Didn’t complete as much fiction last month as the previous couple, mainly because I followed a couple of very promising job leads to a positive conclusion. Continued zipping through and enjoying Lois McMaster Bujold’s “Vorkosigan Saga” in March. Finished the latest five works in internal chronological order, and I have to say the series as a whole is one of the best collections of science fiction I’ve ever encountered. LMB’s writing is what I would describe as “deceptively simple.” Her prose is an easy and fast read, her dialogue smooth and witty, and her character voices consistent, and within all of that she touches on some deep and complex topics and original science fiction ideas.
A Civil Campaign – Lois McMaster Bujold, 3/4/13. Heavily inspired, by the author’s own admission, by 19th-century romantic fiction such as works by Austen, Bronte, etc., this one takes the story of several major characters getting together in relationships and works in a rather disgusting (to me) but still interesting science fiction concept. Miles courts the woman with whom he fell in love in Komarr, and hilarity ensues.
“Winterfair Gifts” – Lois McMaster Bujold, 3/4/13. Miles and Ekaterin get married, but an assassination attempt complicates the day before the wedding. Told from the point of view of Roic, one of Miles’ senior armsmen, it also features one of my favorite characters from Miles’ Dendarii Mercenaries, Taura.
Diplomatic Immunity – Lois McMaster Bujold, 3/7/13. Miles must investigate an incident in “quaddiespace,” the area of the wormhole nexus occupied by the zero-gravity four-armed humanoids introduced in Falling Free, and he almost gets killed again. I liked seeing Bel Thorne again, and the quaddies, and it’s clear Ekaterin has already figured out how to handle her manic husband.
Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance – Lois McMaster Bujold, 3/10/13. I think this 2013 Hugo nominee for Best Novel is a worthy potential winner. Miles’ cousin Ivan is the lead point of view in this one, and I was pleasantly surprised that he makes a great alternative main character, so, if LMB has indeed, as she has worried, “written Miles into a corner,” there is still so much more potential in the universe she has created. I’d also like to see things from other time periods, such as the start and end of Barrayar’s “Time of Isolation,” but I know she needs to have well-defined characters.
Cryoburn – Lois McMaster Bujold, 3/13/13. Miles investigates a plot on a planet that specializes in freezing and reviving the dead and near-dead. I liked much of the story, but I was a bit disappointed that Miles’ original reason for his trip was a bit of a MacGuffin, or I just didn’t understand its resolution. Well-written otherwise, though, and, sad though the ending was, I loved how LMB handled the “Aftermaths” epilogue from five different points of view, especially Emperor Gregor’s.
After March 13, I started Kim Stanley Robinson’s Red Mars, the first in a trilogy (that continues with Green Mars and Blue Mars). A couple of friends have read all three, with different opinions on the two sequels, though both enjoyed the first installment. Another friend is reading Red Mars as well, and I’m a bit behind her. I have so far made it only to page 153, almost 30% through, and I’m enjoying it very much so far. Haven’t touched it in a couple of weeks because of interviews, road trips, more interviews, and preparing to move to another state. May not get much more fiction reading done in April, either, but once we’re settled in State College, I hope to get back to it again. I noticed KSR’s more recent 2312 is also among this year’s Hugo Best Novel nominations, and is on my to-read list as well, but I think I want to complete the Mars trilogy first.