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Ellen Cheeseman-Meyer

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Barrayar Chapter 19 and Epilogue

With the Imperial Residence on fire, and a uterine replicator and Vordarian’s head under a blanket, Cordelia and crew drive through two security checkpoints. When the car breaks down, they switch to the monorail, which interests me because (a) Barrayar has a monorail, at least in one District, and (b) Vordarian’s head travelled on it, so it’s a monorail of historic significance. Everyone is reunited with everyone else, and the war winds down. Once Vordarian’s head is detached from his shoulders, we have time to dig deep into Barrayar’s needs and limitations.

I pre-reread The Warrior’s Apprentice this week and the end of the Gentleman Jole spoiler embargo is so close I can practically taste it. If you haven’t read Gentlemen Jole and the Red Queen yet, put yourself on a library hold list today! If you have, remember to hold your thoughts until the human recruiting poster makes his debut. Previous posts in the re-read can be found here.

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Series: Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Barrayar, Chapters 16-18

This is a very exciting week in the Vorkosigan reread. I started this blog post with no real idea how close I would get to Vordarian’s head before time and space suggested that it would be prudent for me to submit this blog post and start work on the next one. This is how I roll. If you’ve ever wondered about the reasons for the uncertainty about the chapters covered in next week’s blog post, it’s because I’m working it out as I go. They let me do this. #blessed.

(Also, Chris Lough showed me a graphic he made but did not use for the Horse Lover’s Guide to the Vorkosigan Series, and it is EPIC, I promise that you are jealous.)

As you probably figured out from the title, I got to chapter 18. I’m so glad. I like to think I’m a gentle, peace-loving person, but I prefer my pretenders headless.

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Series: Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga

A Horse Lover’s Guide to the Vorkosigan Saga

Count Piotr Vorkosigan is not of this Earth. He has spent his life fighting the Cetagandans and the warring Counts on a planet with toxic vegetation over a thousand years in our future. But he still mounts his horse from the left, just like Xenophon told him to.

Horses don’t fit smoothly into most space operas, and encounters with them aren’t an everyday—or even an every book—occurrence in the Vorkosigan Saga. While they aren’t usually at the center of Bujold’s stories, horses play key roles in pivotal moments. Barrayarans love their horses like they love their fireworks, and Bujold clearly loves them too.

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Series: Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Barrayar, Chapters 14 and 15

Welcome back to the Vorkosigan reread! Chapters 14 and 15 of Barrayar explore questions that have been haunting the comments thread for weeks. This section deals mainly with characters’ motives as Aral looks for ways to draw men to his side, and Vidal Vordarian looks for ways to turn up the pressure.

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.

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Series: Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Barrayar, Chapters 11-13

At the end of last week’s post, Negri was dead on the lawn beside the lightflyer. Two Impsec men were performing CPR. Gregor was in Drou’s arms. Drou was accused of sabotaging the comconsole, and is consequently about to be arrested. Miles is gestating in the Imperial Military hospital in Vorbarr Sultana. Kareen is with Vordarian in the Palace. Cordelia is heading into the woods. Aral is going to Hassadar. Armsman Esterhazy is going to get the horses. Welcome to the the War of Vordarian’s Pretendership. Chapters 11-13 of Barrayar deal with the Backcountry Campaign—the effort to keep Emperor Gregor out of Vidal Vordarian’s hands.

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.

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Series: Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Barrayar, Chapters 9-10

It’s very apparent from the comments on the last few blog posts that many readers are eager to discuss the coup. Me too! Chapters 9 and 10 lay the stage. This section is about children—Miles, Aral, Drou and Kou’s dreams, and Gregor. This section also represents a key moment for the comconsole in the library at Vorkosigan Surleau.

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.

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Series: Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga

Mid-life Diplomatic Crisis: Mercedes Lackey and Larry Dixon’s The White Gryphon

The White Gryphon is the second book in Mercedes Lackey and Larry Dixon’s Mage Wars trilogy. It was published in 1997, in between Storm Warning and Storm Rising. While my current interests lie primarily with the Storm trilogy (which has calculus, shorthand, and sandwiches), I believe it is important to read these two series in the order they were published, because they deal with the consequences of the same cataclysm. That cataclysm took place at the tail end of The Black Gryphon, and it ended the Mage war between Urtho and Ma’ar.

The White Gryphon takes place approximately ten years after these events. The people of Clan k’Leshya have travelled far from Urtho’s tower (which is now either the middle of the Dhorisha Plains or the middle of Lake Evandim) to build a new city for themselves. The book’s cover features Skandranon rampant and Amberdrake in his Magical Indian costume: feathers, abs, and a very nice bathrobe. The city in the background uses a lot of blue on its roofs, which makes me think of Valdemar—and was probably the point.

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Series: The Valdemar Reread

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Barrayar, Chapters 7-8

Welcome back to the Vorkosigan reread! This week, we discover the charms of Vorbarr Sultana’s caravanserai, Bothari’s childhood home. And it is charming indeed, when compared to everything else that happens in chapters 7 and 8 of Barrayar. We’re going to very dark places in the reread this week.

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.

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Series: Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Barrayar, Chapters 5-6

In chapter 5, it’s Gregor’s birthday! Now that he’s five, he’s put aside childish things and we never see Steggie again. He’s big enough for Judo lessons with Drou, though. Readers should also note that fireworks are strictly prohibited inside Vorkosigan House.

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: Barrayar, Chapters 3-4

We’re on Barrayar, so “life goes on” means someone tries to end you. In chapters 3 and 4 of Barrayar, Ezar’s death begins Aral’s regency, with some of the consequences Ezar worked so hard to guard against.

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.

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Series: Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Barrayar, Chapters 1-2

Last week, we finished with Shards of Honor and its unofficial epilogue, “Aftermaths.” This week, we’re staring Barrayar! The third book in the Vorkosigan Saga in chronological order, but the fourth in publication order, Barrayar won both the Hugo Award for best novel and the Locus Award for Best Science Fiction novel in 1992. The book has been through a number of publishing formats in a lot of places, and it has a lot of cover art.

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.

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Series: Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: “Aftermaths”

Our lives are made to be laid down. Some of us will die for no reason, or because it is our time. Some of us will die for good reasons, and some of us in the service of lost causes.

I can believe that Serg’s honor guard to hell laid down their lives for a good cause. Their lives, and whatever lives were earlier sacrifices to Serg’s sins, were the cost—as Cordelia said, “something you give, not something you get”—of preventing something worse. So I am compelled to believe that the Escobarans who were killed in action also died for a good cause, though not one that anyone on Escobar knowingly chose.

And once your life has spilled out into the vast emptiness of space, then what happens?

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Series: Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga

Ancient History: Mercedes Lackey and Larry Dixon’s The Black Gryphon

The last book I blogged for the Valdemar Reread was Storm Warning. Usually, this would mean I would go on to reread the rest of the Mage Storms trilogy, in order. And I am very excited about reading it—there are not a lot of books that feature teenage male protagonists who take notes in shorthand and invent the sandwich. Did I mention that Karal invented the sandwich? Valdemar has had hot-water heaters for over 700 years, and has yet to invent the steam engine, so inventing the sandwich potentially represents a major leap forward in Valdemaran technology as well as a revolution in Valdemar’s pie-centric local cuisine. I can hardly wait to read more about Karal and his adventures in using careful record-keeping and the assistance of his cadre of psychic animals to save Valdemar, Karse, possibly Iftel, and, if my dreams come true, Menmellith, from the relentless onslaught of magical storms from the distant past!

But I am waiting. The Mage Storms and the Mage Wars trilogies were released concurrently, starting in 1994. The Mage Wars books were first by a few months and were staggered with the Mage Storms books. The historical origin of the storms in Storm Warning suggests that a complete understanding of this story requires me to examine it the way readers would have encountered it when the books were first published—a little chunk of ancient history, followed by a little chink of “modern” Valdemar. I’m a little bit backwards, because I read Storm Warning first. I don’t regret this; I’ve been making Karal-inspired sandwiches. But I feel it’s important to take on the remainder of the series in the proper order, which is why this blog post is about The Black Gryphon.

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Series: The Valdemar Reread

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Shards of Honor, Chapters 14-15

Last week, Cordelia made a daring escape from involuntary Betan therapy, and stuck a fork in Arde Mayhew’s career. This week, we find out where everyone else went, and how they’re dealing with the consequences.

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.

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Series: Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Shards of Honor, Chapters 11-13

Last week, the war was in full swing. This week it’s over. The wormholes are blocked, the prisoners are exchanged, and everyone goes home. It turns out, though, that home is not always where you expect to find it, or what you hoped it would be.

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