Tor.com content by

Ellen Cheeseman-Meyer

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: The Vor Game, Chapters 7-8

In this week’s re-read, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree—Miles applies Cordelia’s strategy for dealing with boredom in captivity. In Shards of Honor, Cordelia read histories of Barrayar in alphabetical order by author and was rescued before she got to the Bs. ImpSec is a more secure fortress than the General Vorkraft; Miles gets all the way to the Ls in the alphabetical catalog of training tapes. How many CEUs is that? I suspect we will never know.

The spoiler embargo is OFF, but no one with any kind of romantic life appears in these chapters anyway, so I hope you got anything you had to say about love triangles out of your system last week. Remember, comments should have at least a tangential relationship to the section of The Vor Game under discussion, in this case chapters seven and eight.

[Read more]

Series: Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: The Vor Game, Chapters 5-6

This section starts with a siren in the night: There’s been a spill in the toxic stores bunker. The mutagenic poison leaking from its broken barrels is going to set off a chain of events that drives Miles to an unplanned act of civil disobedience.

These chapters also offer our very first ever official sighting of Oliver Jole. The spoiler embargo has now ended! Comments about future books in the series should bear at least a tangential relationship to the events in this section, please.  

[Read more]

Series: Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: The Vor Game, Chapter 4

I don’t usually blog about the process of blogging—it’s way too meta for me—but I feel I should acknowledge that this post is coming to you from Tuesday night, in a sort of “what the hell, I’m not sleeping anyway” frame of mind. I’m on the iPad, the cat (who still has four legs for now, thank you for asking) is snoring, and I would rather be thinking of the body in the drain than anything else in the world.

We’re very close to the last iteration of this spoiler warning. When Jole walks onto the page, Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen becomes fair game. It’s not this week, but it’s either next week or the one after.

[Read more]

Series: Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: The Vor Game, Chapters 2 and 3

Last week, Miles flew off to Kyril Island, which is like a magical frosty fairyland that also wants to kill you. And I committed one of the classic reread blogger sins—leaving off half of the chapter. The conversation Miles has with Major Cecil is very enlightening, but so are the conversations he has with Lieutenant Ahn and that incident where he proves he is totally getting better at subordination by regretting that he got snippy with his new CO. Miles is starting to realize that it’s one thing to demand that he be given a chance to be a soldier, but there may possibly be a limit on the number of chances he’s allowed to have. He’s only starting to realize it though; He’s, like, still wicked young. When I was Miles’s age (I’m estimating he’s about 20), I wanted to save the world. I think an objective observer would say that I did better than Miles, but I wouldn’t say it went well.

How ‘bout that spoiler policy? I read ahead last night and Jole makes an appearance right around chapter 5. Don’t want to be spoiled? See if your local public library has Gentlemen Jole and the Red Queen available as an ebook! Or perhaps on the shelf.

[Read more]

Series: Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: The Vor Game, Chapter 1

Last week, the reread finished off The Warrior’s Apprentice with Miles’s acquittal on charges of high treason and his subsequent enrollment in the Imperial Military Academy. This week, we follow Miles as he begins his military career. As a meteorologist. On Kyril Island. But before we deal with that, we have some business to attend to.

The first item before us this week is the matter of the spoiler policy. Despite an epic comment thread that spanned such diverse subjects as the ancien regime in France and whether or not I had managed to insult the US Marine Corps, very few posters took up my call for comments on the spoiler embargo in re: Oliver Jole. Those who did were unhappy with the current plan to start talking about Gentleman Jole spoilers sometime in the course of the re-read of The Vor Game. They expressed concern that revealing information from the last book in the series would color our understanding of the relationships between characters in earlier books. IMO, that’s not a bug—it’s a feature. I’m dying to explore the ways that the things we now know about Jole color my understanding of the relationships in the rest of the books. I am currently planning to hold off on Jole discussion until the Gentleman himself makes an appearance, but not one second longer. Please consider yourself warned.

[Read more]

Series: Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga

Captain Kirk Has a Man-Cave: Brad Ferguson’s Crisis on Centaurus

Crisis on Centaurus opens in a busy spaceport. This is not the sanitized, utopian Federation we are used to; it is crammed with brand names, and with frustrated travelers. One of them, an angry Tellarite businessman, attacks an ATM that has swallowed his American Express card, and we are suddenly immersed in the ugly underside of our imagined future. Not because someone has taken a sword to a machine that even the local cops admit deserved it, although that’s a grittier underbelly than Star Trek imagines most of the time, but because of Holtzman, the terrorist, sitting just a few feet away. This is not only a highly commercial Federation, it is, Ferguson subtly reminds us, a place where a genocidal dictator once hid for years by traveling the galaxy. And suddenly, it’s a Federation where we see the forces of evil do much worse than performing in a touring production of Hamlet.

Ferguson’s humor is a stealth move that makes the moment of destruction shocking. A simple antimatter bomb transforms the New Athens spaceport into a fourth sun rising over the Centauran horizon. James T. Kirk is going to have to save this brand new day.

[It’s a Man’s Job]

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: The Warrior’s Apprentice, Chapter 21 and Epilogue

Miles arrives at Vorhartung Castle for his trial, and Ivan helpfully reminds him that he has to get out of the lightflyer now that he’s there. This week, he’s fighting for his life, and also auditioning for Barrayar’s next historical vid drama for children. Just like Vorthalia the Bold!

This is the LAST WEEK in the re-read of The Warrior’s Apprentice. Next week, we embark upon The Vor Game, which raises questions about when we get to talk about Jole. As stated, the reread spoiler embargo expires with the next book. I’m not yet certain whether that means “the very second we start reading it” or “when we actually meet Jole.” The final decision is, of course, mine, but I welcome input on this issue should the comments wander in that direction.

[Read more]

Series: Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga

Rereading the Vorkosigan Series: The Warrior’s Apprentice, Chapters 19 and 20

Last week, Miles had some revelations about Barrayaran politics. This week, Miles says farewell—to his mercenary company, to his friend Elena, and to his childhood—and pays off his debts.

If you’d like to catch up on previous posts in the re-read, the index is here. At this time, the spoiler policy permits discussion of all books EXCEPT Gentlemen Jole and the Red Queen. Discussion of any and all revelations from or about that book should be whited out. We will finish The Warrior’s Apprentice next week and start the Vor Game the week afterwards. The spoiler embargo will end with Jole’s first appearance in The Vor Game.

[Read more]

Series: Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga

Forces Beyond Human Control: Mercedes Lackey’s Storm Rising

Storm Rising is the second of Mercedes Lackey’s Mage Storms trilogy. Although it takes place over a thousand years later, it’s publication date in 1995 was between the final two books in the Mage Wars series, creating an overlapping reading order for these temporally disparate trilogies that both deal with the magical fallout of the war between the great Mages Urtho and Ma’ar.

This portion of the Valdemar blog series is only nominally a reread. I have read these books before, but I don’t remember them at all well—this is more of a rediscovery. Storm Rising returns to the story of Karal, the young Karsite Priest who has become Karse’s ambassador to Valdemar following the assassination of the mentor, Ulrich, by an agent of the shadowy and mysterious Eastern Empire. Karal has been working to help forge a defensive alliance between a loose coalition of Valdemar’s neighbors and to deal with the magical storms that have been battering the region. Storm Rising also continues the story of Grand Duke Tremane as he abandons his quest for the Wolf Throne to focus on surviving storm-related magic-outages and scary mutant creature attacks in rural Hardorn.

[Read more]

Series: The Valdemar Reread

Rereading the Vorkosigan Series: The Warrior’s Apprentice, Chapters 15-18

This week’s section opens with Miles sitting in his cabin in his underwear, staring at Bothari’s coffin. He’s overwhelmed—by grief, by the ever-expanding Dendarii, and by the pressures of command. Is there some way mercenaries can do a credit check before signing a contract?

If you’d like to catch up on previous posts in the re-read, the index is here. At this time, the spoiler policy permits discussion of all books EXCEPT Gentlemen Jole and the Red Queen. Discussion of any and all revelations from or about that book should be whited out. We are mere chapters away from The Vor Game and the end of our spoiler embargo, so find a copy of Gentleman Jole and read it now if you need to!

[Read more]

Series: Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga

Slightly Farther Away: Mercedes Lackey’s Closer to the Chest

After Closer to the Heart, I can understand that many readers might expect me to approach the newest book in Mercedes Lackey’s Herald Spy series, Closer to the Chest with trepidation. To be honest, I expected to approach it that way as well. The title gave me pause—if we are now closer to the chest, we are, technically, an inch or two further away than we were in the title of the last book. It turns out, though, that my childhood programming is impossible to overcome.

Earlier stories in this series brought us gun runners, thrilling late-night climbs up the sides of buildings, an unexpected glut of strawberry shortcake, and a tantalizing hint of the internal politics of Menmellith. I’m excited to find out what new kinds of dogs Lady Dia can breed (if we had Warming Spaniels, muffs would still be in), where else Mags will play Kirball, what his personal collection of orphans is going to do, and where the current trends are headed in Valdemaran cuisine. My personal vote is for truffle-hunting corgis, on a cultural exchange with the tribes who live north of Sorrows, forming a theater company, and funnel cake. Lackey doesn’t necessarily follow up on the issues I would like to see examined in more detail, but she knows how to keep her readers’ attention. Closer to the Chest is a lot of fun to read.

[Read more]

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: The Warrior’s Apprentice, Chapters 13-15

This section of The Warrior’s Apprentice winds steadily closer to the day when the mercs don’t get paid. He knows that financial destruction is looming on the horizon, but Miles seems to be covered in glory. Miles captures a Pelian ship (it goes with the refinery!) and finally sees something resembling combat. It’s hard to say without a direct encounter with the enemy, but Miles seems competent in his debut as a space marine. ONCE AGAIN, I assert that the Imperial Military Academy’s admissions criteria are screening out talented applicants (a category that includes both Miles and Elena). Miles’s success inspires the Felicians to hire him to break the Oseran blockade AND to promise to pay him in galactic currency once they get some. I’m such a sucker for fictional hyperinflation. I’m mentioning it now because the rest of this blog post has bigger fish to fry.

If you’d like to catch up on previous posts in the reread, the index is here. At this time, the spoiler policy permits discussion of all books EXCEPT Gentlemen Jole and the Red Queen. Discussion of any and all revelations from or about that book should be whited out.

[Trigger warnings—this section deals with the treatment of prisoners at Escobar]

Series: Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: The Warrior’s Apprentice, Chapters 10-12

This week, the re-read delves into chapters 10-12 of The Warrior’s Apprentice. The Dendarii go recruiting, and their new trainees have some very important questions. Miles does his best to distract them with an air of authority, a rigorous training schedule, and some fortuitous rumors about Betan rejuvenation treatments.

If you’d like to catch up on previous posts in the re-read, the index is here. At this time, the spoiler policy permits discussion of all books EXCEPT Gentlemen Jole and the Red Queen. Discussion of any and all revelations from or about that book should be whited out.

[Read more]

Series: Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: The Warrior’s Apprentice, Chapters 8-9

This week begins as a screwball adventure and Miles and his variably-intrepid crew reach Tau Verde IV and encounter the Oseran Mercenaries. Miles is no longer high on green liquor, but he still has forward momentum, and he’s hoping to resolve the financial issues he created for himself when he mortgaged that radioactive land and then, I imagine, go back to Beta Colony with a thrilling story to tell. And for a little while, it looks like he might!

If you’d like to catch up on previous posts in the re-read, the index is here. At this time, the spoiler policy permits discussion of all books EXCEPT Gentlemen Jole and the Red Queen. Discussion of any and all revelations from or about that book should be whited out.

[Read more]

Series: Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: The Warrior’s Apprentice, Chapters 5-6

This week, Miles and his entourage head for Beta Colony. Some time has passed; Miles’s legs are now unbroken, and he has used them to trudge around some military cemeteries on Escobar. Miles and Elena do not find what they are looking for. That took about two paragraphs, and the rest of the quest for Elena’s mother will wait for a later chapter. We’re on Beta Colony! And we need to get to know it real fast, because we’re not here for long.

If you’d like to catch up on previous posts in the re-read, the index is here. At this time, the spoiler policy permits discussion of all books EXCEPT Gentlemen Jole and the Red Queen. Discussion of any and all revelations from or about that book should be whited out.

[Read more]

Series: Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga