Posted by : atcampbell | On : October 11, 1997

Memory by Lois McMaster Bujold

Attendees: A. T. Campbell III, Cyndi Dunn, Wes Dunn, John Gibbons, Karen Meschke, Shirley Crossland.

We gathered at ArmadilloCon 19 in Hunt, Texas to discuss Bujold’s latest book. Memory is another adventure of her continuing character Miles Vorkosigan, and in this book Miles turns thirty and his life falls apart. He’s forced to reevaluate his career and personal relationships and literally reinvent his conception of himself.

Our group contained people who’d read Bujold’s complete body of work, plus some who’d never read her before. We all found the prose readable and had no trouble finishing the book.

Opinions of the book were mixed, though generally positive. Many of us found Miles to be a well-developed character and we were sympathetic to his attempts to extricate himself from the situations the plot forced upon him. People with this opinion had all read Bujold before. One person who’d read a previous Miles book and found the writing too “facile” said that Memory was much better.

A couple of people didn’t find Miles’s characterization realistic, and they weren’t too interested in the story. These folks admitted that they don’t like space opera or military fiction in general. The person who liked the book least also said that she never likes books that try to mix comedy and drama (as this book does).

Those who liked Memory felt that this was among Bujold’s best books. The writing and characterization are more sophisticated than ever, and Miles is forces to undergo real growth. Miles also changes careers in this novel, which we felt was a clever move on Bujold’s part. This will allow her to write a wide variety of Miles books in the future — “young Miles” novels will feature Miles as a soldier, and “older Miles” novels will involve Miles as a … but that would be telling, wouldn’t it?

As usual for a Bujold discussion, at the end of the meeting we segued into a discussed of Bujold’s complete body of work and how it all tied together. We had a fun time discussing this book. We wished more folks had braved the Flash Flood warnings to join us.

— A. T. Campbell, III