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Book Report: The Vor Game

Your Humble Blogger was on a bit of a Lois McMaster Bujold kick this spring. I think perhaps it has taken me this long to get over her having read this blog—not that I haven’t read any of her stuff in the interim, which I have, but that I have picked it up with that experience in mind, unable to put it out of my mind, which rather takes them out of the category of comfort books.

I don’t remember now, of course, as I am behind on this log by three months or so, but I suspect I picked The Vor Game off the shelf as a bathtub book. Or perhaps I was in a bad mood (YHB is generally a cheerful easygoing sort of fellow, but I do get into moods, now and then) and wanted that comfort book. Or I was just out of reading matter and wanted to fall back on something I knew I would enjoy. Anyway, I did pick it up.

This is the one with two very distinct parts, one on Camp Permafrost and one out in space. I hadn’t known (until looking it up on Wikipedia) that the first bit was published as a separate novella, but it isn’t really a surprise. On the other hand, the return of a major character from the first part is handled extremely well (imao), being a preposterous coincidence and shock to Miles and to us. And yet, there is a lovely inevitability to it.

As well, this is the one where Gregor has something of a personality beyond being An Extremely Good Emperor; the demands of the world set-up and the plots generally demand that readers are not allowed to think even for one moment about the possibility that somebody else would be a better Emperor. Which is fine—I like the plots and the set-up, so I accept that Gregor is who he is, but it’s nice for one bit of one book to think that he could have seriously fucked up. Yes, I know we are told in The Warrior’s Apprentice that Gregor is on the verge of a serious error, but it is told from behind, in such a way that precludes his actually making that error. This one is real.

The good part, though, was that it turns out that I can re-read them comfortably, now, without thinking that I will have to write something that Ms. Bujold may well read. I mean, she might, of course. But I wasn’t worried about it. Which is good, because then I read three more.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,