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Gentleman Jole and the Red ueenThe conclusion of the somewhat uneven but overall xcellent Vorkosigan Saga Review first posted on wwwFantasyLiteraturecomThis review discusses a major revelation for readers of this series disclosed in the first chapter of this book as well as some spoilers for Basics of MATLAB and Beyond earlier books in the seriesThree years after the sudden death of her husband Aral Cordelia Vorkosigan is still the Vicereine governor of the colony planet Sergyar and is still recovering from the grief of losing Aral Cordelia is now seventy six but still young both at heart SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERSAbout a third of the way into this book it occurred to me that the genre I love best has in so many ways grown up At least I can t think of a major book coming out from genre publishers in the last few decades that is basically about two old people thinking about retirement reflecting on their past lives and finding romance as well as feeling their way toward their future livesI loved this book because itngages directly with the long shadow of past grief and post violence motional fallout in a believable way and yet it is filled with hope We have aging people interested in the world around them still vital in spite of physical wear and tear who are still ngaging the world wanting to make a difference and above all still learning and still using their minds It is a leisurely book as it concerns the aftermath of great Winter Eyes events and sometimes the cost of them as well as the triumphs There is plenty going on in this book but it s all small scale This arm of the galaxy appears to bentering a period of peace after a generation of The Heart Rate of a Mouse (The Heart Rate of a Mouse, external and internal conflict So there is no war as there is no violentmotional reaction I love the handling of Cordelia s character She s always been a catalyst From the very first book we have seen her come up against the formidable military culture of Barrayar as it ndures violent reinvention while coming to terms with the rediscovery of the galaxy to which she brings her Betan paradigmAnd though she is up against nothing profoundly distressing in this book it s close nough to the aftermath of Aral s loss for us to feel her tenderness and recovery She could so asily have been smug but she isn t In Cordelia s mind she is an aging woman feeling her way toward her future while dealing with both power and her reputation both of which we have seen her arn While the reader discovers the surprise relationship there are Come Away with Me enough hearkenings to the past to remind us of Cordelia s profoundffect on Barrayar as well as Barrayar s ffect on Cordelia Neither has come this far without affecting the other I think the key to the ntire series is provided in the The Young Elites (The Young Elites, elegiac short story termed a postlude at thend of Shards of Honor called Aftermaths That story has remained in my mind ach time a new Vorkosiverse book has come out That includes rereads And so when I came to this new ntry in the series in so many ways it felt as if Bujold has gently guided her long touring ship to final dock along with the Prince Serg Not full circle or not uite There is far too much unalterable change for that bad and good but that poignant story about the costs of war and a war like culture is Sands of the Scorpion examined here with a light tender insightful humorous and yet profound touchThere were so many wonderful small moments Thevolving biota of Sergyar threw me right back to the discoveries of this planet during Shards of Honor Bujold carries the sfnal delight in discovery forward here as the planet s human population grows and settlesI loved seeing old characters and meeting new And most of all I loved seeing Miles in middle age I ve always thought Bujold did a terrific job with a disabled hero who never had the physical strength to be a hero but who managed anyway on wits and nerves And now we see the cost of that legacy in Miles Not mentally it was delightful to see him on the scent again putting things toget I never imagined giving 2 stars to a Vorkosigan book I must have read Wolf by Wolf (Wolf by Wolf, every one of them at least 3 times and some of them a dozen or Iven bought this book to read it before the actual paper book is published But this book is very different a total change of style from all the others and it feels lazy and lackluster Fine if Bujold wanted to xplore Cordelia a bit now all the Miles books are out of the way great I m sure she has lots story to tell But this wasn t itWhat I didn t like as spoiler free as possible though inevitably minor ones can t be avoided total retcon of The Eightfold Path for the Householder events in Cordelia s marriage without the faintest hint of any of thisver in the past books and in fact a direct uote that her xpectations were totally different IN CORDELIA S HONOR IF THERE Cordelia s Honor If there been any background vidence for the new history in any of the past books I d have been fine with it but there isn t It feels completely invented out of nowhere for no apparent reason Plancton - Aux origines du vivant. except to possibly find Cordelia a happynding which she was uite invented out of nowhere for no apparent reason How to Stop Feeling So Damn Depressed: The No Bs Guide for Men except to possibly find Cordelia a happynding which she was uite of on her own IMO lots of little leads that look like they re going to turn into an action plot Cordelia will have to heroically foil but then come to nothing at all disputes with the mayor and possible Cetagandan issues for Two-Hour Party Cakes example Miles shows up for a significant portion of the book and gets into absolutely no trouble at all how completely unlikely is this nothing Cordelia plans goes wrong Bujold has stated that her writing style is to take a character and then throw them into the worst thing that could possibly happen to them so where was this overall this felt like a piece of maudlin fanfic writing done after a series hasnded and in which the fan writer is just trying to wrap up loose Peter ends and giveveryone a happy Empty Your Cup: Why We Have Low Self-Esteem and How Mindfulness Can Help (Self-Compassion Book 1) ending and sunset to ride off into without bothering to add a plot or much justification for any of itSuper disappointed there s so much in this book that COULD have turned into a great story and chance for Cordelia to shine but instead she just drifts around always doing the right thing while the world revolves around her and nothing badnds up happening to anyone A buddy read with Choko and MariaDNF This is not going to be much of a review this is my mourning for one of my favorite science fiction series ver There will not be any witty comments here There will not be any images I will not touch any further books of it if they ver get written Before I proceed I have to state that I think that people s sexuality is their own business and we are not to judge it I am fine with whatever two consenting adults do in their own bedroom I am perfectly fine with whatever a hundred consenting adults do in the same bedroom I am not fine with completely destroying well Leading Cultural Change: The Theory and Practice of Successful Organizational Transformation established characters in order to deliver a Modern MessageTo reallyxplain the problem with characters I will have to give big spoilers I never do this but I have to make an Strategic Procurement exception not to sound like a bigot So beware spoilers are coming It was obvious from the beginning Aral was bisexual It did not prevent him from being anxcellent character Sixteen books later it turns out this major character actually has a polygamous family In my humble opinion it is a little too late for such revelations to appear with the guy who lived with him and Cordelia pulled practically out of the ass To continue Aral s theme one of his defining character traits was his honor It turns out he began cheating on his wife with his partner while she was away Not very honorable is it His partner also happened to be his subordinate and there is a strong indication he used his position to start the relationship subtract one point from the honor count Cordelia was great in the first books Smart strong and believable How comes she is a typical Mary Sue here In addition to this she Can Do No Wrong She succeeds at verything she does "this by the was breaks one of the "by the was breaks one of the cornerstones there is no conflict in the book This in turn leads to a boring plot and a boring character or absence of it Speaking about plot Miles finally showed up and nothing happened Let me put it this way the guy who shone through the whole series and drove people around him bonkers became as boring as an insurance adjuster Some books sacrifice their own plot to deliver a message This one sacrificed the whole series Sure the message is very much modern but by itself it does not make for a good reading and there is nothing lse in here I hope I adeuately Die Neurobiologie des Glücks: Wie die Positive Psychologie die Medizin verändert (German Edition) explained my reasons for DNF and 1 star without sounding like a complete bigot My buddy readers andverybody Meditieren mit Musik und Klngen: Inspiration Nada Yoga else I am really sorry I really tried Sometimes there s that one brilliant author who can break all the damn rules and get away with itYeah I m talking about Lois BujoldI tried putting this novel into a mould to judge it by any other type of story and I just can t do it Sure I could just reduce it by saying it s a love story but that s like saying thevents of Aral and Cordelia s courtship is just an SF love story and it s so much richer and deep and full of nostalgia than that It s saying that Miles and Ekaterina was just some fly by night romance and to say that is to talk complete shitNo this happens to have the trappings of all the immense story and love and history of this universe but it is also something so much grander than just thatIt s about love It s about finding happiness It s about starting againIt s also about laughing at the fact that burning marshmallows being flung at stupid men by their women is actually a valid socializing tool Don t let anyone tell you differentlyI was deeply charmed and brought to near tears five or six times while reading this It s probably just my vast investment in the universe or perhaps it s the little sparks of memory and reminiscence and the signs of life from all those wonderful wonderful wonderful characters I ve grown up with Yeah Miles is here too but he plays another supporting role again to great and sneaky MasterCases in Spine Surgery effectWhat this novel does not have is intrigue beyond a very personal for Naismith and Jole nature There is no grand plot beyond what Cordelia had in mind And yet I was charmed than I could believeWas this a feel good book Did it break all conventions and refuse to force any kind of strained conflict Yes yes it did It was natural and featured choices ranging between good andually good and forced us to follow along and find out what we truly wanted tooIf you are a parent you ll get an absolute ton of significance from this novel If you aren t but you ve followed this series this far then I m sure you have Physik fr Mediziner enoughmpathy to fake it I loved this novel I was back with my family I was back with all my loved ones I feel loved 475 A buddy read with Evgeny and Maria because we need our dose of VorkosiganLet me start by saying once again I am to partial to this series to be able to separate my love for Keepers Compendium everything in it thus rendering me incapable of an objective opinion Thus I recognize that if there are weaknesses in any part of it I am most likely going to overlook them so be warned This is the newest and hopefully not the last book in the Vorkosigan s Universe series and it is very different from mostverything that came before it It is not a Miles or Ivan advanture it doesn t take place on a space ship it is not a slap stick Comedy and there are no drama or angst whatsoever It is a Romance of a sort but not at all in the model of other romances I have read before It is a book for adults but with nothing that would make you blush However it is a very cerebral romance between two people who have passed middle age and have had a passion for the same man in their past Now this person is gone and the two of them share in the pain of grieving for the one who was the center of both of their worlds His persona was grand and all consuming and with him gone the two of them drift apart The Man with the Golden Gun (James Bond role-playing game) [Box Set] each cocooned in their own pain all alone 3 years have passed since the Viceroy s aneurysm took his life force and Cordelia is ready to start living again She and her late husband had frozen someggs and sperm to have kids later and she is determined to have the daughters she has always wanted no matter what Oliver Joel the man who had been an integral part of their lives is about to turn 50 and thanks to the amazing genetic level and methods of procreation of the time she offers him a chance to have posthumous children with AV Oliver is taken aback but the idea is planted and he starts thinking about having a family of his own However he grows and aware of wanting the chance to get Cordelia back in his life as well this time on their own merits letting RckenYoga: Die DVD each other shine and allow themselves a fresh start for a renewed lease on life Cordelia is one of the most amazing characters I havever Schmerzmedizin - 1000 Fragen encountered on page and I am completely in love with her In myyes none of those Barrayaran idiots deserve her but I guess they do make them masculine and gorgeous with just nough vulnerability to make them appealing and as perfect as she is she is only human. Cordelia Naismith Vorkosigan returns to the planet that changed her destinyFUTURE IMPERFECT Three years after her famous husband's death Cordelia Vorkosigan widowed Vicereine of Sergyar stands ready to spin her life in a new direction Oliver Jole Admiral Sergyar Fleet finds Sonal issues to overcome her Betan practicality and scientific mindedness make every decision she makes Right So when she devises a plan which could potentially turn completely insane and backfire in her face it doesn t She hasn t overlooked anything legally morally The Viva Mayr Diet: 14 days to a flatter stomach and a younger you ethicallymotionally She hasn t done anything wrong If someone voices an objection to said plan they are clearly unreasonable and most people Aviation Logistics: The Dynamic Partnership of Air Freight and Supply Chain essentially don t After all it s none of their businessWhere is Miles s Grand Dinner Party What happened to someone dumping Cordelia in the bathtub Maybe she s perfect and doesn t need a serious splash but it makes for an awfully boring story and an almost annoying protagonist Nobody likes Mary Sues childrenAlso I just don t buy it Sorry Bujold I know you claim this whole ahem affair is canon but For Aral the honorable repentant man of integrity to fall into a secret affair without Cordelia s knowledge That what What Why I d have anasier time believing that Cordelia caught him looking and said hey wanna than I would believing that she had to be appraised about it by Illyan What the heck No I really get the whiff of a barely justified retcon in the air and oh does it bug mePlus if Cordelia really acknowledged Jole as a third spouse which okay I see she may do she would not have kept away from her family if only for his own sake She may not have R High Performance Programming explicitly come out and said what they were up to our affair was discreet than secret really Please but she would at least have brought him in as some kind of unofficial uncle to Miles surely Whereas Miles barelyven knows who this guy isSorry but the sale was not made to me Perhaps it was not made to me because I am so hidebound by traditional notions of relationships but I don t think so It doesn t bother me Jole is a man we always knew Aral was bi it doesn t surprise me Cordelia didn t wreck Aral s brain Betan blah blah they d have arrings for that but at the very least I d ve xpected them to have a long talk about why do you feel the need to meander outside your marriage without my knowledge in prime Cordelia styleAs sad as I am to say this I think this series has run out of steam It happens Problems were resolved all over the galaxy with Miles hyperactive help and Miles himself settled down Perhaps it s time to Scala for Java Developers end it Farewell Vorkosiverse We loved you well but it s time to say goodbye smile nostalgically and move on The book itself is well written and there s a lot to like about itBut Fundamentally I don t buy it In its revision of relationships retconning heavy use of flashbacks and reminiscing and general lack of plot it feels like anxtended piece of fanfic view spoilerA three sided marriage two of whom are determinedly described as average looking and the third gorgeous and talented beyond belief If this had actually been fanfic I would have rolled my The Qur'an, Morality and Critical Reason: The Essential Muhammad Shahrur eyes and stopped reading right there My second reaction was a certain amount of disgust that Aral would haventered into a relationship with a subordinate No No No That just isn t on It really bothered me And when that was finally acknowledged in the text it was one sentence where Cordelia thinks that Betans would have objected to the difference on age and rank Like the Barrayarans would ve thought NBD As if Bujold says she has had this in mind since Lt Jole was first mentioned in print 20 years ago I see someone on Tumblr has compiled an Vermeer to Eternity exhaustive list of all previous Jole sightings and yeah if you string them all together and ponder it like she obviously has since she s apparently written a series of AralJole stories you can make some inferences between the lines But frankly I need a few breadcrumbs as a reader in order to not feel like I was just kicked in the teeth One thing I really like about Bujold is that she remembers her minor characters and drops them in throughout later books Like whatshisfacestartswitha who would be the perfect regentxcept he isn t a Vor but when Aral steps down as PM that guy becomes the new PM It goes so far towards creating verisimilitude hey this world is still turning Heaven to Betsy even while you the reader aren t watching when little details like that are included I tend to notice them but honestly had no idea who Jole was when the book title was announced last spring Promoting a C list character to a spouse of a series protagonist is a hell of a tough sell and I guess I am just too skeptical of a customerAnd if I feel this off kilter it astonishes me that Miles doesn t freak the hell outAs for the other things that made this feel like fanfic nothing much usually happens in those stories It s generally about character relationships or backstory So it is with this book and while Injoy this type of book see Angle of Repose and Crossing to Safety and think that depictions of relationships are one major reason why LMB books are so great I am used to action in a Vorkosigan book Hence the feeling that it reads like fanficSo in my head it feels like this book never really happened hide spoiler Bujold is one of my few read anything authors so it was a no brainer I d pick up this one And I don t regret doing so as the story was good and I love these characters I have some problems with the story that I ll get to but first I want to say how nice it was to be back with Cordelia with the bonus of seeing Miles from her perspective That was awesome And revealing in So B. It every dimension I alsonjoyed the plot though I m glad I read Cabaret enough reviews to know that the story was laid back andxpectations of bombs and assassins would go unfulfilled There are a couple threads that in a Miles novel would have lead to at least a shootout possibly with a coup attempt chaser Knowing this was a slower paced story helped set my xpectations and allowed me to njoy the slow development and the inner lives of Cordelia and Jole OutstandingIt helps of course that I fell for Jole almost immediately This story absolutely depended on depicting Jole well nough that you could buy him being a companion to some very strong personalities without being swallowed up by them He came across as both competent and steady and I could see how he d fit in with the major personalities around him and still be his own person Getting to know him was a treat though I was also glad that Bujold chose to follow the romance convention of giving PoV from both romantic leads Being in Jole s head at least part of the time helped greatly in illustrating the high points of relationships both past and present and nhanced my perception of him in all the right waysOkay now for the harder part of this review First off I m going to give spoilers here and I m not going to bother marking them as such as pretty much the rest of this review is spoiler city Some of this gets revealed Trading Places: The Netherlandish Merchants in Early Modern Venice early on but I need to talkxamples throughout so be forewarned and stop here if you care about being spoiled Also I m going to get personal and it s going to dge on overshare territory You have been warnedI had two problems with the book One moral and one relational and neither are what you might assumeThe Moral ProblemSingle parenting isn t wrong per se but it s something that should be avoided wherever possible Children benefit greatly from the added dimensions of seeing parents working together as a team and seeing a working model of conflict resolution that is healthy and respectful This is what makes spouse abuse so very hard on the ntire family but also makes single parenthood problematic Even with The Bookshop on the Shore extended family available a single parent is the sole and solo authority for a child and that mono messaging has some serious drawbacks Yes I m saying that children benefit from being able to play one parent off on another Seeing both Cordelia who really should know better given the socio psychological mania on Beta colony and Jole who should know better given the socio cultural preferences on Barrayar so selfishly plan single parenthood withoutven bothering to address the problematic drawbacks was disturbing Worse it played against Dance Real Slow everything we know about Cordelia as a caring person with a clear vision of not only the well being of those around her but of the importance of their psycho social development She should have knownnough to at least address this aspect of her choice to have children and no saying she d hire people to help is not The Art of Memoir even remotely the same thingNow I get that single parenthood happens Everybody gets that And supporting those in the situation when it occurs is important onvery level because children matter and should be given the best possible chance to overcome whatever limitations placed on them by the choices of the adults around them But that doesn t mean we can t acknowledge and privilege the better model for children of an intact family with the love and support of parents who love them I m not saying that Cordelia should have been prevented legally from planning to have those children on her own or anything I m saying that the fact she didn t The Day Christ Was Born: The True Account of the First 24 Hours of Jesus's Life even hesitate or plan around the drawbacks of single parenthood on the children felt off puttingly out of character to me and broke some of my connection to the overarching story as a wholeThe Relationship ProblemThis isn t going to be about thevils of polyamory which is wrong wrong I tell you You can t mix Greek and Latin roots It should be polyphilia or multiamory by gum Being both Mormon and bisexual means I don t have any of that cultural dissonance or revulsion that you might assume would be behind my problems with Cordelia and Jole and Aral Being Mormon and reasonably introspective means I ve had to xamine the realities of non binary marriages and consider the potential benefits and drawbacks involved Being bisexual means I lack the heterosexual visceral reaction when considering two men loving ach other in physical or intimate waysMy problem is subtle than that and took some thought to track down The thing is I just wasn t buying the relationship as described I get Cordelia s galactic perspective and openness to non standard sexual configurations I get her love for Aral being strong nough to include others that Aral loves in their relationship But it still felt off I ventually tracked that feeling down to the motional distance maintained between Cordelia and Jole What I can t see with Cordelia is her letting someone so close to Aral stay so distant from herself And to be clear I don t mean physically I MEAN THEY MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE CLICKED mean they may or may not have clicked a physical level for whatever reason but she didn t seem to have made any ffort to develop the Integrity Restored: Helping Catholic Families Win the Battle Against Pornography emotional intimacy necessary for such an arrangement to overcome the jealousy and insecurity such a setup would naturallyngender in both of them really Yes we get an The Taste of Night (Signs of the Zodiac, event or two about her reaching out to him to make sure he knows she s okay and considers him one of the family so to speak But that s no than she dxtend to say Mark or any other of the people Cordelia would adopt into her inner circleThe thing is the very basis of their relationship in this story depended on them starting out from a position of not having that motional intimacy to start And that just feels so wrong to me I honestly cannot imagine Aral or Cordelia not making a push to stablish the core motional intimacy that would have made that relationship as healthy as it was described as beingSo while I njoyed watching them fall in love or acknowledge the love they had and harbor it s growth THIS DISCONNECT IN THEIR PAST WAS disconnect in their past was far away and played havoc with my connection to the storyWhich would be bad The Road From Home: The Story Of An Armenian Girl enough if it was only the past involved After all my view of a functioning polygamous marriage may be wrong or they could have worked things out off screen in ways that couldn t be communicated as backstory But Bujold perpetrates thatmotional disconnect into the future as well Which is the thread I finally pulled to figure out my until then inarticulate disuiet In the Exile and Pilgrim epilogue when they are planning their homestead together it becomes clear that they plan on maintaining separate householdsven in retirement with Jole building his house across the bay Which makes no kind of sense whatsoever Not only is this inefficient from a lovers perspective it s ven worse from a parenting one How could they not combine resources in the way that centuries of cultural social and psychological adaptation have made natural There s a reason lovers feel pressure to cohabit and it s not just social construct or dogmatic indoctrination It s not ven about children really though the pressure to combine households at that point is beyond immense Splitting your time between here and there is a barrier to intimacy that takes its toll on a relationship over time In a relationship that seemed unnaturally distant to start that kind of broke my headWrap UpSo yeah I had a couple problems that plagued me while reading I still Hannah Montana: The Movie enjoyed the story But there wasnough disconnect to keep me from fully ngagin. His own mother Plans wills and xpectations collide in this sparkling science fiction social comedy as the impact of galactic technology on the range of the possible changes all the old rules and Miles learns that not only is the future not what he xpects neither is the past. .

Oliver is a cool cat as most males from his home planet a military man who has risen to an Admiral And Cordelia likes him so I guess I should accept it The only issue I had with the story thus not the full 5 star rating is the manner Joel and AV apperantly hooked up back in the day It is just to out of character for the old Count to have started the afair in the manner suggested I think knowing both of the Vorkosigans they would have talked about it and discussed the best way to approach Oliver in order for him to accept and not scare him away I think they would have acted as a team all the way not just after Apart from that I loved verything lseMiles showed up with all of his progeny and it was fascinating to observe him allowing for the fact that his mother is not only alive after becoming a widow but is trying to reclaim her womanhood become a mother and a lover to some other man who is not his dad accept that she is a sexual being and learn how little he had known about his parents as anything other than his parental units It is painful it is a right of passage and it is a moment of grief for not having the chance to learn being separated by space time regrets and fear of not living up to our loved ones xpectations Miles s uestions to his mother of was he not Cardiovascular Pet: Current Concepts enough did he let her down just demolished me He is really growing up in between his mother and his children not giving him any other choice Miles is Miles but slowly he is finally learning to let go and let be a very difficult state of being for a control freak like him When your young life offered its first disaster naturally it loomed large After you d survived dozens you basically just told the next one to take a number and get in line As always in the heart of the story there are thethical dilemmas brought on not only by the advancement in genetics and methods of procreation but also of the common uestion of what makes a family Could love persist between than two partners Can a person love ither sex without prejudice and feel compleat with ither In my opinion the answer is yes but I realize it depends on the person Do our parents have a right on their own lives away from us Can we forgive our parents for being only human Can we forgive ourselves for being to self absorbed and not paying attention while we still could Those are only some of the uestions Ms Bujold raises and once again lets us come up with our own answers without judgement I love you Ms Bujold So was this a perfect book no I would think you have to be in a uieter state of mind stop and take deep breaths shut out the stressors around you and A Companion to Peter Martyr Vermigli enjoy this unconventional and a bitmotional tale of two deeply hurt people coming out of a period of grief and slowly reconstructing what is left of the wreckage into a future of fulfilment I love this author I love this series and I will await patiently for any glimpse in the Vorkosigan Universe I could get Thank you He blew out his breath and sat back He d almost wished for some clever The Best Four Years: How to Survive and Thrive in College (and Life) evil plot which they could thenngage to out clever It could be surprisingly hard to counter Plain Stupid Even by heroic measures Now I wish you all Happy Reading and may you always find what you need in the pages of a good book I purchased the ARC from Baen two days ago and finished the book yesterday Her statement on Facebook was that it was almost unmarketable and difficult to categorize and she thought about putting warnings out for her fans but then she thought her fans would just read it and then warn ach other I can absolutely see where all that came from Wow but this is gonna be a polarizing book I fall suarely on the side of oh my god is it astonishing and beautiful and here s why Spoilers avast mates read no further if you want the moments of surprise this book will undoubtedly bring spoiler alertSo Lois writes military science fiction No doubts about that And she s good at it despite her characters never seeing an order they didn t undermine I m a military vet and she captures the deep desire to serve the love that The Time of the Hunters Moon every military person feels with absolute accuracy This book is noxception Oscar Jole is career military and like all career military he reaches a crux in his life where he must make a decision between starting a civilian life AND MOVING UP IN HIS CAREER moving up in his career s what the book is all about Except it s not Because it s also about Cordelia Vorkosigan and Aral Vorkosigan and the things they carried on doing with their lives while we ve been off watching Miles live his life of adventure It s about the secret life of the adults around the children the things you protect your children from the dangers that seemed powerful in one generation and how much less powerful they are as society changes And It s about old people having sex Lots of Vegas Vacation (Destination: Desire, excellent sex This is going to polarize a lot of people because the relationships described are if you were paying attention to some single lines she threw into books 30 years or ago perfectly in character They just weren t possible to be written about thirty years ago in our society any than they were possible to be talked about in Barrayaran society The parallels are astonishing and a perfect beautiful mirror But it s going to freak a lot of folks out and suick others and I see that I m deeply amazed and impressed she wrote this book given the pushback she canxpect to receive from ven loyal fans Because the relationships they re not there superfluously They re integral and they are a beautiful moment in your mind when you re reading They capture the feeling you get when you first learn that the older folks in your life have whole other lives without you beyond you that are really none of your business It conveys to the long term reader a feeling that is a bloody work of art to perceive There s a scene in the book where a cetagandan sets up a sensory garden where you are given certain stimulus tests and then presented with a work of art which the tests prepped you to see in a certain way to understand I feel like the ntire series was a set of carefully selected stimulus tests which led to this moment where I can look at this book and be the recipient of a sort of sleight of hand illusion she set up like she played a glorious trick and opened my yes for a moment in complete surprise to something beautiful A secret about how we relate to ach other as families I feel like a participant in a long long shaggy dog story where the punchline at the Stepdog end isn t a joke at all but something beautiful But It s not really about any of those things because it s also about what happens logically when you get the intersection of reproductive technology and changing age When people outlive their ability to have children on a regular basis you get people planning ahead putting off having kids freezing sperm and gametes until later Taking their time for as she puts it long term projects like children and having them as a retirement thing And how this impacts the other people in their lives and how it impacts society and how it would be interesting to see the family relationships of the children of those different ages But It s not about that It s a love story A love story of age of how just because you grow older you don t stop loving people don t stop having sex A story about the way someone with a lifespan that s dozens of years different from her lover feels when that someone with a shorter lifespan dies and how she knew this grief was coming but not so soon and how the longer lengths of our lives will someday change how we relate to the idea of sex and generations In a sense this book isasy to categorize I mean it has dozens of categories Military science fiction Yes definitely I can t recall the last time someone so perfectly captured the feelings you have in the military of looking at the civilian world and trying to figure out how to get from inside to outside successfully It s just that nobody Another Way Home else writing military science fiction is writing about anything but war Sci fi Romance Yes definitely Two perfectly mature adults of opposite genders in a future world fall in love and decide to spend their lives together It s just that nobodylse is writing about all the ways in which lifespan differences and reproductive technology will play a role in those things in the future Sci fi coming of age Yes absolutely Except the age is not moving between teen and adult but between nebulous stages of adulthood that children don t ven recognize xist Transgressive Sci fi Oh yes Because Yes Exploring new worlds Sci fi Yes only there s no grand lethal danger Just a sense of wonder and how it influences people Ok I don t know what lse I can possibly say here Oh yes My complaint I think the title is wrong for the flavor of the book It s a rousing title a swashbuckling title and this is a uiet meditative book There s no space battles No grand adventure It s a personal book a relationship book a slow story of making decisions and what happens next and politics and all those things The title conveys something completely different It conveys pirates and boxing matches and that s not how you want to market this To be fair I cannot imagine the anguish she has once again caused the marketing staff How the hell do you sell this It bucks very bloody category marketing teams use It drastically changes this It bucks Bill Veeck's Crosstown Classic (Chicago Shorts) every bloody category marketing teams use It drastically changes and sanctified characters it has old people having sex it has no adventure and no fights The fact that Baen published it makes me love them because she gave them a bloody impossible task Someone somewhere put their head in their hands and wept when they saw what they had to try and manage with this I hope it gets a Hugo or something Because it really is brilliant If you read her stuff you know that at her worst she writes only averagely good Sci fi and at her best At her best she takes complex difficult thorny ideas and strips then down to phrases of about 10 words and hands them to you like a little poem that you grasp completely immediately and still spend 10 years coming to grips with This book is her at her best I kept wanting to highlight and kept not wanting to pause reading longnough to highlight I know it ll piss some folks off Some folks won t understand Some folks will feel betrayed I can see that with absolute clarity the same way I see folks getting angry when their parents do things with their lives that as their kids they don t agree with But this is a book that is utterly true to the characters and the universe This is an internally consistent book and a really really great work And I m glad I read it because it gave me a sense of wonder and delight Edit Two days later I just realized Antarctica exactly how much changed with this book Bloody heck Ok So perspective on Beta and how Beta relates to the rest of the universe somewhat changed Perspective on Cetaganda and how they relate to the rest of the universe somewhat changed Perspective on the main characters distinctly changed Perspective on Cordelia s little Betan talks somewhat changed Concept that the first books are in some fashion traditional boy meets girl changed So much for this being a uiet meditative book where nothing happened The fact that there was one big change sort of disguisedxactly how many other things were clarified and how my perspective on the power structure of the Vor universe was also altered Madam Bujold sowing literary mines for later detonation in your mind for than 2 decades Boom I never imagined in my life that I would be one starring a Vorkosigan novelNeverThe worst Vorkosigan book to date was probably Cryoburn and that was a solid if somewhat tepid mystery adventure So when I d seen this latest novel featuring Cordelia no less I almost fell out of my chair Somehow I d managed to miss this new development completely all the Beyond the Laboratory: Scientists as Political Activists in 1930s America exciting a surpriseAlas this is not a novel it s a fanfic post A Cordelia fanfic postI can understand that in a way Since Cordelia or less completed her own ark in Barrayar she has played the role of counselor and adviser to the protagonistsven to the point of slight Deus x Machina from time to time When there was chaos Cordelia would walk in and fix it And it worked But it only worked because Cordelia showed up once per book tops She was a plot device A plot device we all loved and admired but still Now Cordelia the Perfect takes center stage again to rebuild her life after Aral s death and CRASH It just doesn t work anyThe most interesting thing about Bujold s books and her characters about Miles and his assorted supporting cast is the fact that the character driven and oriented plots were all about Miles growing up in some way overcoming some facet of himself Things failed because he was his own worst nemy of course they got fixed later because he and a few people were also his own best friends but the nemy part came first Cordelia doesn t have any of that Cordelia apparently has no lessons left to learn no per. Imself caught up in her web of plans in ways he'd never imagined bringing him to an unexpected crossroads in his life Meanwhile Miles Vorkosigan one of Emperor Gregor's key investigators this time dispatches himself on a mission of inuiry into a mystery he never anticipated;.