The Freelance Traveller (freetrav) wrote,
The Freelance Traveller

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An Open Letter To Lois McMaster Bujold

Dear Ms Bujold:

Thank you.

For most of my life, I've avoided reading fantasy, except for either Epic Fantasy (like Tolkien, or Turtledove's World of Darkness) or Silly Fantasy (like Asprin's MythAdventures, or Piers Anthony's Xanth) because, well, it's fantasy, and fantasy is boring, because it usually depends too much on magic, and the worlds just don't feel like more than canvas backdrops for The Hero to beat up The Villain in front of. I've also avoided reading romances, because, well, they're romances, and I'm a guy, and I'm just not into all that touchy-feely mushy stuff. My reading tends toward science fiction, with some side forays into military fiction, spy fiction, or adventure fiction - and not just any science fiction; I tend to prefer the subgenres of science fiction that focus on people, rather than gadgets - I'm not about ray guns and space ships; I'm about first contacts with aliens, and ordinary people thrown into extraordinary situations, where the technology, while part of the environment that shaped the people, is not the Magic Bullet.

You, Ms Bujold, have shaken my preconceptions of both fantasy and romance, and you've done it with a single book: The Sharing Knife: Beguilement. I purchased this book (actually, a combined volume of The Sharing Knife: Beguilement and The Sharing Knife: Legacy - but I haven't started reading The Sharing Knife: Legacy yet) from the Science Fiction Book Club via a friend's membership, on the strength of the comments in your corner of Baen's Bar, and having never read any of your work previously, though I had heard your writing - mostly the Miles Vorkosigan universe - repeatedly praised, highly.

I can say without reservation that your writing in this book exceeded my expectations - I was prepared for a mildly entertaining read, given my generally low opinion of fantasy and even lower opinion of romance; what I found was a story that sucked me in and wouldn't let me go - and I'm looking forward to reading The Sharing Knife: Legacy, and any subsequent books in the series (I get the impression from your corner of the Bar that there are to be a total of four in the series). You have given me a world that feels like a real world, even if I don't see it as mine, and people who are more than Archetypes to play off each other - people who I can and do care about what happens to them.

Again I say: Thank you.

Tags: books
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