portrait of gail barton

Co-Creator of Starmasters

Gail Barton

Gail Barton was a long-time science fiction fan, multi-media science fiction artist, and ufologist (life membership in the Mutual UFO Network). A lifelong rose gardener, she was for many years a member of the American Rose Society. She was the creator of many aspects of Starmasters, including some of the planets, the society that became the Sodality, and the kokuas. She was a life-long student of biology who used her knowledge of zoology and botany to design intriguing aliens and realistic planets. She was also the author of many filksongs, including, “Starships,” “Starwinds,” “Highwings,” and “Who Loves the Phoenix,” which are featured in Wings of Joy. She died in 2018 and is survived by Sourdough Jackson.

Write Your Tale of the Thousand Worlds

I would be delighted to read and publish your stories of the Thousand Worlds. I am particularly interested in stories of Starmasters in alien service, alien Starmasters meeting human Starmasters, and any other topics you are curious about that are not covered in Wings of Joy.

I do have some rules. Here's a list:

  1. Please don't kill off or alter major characters.
  2. No explicit sex.
  3. If you're using my planets, try to be consistent with their climate and features. If you have questions, ask me.

Later this year, when I have a title, a plan and a budget, I'll be opening up submissions for the second Starmasters anthology. If you've read the first anthology, and you have an idea for the second one, feel free to contact me.


As mentioned above, human society diverged with the development of Starmastery and psionics. The two biggest societies were The Sodality, later dominated by psionics, and The Radiant Empire, largely comprised of non-psionics, with the exception of Starmasters and a few licensed psionic disciplines. The Radiant Empire developed into a constitutional monarchy consisting of a federation of “The Thousand Worlds,” wherein many of the stories of Starmasters are set.

In addition, other smaller societies were independently chartered and founded. Early on Beth Kramer assisted in chartering some new societies, among these the world Lucaea, founded by a group of Christians, and the Voskrecenias, a federation of planets also with Christian-based societies. The Bolshayviks were another such group. The most important other society was The Purity Cluster, which was founded by a religious group. The Purity Cluster came in conflict with The Sodality during The Purity Wars.

Besides the human worlds, there were also societies of other species that either had their own Starmasters or hired Starmasters. The Kramer Convention was established especially to govern the treatment and labor terms of human and non-human Starmasters alike who were hired by non-Starmaster producing civilizations. Learning the Kramer Convention became part of the “basic training” of Starmasters in the Navy to thus protect themselves.

Psionics and Aurionicists

From the beginning of the Starmasters era, psionics played an important role in space flight and exploration. In the beginning, there weren't enough people who had the star flight talent and it would not breed true, so the star flight talent and other psionic gifts was promoted through encouraging Starmasters to have children with those whose genetic profile could potentially create Starmasters. Among the psionic gifts that developed and proliferated were levitation and telekinesis, mind-reading and speaking, and aura seeing and manipulation.

Eventually, the growing number of people with psionic gifts created a stratified society where non-psionics were the underclass. This lead to The Separation Wars wherein most of the non-psionics rebelled and created their own society, The Radiant Empire. People with psionic gifts in the Radiant Empire were forbidden to practice psionics except in certain licensed disciplines, like Starmastery, and were sometimes confined to living in certain areas. Meanwhile, remnant groups of psionics continued to live in their own society, The Sodality, wherein they communicated to each other mentally.

However, Starmasters with their psionic gifts were still needed in the Radiant Empire, as well as, those who aided them, the aurionicists, who could “see” and manipulate auras to heal them. Aurionicists were typically employed by the Navy in the Starmasters Medical Corp. to keep Starmasters and their talents stable. Sometimes an unstable Starmaster needed a long-term relationship with an aurionicist in order to be able to fly safely, and such a person might voluntarily became a “kokua” to the Starmaster to tend them in their flights.

Another psionic discipline that was legally tolerated in The Radiant Empire was the Executioners, whose skills were also hereditary. The Executioners were actually the court of last appeal, who could determine psionically the truth behind an accused's action and determine an appropriate form of justice, which was not necessarily “execution.” They would determine, for example, if a person in his or her current persona might be rehabilitated through a mind-wipe and retraining. They did perform executions, of course, using psionics to ascertain the most appropriate way of putting an individual to death.