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Book Note: Lois McMaster Bujold, Memory

I read this book about 19-Dec-2003. I've read this book before. The book is copyright 1996. This note was last modified Friday, 02-May-2014 23:47:36 PDT.

This is book 8 of the "Miles Vorkosigan" series.

This note contains spoilers for the book.


Despite repeated attempts by my so-called memory to tell me so, this is not about Miles' cryo-amnesia; it's about Simon Ilyan's memory chip melting down.

I actually forgot for a while that General Haroche was behind it all. He's smart but not kind or responsive on a human level; in this universe, that's the kiss of death, and I should have figured it out from that, if nothing else. This, I think, is why so many people think this is a universe they might actually want to live in (fairly rare in fiction; I mean, would you really want to live in the Lensman universe?

The big deal to start this off is that Miles cuts a courier they're rescuing in half during one of his seizures, and then falsifies his report to Ilyan to conceal it. Ilyan finds out fairly promptly, turns out he has another source of info (which Miles realizes he should have counted on). That's just before Ilyan starts to come unstuck in his own memories, as his chip breaks down under the influence of the biological attack that Haroche unleashes (off the shelves of the evidence room).

Miles gets made a temporary Imperial Auditor to straighten this out (after he and Gregor and Lady Alys get tired of waiting for Haroche to straighten it out, and angry with Haroche for not giving any consideration to Ilyan). Luckily they act in time to save Ilyan.

Again, there's building up of characters and relationships that's important later. Simon Ilyan is medically retired and becomes a somewhat shy, rather nice man (instead of the terrifying, all-powerful, ImpSec head). Lady Alys moves more towards the front, as Gregor's hostess and Simon's lady. (And Haroche makes the same mistake that will be made in A Civil Campaign and considers Lady Alys to have no power or importance; and it helps take him down, just as it does later.) The Koudelka girls come to the fore, Duv and Delia get engaged, Kareen gets interested in Mark. And Gregor gets engaged to Laissa, who he met because Miles arranged to have Duv and Laissa invited to an Imperial function; Duv is not, at first, too pleased. Ivan starts to notice that the world is passing him by.

And Miles figures out who Lord Vorkosigan is and gets back in touch with him, and gets pretty much reconciled to being a Barrayaran (which costs him Quinn, who really disapproves of planets and dislikes Barrayar in particular).

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David Dyer-Bennet