bracketyjack (bracketyjack) wrote,

The Absent Gods & TSK Essay Post (2)


            Analogies cannot be forced—there is no gunpowder (though stamped metal crossbows have just been invented), and the great trade-triangle, flatboats down, keelboats or land-caravans up, is an internal circulation, largely lacking the East-Coast markets and wholly without the overseas trade New Orleans historically served—but neither can the plain correspondences with geography and history be ignored. The whole novel has an identity as in part a warning vision, a far future grossly depopulated, impoverished, and endangered by what North American humans now are or will become—but recalling historical forks in the road and teetering on the brink of a new industrial age. As farmer numbers grow, stretching Lakewalker resources to breaking-point and creating proto-cities that accumulate capital and creativity, there is for historically informed readers a pressing awareness of a nascent Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, of what the steamboat and cotton gin meant for the Mid-West and its native life, animal and vegetable—an ecological awareness fuelled by the Gaian concept of ground and the potential correspondence of blighted land, drained by a malice’s emergence and taking centuries to recover, with both nuclear irradiation and lands like those between Chicago and Buffalo that have been industrially soiled and exploited to the point of ruinous sterility.

            Such a complex triangulation of known past and supposed future, criss-cross relations bearing on the reading present, is not uncommon in SF&F, and may even be a basic aspect of the genre, but Bujold’s construction is as subtly complex as its narratives are seemingly straightforward. Myths of the Western Frontier and their underlying truths are constantly activated and as constantly alienated ; homesteaders strike out into unsettled territory, copper-skinned tribal warriors merge with weatherbeaten Rangers, and exploitative proto-industrialists raping the land are echoed by malices blighting all life ; much as the heroic journey through trial and loss to understanding and gain is at once the historical flatboat-riverman’s round from Ohio to the sea and back again, and the romance journey of an odd couple into happy parenthood. If all aspects and meanings were equally at play within the narrative the result would probably be unrewarding chaos, but Bujold’s technique allows the mythos of the Lakewalkers (say) to be seen with Tolkien’s Rangers and tribal Amerindian society (and their respective literary and historical freights) equally serving as the distance-points of her picture, referential foci implicit in the perspective but lying outside the frame. Any detail of narrative or conversation, any fragment of legend or backstory, can be made to press with fabular force on present attitudes and practices, disputes and contradictions, and the potency of the novel as a whole increases exponentially as its successive instalments lock into place.

            The incremental volumes have strong linking structures and patterns. In each, one particular evil is overcome—malices of increasingly advanced intelligence and complexity in Beguilement, Legacy, and Horizon, a murderous Lakewalker renegade in Passage—and in parallel Dag’s capacity of healing groundwork matures in symbolic acts of reconstruction or healing using the renascent ground of his lost hand, successively of a glass bowl, a sharing knife, a human knee and appendix, and a human womb, child, and spine. In each someone is wrenched from a familiar but stifling home into a company pilgrimage of hope—Fawn, Dag, Fawn’s brother Whit, and a Lakewalker medicine maker, Arkady—that also collects other strays, farmers, rivermen, and Lakewalkers alike. In each, forms of purely human malice are encountered in the sins of falsehood and lust, jealousy and pride, despair and envy, indifference and selfishness ; and in each the deepening understanding, by protagonists and readers alike, of the nature of ground and the potentials of groundwork induces a new pertinence of philosophy, broadly, in turn, Gaian, Emersonian, Marxist, and Augustinian, while all sins and philosophies are in some measure present throughout. The Gaian goes with ground and groundwork, the Emersonian with the relation of individuals to history, the Marxist with the imminence of capitalised industry (signified in a new mint), and the Augustinian with the fundamental divide of the sessile and mobile, which applies to malices as they mature and to the division of sedentary farmer and nomadic Lakewalker cultures.

            Given Bujold’s knowledge of first-millennial history, evident in The Hallowed Hunt, and the dystopian politics and theologies with which Augustine grappled following the sack of Rome in 410, many Augustine resonances might be traced, especially in structural oppositions, and the profoundest engagement of The Sharing Knife is with his insistence (most formally in book 13 of the De Civitate Dei) that death is penal. Amid the fragmented materials of Lakewalker legend are conjectures from which a Christian theology of punitively inherited sin and death could be constructed, the lost civilisation in its overweening pride failing, birthing malices, and leaving Lakewalker descendants cursed to fight them—but Dag’s (and others’) repeated, normative use of ‘absent gods’ as oath or exclamation, the lack of certain connection between lost past and altered present, and the corresponding absence of any theology frame a wholly distinct understanding of mortality. As the bones of ancestral Lakewalkers are recovered, carved into knives, primed with a heart’s death, and taken into the working, wide green world as tools against the all-encompassing death latent in every malice, a union of the grounds and purposes of the dead and living is created that goes far beyond Barrayaran ancestor-worship and stands in very sharp contrast to the modern Western norms of predatory death, mortal terror, and cremation of unvalued remains. Self-sacrifice, donating both body and spirit in death, is an ultimate end for individual Lakewalkers, without promise of personal post-mortal survival or divine reward, but with strong and in every sense well-grounded hope of utility to the living, both as individual kin or co-workers and as collective humanity[1]—and within that encompassing validation Bujold weaves a particular and memorable tale that connects Fawn’s lost and surviving babies.

            The miscarried babe, whose conception and faithless father initially drove Fawn to flee her home, is not lost to natural causes. She is captured by a mudman and taken to its malice, her foetus’s ground being ripped from it and her in utero—but, Dag arriving and the malice being itself slain in the next instant by Fawn wielding Dag’s sharing knife, the foetal ground is accidentally transferred to an unprimed sharing knife Dag also carries, against his own potential need to suicide if mortally wounded.[2] That newly primed knife, a bone from Dag’s long-dead wife containing a farmer death (and moreover a death without a birth), functions to unite Fawn and Dag but also to precipitate both Dag’s alienation from the rigidities of Lakewalker culture and his investigation of groundwork, a trope that becomes that of the craft-apprentice discovering fundamental truths that repressive and hidebound teachers have long forgotten or misinterpreted. The knife’s utility is also a painful conundrum, for the innocent farmer death it contains lacks the affinity to make it capable of teaching a malice mortality, but Bujold wonderfully solves the puzzle (in Legacy) in its use to destroy with Dag’s ground-assistance a sundered and surviving fragment of a slain malice, an isolated involution the malice had deployed as a mudman nursery. The peculiarities of the knife’s death-without-a-birth and the malice’s birth-beyond-a-death balance movingly, while the emotional and material connections between Dag’s dead wife’s bone and Fawn’s dead child-by-another greatly deepen their union and bless it with a redemption as profound as it is purely human.

            A second sharing knife similarly links Passage and Horizon. The origin of its bone and primary act of making are unknown, for it is recovered from the booty of the renegade Lakewalker’s gang, but Dag is able to redo the necessary groundwork and offers the captured, paralysed renegade the chance to share his death-by-execution—and the man accepts the gesture of atonement. Taking an exceptional step from private discovery to public action, Dag also explains exactly what he is doing, and why, to the rivermen and farmers whom he led against the renegade’s gang, an act of disclosure intensely disturbing to all but critically breaching mutual isolations ; the resulting knife, like the one that bore the foetal ground, is anomalous in origin and nature. Correspondingly, it is used against a malice, in Horizon, again not by Dag but, after his incapacitation, by the newly pregnant Fawn and her brother, wholly without Lakewalker assistance—a feat by groundsense-less farmers that spells a revolution for both farming and lakewalking beliefs, cultures, and societies, and more proximately ensures Fawn’s survival to bear her and Dag’s child. The two anomalous sharing knives also superbly thematise and orchestrate, in paired succession, the central myth of co-operative survival and growth that Bujold expounds—Dag and Fawn jointly conceiving, bearing, and midwifing a secular human deliverance that impassions life, compensates for loss, and redeems sacrifice.

            Woven through all is a further strand of the theme, concerning the beguilement for which the opening volume is named. Though Lakewalkers use groundsense and donate ground reinforcements to help and heal themselves, they are strictly forbidden and deeply inhibited from healing farmers, partly because they fear to excite demand they could not logistically meet, but primarily because the farmers are left beguiled, violently craving further ground-interaction. Dag’s discovery that his emergency groundwork on Fawn after her miscarriage of the malice-slain foetus has not beguiled her, and that their mutual love transcends the problem, leads him eventually to discovery of the cause, that Lakewalkers do not beguile one another because they are automatically open to one another and exchange ground, but in treating farmers their own assumptions prevent the exchange, leaving farmers beguiled by their own newly excessive grounds. All that is necessary to avoid beguilement or to unbeguile is to be open to accepting ground from another, to abandon pristine self-closure of one’s ground—but Bujold’s Lakewalker and farmer cultures are so constructed that this is an axis of revolution, and the new culture Dag and Fawn found is one in which the genetic power of Lakewalkers is set to work healing non-Lakewalkers (rather than hoarding medical ‘magic’). Dag’s explorations of groundwork also find a way of giving farmers a degree of protection from ground-manipulation and -ripping, and in the new culture Lakewalkers will work towards maximally enabling farmers to protect themselves and to help in the still necessary, unending work of patrolling to discover and slay every last malice that emerges.

            That malices are unchanged, their fatal immortality unchecked save as it has always been checked, sharing knife by sharing knife, is the last expression of Bujold’s subtlety. The four-part novel charts a most hopeful revolution in culture and strategy, but the struggle and war continue, and there is no possibility of any revolution in tactics—for each malice must be pierced by a knife, and neither constant patrolling nor close-quarter combat in most mortal danger can be qualified. Farmer society may in its urbanisation be on the verge of revolutionising living standards, but the production of sharing knives cannot be industrialised, and nothing lessens the Lakewalkers’ obligation to donate bones and hearts’ deaths to the unending war of survival. By comparison, for all Tolkien’s elegiac tenor and long theological view of evil, The Lord of the Rings climaxes in unquestionable eucatastrophe, a word Tolkien coined,[3] the destruction of the One Ring and so of Sauron by “two humble Hobbits” as a divinely joyous moment of saving the world,[4] but in The Sharing Knife the world is, as Dag insists, saved every time a malice is slain—once each in Beguilement and Legacy, and twice in Horizon—and yet the struggle is unaltered. Or put another way, for all Tolkien’s insistence on the heroic capacity of humble hobbits, his potent Christian parable (born of his experiences in 1914–18) of little men stepping forward into greatness at the hour of need, his heroes are rendered finally mythic and transcendent, specially privileged travellers into the Undying Lands of the Uttermost West ; while Bujold’s ordinary farmgirl and weary old patroller who repeatedly save and begin to transform their world remain to parent children, plant crops, tend the sick, and love ordinary life in the malice-riddled lands of the Mid-West.

            More bluntly still, considering its setting and parable of quotidian democratisation in the face of absolute evils, one could argue for The Sharing Knife as a profound North-American response to The Lord of the Rings that works not only through its distinctive geographical, historical, and literary reference but also through a systematic negation of the religious beliefs and assumptions of supernatural destiny that perfuse the highly Catholic Tolkien’s huge mythological fairy-tale. Grappling in its heroic mediaevalism with the worst of the twentieth century, The Lord of the Rings was (at least until J. K. Rowling and Hollywood exploded Harry Potter upon an unsuspecting world) the most widely shared popular fantasy of modern times, for good but also dated (historically specific) and in some ways pernicious reasons. Critiques of Tolkien’s conservative Catholic misogyny and support for social hierarchy are well-known to many readers, those of his anti-Modernist Georgianism and (in the hostile view) pastiche antiquity well-known to interested literary critics—but explicit responses to his Europeanism (as un-American, in a literal rather than McCarthyite sense), Christian religiosity per se (as politically and philosophically harmful), and eucatastrophic-yet-elegiac redemptions (as self-deluding), are very much rarer. Resonant equally with Emerson on self-reliance, Twain on Mississippi boating, Faulkner on wilderness, Martin Luther King’s Civil-Rights dream, the evils wrought and celebrated under banners of theology and industry, and the unending intrapatriarchal struggles for personal dominance that maculate history, The Sharing Knife is indeed Bujold’s “subtlest work yet”, and deserves not only scholarly and critical attention but to be taught, as widely as possible, both for its intrinsic merits and its profound capacities to provoke thought.



To line up the Vorkosiverse, the ‘Five Gods Universe’ of Chalion, and the ‘Wide Green World’ of The Sharing Knife is to consider in outline an increasingly remarkable literary career characterised by exceptionally skilled generic engineering and sustained themes of responsible parenthood, personal honour, and public service. As much as the older Le Guin and Russ, the closely contemporary Octavia E. Butler (1947–2006) as an African-American pioneer in the genre, and the somewhat younger Young-Adult fantasist Tamora Pierce (b. 1954), a less literary but also badly academically underrated talent,[5] Bujold has forged a distinctively and powerfully female but also individual path in SF&F, very creatively manipulating popular genres and sub-genres and deploying seemingly conservative ideologies that conceal radical critiques to what are, broadly speaking, integrationist, feminist, and richly humanist ends. What is perhaps most striking, intellectually, are the disparate but developmental (or evolutionary) engagements with religion and the social consequences of deism, moving from deep background monotheism in the Vorkosiverse to central foreground polytheism in Chalion and the absent gods of The Sharing Knife. In parallel, individual and collective death has been confronted in relation to service and sacrifice, generating successive, highly ethical post-Christian myths and mythoi exploring what is humanly possible without the self-aggrandising sectarianisms, selfish terrors, and fearful, grasping dogmatisms that are so unhappily characteristic of so much contemporary religion. That Bujold has nevertheless been largely ignored by scholars of SF&F as a politically incorrect conservative is an irony I imagine she appreciates without much caring for.

            The earliest of the four Vorkosiverse novellas, ‘The Borders of Infinity’ (1987), is inter alia a reworking of Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress as a perfectly astonishing tale of a mass prison-break. Engineered on the fly by Miles, working from the inside but in secret communication with outside space-forces, Christian’s up-and-down pilgrimage to heavenly deliverance from encircling evil is marvellously and very funnily reimagined as heroic, sly space opera, with a fragment of Bunyan’s text figuring explicitly in the mechanics of the plot. Though relatively slight, and in many ways an episodic anomaly in Miles’s career, the prison-break he achieved had enormous political consequences for his universe, and personal consequences for himself—but also perhaps for his creator. The concerted literary effort to move beyond a Christian paradigm and certain of its implicit values without discarding its wisdom or ideal ethics, though pursued in the Vorkosiverse, could not in that creation  find its full expression, but in the fantastical polytheist theology of Chalion and post-deist humanism of the Wide Green World, Bujold has achieved in very great measure an imaginative, moral, critical, and spiritual vision of our mortality and social needs from which any might and all could profitably learn.

[1] Bujold has compared this ideal with contemporary (and often secular humanist) real-world practices of organ, blood, and body donation (email to the author, May 2010; cited with permission).

[2] There are also Lakewalker legends of paired patrollers finding themselves facing a malice without a primed sharing knife but with an unprimed one—so that for there to be any hope of slaying of the malice one patroller must suicide to provide a priming.

[3] See J. R. R Tolkien, ‘On Fairy-Stories’, p. 153, in The Monsters and the Critics and Other Essays (ed. Christopher Tolkien, London: George Allen & Unwin, 1983), pp. 109–61. 

[4] In his lengthy 1951 letter to Milton Waldman, Tolkien said that in the “scene where all the hosts of the West unite to do honour and praise to the two humble Hobbits, Frodo and Sam, we reach the ‘eucatastrophe’ of the whole romance: that is the sudden joyous ‘turn’ and fulfilment of hope, the opposite of tragedy, that should be the hallmark of a ‘fairy-story’ of higher or lower tone, the resolution and justification of all that has gone before. It brought tears to my eyes to write it, and still moves me, and I cannot help believing that it is a supreme moment of its kind.” Omitted from the Letters, the passage is reproduced in Wayne G. Hammond & Christina Scull, The Lord of the Rings: A Reader’s Companion (London: HarperCollins, 2005), p. 748.

[5] Bujold has not read Pierce’s work (email to the author, May 2010, cited with permission), but several moments in The Sharing Knife demonstrate a striking convergence, most notably the pathetic, childlike confusion of the mud-bat Dag slays (Horizon, p. 346) which closely echoes the deaths of the ‘killing devices’ powered by slain children’s souls in Pierce’s Lady Knight (2002).



1. Works by Lois McMaster Bujold


      Vorkosiverse novels and novellas

Shards of Honor (Riverdale, NY: Baen Books, 1986; ed. Suford Lewis & Ann Broom­head, Framingham, MA: New England Science Fiction Association Press, 2000)

The Warrior’s Apprentice (Riverdale, NY: Baen Books, 1986; ed. Suford Lewis, with an introduction by Douglas Muir, Framingham, MA: New England Science Fiction Association Press, 2002)

Ethan of Athos (Riverdale, NY: Baen Books, 1986; with a foreword by Marna Nightingale, Framingham, MA: New England Science Fiction Association Press, 2003)

Falling Free (Riverdale, NY: Baen Books, 1988; ed. Suford Lewis, with an introduction by Jim McMaster, Framingham, MA: New England Science Fiction Association Press, 2005) Nebula Award, Best Novel 1988

Brothers in Arms (Riverdale, NY: Baen Books, 1989)

Borders of Infinity (Riverdale, NY: Baen Books, 1989; ed. Suford Lewis, Framingham, MA: New England Science Fiction Association Press, 2007) Comprises the novellas ‘The Mountains of Mourning’ (Huge and Nebula Awards, Best Novella, 1989), ‘Labyrinth’, and ‘Borders of Infinity’, with a retrospective frame and interludes.

The Vor Game (Riverdale, NY: Baen Books, 1990) Hugo Award, Best Novel 1991

Barrayar (Riverdale, NY: Baen Books, 1991) Hugo Award, Best Novel 1992; Locus Award, Best SF Novel, 1992.

Mirror Dance (Riverdale, NY: Baen Books, 1994) Hugo Award, Best Novel 1995; Locus Award, Best SF Novel, 1995.

Cetaganda (Riverdale, NY: Baen Books, 1996)

Memory (Riverdale, NY: Baen Books, 1996)

Komarr (Riverdale, NY: Baen Books, 1998)

A Civil Campaign (Riverdale, NY: Baen Books, 1999) Sapphire Award, 2000.

Diplomatic Immunity (Riverdale, NY: Baen Books, 2002)

CryoBurn (Riverdale, NY: Baen Books, 2010)


‘Aftermaths’, in Far Frontiers V, Spring 1986 The last section of Shards of Honor.

‘The Borders of Infinity’, in Elizabeth Mitchell, ed., Free Lancers (Riverdale, NY: Baen Books, 1987) Also contains Orson Scott Card’s West and David Drake’s Liberty Port.

‘The Mountains of Mourning’, in Analog, May 1989 Nebula Award, Best Novella, 1989; Hugo Award, Best Novella, 1990.

‘Labyrinth’, in Analog, August 1989 Analog Readers’ Choice Award 1989; Fictionwise eBook of the Year, 2002.

‘The Weatherman’, in Analog, February 1990 The first section of The Vor Game, collected in Hartwell & Cramer, eds, The Space Opera Renaissance.

‘Winterfair Gifts’, in Catherine Asaro, ed., Irresistible Forces (New York: New American Library, 2004) Romance Readers Anonymous Listserv Award; Fictionwise eBook of the Year 2005.

An unpublished ‘Prologue’ to Diplomatic Immunity can be seen at:


      Omnibus editions

Test of Honor (New York: Guild America Books [Doubleday], 1987) Comprises Shards of Honor and The Warrior’s Apprentice; see next annotation.

Vorkosigan’s Game (New York: Guild America Books [Doubleday], 1990, 1992). This SF bookclub collection of The Vor Game and Borders of Infinity is anomalous, and like Test of Honor is not part of the systematic chronological collection represented by the Baen omnibus editions with afterwords.

Cordelia’s Honor  (Riverdale, NY: Baen Books, 1996) Comprises Shards of Honor and Barrayar, with an ‘Afterword’.

Young Miles (Riverdale, NY: Baen Books, 1997) Comprises The Warrior’s Apprentice, ‘The Mountains of Mourning’, and The Vor Game, with an ‘Afterword’.

Miles, Mystery and Mayhem (Riverdale, NY: Baen Books, 2001) Comprises Cetaganda, Ethan of Athos, and ‘Labyrinth’, with an ‘Afterword’.

Miles Errant (Riverdale, NY: Baen Books, 2002) Comprises ‘Borders of Infinity’, Brothers in Arms, and Mirror Dance.

Miles, Mutants and Microbes (Riverdale, NY: Baen Books, 2007) Comprises Falling Free, ‘Labyrinth’, and Diplomatic Immunity, with a ‘Foreword’.

Miles in Love (Riverdale, NY: Baen Books, 2008) Comprises Komarr, A Civil Campaign, and ‘Winterfair Gifts’.


La Saga Vorkosigan. Volume 1: L’Apprentissage du Guerrier (scenario by Dominique Latil, art & colour by José Maria Beroy, Paris & Toulon: Soleil Cherche Futurs, 2010)


      Other novels

The Spirit Ring (Riverdale, NY: Baen Books, 1992)


The Curse of Chalion (New York: Eos, 2001) Mythopoeic Fantasy Award, Best Book, 2002.

Paladin of Souls (New York: Eos, 2003)  Romantic Times Reviewers’ Award, Best Fantasy Novel, 2003; Hugo & Nebula Awards, Best Novel, 2004; Locus Award, Best Fantasy Novel, 2004.

The Hallowed Hunt (New York: Eos, 2005)


The Sharing Knife: Beguilement (New York: Eos, 2006)

The Sharing Knife: Legacy (New York: Eos, 2007)

The Sharing Knife: Passage (New York: Eos, 2008)

The Sharing Knife: Horizon (New York: Eos, 2009)


      Omnibus editions

The Sharing Knife (Mechanicsburg, PA: Science Fiction Book Club, 2007)  Comprises Beguilement & Legacy.


      Other short stories

‘Barter’, in Twilight Zone, March/April 1985 Collected in Dreamweaver’s Dilemma.

‘The Hole Truth’, in Twilight Zone, December 1986 Collected in Dreamweaver’s Dilemma.

‘Garage Sale’, in American Fantasy, Spring 1987 Collected in Dreamweaver’s Dilemma.



‘Allegories of Change: The “New” Biotech in the Eye of Science Fiction’, in New Destinies, Vol. VIII, September 1989 Collected in Dreamweaver’s Dilemma.

‘The Unsung Collaborator’, in Lan's Lantern, Issue # 31, 1989 Collected in Dreamweaver’s Dilemma.

‘My First Novel’, in The Bulletin of the SFWA , Vol. 24, No. 4 Collected in Dreamweaver’s Dilemma.

‘Free Associating About Falling Free’, in Michael Bishop, ed., Nebula Awards 24 (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovic, 1990)

‘Getting Started’, in Algis Budrys & Dave Wolverton, eds, Writers of the Future, Vol. VIII (Los Angeles: Bridge Publications,, 1992)

‘Beyond Genre Barriers’, in Ohio Writer Magazine, Vol. VI, Issue # 3, May/June 1992 Collected in Dreamweaver’s Dilemma.

‘Preface’ [to the Russian editions of Shards of Honor & The Warrior’s Apprentice, 1995) at

‘Mind Food: Writing Science Fiction’, in The Journal of Youth Services in Libraries, Vol. 10, No. 2 (Winter 1997)

‘When World-Views Collide’ [Guest of Honour speech at MileHiCon and SwanCon, 1999), at

‘Letterspace: in the chinks between published fiction and published criticism’, with Sylvia Kelso, in Helen Merrick & Tess Williams, eds, Women of Other Worlds: excursions through science fiction and feminism (Nedlands, WA: University of Western Australia Press, 1999), pp. 383–409

‘On Book Distribution’ (2000), at

‘News on The Curse of Chalion’ (3/2000), at:

‘The Future of Warfare’ [speech at VorCon, St Petersburg, 9/2000], at:

‘Russian Impressions’ (9/2000), at ª

‘Croatia 2002’ (4/2002), at ª

‘2002 Mythopoeic Award: Acceptance Remarks’, at:

‘Preface’ [to the Chinese editions of early Vorkosigan novels, 2004], at:

‘Biolog’ (9/04), at:

‘Here’s Looking at You, Kid …’ [on fanfiction, 12/2005], at:

‘Jim Baen Remembered, 1943–2006’, at

‘How I Met the Inklings’ [speech at MythCon, 8/2006], at:

‘Eos Blogs 2006: Six Short Essays’, at

‘Writing Sex’ (3/2007), at

‘Space Opera, Miles and Me’ (10/2007), at:

‘Ohioana Library Career Award Acceptance Speech (10/2007), at:

‘Denvention 3, Guest of Honor Speech’ (8/2008), at:

‘Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Me’ (11/08), at:

‘Preface’, ‘Putting It All Together: Life, the Vorkosiverse, and Everything’, and ‘Publishing, Writing, and Authoring: Three Different Things’, in Lillian Stewart Carl and John Helfers, eds, The Vorkosigan Companion: The Universe of Lois McMaster Bujold (Riverdale, NY: Baen Books, 2008)


‘National Book Fair Lecture & Q&A, 2004’, at >Science Fiction and Fantasy > Lois Mcmaster Bujold.


Dreamweaver’s Dilemma: A Collection of Short Stories and Essays (ed. Suford Lewis, Framingham, MA: New England Science Fiction Association Press, 1995, 1998, 2000)



‘A Discussion with Lois McMaster Bujold’ (February 2009), at:

‘Women’s Hero Journey: An Interview with Lois McMaster Bujold on Paladin of Souls’ (June 2009), at

‘Interview with Lois McMaster Bujold’ (Fall 2009), at


            with Roland J. Green (b. 1944), as editors

Women at War (New York: Tor, 1995)          A collection of military SF stories by women; Bujold provides both a brief general introduction and prefatory paragraphs for each story. > ‘Miles To Go’


2. Other works cited

Birch, Dinah, ed., The Oxford Companion to English Literature (7th ed., Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009)

Broderick, Damien, Reading by Starlight: Postmodern Science Fiction (London & New York: Routledge Kegan Paul, 1995)

Campbell, Joseph W., The Hero with a Thousand Faces (New York: Bollingen Foundation, 1949; 2/e, 1968)

Carl, Lilian Stewart, & Helfers, John, eds, The Vorkosigan Companion: The Universe of Lois McMaster Bujold (Riverdale, NY: Baen Books, 2008)

Clute, John, & Nicholls, Peter, The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (1993; rev. ed., New York: St Martin’s Griffin, 1995) Hugo Award, Best Non-Fiction Book, 1994.

Duchamp, L. Timmel, ‘Pleasure and Frustration: One Feminist’s Reading of Lois McMaster Bujold’s A Civil Campaign’, at:


Haehl, Anne L., ‘Miles Vorkosigan and the Power of Words: A Study of Lois MacMaster Bujold’s Unlikely Hero’, in Extrapolation 37.3 (Fall 1996): 224–33

Hammond, Wayne G., & Scull, Christina, eds, The Lord of the Rings: A Reader’s Comapnion (London: HarperCollins, 2005)

Hartwell, David, and Cramer, Kathryn, eds, The Space Opera Renaissance (New York: Tor, 2006)

Kelso, Sylvia, ‘Loud Achievements: Lois McMaster Bujold’s Science Fiction’, at

— ‘Lois McMaster Bujold: Feminism and ‘The Gernsback Continuum’ in Recent Women’s SF’, at

Three Observations and a Dialogue: Round and About SF (Seattle: Acqueduct Press, 2009)  Includes ‘Letterspace’ and ‘Loud Achievements’.

Lennard, John, ‘Of Marriage and Mutations: Lois McMaster Bujold and the Several Lives of Lord Miles Naismith Vorkosigan’, in Of Sex and Faerie: Further Essays on Genre Fiction (Tirril: Humanities E-Bokks, 2010)

Lindow, Sandra J., ‘The Influence of Family and Moral Development in Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan Series’, in Foundation: The International Review of Science Fiction 83 (Autumn 2001): 25–34

Luckhurst, Roger, Science Fiction (Cambridge & Malden, MA: Polity Press, 2005)

Mann, George, ed., The Mammoth Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (New York: Carroll & Graf, 2001)

Melzer, Patricia, Alien Constructions: Science Fiction and Feminist Thought (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2006)

Mendlesohn, Fara, ‘Religion and science fiction’, in Edward James & Farah Mendlesohn, eds, The Cambridge Companion to Science Fiction (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), pp. 230–40

Merrick, Helen, & Williams, Tess, eds, Women of Other Worlds: excursions through science fiction and feminism (Nedlands, WA: University of Western Australia Press, 1999)

Smith, Erica H., ‘Runaway Roses and Defiant Skellytums: Thoughts on Plants, Gardens, Horticulture and Botany in the Vorkosiverse’, at:

Tolkien, J. R. R., The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien (ed. Humphrey Carpenter & Christopher Tolkien, 1981; Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2000)

The Monsters and the Critics and Other Essays (ed. Christopher Tolkien, London: George Allen & Unwin, 1983)

Wehrmann, Jurgen, ‘Jane Eyre in Outer Space: Victorian Motifs in Post-Feminist Science Fiction’, in Margarete Rubik & Elke Mettinger-Schartmann, eds, A Breath of Fresh Eyre: Intertextual and Intermedial Reworkings of Jane Eyre (Amsterdam & New York: Rodopi, 2007), pp. 149–65


Tags: essays, genre studies, lois mcmaster bujold
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