Friday, June 17, 2011

Hugos 2011: Cryoburn, by Lois McMaster Bujold

I feel like I've been a bit negative around here recently, and I'm about to do it again, so I'm going to keep this one short. I've spent quite a bit of time in the last week queuing for movies at the Sydney Film Festival, and I used that time to knock over Cryoburn by Lois McMaster Bujold. This is (I think) the thirteenth Miles Vorkosigan novel. I haven't read any of the other books in the series.

I'm guessing Vorkosigan has a large fan base, because I can think of no other reason why this book would make it on to the Hugo ballot. I suppose it is an okay airport novel, and I probably wouldn't have thought too badly of it -- or thought about it much at all -- were I not comparing it to The Dervish House and The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms.

Miles Vorkosigan, Imperial Auditor, is so supremely talented that it is obvious from the very first chapter he will prevail. There is no tension at all, and in fact the plot twists -- if you could even call them twists -- are telegraphed well in advance. My overwhelming impression is of comfort reading. Characters we are assumed to know, being as Good and Strong and Clever as always, succeeding as we know they must.

If you're a Vorkosigan fan, I'm sure you loved it. And no doubt you were pleased by the dramatic epilogue, which set the stage for book fourteen. For the rest of us, there's really not much here.

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