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Mirror Dance won the Hugo award for 1995; the other nominees were John Barnes' Mother of Storms, Nancy Kress' Beggars and Choosers, Michael Bishop's Brittle Innings and James Morrow's Towing Jehovah. The only other one I've read is the Kress, which I really didn't think was very good. This was the year that the inexplicably award-winning Robert Sawyer got a Nebula for The Terminal Experiment, but the BSFA shortlist included three excellent books - Baxter's The Time Ships, McDonald's Chaga and Priest's The Prestige. (Baxter won.)

I'm a huge Bujold fan, and Mirror Dance is the start of the superb four-book sequence of the Vorkosigan series that continues with Memory, Komarr and A Civil Campaign. I had forgotten just how much I liked it. It's a tale of redemption, of Mark, the lost clone twin, discovering his own place in the universe rather than being defined as Miles' double; it's a tale of resurrection, Miles himself dying and being brought back to life; and it's a tale of unorthodox families, Mark's relationship with the Vorkosigans of Barrayar contrasting with the corrupt and brutal dynasties of Jackson's Whole, with the Durona clones caught in the middle. It's the first book apart from Ethan of Athos in the series which is not largely told from the viewpoint of Miles or his mother, but from the point of view of a character who has previously been defined by their relationship with Miles. But also Bujold uses Mark to show us Miles's flaws in a way she had not previously done: her unlikely hero has a dark side as well, and Mark both resembles him and differs from him. It's an excellent book and I think might even be a good one to recommend to newcomers to the Vorkosigan universe.

(Only two more Hugo winners to go.)

Comments

pocketnaomi
Dec. 15th, 2010 06:24 pm (UTC)
For a long time, I refused to read anything in the Vorkosiverse despite numerous recommendations, because from all the stuff the specific recommenders said about Miles, I was quite convinced I'd loathe and despise him and didn't want to read anything about such a little jerk. (I have not changed my mind about Miles, at least early Miles, despite becoming quite a fan of the series since then.)

Eventually my then-husband walked up to me and handed me two books: Mirror Dance and Memory. He said, "Here. If you hate Miles, you'll like these best. He spends most of the first one dead and the second one coping with getting THOROUGHLY hoist by his own petard."

I read them both and loved many of the side characters, including Mark; and he was absolutely right: I had no problem with Miles in either book. In Mirror Dance he was mostly out of my way, and in Memory he was getting what I had long been convinced he deserved, and I enjoyed watching it happen.

It was a lot easier to cope with the other books after I'd seen that, because I knew what he had coming.

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