The Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold

Montero

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Well, LMB is on Goodreads and discusses covers in her Q&A. She has always disliked the UK release covers on Vorkosigan apparently and also the UK cover on Paladin of Souls.
I don't like the silhouette figure covers either, strike me as thriller sort of covers of the obscure and twisted sort, but there you go. I don't get why she likes them, but she does.
On the other hand, the covers for her new Penric Novellas are gorgeous - hired an artist for them.

Regarding Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen - on the first read I was a little disappointed as was expecting a "big drama" somewhere in the story. I liked all the second relationship thing, seeing all the characters again a few years on. I then re-read it almost immediately, knowing that it wasn't a big drama and deeply enjoyed it. It is a farewell to the characters, seeing them all into a safe harbours. Miles is now Count Vorkosigan and a father and no longer adventuring round the galaxy. Cordelia is returning in part to her science roots and getting to have the big family she always wanted and not having to worry about assassins, or Barrayar politics or the like.
To me it is in many ways an epilogue to the series. It is not often a writer gets to say "good bye".
 

psikeyhackr

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Well, LMB is on Goodreads and discusses covers in her Q&A. She has always disliked the UK release covers on Vorkosigan apparently and also the UK cover on Paladin of Souls.
I don't like the silhouette figure covers either, strike me as thriller sort of covers of the obscure and twisted sort, but there you go. I don't get why she likes them, but she does.
On the other hand, the covers for her new Penric Novellas are gorgeous - hired an artist for them.
Bujold's discussion of covers:

Lois McMaster Bujold's Blog - Cover reveal! Falling Free - September 18, 2015 14:21
Lois McMaster Bujold's Blog - Cover reveal! Ethan of Athos - September 22, 2015 05:57
Lois McMaster Bujold's Blog - Cover reveal! Brothers in Arms - September 25, 2015 06:42
Lois McMaster Bujold's Blog - Cover reveal! Cetaganda - October 05, 2015 16:07
Lois McMaster Bujold's Blog - Cover reveal! Borders of Infinity - October 06, 2015 23:37
Lois McMaster Bujold's Blog - Cover reveal! Komarr - October 08, 2015 18:58
 

Montero

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Cool psikey.
Having been to look at each one, Cetaganda is the only one I like.
I can see her point, they are clever if you've already read the book but to me they do not say "science fiction" except for Cetaganda.

On the flip side, if much simpler covers become the norm, that will be a big saving for a lot of self-pub people.
So on second thoughts - yay, go LMB. :)
 

Bugg

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You know, I've just realised what these covers remind me of - it's the opening titles from the old Irwin Allen tv shows:


 

Werthead

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Falling Free

Engineer Leo Graf is assigned to an engineering project on a zero-g space habitat. To his surprise, he finds the Cay Habitat is also home to "quaddies", a genetically-engineered human subspecies which has replaced its lower two legs with arms, giving them unmatched versatility in zero gravity, as well as increased resistance to degenerative disorders: they are humans tailor-made to exist in space. When Beta Colony develops a practical artificial gravity technology, it makes the quaddies obsolete overnight...but Graf is not prepared to see them cast onto the scrapheap of history and hatches a daring plan to save them.

Falling Free is a novel set in the universe of The Vorkosigan Saga but is not part of the core series, instead being set about 200 years earlier and exploring the origin of the quaddies. As is typical for a Bujold SF novel, it is deeply concerned with both hard SF concepts - genetic engineering, Newtonian physics - and how these play out through ethical and character-based dilemmas.

In this regard Falling Free is successful: Bujold is an effective writer and, although this is relatively a minor novel for her, she still tells an interesting story quite well. The SF elements are intriguing, but the ethical dilemma feels clumsy. The legal status of genetically-engineered lifeforms is something you think that the interstellar diaspora would have sorted out by this time, and the over-arcing theme that indentured slavery is a bad thing is hard to argue with. It's also not helped by the fact that the primary antagonist, Bruce Van Atta, is a boo-hiss, moustache-twirling bad guy almost entirely lacking in nuance. Of course we're going to side with plucky engineer Leo Graf and the quaddies.

The story builds up quite well but the narrative is slight: the quaddies are in danger and Leo has to help them escape. And that's really it. The reason for the truncated storyline is revealed in the author's notes. Originally this was going to be the start of a trilogy exploring how the quaddies built up an entire interplanetary civilisation - the Union of Free Habitats - from scratch, but Bujold was side-tracked by the success of the core Vorkosigan books and never got round to writing the other two books. The novel Diplomatic Immunity, in which Miles Vorkosigan himself visits Quaddiespace, revealed the ultimate fate of the quaddie species and eliminated the need to write the other two books. So that's fine, but it does leave Falling Free as a relatively minor entry in the wider Vorkosigan

Falling Free (***½) is a fun, readable part of The Vorkosigan Saga and has some curiosity value, but it also feels very slight. It is, however, quite short so passes the time very nicely. It is available now as part of the Miles, Mutants and Microbes omnibus, alongside the other quaddie novel, Diplomatic Immunity (UK, USA).
 

psikeyhackr

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Falling Free has the highest SF density of any of Bujold's books.

The input file is: LMB.FalFree.txt with 492391 characters.

vacuum 9
atmosphere 11
laser 11
hydroponics 11
planet 11
engineering 13
genetic 14
plastic 16
pressure 17
computer 18
wormhole 19
orbit 20
acceleration 23
engineer 24
gravity 33


The input file is: LMB.FalFree.txt with 492391 characters.
It uses 97 SF words 460 times for an SF density of 0.935

magically == 1
curses == 1
elves == 1
charms == 1
spell == 1

5 Fantasy words used 5 times for a Fantasy density of 0.011

The next is Komarr.


The input file is: LMB.Komarr2.txt with 708166 characters.


atmosphere 9
theory 10
planet 10
orbit 10
program 11
genetic 11
gravitational 11
aircar 12
symptoms 12
oxygen 12
planetary 14
drug 14
pressure 14
brain 16
plastic 16
engineer 19
terraforming 19
engineering 24
galactic 30
experiment 35
wormhole 53
comconsole 70


The input file is: LMB.Komarr2.txt with 708166 characters.
It uses 108 SF words 641 times for an SF density of 0.906

The word count limit of: 70 was exceeded by: 15

magically == 1
curse == 1
sword == 1
dwarf == 1
magic == 1
charm == 2
magical == 2
spirit == 3

8 Fantasy words used 12 times for a Fantasy density of 0.017

The word 'Comconsole' is unique to Bujold's books. Without that word the SF density is 0.806

psik
 

psikeyhackr

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There seems to be a curious thing about Bujold's writing. It is as though around 2/3rds of the way through Shards of Honor that her writing went from OK to really good. Barrayar was the first book where I went WOW!, this is really great! All of her other books before that failed to impress me. Falling Free is just one of those OK books.

psik
 

Montero

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Well, I've noticed other writers take a little while to get into their stride - that a first book can be OK to read, but is a bit "first book". I always thought that was in some ways what traditional publishers were really good for (or used to be) picking up someone they thought had great potential who was currently OK but with more practice, editing etc would then become superb.
 

psikeyhackr

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Well, I've noticed other writers take a little while to get into their stride - that a first book can be OK to read, but is a bit "first book". I always thought that was in some ways what traditional publishers were really good for (or used to be) picking up someone they thought had great potential who was currently OK but with more practice, editing etc would then become superb.
The funny thing is that I have been reading SF for decades and do not consider myself to be a connoisseur of writing style. I tend to regard the story and the science more important than the writing. But I do not recall ever noticing any change this great and sudden in any other writer.
 

pyan

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Psikeyhackr, why are words such as drug, pressure and brain regarded as being 'SF words'? If I was writing a modern hospital novel, they'd probably appear quite often...:confused:
 

psikeyhackr

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Psikeyhackr, why are words such as drug, pressure and brain regarded as being 'SF words'? If I was writing a modern hospital novel, they'd probably appear quite often...:confused:
I only intend the program to be somewhat informative about SF and Fantasy works. But there are SF Medical novels like Star Surgeon by Alan E. Nourse who was a doctor. Science is advancing medicine. How often has the term DNA come up in medicine in the last 35 years? Computers are now used in medicine and AI is getting into the act.

4 ways AI could help shape the future of medicine

Frankenstein could be a case of medical science fiction.
 
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