Monday, May 16, 2011

A Fifty Year Old Vor-gin

Ah, yes, the name of Vorkosigan is well known throughout SF fandom. Lois McMaster Bujold is not only an entertaining story teller, but that little trickster, leaving a trail of havoc in his wake, must strike a chord with many folks who look in the mirror to sadly survey their own lack of physical prowess. The adventures of Miles have appeared in the Hugo short list a number of times, and Bujold has managed to take home that coveted rocket more than once on the strength of these stories. Cryoburn is yet another in this series of successes for this year’s Hugos, and the second nominee that I finished.

Miles finds himself the victim of an abduction, but are we worried? We most decidedly are not. We follow him instead, gleefully chortling as he lays one trap after another, occasionally "unpacks" an explanation for those around him who are less fleet of mind, and draws his prey into his net. If you’re a fan, you no doubt expect Miles to solve all of the puzzles. Well, I won’t spoil the story by telling you how it does in fact end.

This was actually the first Vorkosigan story I've ever read. I didn't know what to expect, but Bujold quickly drew me into the story. The various character are described engagingly, and the plot moves along at a pace that kept me turning pages. If I have any complaints, it’s that the setting was too generic, leaving me with a mental impression of a Star Trek set, with hastily spray painted styrofoam facades that have no substance behind them. Even potentially evocative locations like the cryo-crypts, were present in name only. While in this tale that’s easy to overlook - it was all about the action, after all - I’m thinking that for a Hugo caliber story I would want more substance to occupy my mind’s eye.

However you may feel about that, I thought this was a fun story.

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