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Book Report: Cryoburn

So. Remember last week, when YHB was whinging about not liking to read books off a screen? Well, Cryoburn turned up at the library. And the thing about that is that Baen, bless them, decided to include in the hardback of the book a CD with all the Miles books in a variety of handy DRM-free formats. And the library, bless them, left the CD in the book when they lent it out to me. And the rules seemed to indicate that I was OK to make my own copy. Well, when I say seemed to indicate, what I mean is “ This disk and its contents may be copied and shared, but NOT sold.” So I copied them, and I have them on a thumb drive.

And the thing about that is that even though I don’t much enjoy reading books off screens, I also don’t much enjoy waiting. And neither does my Best Reader. So we read Cryoburn simultaneously, her with the book and me with my screen. No waiting, no fuss, nobody had to be generous about it. Except Baen, I mean. And their generosity is tempered by the commercial calculation of it; they believe that “ the more people who read Ms. Bujold’s works the more people will buy them”, and they may be right about that. Or not. I have no idea. I will buy this one in paperback, the way I have bought all the others, because I like paperbacks. It’s possible, not likely mind you but possible, that I would have also bought the hardcover of this one, because I don’t like waiting, and also because I do like rereading her books (as GRs may have noticed), and having them all on a thumb drive seems like a valuable thing to me, should I someday come to enjoy reading on the screen. As it is, of course, I have read the thing now, so I won’t be buying the hardback. And if I realio trulio can’t wait until the paperback comes out before I must re-read it, I do have it on the thumb drive.

And I might not be able to. It’s not one of the bestest of Lois McMaster Bujold’s books, as far as my own taste goes—I would leave it out of the top five, and put it solidly in the middle rank—but the last sentence of the book turned the whole thing around. Well, the last sentence before the Epilogue, I mean. But it immediately made me want to turn around and read the whole damned thing again. It was (YHB says, dancing delicately around the specific spoiler) very much a book about X, and then it turns out to have been a book about Y; reading the book knowing it is a book about Y would be a very different experience from thinking it was a book about X. Not a spoiled experience, necessarily—y’all know I think her books re-read very well. But a different experience.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,


I liked Cryoburn well enough. That last sentence - yeah. On the other hand, there were various things throughout the book that seemed to foreshadow it. But even though I was half expecting it, it still got me.

I flipped past the epilogue when trying to find my place one time, and saw a key word that led me to know in general terms what kind of thing was going to be happening there, and thus noticed a bunch of places where things were alluded to me that ah jeez this is impossible to talk about without spoilers. :^) Anyway, I pretty much knew how it was going to end, and was still blown away by the last line.

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