Tuesday, April 22

"The Mountains of Mourning" - Lois McMaster Bujold

Acting as the Voice of his father, Lord Vorkosigan, Miles (accompanied by an armsman or two) rides to the isolated village of Silvy Vale to investigate a woman's report that her husband killed their infant daughter, born with a hare lip and palate.
This short story/novella further explores issues of disability, cultural change and contribution in Barrayan society, elements that are significant in understanding the larger culture of the planet. At the same time "The Mountains of Mourning" continues the development of Miles - this is his first opportunity to resolve significant issues in his own right, to act as the Voice of the Lord his father (a role that will one day be Miles'), and events in the village act as a strong contrast to the protections Miles' parents were able to offer him, as well as a counter-point (and insight into) the actions of his grandfather, who tried to kill him before he was born.
Given that the series was written out of order, I don't know how Bujold manages this so effectively, and her voice is as clear, detailed and compelling in short formnat as in a full length novel. - Alex

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