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22 July 2009 @ 07:23 pm
Ethan of Athos, Lois McMaster Bujold

I was smiling all over my face for hours after finishing this.

When I saw the blurb for this, I was intrigued. I also assumed Ethan would end up falling for the feisty 'first female he'd ever met'. It seemed pretty obvious, especially with what I considered the typical bashing of the 'flighty, feckless' gay lifestyle embodied in Janos. I assume this was prevalent in 1985, when the AIDS scare peaked and I was born and other minor stuff. I was further disheartened by the name-calling indulged in by inhabitants of a far-flung future.

I WAS WRONG, YOU GUYS. This is like the best fanfiction ever, except minus sex. I can't remember, is Bujold one of the anti-fic crusaders? Oh boy oh boy, Ethan wins Cee's trust by wondering if he's seen an ocean! HEARTS. IN MY EYES.

I was wondering why the name Naismith rang a bell, until I read the handy timeline at the end. So this 'dwarf' Elli is in love with is some relation of Cordelia's and hence, Miles! Or maybe an ancestor, it's been a while since I read Shards of Honour.

The last line wins everything. LOOK AT ME REVIEWING THIS LIKE A FANFIC.

Previously, on Book Glomp 2009:
He Knew He Was Right, Anthony Trollope |The Bostonians, Henry James | For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ernest Hemingway | For Esme - with Love and Squalor, JD Salinger | The Outsider, Albert Camus | The Princess Diaries: Ten out of Ten, Meg Cabot | The Vicar of Bullhampton, Anthony Trollope | Molesworth, Geoffrey Willans | Villette, Charlotte Bronte | The Portrait of a Lady, Henry James | The Way of All Flesh, Samuel Butler | Cecilia, Fanny Burney | The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger | The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Muriel Spark | Breakfast of Champions, Kurt Vonnegut | Valley of the Dolls, Jacqueline Susann | Siddhartha, Herman Hesse | The White Tiger, Aravind Adiga | The Duke and I, Julia Quinn | Brave New World, Aldous Huxley | North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell | Cider with Rosie, Laurie Lee | Catch-22, Joseph Heller | Bright Shiny Morning, James Frey | Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck | The Demon's Lexicon, Sarah Rees Brennan | The Age of Innocence, Edith Wharton | jPod, Douglas Coupland | 'Are these my basoomas I see before me?', Louise Rennison | Faro's Daughter, Georgette Heyer | Anansi Boys, Neil Gaiman | The Accidental Sorcerer, K.E. Mills
Current Music: go places // the new pornographers
rosalie: how many happy endings do you needwavesofwood on July 22nd, 2009 06:30 pm (UTC)
Hey, I might actually have to seek this one out on readitswapit. Also, your book reviews are awesome and hilarious, never stop.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Art: realityscoradh on July 23rd, 2009 05:14 pm (UTC)
It's so good. And a tiny little book, so even if you don't like it, it won't steal much of your life.

I was under the impression that I was only funny when spewing vitriol, but go to! Go to! Also, tell me more about this curious readitswapit. :D? :D?
rosalie: wait! they don't love you like i lovewavesofwood on July 23rd, 2009 05:27 pm (UTC)
No, you're pretty much always funny. And I really have been craving *good* sci-fi/fantasy recently, so recs are brilliant. Your book reviews always make me smile, vitriol or none.
Readitswapit.co.uk is a website where you can swap your unwanted books for free with other people who have books you do want, and both of you only pay the postage costs. IDK if you're in Northern Ireland or not, but it's open to you if you're anywhere in the UK.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Art: disco ballscoradh on July 23rd, 2009 05:31 pm (UTC)
I'm pretty sure many would agree that Bujold is a pre-eminent figure in sci-fi. (Or should I say syfy? Ewww.) I haven't actually read that much of the genre, because I usually end up with horrible misogynistic and/or creepy tomes by male writers from the 60s. Like Stranger in a Strange Land. That was one big pile of yuck.

No, I'm in the Republic. DAMN I HATE THAT. You know Amazon.uk won't ship a whole bunch of stuff to here? THE NEXT ISLAND! And Style magazine (the one from the English Times) was talking about this cool new nail varnish but OOPS they're not importing it here! And all Bujold's books, which, SURPRISE, no one stocks here! It's a fucking ditchwater backend useless waste of a country, don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

Wow, I clearly have a lot of ~feelings. Maybe I need to go bake a cake of rainbows and sunshine, brb!
rosalie: i'm not as callous as you thinkwavesofwood on July 23rd, 2009 05:36 pm (UTC)
Ugh, I know. Either that or appalling high fantasy- OKAY, YOU HAVE A BIG SWORD. GET. THE FUCK. OVER IT.

Oh, poor you! That really does suck. Also, I'll bear the fact that it is a fucking ditchwater backend useless waste of a country in mind for the essay I'm meant to be writing, um, now, about CONFLICT IN IRELAND OH NO.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: collapsingnight mermaidscoradh on July 24th, 2009 10:07 am (UTC)

It goes: We had a rebellion! It failed. Repeat ad infinitum. Until the bit where we got independance for some of the country and then proceeded to copy the British form of government only crap. (EVERYONE hates Irish history post-Normans.)
she's not a girl who misses much: raspberry cordialmaudlinrose on July 22nd, 2009 07:18 pm (UTC)
Bujold used to write fic—fandom unspecified—in the seventies with a friend (no idea if that was a notebook thing or an actual participation in fandom thing). She doesn't read fic (and I guess we can assume she doesn't write it) but she participates in a mailing list where it shows up occasionally and has pretty much said "do your thing, guys, just don't show me." One of my flatmates is a MASSIVE Bujold fan, so I hear these things.
nishatalitha: The Dendarii want YOU (Vorkosigan)nishatalitha on July 23rd, 2009 08:26 am (UTC)
It was Star Trek and Sherlock Holmes and maybe some other stuff. She and a friend did a one off Star Trek zine - this is mentioned in the foreword to Dreamweaver's Dilemma if you want to come into my room and get it (and yes, I did have to look that up).

Fic isn't posted to the list, but links are. She doesn't want to know what's out there and we try not to tell her, but on the official website is a page with links to sites with fic.

- the MASSIVE Bujold fan flatmate.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Art: socksscoradh on July 23rd, 2009 05:25 pm (UTC)
That's so cool! I do like to hear about ficcers that make good.

Sometime next century when I get my hands on all her books, I will so be reading fic. *is shameless*
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Art: blue bustierscoradh on July 23rd, 2009 05:17 pm (UTC)
Ooh, that means someone ELSE out there might have written the natural continuation to this story! With the sex! I LIKE WHAT I AM HEARING. :DDD
(Deleted comment)
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Art: weddingscoradh on July 23rd, 2009 05:18 pm (UTC)
I'm pretty sure I did too, a little. SHH, DON'T TELL ANYONE.

I just wish her books were goddamn easier to GET. My dad doesn't let me order from Amazon all that often, and that year till I get my own credit card seems very long...
Aliciaaliciajd on July 23rd, 2009 12:01 am (UTC)
Elli is in love with Cordelia's son Miles who Elli knows under his alternate identity of Admiral Naismith.

If you use Excel, send me an email to aliciajd@gmail.com and I forward a spreadsheet with all of the books listed in order.

Edited at 2009-07-23 12:01 am (UTC)
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Art: Twins playing keyboardscoradh on July 23rd, 2009 05:13 pm (UTC)
... Oh. I didn't actually want to know that. I should have put up a no-spoiler statement, my bad.

Are the websites not reliable, then?
Aliciaaliciajd on July 23rd, 2009 08:38 pm (UTC)
I'm sure the websites are reliable. ;) I'm just OC and the books were not originally published in chronological order. The original publishers published the ones that they thought would sell first and brought some of the others out later. Also Bujold went back and wrote some books out of timeline order to fill in the gaps. So that messed up my usual way of deciding reading order by looking at copyright dates.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Art: hot air of balloonsscoradh on July 24th, 2009 10:09 am (UTC)
Those crazy publishers! Didn't they think perhaps that readers would be more annoyed by the fact that canon events were missing?!

That also explains why my copy of Ethan has this horrible cheesy cover that clearly hasn't changed since 1985.
shadowclubshadowclub on July 23rd, 2009 04:24 am (UTC)
This was a lovely book! Bujold writes so well without sex:) IT IS IMPRESSIVE!
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Audrey Hepburnscoradh on July 23rd, 2009 05:19 pm (UTC)
I know! It's only the slasher in me that wants maybe their first kiss or something. BY THE OCEAN. IT WOULD BE SO CUTE!!!
(Deleted comment)
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Art: Pretty shoesscoradh on July 23rd, 2009 05:24 pm (UTC)
Oh god, your review is so much more thoughtful than mine! I feel ashamed.

I did think it funny that Athos was so staunchly religious a place, when every religion I know is so deeply against homosexuality. At the start I seriously thought they all practised onaism or something!
(Deleted comment)
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Art: winter of discontentscoradh on July 23rd, 2009 05:20 pm (UTC)
You're so lucky your library stocks them - mine sure doesn't. D: Not even bookstores do!