The novels — The Luck of Brin's Five (1977), The Nearest Fire (1982), The Tapestry Warriors (1986) — tell the story of Torin's First Contact with beings from another world, namely a survey team from Earth.
Wilder also wrote a number of short stories which take supporting characters and explore their lives before or after their appearances in the novels.
This series provides examples of:
- Bizarre Alien Reproduction: A low-key example; most of the visible mammalian species on Torin are marsupials, including the local sapient humanoids, who carry their infants in pouches for the first few months after birth. Brin and her family are initially horrified when Scott attempts to describe how his people carry their babies entirely enclosed within the mother with no apertures for air to get in.
- Canon Welding: "The Dancing Floor", one of the last of Wilder's stories to be published, combines background elements from the Torin and Rhomary Land books, establishing them as part of the same future history.
- Conlang: The novels and stories include occasional words and phrases (and, at one point, an entire verse of a song translated from English) in the Moruian language, which is developed in sufficient depth for it to have its own puns.
- Courtroom Antic: The climax of The Luck of Brin's Five is a court case to prevent the government confiscating Scott and tucking him away somewhere to study him, and it's won with an appropriately dramatic antic.
- Exotic Extended Marriage: The traditional Moruian family structure is built around a group of five adults, which includes at least one woman and two men in the roles we'd think of as wife and husbands. (Other roles are possible; the five adults can include grandparents as well as parents, for instance.) Biologically, each child has one mother and one father, the same as humans, but all husbands share equally in the raising of each of the family's children, and it's considered impolite to suggest that any of a child's fathers are more or less "really" its father than any other.
- First Contact: The novel trilogy concerns the first contact between the Moruians of Torin and visitors from the alien planet Earth.
- Gender-Neutral Writing: One supporting character in The Luck of Brin's Five is described without gender-specific pronouns. It's done subtly enough that the reader is unlikely to notice unless they come across the short story elaborating that character's backstory, which establishes the character as being of the opposite gender from what most people assume.
- Humans Through Alien Eyes: The novels and most of the short stories are narrated from the Moruian viewpoint.
- Interrupted Suicide: In the side story "Point of Departure", set during The Luck of Brin's Five, a group of Moruians make a suicide pact in despair over and protest against the direction their society is going. Just as they're about to carry it out, a friend arrives with news and evidence of the alien at large on Torin; recognizing this as a game-changer which might provide an opportunity for the positive change they'd given up on, they decide to go on living. One member of the pact, who is old and in ill health, dies anyway.
- I Should Write a Book About This: The Luck of Brin's Five is explicitly stated to be an account written by Brin's son Dorn for posterity, and the narrators of the other two novels mention having been encouraged by Dorn to do likewise.
- Psychic Powers: Some people on Torin have them.
- Psychic Static: Narneen sings in her head to block psychic questioning in The Luck of Brin's Five.
- Sidenote Full Story: The short stories.
- The Luck of Brin's Five is focussed on the doings of Brin's family and the alien visitor Scott, with events elsewhere being mentioned only as the news comes to them. One such event, when a group of prominent Moruians learns of Scott's existence, is depicted in "Points of Departure".
- Another short story shows what became of the children whose parent was killed in the air race in The Luck of Brin's Five.
- Simultaneous Arcs: The second half of the first novel and the first half of the second overlap in time, but are separate in location and involve different characters (although the event that begins the second novel is mentioned in passing during the first, and the protagonists of the first novel do show up again in the second after it catches up to them).