Book Review: Young Miles by Lois McMaster Bujold (Four Stars)

Book Review: Young Miles (Vorkosigan Saga #2) by Lois McMaster Bujold (Four Stars)

“Aren’t you going to get in trouble for that?” “I’ll worry about that if we live through this.”

2020 review: Great writing. I especially like Bujold’s self-depreciating humor. Miles is about as far from typical space opera heroes as McMasters could make him. Intentionally.

“This whole thing is balanced on a hoax.”  “It’s not balanced on a hoax. You balance it.” “Isn’t that what I said?”

Star Trekkian science, but the stories hold up better than much other forty-year-old science fiction. I’ve read so much tripe in the dozen years since I discovered the Vorkosigans that I’ve bumped the rating a star.

“I’m afraid I can’t discuss my plans. Not even with you.” “You always were tricky.” “As an experienced combat soldier, do you prefer frontal assaults?” “No, sir!”

Original 2009 review: 3.5. Good stories, fun to read. No great insights or science. popcorn for the brain. The weird part is that I’m sure I’ve read part of the third story, perhaps in an anthology.

“Don’t you think there’s a certain . . . hubris, in undertaking field leadership without a prior apprenticing in field followership?”

Book Review: Admiral Who? by Luke Sky Wachter (Three Stars)

Book Review: Admiral Who? (Spineward Sectors #1) by Luke Sky Wachter (Three Stars)

“’I wouldn’t even trust myself with command of a garbage scow!’ I caught myself just short of completely losing my composure, realizing I had arrived rather abruptly at the end of my wits.”

A fun, almost mindless space opera with more than a nod to the Vorkosigan sagas of Lois McMaster Bujold. Not particularly well-written so much as well intended.

“Up until this moment everything had felt like a role I was playing, a game, albeit one with deadly results, but for all of that still just a game. But now people had died and I was responsible. Thousands had lived that wouldn’t otherwise, and I was responsible for that too.”

Fast paced and ill-starred. Whatever can go wrong does and at the worst time, yet young Admiral Montagne always lands on his feet, even though he wakes up an uncomfortable number of times in the medical bay not knowing how he got there.

“… waiting for a chance to meet and greet their new Admiral. ‘If I may,’ I said, and moved to the assembled crew waiting to greet their new Admiral.”

Needed another edit. Many minor errors on tense, person and point of view.

“Cousin Cordelia’s other lesson …”  

Cordelia was Miles Vorkosigan’s redoubtable mother. Did Wachter embed an homage to Bujold’s sagas?

“If I was going to dress like a fool and look like a mutant, I might as well play the part to the hilt.”

Book Review: Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie (Four Stars)

Book Review: Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie

Four Stars out of Five

“You don’t need to know the odds. You need to know how to do the thing you’re doing. And then you need to do it.”

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress meets On Basilisk Station. A different kind of space opera. This one had a solid three up to the climax. Leckie drew everything—almost everything—together in a logical and satisfying manner.

Curiously, the tale itself featured a lot of unnecessary repetition, almost as if it was written to be published by chapters, and Leckie felt obligated to explain what she’d previous explained several times.

It’s no spoiler by now to admit that Breq is the titular ancillary. Ancillary Justice established that Breq found the differences between male and female humans so insignificant that “she” referred to all of the as females. Now the rest of the cast follows the same convention, which undercuts the point—and humor—of Breq doing so.

And humor is an important feature of these tales. “Remember … internal organs belong inside your body. And blood belongs inside your veins.”

Crutches? No levitation chair? Even Pixar has those.

Normally I hate deus ex machina stories. But this “deus” was hiding in plain sight for most of this book, if not the entire series.

Quibble: Station could have killed the tyrant dozens of ways.

“In the end it’s only ever been one step, and then the next.”