• For an in-depth character study, see Moon on the Hills
  • Yulian Rastov Shaper is often referred to as Yulie or Mr. Shaper
  • He is thin, with wary brown eyes and dark blond hair
  • His movements are Scout-quiet[1] yet "in some odd way skittish -- like he might suddenly jump for the door"[2]
  • He is younger than he appears, maybe only five years older than Val Con yos'Phelium

His FarmEdit

  • With numerous cats, Yulie Shaper lives alone at his farm on Surebleak at the far end of the Port Road, a place dubbed World's End, adjacent to a timonium quarry. "That road that ran all the way to the port -- that road, it started here. Here, on the property he called his, running right by the door of the cabin, right by the vegetable patch, right to the very cliffs that marked the first dig." (The steep cliffs are "a hundred times his height and more".) [2]
  • Mr. Shaper is the nearest neighbor to Jelaza Kazone. For "ten cantra now and one per Standard Year in the future, he leased road access to Clan Korval as long as the clan uses it."[2]
  • The next nearest neighbor is Melina Sherton.
  • The port itself is about one hour away, by taxi. [3]
  • In one story, the Shapers used a lectracart to take their produce down the road to the market.[2]
  • Plants grow in his fields and in his prefabbed growing rooms, from seeds and from stasis. He harvests a variety of produce in his fields and growing rooms, including grassnip (spice herbs), onions, field beans, tubers, later greens, cabbages, striped orange cabbage, bluefruits, nuts, spudfruit, coffee beans, etc.[2]. "He talked to a couple of the cats who guarded the coffee plants there in the cavern (disguised grow house)." [2] He gives some spare crops to Mrs. ana'Tak (Korval cook) including torups and grapes[4]

Grampa, Captain ShaperEdit

His grandfather was a pilot (Captain Shaper) who moved to Surebleak when working for Gilmour Mining. "His old grandfather'd been a spaceman and that was the worst thing to him about being on a planet -- the dirt and the mud and the rain." His Grampa taught him to read the sky and find the stars, and he spoke of ships, including "the legendary Korval trade ships..."[2]

Yulie Shaper is the only surviving heir to his family fortunes on Surebleak. Captain Shaper and his wife filed liens and lawsuits to ensure that he and his descendants would inherit various properties and farming equipment from the mining company, because they broke faith when they abandoned their Settlement Agreement with the colonists / employees. He'd made the best of a bad thing, for "Change had taken away his ship." Eventually the Company "capitulated and offered a settlement. They gave all the company's current right, title, and interest to all its holdings on Surebleak to Grampa." [2]

Character TraitsEdit

  • When Pat Rin yos'Phelium first met Mr. Shaper, the farmer suffered greatly from poor sleep, general anxiety, and sudden panic attacks. "When it hit, the panic, it was solid, like a crashing wall of rock falling on reason to the point that he saw the gray nothingness where vision should be." [2] However, his panic attacks came only in the daytime. "Under the stars it was as if he sat more firmly in the universe."[2]
  • He kept mostly to himself, having developed a distrust of strangers, especially since his beloved grandfather died, and he lost his malcontent brother Rollie, and ten of his cats were shot. His skinny cat, Nugget, comforted him when his brother died, a year before Clan Korval moved to Surebleak.[2]
  • However, he is good with a gun and not afraid to shoot intruders. He killed six cat-killers, being "a real fine rifle shot. Real fine." [2], [4] He is a sharp-shooter as demonstrated at Sherman's Shoot Out. [4]
  • Yulie is quiet and -- according to young Syl Vor -- he moves like a scout. [5]
  • A kind man, Yulie is patient with youngsters, teaching Syl Vor how to plant seedlings.[6] He also helps Daav yos'Phelium find spare rocks and earth to fill in the "crack" around the Jelaza Kazone settlement. [7]
  • Mr. Shaper is educated beyond Surebleak norm, because his grandfather insisted that all his descendants must learn to read and write. [2] He keep binders, records and deeds.
  • He is not materialistic, but he is a hard worker. He values peace, cats, Mrs. ana'Tak's cookies, and good neighbors. "Grandpa always said good neighbors was worth keeping." [8]

New DirectionsEdit

  • Now Yulie runs an experimental farm on Jelaza Kazone land, working with a Scout botanist attached to Korval, Scout Field Ecologist Alara chel'Voyon Clan Silari (married to Diglon Rifle). [9]
  • Because Val Con yos'Phelium and his brother Rys Lin pen'Chala of The Bedel (a vintner) helped him repel intruders, [4], Yulie is currently exploring how to begin winter wine production, and how to utilize all his growing rooms to produce more crops.[10]

Tree KinEdit

  • In Dragon in Exile The Tree gives Yulie a pod to eat and a seedling shoot to plant on his own farm. [4] Several weeks later, the effects of Tree's seedpod are clear in Yulie's new sense of peace and good humor: "I've been sleeping like a rock the last couple weeks, no dreams at all, and waking up just that sharply, even before I get my coffee!" [11]
  • Now Yulie's little tree is producing pods which are ripening, so his anxiety is apparently a thing of the past. "Yulie looked less alarmed than Val Con had previously seen him...It would appear that the Tree, and the Tree's progeny, was wasting no time in commencing to meddle." [12]
  • Because of his affinity with The Tree, Val Con and Miri begin to think of Mr. Shaper as "Tree Kin" and therefore part of their extended clan.[13]


  1. Necessity's Child
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 Moon on the Hills, in Halfling Moon, and also in A Liaden Universe Constellation, volume ii
  3. Neogenesis
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Dragon in Exile
  5. Necessity's Child
  6. Necessity's Child
  7. Daav's Up Early
  8. Neogenesis
  9. Rifle's First Wife
  10. Neogenesis
  11. Neogenesis
  12. Neogenesis
  13. Neogenesis