Monday, December 31, 2012

Vorkosigan Universe Goodness

I exceeded my monthly recommended dose of Ivan, and I feel fine!  Yes, I was patient until National Novel Writing Month ended to read the new Lois McMaster Bujold novel, Captain Vorpatril's Alliance.  It was my salvation from a couple of bad nights of insomnia, so I probably looked like a drunken zombie the days afterward as I squinted and lurched clumsily from lack of sleep and giggled at random while thinking, "Oh, Ivan . . ."

I was really pleased with what she did with Byerly, too.  He and Ivan made a hilarious and irritated team in A Civil Campaign, and they were excellent here, too.  I was glad to see them a little more grown up and no less entertaining for their additional maturity.  Ivan was less completely obnoxious than I remember him being in my first reading of a Civil Campaign.

In fact, he was less obnoxious than I remembered in A Civil Campaign, which I also read while on vacation. I think I saw that book in a gentler light after seeing Ivan without Miles to wind him up for most of a whole book. 

There was also that heart-wrenching bit with Mark and Ivan at the party in Mirror Dance, which I wound back around to read after skipping it this time through to try to keep up with the friend I was introducing Miles to.  I didn't mind sacrificing Mirror Dance, which is a tough book to read sometimes because of the dark places it goes.  Those, too, seemed shorter and smaller this time through, possibly because anything would likely seem less horrific after the Night Angel Trilogy.

By and Ivan were a pretty good comedy act all by themselves.  Illyan helped.  : ) 

Ivan is not Miles, so don't expect a Milesean adventure here.  This is a happy ending or two for some characters still loose in the Vorkosigan universe, and it is definitely one of the lighter, more mystery-based entries in the series.  After the way the last one ended, a lighter book was probably just what was needed.

Bujold has said that she considers the universe closed with the death of a certain character, as she had always pictured this character as the center/anchor of the universe with all stories taking place within this character's lifetime, but that doesn't mean she won't write more within that timeframe.  Personally, I want some Pym stories.  I consider wanting some young Aral stories, but then I remember what I know of him as a younger man, and I think maybe I don't want those stories.  Same with the Cetagandan Invasion stuff and the Komarr fiasco.  I might very much like some Miles' kids and Gregor's kids' stories . . .  She is currently working on a novella set in the universe (among other things), and she says she likes writing novellas better because they are so stripped down without side plots/characters, so fans may see more of those coming out in the future. 

Until then, you have all the other works in the series to pull out when the need strikes you.  : )  Enjoy . . .

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