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Young Miles

[Young Miles] Young Miles
by Lois McMaster Bujold
Published by Baen Books, 1996
Amazon.com: hardcover, paperback
Amazon.ca: hardcover, paperback
Amazon.co.uk: hardcover, paperback
The Warrior's Apprentice
Published by Baen Books, 1986
Amazon.com: hardcover, paperback
Amazon.ca: hardcover, paperback
Amazon.co.uk: hardcover, paperback
The Vor Game
Published by Baen Books, 1990
Amazon.com: paperback, audiobook
Amazon.ca: paperback, audiobook
Amazon.co.uk: paperback
Highly Recommended by: Greg Slade

[Best Novel] [Best Novella] [Best Novel] This volume, like Cordelia's Honor, is a reprint volume containing several earlier works, in this case The Warrior's Apprentice, The Vor Game, and "The Mountains of Mourning", one of the stories out of Borders of Infinity. (The Vor Game won a Hugo for Best Novel, and "The Mountains of Mourning" won both a Hugo and a Nebula for Best Novella.) The question which naturally arises in introducing new readers to an author who has produced a substantial body of work is, "Where to begin?" My own preference, as I have stated before, is to start off with Falling Free, which is the earliest book according to internal chronology, and also the first of Bujold's work which I encountered. However, for many fans, the best part of Bujold's writing is the character of Miles Naismith Vorkosigan, and so they prefer to begin with Young Miles, which is where Miles gets his start. (He does appear, briefly, at the end of Cordelia's Honor, although it can be argued that he is a central figure in the entire book.) I can't say that I disapprove of such a choice, either. Young Miles is a thoroughly entertaining romp across the galaxy, and introduces us to Miles as a brilliant, charismatic, natural leader who gets into the most amazing scrapes in the process of attempting to extricate himself from previous scrapes.

I should take this opportunity to point out that the original cover gave an entirely false impression of the story. (The helpless, almost-clad heroine type clinging to the bared chest of the jut-jawed hero type are particularly hilarious if you know the real characters.) The cover of the reissue is much closer to capturing the tale.

One of the many things which appeal to me about Bujold's work is the way she can evoke such a wide variety of emotions without being sentimental or melodramatic. Sometimes, the line between sorrow and hilarity is almost too fine to see:

Mile exhaled carefully, faint with rage and reminded grief. He does not know, he told himself. He cannot know... "Ivan, one of these days somebody is going to pull out a weapon and plug you, and you're going to die in bewilderment, crying, 'What did I say? What did I say?'"
"What did I say?" asked Ivan indignantly. (p. 250.)

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