Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Miles, Mystery & Mayhem; L.M. Bujold

I finally managed to finish this one. I'm slow I know. In more ways than one. This is the second omnibus, composed of three previous works: Cetaganda, Ethan of Athos and Labyrinth. I discuss the first omnibus here.The first and last directly tell a Miles story, the middle one details a Dendarii stationer's spy mission against a black market genetics dealer who has also shown up in previous Miles adventures.

This particular group of books is more themed than the previous ones. Cetaganda deals with genetic manipulation and problems arising from concentration of power into a small group of individuals. Miles and his cousin Ivan have been sent to a week long diplomatic funeral on Eta Ceta IV. Cetagandan society has evolved into a highly compartmentalized tiered society. Ivan and Miles are there merely to polish their diplomatic skills in what ought to be a simple week's events. Unfortunately, they become embroiled in a complex scheme involving ancient secret keys, women who float around in opaque bubbles and Ivan's hormone fueled adventures. At the center of it all- who started this and why? And why involve Barrayar?

Ethan of Athos is more of an espionage/thriller type tale, taking place on a space station. A small agrarian planet buried in the back of beyond in the universe needs fresh ova cultures to help their men have children (via uterine replicators- an extension of test tube conception). There are no women here. Women are forbidden even as tourists. Women are the vessel of all that is evil/corrupt/weak etc. You get the picture. So Athos sends a scientist out into the universe (filled with these evil, horrible women) to buy new ova cultures and find out why they were gypped. He gets to a station & is then assaulted. The remainder is a study of life on a station. Commentary on genetic manipulation, single sex societies and the growth of ties between persons whose interests diverge and yet they need each other.

Labyrinth also involves genetic manipulation, the side effects of said manipulation and ethical boundaries. Miles has been sent to recover a top secret scientist off of a planet. The scientist refuses to leave unless Miles rescues the scientist's 'experiment', which has gone haywire and must be destroyed. Then follows Miles' and the other Dendarii's efforts to accomplish these goals.

I have to admit I didn't analyze the moral and ethical issues discussed on a superficial level by these novels. I read them strictly for story & character content. Unlike the Asaro novels (which often contain large amounts of physics), Bujold's novels don't inspire a great desire to delve deeply into the issues the novels bring up. I am now burning the Miles candle at both ends. I just borrowed the most recent Miles book, which features his wife, from the library.


Mailyn said...

Confused, but that happens to me A LOT. LOL. Is this a regular fiction? Or fantasy? Or sci-fi?

Bookwormom said...

Sorry about the fogginess, Mailyn. The Vorkosigan books are sci fi.

Mailyn said...

Ah okies, thanks! No worries. I'm always confused. Ask around! LOL