holyschist: Image of a medieval crocodile from Herodotus, eating a person, with the caption "om nom nom" (Default)
[personal profile] holyschist posting in [community profile] spaceopera
So, approximately 8 years after they were recommended to me, I'm finally reading Lois McMaster Bujold (because I reread all of Elizabeth Moon twice in the last year). Granted, I like space opera a lot more now than I did then.

So I'm starting with the Cordelia's Honor omnibus, and so far I like it quite a lot, although I don't really agree with Bujold that a baby is the natural end to any non-truncated romance.

I see there are a lot more books, and most of them focus on Cordelia's son. How much of a role does she play in them? Are there other interesting female characters? What are your favorite books in the series?

Date: 2009-04-13 06:11 am (UTC)
morineko: Hikaru Amano from Nadesico (Default)
From: [personal profile] morineko
It depends on how one defines "interesting" in regards to female characters. What kind of female characters are you looking for in your sf?

Date: 2009-04-14 01:23 am (UTC)
morineko: Hikaru Amano from Nadesico (Default)
From: [personal profile] morineko
The series will probably disappoint you, then; everything is focused on Miles. The one book you'd probably like is the side story Ethan of Athos because there is no way whatsoever that Elli Quinn is a reward in that one.

Date: 2009-04-15 02:33 am (UTC)
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
From: [personal profile] feuervogel
On Barrayar, yes-mostly. In space, not as much. Barrayar is a planet that's sexist as hell, where women can't even own property or have next of kin rights to their own children. So by necessity, the major characters are male, and the women are sort of ... prizes, but they've got identities. Or they work them out.

The Chalion books, especially Paladin of Souls, have more agented female characters.

(I also get my hackles up at the idea that successful relationship == children. I just want *one* damn Vor character NOT to go all loopy over the prospect of heirs. Preferably Ivan, because he's my favorite.)

Date: 2009-04-15 12:56 pm (UTC)
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
From: [personal profile] feuervogel
(It occurred to me belatedly that this was the spaceopera community, not vorkosigan, but, well. The Chalion books are fantasy, if that matters.)

I think the female characters on Barrayar are dealing with the hand they're dealt the best they can. Miles is sort of an idiot when it comes to women, since he's got a kind of outmoded view (rawr male protect! rawr!). Cordelia, with her Betan upbringing, instills the notion that women can be anything that men can be and vice versa, or tries to. Barrayar's still a backwater shithole. Throughout the series, Cordelia tries to bring Barrayar up to galactic equality standards, but the old men don't want to give up their power. The younger men (especially Gregor, who she raised as a foster child -- and teaching the Emperor that women are awesome is a good place to start) are more pliable.

Uh, I had a point. Where'd it go? Hmm. Elena. She's a product of her environment. Miles, being stuck in a chivalry-era mindset, wants to give Elena the world (and, in the process, convince her to marry him.) She gets off of Barrayar and finds the world a much bigger place, thank you, and won't go back.

Elli Quinn is a mercenary through and through. Her relationship with Miles is interesting, and giving further information would spoil Memory. Suffice it to say, she's not keen on the idea of being a prize for Miles, even if she loves him.

There are minor female characters, in the Dendarii, on other planets, on Barrayar. Miles *is* our POV character, and Bujold writes a lot of romance-y subplots, so that might indicate her bias.

(That annoyed me, too. In context, maybe, the speaker was implying that Aral wouldn't be satisfied by a woman and he'd go fling with a man (which he'd done in his first marriage; I'm not sure when that bit of backstory shows up), but Cordelia is assured of his faithfulness to her, now. Or that could be rationalizing, so I don't get pissed off. ;) )

Date: 2009-04-16 01:43 pm (UTC)
feuervogel: (heart's desire)
From: [personal profile] feuervogel
*grin* They're kind of addictive. And I think it's a mark of her skill as a writer that even if there's something irritating (like the OMGBABIES thing), the characters are compelling enough to get through it.

Bothari is a very interesting character. You'll learn more about his reasons in The Warrior's Apprentice, which I am *so* not spoiling here. But he's extremely devoted to Cordelia, and consequently Miles. ("He's my monster.")

In the ongoing discussions at tor.com (Jo Walton is reading them in publication order and analyzing them, and lots of discussion has ensued), Barrayaran society has been described as culturally desirous of large families. They're kind of like 19th century Europe in that regard (and in many regards, actually.) We've also got a bit of a biased view, because the vast majority of our leads are Vor, which is both a military caste and royalty, so there's always the concern of getting heirs.

I also wish there were some characters who could give a damn about kids. Elli Quinn, maybe.

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