Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Memory, Chapters 10-11

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga Memory

This week’s chapters deal with Miles’s 30th birthday. Happy birthday, Miles!  

My copy of Memory was purchased from the Oberlin College Cooperative Bookstore shortly after I turned twenty. That was a very different time to be reading about Miles turning thirty than now, almost exactly twenty-one years later. Thirty seemed old then. I sort of got what Miles said to Martin about middle age being a moveable feast, always ten years older than you are, but it really hit home on this read. Miles is striking me as shockingly young this week because I finally noticed that his birthday means that he must have been killed at twenty-nine. Or possibly at twenty-eight—it was a long convalescence. He’s been leading the Dendarii for slightly more than a decade, and he’s been assigned to ImpSec for approximately seven years. Rank notwithstanding, his career has been meteoric; he has come an incredibly ...

Living Sensibly With the Dead: E.F. Benson’s “How Fear Departed From the Long Gallery”

Welcome back to the Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s sandbox, from those who inspired him to those who were inspired in turn.

Today we’re looking at E.F. Benson’s “How Fear Departed From the Long Gallery,” first published in his 1912 collection, The Room in the Tower and Other Stories. Spoilers ahead.

“Church-Peveril is a house so beset and frequented by spectres, both visible and audible, that none of the family which it shelters under its acre and a half of green copper roofs takes psychical phenomena with any seriousness.”

Summary

In the competition for Britain’s most haunted house, Church-Peveril beats Hogwart’s Shrieking Shack by several lengths of shrouding linen. Master Anthony, for example, still rides his mare up the front staircase many a night, while great-great-grandmama Bridget occasionally conducts “vague business” by a bedroom fireplace. Don’t ...

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Memory, Chapters 7-9

Here’s the thing: I love Barrayar.

It’s a hideous horrible clump of dirt orbiting a sun somewhere a bunch of wormhole jumps and several centuries away. Its culture is godawful and masochistic. It is dismissive of women, callous to men, and completely horrible to anyone who doesn’t fit into its limited collection of Proper Barrayaran molds. It’s overdue for a Marxist revolution, but thus far its streets have run red with blood on several notable occasions without any substantial changes to its intolerable injustices. I don’t know why anyone puts up with it.

I am tired. I sprained an ankle falling off a horse a month ago, and when I went back to the barn today to ride for the first time since then, a horse stomped on my toes. I had to buddy tape three of them so I could walk the dog. I’m giving the toenails a 25% ...

Terrible Pickup Lines of the Dead: Mary Rickert’s “Journey Into the Kingdom”

Welcome back to the Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s sandbox, from those who inspired him to those who were inspired in turn.

Today we’re looking at Mary Rickert’s “Journey Into the Kingdom,” first published in Fantasy and Science Fiction in 2006. Spoilers ahead.

“The first ghost to come to my mother was my own father who had set out the day previous in the small boat heading to the mainland for supplies such as string and rice, and also bags of soil, which, in years past, we emptied into crevices between the rocks and planted with seeds, a makeshift garden and a “brave attempt,” as my father called it, referring to the barren stone we lived on.”

Summary

On his daily coffeehouse visit, Alex glances at a wall display of not particularly inspired still lifes. More interesting ...

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Memory, Chapters 5 and 6

One of the many things I appreciate about Memory is that Miles’s character-shaping important mistakes are in the early chapters. He’s already shot himself in both feet (and Vorberg just below the knees) by not telling his ImpSec doctors about his seizures, not seeking medical attention for his seizures, not telling his second-in-command about his seizures, personally leading troops into combat despite his seizures, and falsifying a report to cover up his seizures. He also cut off Vorberg’s legs and argued with Quinn. There’s just one mistake left, and he already started making it when he falsified the report. He’ll finish the job in chapter six.

Before that—Duv Galeni goes on a date.

This reread has an index, which you can consult if you feel like exploring previous books and chapters. Spoilers are welcome in the comments if they are relevant to the discussion at hand. Comments that question ...

Edgedancer Reread: Chapters 9 and 10

Lyn: Things are starting to get a bit… darker in this week’s reread! (Get it? GET IT?) Prepare to learn a bit more about Darkness and his motivation (Good? Bad? We’ll leave that for you to debate in the comments) and glean some more information about the Philosopher, those odd little cremlings, and… what’s this? SZETH MAKES AN APPEARANCE?

Alice: Hello, Darkness, my old friend…

L: Oh no you didn’t just start a sing-a-long. ♫ I’VE COME TO TALK WITH YOU AGAAAIIIIN… ♪

The Awesomeness

Chapter 9: Lift listens in on a conversation between Nale and some of his lackeys. A strange bald man in white with a sword (Szeth! It’s Szeth! With Nightblood! ::fangirl squee::) joins in the conversation, questioning Darkness’s methods and the truth of his claims that only by killing potential Knights Radiant will the Voidbringers be kept at bay. Darkness chastises him for his ...

Elder Gods Make Terrible Babysitters: Nadia Bulkin’s “Red Goat Black Goat”

Welcome back to the Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s sandbox, from those who inspired him to those who were inspired in turn.

Today we’re looking at Nadia Bulkin’s “Red Goat Black Goat,” first published in the June 2010 issue of Innsmouth Free Press. Spoilers ahead.

“We can’t trust people from outside the family,” Putri said. “The Goat-Nurse says so.”

Summary

Floods wrack West Java, Indonesia, but the mountain perch of the Gunawan estate has saved it from inundation. Ina Krisniati, or Kris, has waded through rising waters and mud to reach the villa. At the top of the driveway, feral goats greet her, strangely eager for her attention, but Kris pushes on to the front door. Mrs. Gunawan, dressed as glamorously as a soap star, admits her. Ah, Kris must be the new babysitter, and oh, she ...