and Recommended Reading Order

for Andre Norton’s


by Geert Cuypers © 2018
Last updated on January 15, 2019

Recreated on this website in case this link ever fails.
Reformatted and edited for this site by Jay Watts ~ Jan. 2019


Contents of pt.1
Recommended Reading Order
Story Review

Documentation and argumentation available in the following sections:

Appendex A ~ pt.2

Time references and conflict warnings.
Footnotes used to compile the timeline.

Appendex B ~ pt.3

Creating the timeline.
The difficult road to ordering a chaotic Universe.

Appendex C ~ pt.4

Why did I include / exclude stories?

Appendex D ~ pt.5

Word Searches, Quotes, etc.
Leftovers from the word-searches I used to figure out what & where books belong in this collection.
The essential references from these searches have been moved to the previous pages by cutting & pasting.
These are the 'leftovers' and the remaining references in this page are redundant.
I included this page for completeness, and as an optional reference FYI.

* * * * * * *

Source Credits and Acknowledgements:

This timeline is based on several sources, including but not limited to:

  • About 1 year of dedicated reading and research in Andre Norton’s books;
  • My thanks and appreciation to Jay Watts, webmaster of andre-norton-books.com for maintaining this website for all these years. Jay Watts has access to most of Andre Norton's estate documents and confirmed that the author did not leave any notes relating to a timeline of the Forerunners Universe.
  • Maureen O’Brien’s 'Multi-verse' timeline ties many of Norton’s pre-1995 works into a single timeline. This listing is very different in purpose, content and presentation. I did adopt the ("story title") notation and some relevant quotes from those pages — courtesy of webmaster Jay Watts, — as no current contact information for Maureen O'Brien is available.

* * * * * * *

Request for Assistance:

Reading Andre Norton is a good pastime but it still takes time; even more so when trying to find specific information. Sometimes, just a few words in an off-hand comment can provide important clues. I'm sure I missed some.

If you can assist with refining this timeline, please do let me know. Mail geert @ avemariasongs . org [no spaces] with “Forerunners Universe” in the subject line if you don't want it to end up in my junk folder.

Geert Cuypers
SF&F-fan on isfdb.org

Appendix B. Creating the Timeline

Since Andre Norton never published a timeline of her Forerunners Universe, the information to sort the stories in some semblance of chronological order perforce has to come from the stories themselves.

There are only 17 number dates in the all of the Forerunners Universe stories.
In-story references to other events may allow to situate a story with some confidence.
The social and political context in the F-U is only vaguely defined throughout. Such references are imprecise, often conflicting and nearly always open to interpretation.

About half of the stories could be dated with some measure of confidence. The remaining stories were sorted by common themes within the main time divisions, rather than by strict chronology. I think that is the best anyone can do with the (lack of) provided information.

Story Clues bring some Order but not enough!

Number Dates

These are the number dates I found, and they come in 5 different time reckoning systems.

1.     A.D.  is used ONLY in Star GuardStar Rangers and Daybreak 2250 A.D.

2250 A.D. = Daybreak  2250 AD. aka Starman’s Son

Central Control

3956 A.D. Horde is hired (Star Guard )
This is 300+ yrs after 1st contact.
4130 A.D. History Lecture (Star Guard), no mention of wide-spread war (yet)
8054 A.D. First Galactic Empire is failing after 3K years (Star Rangers)
five years ago—the Two-Sector Rebellion.
Stellar Patrol has existed unchallenged for 1K yrs.
Jorcam Dester sends the last Stellar Patrol away.

2. ASF is used only in the Janus series. Those books do not explain what it stands for.

4450 ASF Jarvas lands on Janus
4570 ASF Jahuld Urswin lands on Janus
4635 ASF Naill / Ayyar lands on Janus, came from Korwar.

3. A.F. = galactic reckoning = After Flight; is used in 2 ‘stand-alone’ books

Android at Arms
“On what day do you remember being last in your proper place?”      

2195 A.F. Elys
2200 A.F. Yolyos
2230 A.F. Andas
2246 A.F. Isiwon
2265 A.F. Turpin
2273 A.F.  power failure releases six android duplicates.

Dread Companion specifies that A.F. stands for 'After Flight,' and is the galactic reckoning system (as opposed to Planetary.)

2301 A.F.  Jorth Kosgro enters Grey World
2405 A.F.  Kilda  Halcrow  born on Haloz
2422 A.F. Kilda enters Grey World
2483 A.F. They return

4. A.L.   = After Landing = a planetary time reckoning used on Voor ("Voorloper")

30 A.L. Lasur makes a sweep for 30 days, Sanzor was doomed.
I did not find information that would allow me to compare this A.L. reckoning to the other three.<

5. Two dates are given without time reconing system.

I. ("Ice Crown") Psychocrat Overturn of 1404
If consistent with the other 'Psychocrat' story ("Android at Arms"), this would be A.L. = 700 years before ("Android at Arms") and 900 years before ("Dread Companion")

II. ("Uncharted Stars") Thax Thorman had trading rights on Rohan back in 3949.

A.D. is possible. It would place Thorman less than a decade before 3956 A.D. = the Yorke Horde of ("Star Guard") but would not tell anything about elapsed time since.

ASF is also possible, linking to 4635 ASF ("Victory on Janus.")
This would imply that Free Traders were already operating some 500 years before ("Uncharted Stars.")
Considering that Central Control only allowed mercenaries in space, ("Uncharted Stars") = 4500 A.D. at the earliest, unless humans bypassed this restriction as well and sent free traders to their secret colonies = 4200 A.D.

The Warlock - Korwar connection:
Inter-story Event References link 10 Stories ca. 4635 ASF. = ???? A.D.

1+2 Storm over Warlock + Ordeal in Otherwhere:
Story of Shann Lantee & Charis Nordholm;  discovery of Wyverns
20-40 years before ("Forerunner Foray")


3. Catseye:  5 years after the War of Two Sectors

Dipple was created 10 years ago at start of the war

(undated) Fauklow expedition  ("Brother to Shadows")

4. Night of Masks:  Nik Kolherne is a teenager from the Dipple, associated with Guild of Thieves

5+6 Janus cycle: Naill came from the Dipple on Korwar, arrives on Janus 4635 ASF.  

7+8 The Zero Stone + Uncharted Stars

Forerunner city-planet 2 years prior to Forerunner Foray.
the Four Confederacies = after 4-sector war???

9. Forerunner Foray:
= 10-20 years after start of the war. Ziantha - almost her full lifetime the Dipple had been there.
= 2 years AFTER ("Uncharted Stars") the Forerunner City-planet was discovered 2 years ago
= 20-50 years AFTER ("Ordeal in Otherwhere") Ris Lantee is son of Lantee & Charis Nordholm   

10. Brother to Shadows
mentions the time viewer derived from the Korwar Fauklow expedition (undated)
but also (unspecified time) AFTER the discovery of  the Forerunner city-planet from ("Uncharted Stars")

The WAR Connection

The following stories all have a common theme of a time of war. Whether that is the same period, or different wars several 1000s of years apart is not always clear.
While there are no specific dates provided, it makes sense to keep ("Eye of Monster") and ("Dark Piper") together with the Warlock / Korwar stories because of the common Council/Federation references.
Also, the destruction of Terra in ("Beast Master") AFTER the Warlock / Korwar stories is consistent with the location of Terra being forgotten in later stories.

If 8050 A.D. ("Star Rangers") is the only major war period, they probably should all go there.
If the War of the Two Sectors is situated at a different time, e.g. after ("Star Guard"), all except ("Star Rangers") would best be moved there as well.
The 2300-2500 A.F. date provided in ("Dread Companion")

1. Star Rangers Ca 8050 A.D.
2. Dread Companion 2300-2500 A.F.
3. Star Gate s.d.
Planet abandoned by Terrans, followed by a native revolt.
No time references given, this could be anywhere from 4000-8100 A.D.
4. Eye of the Monster   
Planet abandoned by Patrol, followed by a native killing spree.
No time references given, this could be anywhere from 4000-8100 A.D.
5. Dark Piper  
Planet abandoned by Patrol, followed by a raid by off-planet war refugees.
4-sector War lasted 10 years = possible link to ("Beast Master")
references to uplifted animals for Beast Teams = link to ("Beast Master")
6-10 Beast Master
Xiks war = 10 years

The Solar Queen cycle
'Firm' date Ca. 4700-5000 A.D.

From: (“Sargasso of Space”)
"Galactic Trading was well-established and  Trade was becoming a closed clan-based occupation. …/…  
... There are Terran colonies over a thousand years old…"

The 1st Terran colony Astra was colonized ca. A.D. 2487 and is mentioned in (“Plague Ship”) which could place the Solar Queen as early as 3500 A.D.. It is more likely that – like Khatka – most of the early colonies originated during or shortly  after the 1st Atomic Wars (Ca. A.D. 2900-3500)
Assuming that ‘over 1000 years’ = 1050-1300 years and with a few centuries added for cold-sleep travel time, this places Solar Queen Ca. 4700-5000 A.D.

REMINDERS of nearby event:
* Founding of 1st Galactic Empire = 5000 A.D. ("Star Rangers")

Series: Moonsinger cycle
Relative date Ca. 5500-6500 A.D.

From: ("Moon of Three Rings")
Long ago all ships carried felines for the protection of the cargo, since they hunted to rout out any pests stowing away. For centuries they were inseparable crew members. But their numbers grew less and less; they did not have as large or as many litters any more. We had forgotten where that animal had originated, so fresh stock could not be obtained to renew the breed. There were still a few at headquarters, highly prized, protected, tended, in hope that the breed might be reinstated.

“What is treasure, Krip Vorlund? On Zacon it is knowledge, for the Zacathans look upon learning as their treasure. .../... On Sargol it is a small green herb, once common on forgotten Terra..."

From: ("Exiles to the Stars")
#1. " How many years has this system been settled? If they were of the first wave, perhaps a thousand years, a little less  .../... Terra took to space a thousand years ago .../...    
#2. "Limbo—that had been the startling discovery of a Free Trader in the earlier days."

These time references are somewhat contradictory:
#1. The less-than-1000-year reference in #1suggests this story happens shortly before to contemporary with "Sargasso of the Sea" (Solar Queen cycle) which states "There are Terran colonies over a thousand years old... "

#2. However, #2 places it later than the Limbo discoveries, and #3 (in the earlier days) makes that considerably later.

#3 "...nowadays even Terra is half legend..."
This comment is very similar to the one in ("Dread Companion")  "...where Terra lies is in dispute... "  which is one of the very few stories that Norton gave firm dates for: 2300-2500 A.F.

WARNING: ("Zero Stone") before (("Exiles")
#4 ...the Forerunners were not a single civilization, either—even a single species. Ask the Zacathans—they can count you off evidence of perhaps ten which have been tentatively identified, plus fragments of other, earlier ones which have not! The universe is a graveyard of vanished races, some of whom rose to heights we cannot assess today.

In ("The Zero Stone") the Zacathans only know of 3 races of Forerunners, which places that story BEFORE this one.

Testing the timeline
1st attempt: April - September 2018

(NOTE: This timeline was abandoned.
Continue reading if you want all the nitty-gritty details.
Skip this and go directly to 2nd run if you're impatient to see the final result right away.)

I. How I resolved the time table:

Supposition 1: A.F. =  ca. 2000 A.D. - Astra spaceship  REJECTED
(Terra had forgotten about that ship, and thought C.C. contact was 1st star travel)

A.F. = After Flight (“Dread Companion”)
Supposition 2: First star flight that led to contact with C.C.  
==>  0 A.F. =  ca. 3650 A.D. (“Star Guards”)

Supposition 3:  The Two-Sector Rebellion  ca. 8050 A.D. (“Star Rangers”) is the same event as

The War of the Two Sectors (Dipple books)
Niall leaves Dipple for Janus, arrives 4635 ASF, while still young.
==>  war ends  ca. 4620 ASF        ==> 0 ASF =  ca. 3430 A.D.

 There are only 220 years difference between those 2 calculations. Considering that:
1/. '300 years earlier' (Star Guard) as a figure of speech that often means more than 300;
2/. The ship probably left many years before they met C.C. and Terra could well consider A.F to be the year the ship was launched,  rather than when it met C.C. and
3/. There are millions of star systems all over the galaxy, in diverse and competing political systems—and as far as we know no instantaneous star travel and/or communications—

those 220 years are close enough for me to assume that AF and ASF are the same, that ASF stands for ‘After Star Flight.’

For easier calculations, I’ll split the difference and take 0 A.F. / ASF =  ca. 3500 A.D., except for those dates right around 2-Sector War where I used 3430.

This gives us:

Daybreak 2250 A.D.

ca. 2250 A.D.

Star Guards

ca. 3650-4000 A.D.

Overturn of the Psychocrats  1404 ASF   Ice Crown

ca. 4900 A.D.

The Founding of 1st Galactic empire   Star Rangers  

ca. 5000 A.D.

Android at Arms  2275 A.F.

ca. 5775 A.D.

Dread Companion  = 2301-2483 AF

ca. 5800-5980 A.D.

Star Rangers contemporary with the Dipple and Janus books

ca. 8050 A.D

This is a good start.

II. Inter-story event references link 19 stories ca. 8050 A.D.

A. The Warlock - Korwar connection
ca. 8030 - 8080 A.D.

1+2 Storm over Warlock + Ordeal in Otherwhere:
Story of Shann Lantee & Charis Nordholm;  discovery of Wyverns
20-40 years before Forerunner Foray = Ca. 8030-8050 A.D.

3. Star Rangers: 8050 A.D. 2-sector Rebellion ends

4. Catseye:  5 years after War of Two Sectors = Ca. 8055A.D.
Dipple was created 10 years ago at start of the war = 8045 A.D.
Fauklow expedition  (Brother to Shadows)               

5. Night of Masks:  Nik Kolherne is a teenager from the Dipple,  associated with Guild of Thieves

6+7 Janus cycle: Naill came from the Dipple on Korwar, arrives on Janus 4635 ASF.  = Ca. 8065

8+9 The Zero Stone + Uncharted Stars

Forerunner city-planet 2 years prior to Forerunner Foray.  = Ca. 8065 A.D.
the Four Confederacies = after 4-sector war???

10. Forerunner Foray: Ziantha
Almost her full lifetime the Dipple had been there = 10-20 years after war. = Ca.  8070 A.D.
The Forerunner City-planet (Uncharted Stars) was discovered 2 years ago
Ris Lantee is son of Lantee & Charis Nordholm   

11. Brother to Shadows
Time viewer derived from the Fauklow expedition on Korwar from Catseye
Also  (unspecified time) after the discovery of  the Forerunner city-planet from Uncharted Stars

B. The Death of Empire connection:
ca. 7500 - 8500 A.D.

The decline of a galaxy-wide empire would take a long time. It would manifest differently in distant or central regions.

Abandonment of distant indefensible planets would become wide-spread when central government tries to consolidate power closer to home.
Star Rangers Ca 8050 A.D.  

12. Star Gate s.d.
Planet abandoned by Terrans, native revolt  

13. Eye of the Monster   
Planet abandoned by Patrol,
remaining immigrants killed by natives

14. Dark Piper  
Planet abandoned by Patrol,
raided by Jacks
4-sector War = 10 years

15-19 Beast Master  Xiks war = 10 years

III. 1st attempt abandoned September 2018

The primary supposition (War of the Two Sectors = The 2-sector Rebellion) seemed plausible enough with the similarities of name and planet burn-offs. This timeline worked pretty well, until further reading several months later revealed some major issues:

Most of the war events were concentrated at the very end of the timeline, with no explanation for the odd one in the middle.
The separation of Terra from C.C. is not explained. It seems plausible that this would not necessarily have been a peaceful process. There were many other inconsistencies.
The Warlock / Korwar stories have repeated references that place them in a much earlier era. This was the final argument to reconsider.

Testing the timeline. 2nd and final attempt

Go back to : 1st run (abandoned timeline)
The date 8050 A.D. mentioned in Star Rangers for the 2-sector Rebellion was at first also adopted for the 'War of Two Sectors' because of the similarity of those names and the common reference to burnt-off planets. That reasoning left too many loose ends.

Supposition #1:

The War of Two Sectors in the Dipple books is NOT the same as the 2-sector Rebellion from ("Star Rangers"). This separates the Warlock / Korwar stories from the 8050 A.D. period.

Event references in ("The Zero Stone") a.o. place the Warlock / Korwar stories only 'centuries' into the human space era = ca. 3900-4400 A.D.

Cats were still common on free trader ships at that time. This is well before the ("Moonsinger") cycle where cats were almost extinct.

ca. 3900-4400 A.D. would be consistent with a Terran separation from Central Control, which may well have been realized through a bitter war.

This would situate the War of Two Sectors, and the 10 Korwar / Warlock stories to sometime after ("Star Guard").

It is also consistent with the creation of 2 influence spheres during that period: Council (= the old Central Control) + Confederation (Terra + allies.)

The burn-off of Terra by the Xicks ("Beast Master") could happen anytime thereafter during further wars leading to the break-up of the Terran Confederation.

After the evacuation, Terra would disappear in obscurity and become legend.

Without their planet of origin as a rallying point, Terran colonies were assimilated in the existing political bodies, allowing for consolidation, unification, the 1st galactic empire and the Pax Galactica.


Niall Renfro leaves the Dipple for Janus, arrives there in 4635 ASF. The Janus books are contemporary with all the other Warlock / Korwar stories.

This number date is impossible to reconcile with a Terran calendar.

Supposition #2:

The galactic time reckoning systems A.S.F and A.F. (After Flight) do not relate to Terran events, but to events in the Central Control empire.
After all, a huge galactic empire wouldn't restart their calendar just because a tiny backwater planet like Terra managed star flight.

The Janus books are linked to War of the Two Sectors, which would at the earliest take place afterm 4130 A.D. (Zorzi's history lecture on Zacan. Such a devastating war would probably have been mentioned.)

4635 ASF vs. 4130 A.D. = 500 years difference. A convoluted reasoning, but it might work, just barely. Or we could just ignore this one date...


We previously assumed that ASF and AF were the same galactic reckoning. The date range 2200-2500 A.F. (Dread Companion and Android at Arms) would place those stories before Terrans took to space.

Supposition #3:

The A.F. reckoning has to remain a Terran reckoning system, which leaves those 2 stories ca. 5500-5800 A.D.
If it isn't yet complicated enough for you, I can make it worse.


While all of the above would allow us to situate The Warlock / Korwar stories before the Moonsinger cycle (cats nearly extinct,) it would also bring them ahead of the Solar Queen cycle. (colonies 1000 y.o.) and that is a problem, because we get references to Limbo at a time it hasn't been discovered yet.

On the other hand, this is a very minor inconsistency compared to some of the others; so in many ways, this appears to be the more acceptable solution, a logical time line with fewer problems than the 1st attempt.

The big difference with the 1st timeline attempt is that most of the war-time stories are now concentrated right after ("Star Guard") ca. 4200 A.D. instead of near ("Star Rangers") ca. 8050 A.D. The peace-time stories remain mostly unaffected.

This still leaves quite a few stories that cannot be dated with any measure of accuracy, which is why I have opted for a thematic ordering for those stories, rather than a chronological one.


Regardless of which way I order the stories, there comes a point where I can't explain away the remaining internal inconsistencies. I accept that there will be some inconsistencies regardless, and leave it at that.

Return to top

 Recreated on this website in case this link ever fails.
Reformatted and edited for this site by Jay Watts ~ Jan. 2019

Open menu