This page gives general information about various characters in the Berserker
saga, but shouldn't spoil anything for those who have not read all the books/stories.
For a more detailed version with possible spoilers, go here: SPOILER
Berserkers - The
berserkers: the physical embodiment of death. They are
massive, intelligent robotic space fortresses, programmed
to destroy all life. Left over from an ancient war between
two living races, they have reproduced and improved themselves,
sweeping across the Galaxy in search of life to destroy.
Though the archetypal form of the Berserker is the giant
space hulk, they have come in a variety of shapes and sizes,
never ceasing their quest for new and better ways to destroy
life, and to wipe out Solarian humanity in particular.
The name Berserker is derived from the unpredictability
of the machines. At their core is an element of randomness
based on radioactive decay.
Humanity - this
term refers to all sentient life in the Galaxy. So homo
are referred to as "Earth-descended humans" or "Solarians." In
the timeframe of the Berserker books, homo sapiens
and the Carmpan seem to be the only two active and
instances of humanity in the Galaxy, though several
less influential strains of humanity are encountered
there, and there were certainly more in the past...
Goodlife - a term
coined by the Berserkers, referring to a lifeform (perhaps
only refers to Earth-descended humans) that serves
the cause of the Berserkers. Originated in the story "Goodlife" in
the original Berserker collection. Goodlife may
be born or tortured into servitude, but there also exist
cults of goodlife who choose to work for the Berserkers
of their own free will, often worshipping them as well.
Badlife - refers
to life that actively resists eradication.
Elder Races - almost
nothing is known about these shadowy branches of humanity.
It is not even clear from any of the books/stories whether
or not Solarians have had any contact with them at all,
though it is implied that any such contact would likely
be mediated by the Carmpan.
Carmpan - Earth-descended
humanity's only real ally in the struggle against the Berserkers.
Little is known or understood about them, except that their
way of thinking is almost completely alien. They are somehow
incapable of the kind of active resistance that Earth-descended
humans are, but they have the ability to see into the minds
of other living beings and in some cases to look past time.
They also seem to have contact with very elusive and mysterious
older races of humanity, the Elder Races. Their bodies
are described as squarish and even machine-like, and they
often appear networked with machinery and other lifeforms.
They apparently have two sexes, though there is no obvious
difference in appearance between them. A few specific Carmpan
occupations have become apparent, including: Historian,
Adventurer, Prophet of Probability, and Diplomat (I'm not
sure about that last one).
Builders - This ancient
warlike race created the Berserkers apparently as an act
of desperation in a war against the Red Race, their most
powerful adversary. The Berserkers wiped out the Red Race
and continued on to apparently eradicate their creators,
leaving no trace of the Builders. It is believed that the
Builders probably exterminated several other races of humanity
before their war against the Red Race. Snippets of film
footage of the Builders have been retrieved from both the
Berserkers and the Carmpan. The Builders were humanoids
with one large eye, had two sexes, and communicated via
soundwaves, though their language has never been recorded.
The Red Race - The
race on which the Builders unleashed the Berserkers. Very
little is known of them, though they must have been very
powerful adversaries to drive the Builders to create the
Berserkers. From bits of footage even rarer than those
of the Builders, the Red Race appeared to have been short
and very stocky. And red.
Space Force - the official interstellar
military organization of Solarian humanity. Plays more of
a role in the later Berserker books (as it probably didn't
exist earlier on).
Templars - a sort of brother/sisterhood
devoted to fighting Berserkers. They are the other main military-like
presence in Solarian space, beside the Space Force. There
is something of a rivalry between the Templars and the Space
Force, but they are both definitely on the same side. Templars
tend to be quite zealous about their struggle against the
Berserkers, especially loathing Goodlife. Many Templars are
devoted to a religion of some sort.
Dardanians - A mysterious sect of Solarian
humans who built the fortress at the Templar Radiant, long
before Berserkers ever arrived in Solarian space.
Directors - Master Berserker computers
which apparently direct operations of Berserkers across the
Galaxy. Conjecture: they probably only concern themselves
with grand-scale tactics or missions of extreme importance,
because many Berserkers seem to be operating independently
More Known Races... see SPOILER version.
Other Races of Humanity (living or dead)? -
see the RUMINATIONS page.
Noteworthy Individuals, and those
appearing in more than one book/story
Frank Marcus - (Berserker Man, Berserker
Kill) Probably Solarian humanity's greatest pilot,
ever. Also one of the most seasoned and successful veterans
of Berserker encounters. Nothing seems to slow this guy
down, including getting a majority of his physical body
blasted away by Berserkers. He now chooses to exist in
what have come to be called "Marcus boxes:" three
compartments on wheels which house his brain and other
remaining body parts (humanoid replacement bodies are
available, but he's sticking with boxes).
Johann Karlsen - ("Stone Place," "Masque
of the Red Shift," and "Face of the Deep" in Berserker and
a few other collections; also ≈Berserker's Planet,
and ≈Berserker Man) Solarian humanity's most
prominent and steadfast hero in the war against the Berserkers,
also a religious man.
Felipe Nogara - Johann Karlsen's nefarious
Hemphill - ("Goodlife," "Stone
Place," "In the Temple of Mars") Johann
Karlsen's cold-eyed righthand man and fellow Berserker
Mitchell Spain - ("Stone Place," "In
the Temple of Mars") A poet-turned-warrior.
Harry Silver - (Shiva in Steel, Berserker's
Star) A talented, wry, no-nonsense pilot (with a penchant
for ancient poetry) whose most prized possession/companion
is his ship, the Witch of Endor. Trouble seems to follow
this guy wherever he goes, and that includes Berserkers.
Becky Sharp - (Shiva in Steel, Berserker's
Star) One-time smuggler partner and love interest
of Harry Silver.
Michel Geulincx - (Berserker Man)
This young man, an artistic prodigy on the world of Alpine,
was selected to use Solarian humanity's most advanced weapon
ever, Lancelot. His strange origins may have had something
to do with the Berserkers and the center of the Galaxy.
3rd Historian - the most famous of all
Carmpan. He essentially narrated Berserker and The
Ultimate Enemy. Most of what Solarian humanity learned
form the Carmpan was from long-distance transmissions sent
by the 3rd Historian.
4th Adventurer - (Berserker Blue Death,
Berserker Kill) The individual who held this occupation
was a true anomaly among Carmpan. Whereas the entire Carmpan
race is somehow unable to participate in direct combat,
the 4th Adventurer personally accompanied Solarians in
particularly important missions against Berserkers and
Greta Thamar - ("Some Event at the
Templar Radiant" in The Ultimate Enemy and Berserker
Wars, and Berserker Throne) An inquisitive
young dancer who inadvertently got mixed up with a Berserker
debacle at the Templar Radiant.
Qwibbian Qwibbian Kel - (Berserker
Base) A secret that must be kept from the Berserkers
at all costs.
Hilary Gage - (Berserker Base)
an Earth-descended human who volunteered to have his mind
instantiated in a machine, then struggled through artistic
creation to prove that he was still human.
Christopher Havot - (Berserker Kill,
Shiva in Steel) Not his real name. A smooth sociopath
and a scrupulous killer. Fighting Berserkers proves to
be entertaining for him when they get in his way, so at
least he isn't Goodlife.
Shiva - (Shiva in Steel) A particulary
The Co-ordinator - (Berserker Man)
A special Berserker sent on a mission to capture Michel Geulincx.
Leviathan - (Berserker Blue Death)
A terribly menacing Berserker which ravaged worlds in the
Individuals appearing in only
Thomas the Grabber - (Berserker's Planet)
A burly yet swift man with a unique weapon: a steel-armored spear.
He is steady and intrepoid. He quickly becomes a frontrunner
in the tournament of Thorun, and ultimately gets more than he
Lily Gunnlod - (Berserker's Star)
An energetic and perseverant young woman who travels across
a score of systems in search of her wayward husband, Alan.
She charters passage from Harry Silver on the final leg of
her journey to Maracanda.
Alan Gunnlod - (Berserker's Star)
A hyper-idealist who changes his mind on a regular basis.
Deserts Lily to join worshippers of Malakó on Maracanda,
who deify the Galaxy itself.
Mr. Redpath & Mr. Dietrich - (Berserker's
Star) A couple of tight-lipped businessmen who charter
passage to Maracanda along with Lily Gunnlod.
Kul Bulaboldo - (Berserker's Star)
Falstaffian business "friend" of Harry Silver.
Will do almost anything to make a buck, yet always maintains
Brigadier General Robledo Pike - (Berserker's
Star) An enthusiastic Templar leader stationed on
Maracanda who would like nothing more than to stamp out
the goodlife he suspects is plotting there, except that
he doesn't have the resources.
Commandant Rovaki - (Berserker's Star)
The head Space Force authority on Maracanda. Highly suspicious
of Harry Silver.
Dr. Kloskurb- (Berserker's Star)
An astrogeologist on Maracanda, interested in studying the
non-planet's physics-defying innards.
Dr. Emily Kochi- (Berserker's Star)
Another astrogeologist, gone missing a while back.
Piers Herron- ("Patron of the Arts") Perhaps one of humanity's
greatest artists, but can he regain his own humanity in
the face of a Berserker attack?