Lord Miles Vorkosigan, otherwise known as Admiral Miles Naismith of the Dendarii Free Mercenary Fleet, is suffering from “an aftereffect of an acute case of death.” Something went wrong in his cryorevival, and he now suffers seizures at the most inopportune moments. Miles is now 30 years old. His military career for the Barrayaran Empire has lasted for 13 years, but it now appears it may be at an end. In Memory, the 10th volume in the prizewinning Vorkosigan Saga, Miles must live with the consequences and find a new way through life. So goes the 10th book in the celebrated science fiction saga.
Miles Vorkosigan is one of the most engaging characters in all of science fiction. Until the surgery following his cryorevival, he had lived as a hunchbacked dwarf with a limp and bones so brittle a punch can break them. Now he is merely a straight-backed dwarf (“a couple more centimeters in height”). His bones have been “almost completely replaced by synthetics throughout his body.” But no matter. He may be a little guy, but most people regard him as a giant. And the ladies love him.
Memory (Vorkosigan Saga #10) by Lois McMaster Bujold (2011) 484 pages @@@@ (4 out of 5)
A brilliant commander with a taste for tall women
What Miles lacks in physical strength he makes up for with a brilliant, strategic mind. Taking on undercover missions as Admiral Naismith, he has won “his way to premier status as Barrayaran Imperial Security’s most creative galactic affairs agent.” And despite (because of?) his appearance, he has had no lack of sexual experience. Miles has a taste for tall women, and they flock to him. One, a genetically engineered supersoldier, is eight feet tall. How that would work is beyond me. Whatever happens, they both seem to enjoy it. However, the supersoldier is simply a distraction from Miles’ second-in-command in the Dendarii Fleet, Commander Elli Quinn. She’s also tall. And they’re in love.
A science fiction saga that’s endlessly entertaining
The Vorkosigan Saga richly deserves the many awards it has won from both fans and writers. It easily ranks as one of the all-time favorite sci-fi sagas. Author Lois McMaster Bujold is inventive to a fault. Her writing is laced with humor. Although the circumstances about which she writes may stretch the imagination, her characters act in entirely believable ways. In this tenth book of the series, Miles’ career as Admiral Naismith may have run its course. But this is not a big challenge for the author. Miles’ transformation in this book is a perfect setup for subsequent volumes in the Vorkosigan Saga.
For further reading
You’ll find all the books in the Vorkosigan Saga at The pleasures of reading the complete Vorkosigan Saga.
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- The ultimate guide to the all-time best science fiction novels;
- Great sci-fi novels reviewed: my top 10 (plus dozens of runners-up); and
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