The Merchanter novels is a term that describes several loosely connected novels by science fiction and fantasy author C. J. Cherryh set in her Alliance-Union universe. These science fiction novels explore her merchanter subculture: the extended families that own and operate the ships that supply goods, transportation, news and trade to the various worlds and space stations in the human Earth, Alliance and Union space. The novels are related by a common setting and theme – a misfit (made so by circumstance) who finds his or her proper home – rather than plot and character; none of the books is a direct sequel of another in the conventional sense.

Cherryh's merchanter-oriented works include:

Rimrunners differs from the other three novels in that the story does not take place aboard a merchanter ship and does not feature merchanter families.

All four books were nominated for the Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel in their respective years of eligibility. Cherryh's Hugo Award-winning novel Downbelow Station (novel) (DAW, 1981), is also closely related to these works, as it covers the conclusion of the Company Wars between the Earth Company Fleet and Union, and the formation of the Merchanter's Alliance itself.

The books are works of Space Opera, and some also have aspects of Military science fiction, particularly Rimrunners.

Cover artEdit


  • Cherryh, C. J. Downbelow Station, DAW Books, 1981.
  • Cherryh, C. J. Finity's End, Warner Aspect, 1997.
  • Cherryh, C. J. Merchanter's Luck, DAW Books, 1982.
  • Cherryh, C. J. Rimrunners, Warner Books, 1989.
  • Cherryh, C. J. Tripoint, Warner Aspect, 1994.
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