June 23rd, 2005

[BRIEF NOTE] Why A Civil Campaign Should Have Been the Last Miles Vorkosigan Novel

I first read Lois McMaster Bujold's Diplomatic Immunity when it came out as a hardcover. It was actually the first Miles Vorkosigan novel I'd ever read, if you exclude a desultory thumbing-through of Komarr. At the time, Diplomatic Immunity struck me as above-average space opera, well-written but nothing particularly compelling. I only really got into the Miles Vorkosigan novels last summer. Since then, I've become a committed fan of the series (a fan worthy of committal?). When I saw a paperback copy of Diplomatic Immunity this Monday, I snapped it up.

As I read it on the subway, I noticed how Diplomatic Immunity read differently now that I was familiar with Miles and his universe. What struck me most was the sheer density of references to the wider universe, to characters and human subspecies and empires that had all been explored in previous stories. Diplomatic Immunity has a plot of its own, of course, but quite often I found myself thinking "Oh, that is where such-and-such a person ended up" or "So such-and-such an empire is still that way?"

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UPDATE (5:41 PM) : Crossposted at lmbujold.

UPDATE (11:10 PM : Crossposted at rec.arts.sf.written.
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[BRIEF NOTE] What happened to the Tasmanian Aborigines?

In War of the Worlds, H.G. Wells wrote that the Martians' brutal attack on Earth wasn't unprecedented in human history.

Before we judge of them too harshly we must remember what ruthless and utter destruction our own species has wrought, not only upon animals, such as the vanished bison and the dodo, but upon its inferior races. The Tasmanians, in spite of their human likeness, were entirely swept out of existence in a war of extermination waged by European immigrants, in the space of fifty years. Are we such apostles of mercy as to complain if the Martians warred in the same spirit?

agirlnamedluna asked about the Tasmanians. Read more about the fate of the Tasmanian Aborigines at Wikipedia, and about Trugamini. I highly recommend Mudrooroo's 1983 novel Doctor Wooreddy's Prescription for Enduring the Ending of the World for a fictionalized account of the lives of the last full-blooded Tasmanian Aborigines. Canadians should keep the fate of the Beothuk in mind.
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