January 9th, 2013

Me 2012

Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan series, and The Emperor's Soul by Brandon Sanderson

I've been re-reading Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan stories lately, partly because they're good books, and partly because there's a least one new one I've not read and I want to refresh my memory of the series before I do.

I've re-read the two Cordelia books (and one short from between them, all compiled into Cordelia's Honor) and the first two Miles books, The Warrior's Apprentice and The Vor Game so far. Now I have to chase down the short stories that are from around this time in the timeline -- Lut has them in e-form if not paperback, somewhere. I'm not bothering with the library because Lut's got multiple copies of all of them. Oh, and I need to decide if I want to read Ethan of Athos, which I remember as being okay but not one of my favorites. Also, not technically about a Vorkosigan, so not that important to later continuity.

I haven't been reviewing these, because (a) I've read them before and (b) it's a series so there's practically nothing I can say about them that isn't a spoiler for later books. But I highly recommend the Vorkosigan series -- in fact, it struck me that these are the one series prior to the Aubrey/Maturin books where I've read a lot of books about the same protagonist.

The Vorkosigan books are comparatively short -- most of the adult fiction I've been reading lately is 400+ pages (in some cases, 1000+), and the Vorkosigan stuff has mostly been around 300 so far. It is striking to me that it takes me maybe a day and a half to read a 300 page novel, but a week to read a 700 page one. I don't really know why that is.

Reading them again is fun and I still like the books, but they rely more upon coincidence and improbable events than I remembered. I am putting them at an 8 so far instead of a 9.

I read The Emperor's Soul today, Yet Another Brandon Sanderson story. This one is a novella weighing in at a mere 157 pages. It's the shortest work I've ever read by Sanderson, whose adult fiction tends to page counts of 500+. It's an interesting take on the con-job story, with a fantasy setting and a counterfeit artist being held hostage to pull off a counterfeit at an empire-wide level. The characters are sketched briefly but affectionately: as is not infrequent with Sanderson's work, one often feels that the grand messes people make are less a function of evil than incompetence, too lazy or inept or lacking the foresight to do better. I will give this one a 8 too. I seem to be running into a lot of 8s lately.