edithmorningstar: Edith Piaf at the microphone, arms flung wide. Colorized. (Default)
edithmorningstar ([personal profile] edithmorningstar) wrote2010-11-03 08:31 pm

Cryoburn

I finally read Cryoburn, and though it's been a while I'm still digesting it.



I was happy to have another Miles adventure. It felt very very Milesian, tempered by a pleasantly realistic sense of his physical limitations at this point in his life. He still has boundless energy, and hares off on crazy schemes, but he's also a little more cognizant of what he can and can't do, what he needs to delegate to others. He wants the adventure, but even more he wants to go home to where his heart(s) lives, and that's a gratifying place to see him having arrived at.

I can't help but feel this is the last Miles adventure. Now he'll be Count, and with those duties galactic assignments are much less likely. We saw Miles grow up so much in Memory, and take on a newly mature stage of life in the past several books. Now, though, there's something even more. The bit in Mark's Aftermath about Miles as Lord Vorkosigan having died along with Aral is so true. I do *hope* we'll get more Miles-focused writing from Lois, but I have to say I don't honestly *expect* the next book to focus on him. [I know there are some hints and speculation about that book floating around but I haven't gone looking yet; first to avoid possible Cryoburn spoilers and then to let my own reaction to Cryoburn steep for a while. I might be totally off base with this.]

Emotionally, any reaction to the book as a whole has to back-burner to my reaction to its very end. I very much appreciated [personal profile] philomytha's fic response, which helped me make peace with both Aral's death and its circumstances.

I wonder how much Miles will blame himself for not making it home sooner. But I think he knows that this time, he truly did finish the case as fast as he could, because he already had enough to draw him home. He knows that what he did, blowing the case much larger than his original mandate, was worth the time it took. But some part of him will always blame himself for not having been there.

I really loved the Aftermath drabbles. They captured the right flavor of surreality that processing a death requires, with the right measure of respect and elegance and love.

The fact that they were drabbles felt in itself like a gift. It felt like Lois was nodding explicitly and deliberately to the organized fan community, to her own roots as a fan. It felt, in a way, like she was telling her most devoted fans that she processed Aral's death in drabbles in part to show that she knows how much he means to us, too. Obviously who knows how much she actually meant, but I know she knows that this death is a Big Deal in her canon, and for her fans, and the drabbles felt like a way for her to say she was mourning right along with us, as a fan as well as a creator.

In terms of the main Kibou story, on the whole I really liked it, though I didn't think it ranked among the best of the Miles-on-another-planet adventures. I felt that this story *could* have been told in an entirely different universe, as a stand-alone, if she'd wanted to. But the Vorkosiverse is hers, so why shouldn't she set her philosophical explorations there, too.

I like the idea of Vorlynkin as a stepfather to Jin and Mina, but it bugs me that he truly seemed to fall in love with the kids, and then with their mother as an afterthought. I appreciate the desire to assure the reader that the kids will be taken care of, that they'll have a family and a home and not be impoverished and they'll be protected, but it all was a pit fast and pat. Not that I don't like the idea of that relationship, but I didn't want all the loose ends of Kibou tied up quite so neatly.

I very, very much appreciate that Lois kept to her usual of not putting back-story on-screen if she doesn't actually need it. That still leaves a lot of room to play around in, in the years between Cryoburn and Diplomatic Immunity, and, for many characters, really since A Civil Campaign. We don't even get told the names of Gregor's kids. I'm happy to have a wide open amount of not-yet-Jossed canonical interlude space to work with. Not that I have any problem going AU from canon, at all, but I like the extra wiggle room.

All this meaning that my Ivan-and-By-on-Cetaganda fic can still be set when I want to set it. :D
rymenhild: Manuscript page from British Library MS Harley 913 (Default)

[personal profile] rymenhild 2010-11-04 05:01 am (UTC)(link)
I think you may, when you are ready, be particularly and personally interested in the hints we have received about the next Vorkosiverse book. But in the meantime, yes, I really think Cryoburn is a gift to ficwriters. There are a lot of holes worth filling in.
rymenhild: Manuscript page from British Library MS Harley 913 (Default)

[personal profile] rymenhild 2010-11-09 10:31 pm (UTC)(link)
Speaking of which, if you haven't seen it, you should read the sample chapter philomytha transcribed from one of Bujold's readings. Hello, genuine semi-canonical Ivan/By flirting.
philomytha: girl in woods with a shaft of sunlight falling on her (Default)

[personal profile] philomytha 2010-11-04 06:58 am (UTC)(link)
I like your thoughts on the drabbles. They were excellent, but I was a bit iffy about them as drabbles precisely because of the fannish vibe (I suppose I have a feeling that writing fic is what we do and writing the books is what she does and getting them crossed over makes my head hurt), but I like the way you're interpreting them. That makes sense.

And yes, there's plenty of room for stories before Cryoburn...
philomytha: girl in woods with a shaft of sunlight falling on her (Default)

[personal profile] philomytha 2010-11-04 03:27 pm (UTC)(link)
I do really like how fan-friendly Lois is - the stuff she has to say about fic is very nice to hear, and yeah, perhaps she does still see herself as one of us.
glishara: (Default)

[personal profile] glishara 2010-11-04 01:44 pm (UTC)(link)
I was really not a fan of the drabbles, in part because I really didn't think they WERE excellent drabbles. They were acceptable drabbles, but I guess the thing is: I think if everyone whose Vorkosigan fic I read a lot settled down to write 5 response drabbles to Aral's death, I don't think Bujold's would top my list.

And that felt wrong to me. It felt less like a nod to the fans and more of a... meh. I don't know how to put it. Like she was putting her writing up in competition to ours, and not winning hands-down as much as she should.

It also felt... I don't know. A little cheap, maybe? Gregor's in particular felt like a fandom-inspired, "Look how much he cares!" rather than what would really have happened to me. I feel like if she'd written that into a longer story, she'd have a hard time making the justifications for Gregor as a pallbearer work, but drabbles are about emotions, not ideas, so she could cheat it in.

I guess I don't hate the drabbles, but I don't love them, and I feel like it's a bit of a cop-out.
philomytha: girl in woods with a shaft of sunlight falling on her (Default)

[personal profile] philomytha 2010-11-04 03:21 pm (UTC)(link)
Well, I've been trying to write drabbles and finding it rather tricky - I can construct a small fic with 300 words or so, but I can't seem to say much with fewer words than that, so I have a fair bit of respect for how much LMB got into hers. But yes. The sense that it put her writing into the same realm as ours did throw me.