in terms of "quality of life" to its citizens, but monarchies and empires of one sort or another have been around far longer and one need not look far to find autocracies masquerading as democracies all over the world today. I'm inclined to think that if/when we finally do get to the stars, effectively monarchial governments are likely to reemerge, although in the Honorverse I've tried to present specific reasons for their reemergence. In the case of Manticore, as a deliberate move by the original colonists to conserve their political power in a star nation which of necessity was about to absorb a huge influx of newcomers. In the case of Grayson, as a response to the critical survival imperatives of a rather intensely hostile environment. There could be any number of other "legitimate" reasons for that sort of transformation, and there could also be an even greater number of "illegitimate" reasons, including an unscrupulous political leader who seizes absolute power and makes it stand up. Four or five generations later, the descendents of even the most unscrupulous political leader imaginable may actually have become enlightened rulers with the best interests of their subjects in mind, whereas after the same time period, the descendents of even the most enlightened ruler can have become despots concerned only with their own self-interest and the preservation of their own power. Which way it goes in a specific literary universe depends on the story the writer wants to tell. In real life, the reasons and the consequences can be far messier and more painful.

I expect that most people have a tendency to subconsciously assume that the form of government under which they were born and raised is the inevitable, default form of government. We assume the permanence of what are actually transitory, perpetually evolving forms of government. Someone living in the United States of 1800 would be shocked by the power of the central government in the United States of 2000. For that matter, the changes in power structures, centers of authority, and routine government interference (for good or ill) in the personal lives of US citizens between 1950 and 2000 are enormous. They've happened so gradually, however, that the majority of American citizens take them for granted without ever really thinking about how transformative they've actually been. I try in my writing to show that evolutionary process in progress, and the truth is that most of the forms of government — and most of the specific governments — I write about are constantly in the process of becoming something else.