Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,

April Books 2) The Vor Game, by Lois McMaster Bujold

I love Bujold's Vorkosigan saga, but this is not one of my favourite volumes, and I was slightly surprised to discover that it had won the Hugo. Structurally it is rather obviously bolted together from the original novella, "The Weatherman", and the subsequent expansion to novel length with the whole space war story; and the whole plot crucially depends on the massive coincidence of Miles bumping into Gregor on page 145. Having said that, the competition that year was not especially intense (see below) and I wonder if there might not have been an element of rewarding Bujold not just for The Vor Game but for her work to date, and particularly for the Dendarii stories.

It is still a decent enough book. Bujold's portrayal of a rule-bound society which is trying to adapt to the outside world, and which is run by actual human beings who occasionally just want to run away from it all, is what really makes the series (and gives The Vor Game its title) - my favourite character in this book is Gregor, worried that he may not be up to the job but proving himself both sexually and politically. Miles could have been one of these intensely annoying MilSF heroes who never lose a battle or an argument; but we do see him make mistakes and paying for the consequences. The complex military and diplomatic situation of the Hegen Hub is conveyed to us sufficiently clearly that we appreciate the potential impact of the decisions made by just one or two outsiders. So it's a fun read, but I think she didn't really hit her stride until Memory, Komarr and A Civil Campaign.

Other Hugo nominees that year: Earth by David Brin, The Fall of Hyperion by Dan Simmons, Queen of Angels by Greg Bear and The Quiet Pools by Michael Kube-McDowell. The only other one I have read is the Simmons, which was a disappointment after Hyperion; I have at least heard of the Brin but not of the other two.
Tags: bookblog 2010, rereads, sf: hugos, writer: lois mcmaster bujold

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