Thursday, 17 December 2009

Miles, Mystery & Mayhem

These three installments in Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga are something of a mixed bag. Although they follow on from each other in the general chronology the publication order was quite different and were published over the span of a decade or so. They all use the field of genetics to fuel the plot and themes.
In Cetaganda Miles tries his hand at another bit of detective work. He's on a diplomatic mission to Cetaganda with his 'a bit thick but handsome' cousin. He's not even off the shuttle before he's knee deep in intrigue, and murder, dodging potentially fatal traps as he goes. Spending time in Miles head is always enjoyable and fun. I also enjoyed trying to imagine how beautiful the Cetagandan Haut women were. Probably similar to trying to imagine what Galadriel looked like - an enjoyable exercise but ultimately a futile one.
Don't start Ethan of Athos thinking Miles is in it. You'll only be disappointed. The little guy is mentioned quite a bit though and one of the major characters is Elli Quinn, some might remember her from The Warrior's Apprentice. The main protagonist is this chap Ethan. He lives on a male only planet inhabited by blokes who live in superstitious dread of women (otherwise known as uterine replicators with legs). The fun starts when he has to leave his home planet in search of a replacement supply of ovarian cultures to replace the failing existing cultures, without which his society can't reproduce. Massive culture shock ensues (women everywhere). Ethan soon gets up to his neck in problems he's not really equipped to deal with, problems that he's going to have to rely on a woman to overcome. Enter Elli Quinn. It's all quite light hearted but very amusing.
Labyrinth is a novella which features Miles back at the helm of the Dendarii cruiser Ariel. Before too long everything goes pear-shaped and Miles finds himself in big trouble. And if being trapped in a dungeon with a sex mad teenage werewolf doesn't qualify as big trouble I don't know what does. As fun as ever but still finds time to ask a few questions about what it is to be different.

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