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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.)


Dec. 15th, 2010 07:19 pm (UTC)
I would love to know just what is wrong with Sawyer's writing such that he shouldn't be winning these awards.

Oooh, that sounds as though I'm snarking at you, doesn't it?

Actually, I do mean it seriously, because I too can't work out why people are voting for him, while myself finding him terribly blah. It's sometimes said that the Nebulas are the educated award as against the populist Hugos, yet here is Sawyer winning a Nebula.
Dec. 15th, 2010 07:25 pm (UTC)
As with many things, I think it comes down to the indisputable fact that "well-written" and "entertaining" are distinct categories with less overlap than one might expect (or prefer). There are clearly lots of people who find books by e.g. Dan Brown extremely entertaining. Are those books well-written? Not particularly. But for many readers that's not all that relevant.

The only book of Sawyer's I've read is WWW: Wake, which I actually found to be tolerably well-written (at least until the last thirty pages) and not the slightest bit entertaining. So perhaps he's one of those writers people vote for because they feel they ought to have liked his books and if they didn't then it's their fault for not understanding or appreciating them well enough.

Edited at 2010-12-15 07:26 pm (UTC)
Dec. 15th, 2010 07:36 pm (UTC)

But there are plenty of other writers with more dazzle, so why aren't 'they' voting for them.

I can't say I was at all impressed by Wake - if I'd had to have paid for it, I'd have been distinctly annoyed.

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