Jan. 31st, 2013

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Only 3 reads this month, but job hunting is still consuming the lion’s share of my time.  And I’m not really counting non-fiction, which has included texts on air quality, atmospheric chemistry, etc.  As usual, here they are in reading order…

Ethan of Athos – Lois McMaster Bujold.  Part of the “Vorkosigan saga,” this one is told from the point of view of a man from an all-male planet.  I think it was LMB’s attempt to completely invert the trope of the Amazonian female society in sci-fi/fantasy.  Ethan is a reproductive scientist tasked with procuring new ovarian genetic material used for procreation.  He has to venture out into the galaxy, and most of his assistance comes from one of Miles Vorkosigan’s high-ranking mercenary officers, the beautiful, snarky, action girl Elli Quinn.  Of course, this being Bujold, hilarity ensues, for some values of “hilarity.”  It is an excellent examination of gender roles and genetic manipulation.  Despite Miles’ absence, I enjoyed meeting Ethan, and pairing him with Elli was perfect.

“Labyrinth” – Lois McMaster Bujold.  A novella in which Miles must infiltrate a ruling house on a purely capitalist planet to help an escaping (defecting?) geneticist, this one addresses even more issues with genetics and ethics.  Miles is also tasked with killing an experiment left behind by the geneticist, a chimera of sorts in which he hid various gene samples for later extraction.  Miles meets the quasi-chimera, and what follows is some of the most moving and poignant fiction I have ever read.  And that is saying something.  This one goes on the list of some of my favorite fiction ever.

“The Borders of Infinity” – Lois McMaster Bujold.  Another novella, this time putting Miles in a POW camp with the intent to rescue an important general.  Failing this, Miles must determine a new plan, on the fly.  It’s a great example of how his mind works, as he is literally naked, with no resources, when he begins to work his scheme.  Ending seemed a tad rushed, but exemplified the chaos appropriately, in my opinion.

All LMB this month.  A trend which may continue for a while, as I plan on starting her next novel in the Vorkosigan saga, Brothers in Arms, next.  While LMB is still writing new works in the saga, most of the early stuff was published in the late 1980s and early 1990s.  I’m at a loss as to how I missed them back then, as I was only initially introduced to them about a decade ago, and only recently started reading them.  I have no explanation, but I am glad I have discovered them now, at least.

Originally published at Abnormality Locality. You can comment here or there.

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