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 VERSION

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 sapiens 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 prominent instances of humanity in the Galaxy, though several less influential strains of humanity are encountered here and 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 and randomly.

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 half-brother.

Hemphill - ("Goodlife," "Stone Place," "In the Temple of Mars") Johann Karlsen's cold-eyed righthand man and fellow Berserker war veteran.

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 actively participated.

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 intelligent Berserker.

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 Milkpail Nebula.

Individuals appearing in only one book/story

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 bargained for.

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 his joviality.

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?