The Mountains of Mourning – Lois McMaster Bujold

Novella takes Miles to the backcountry.

Stars: Four out of five.

Review format: Note plus links.
Summary: Mountains was a contrary story, based on the “What’s the worst possible thing we can do to this guy?” plot-generator, taking my new-minted Ensign Miles, his face to the stars, and forcing his head around to take a look at what his feet were planted in. (from the author’s afterword in Young Miles). Miles has just graduated from the Imperial Academy, and is at home at Vorkosigan Surleau with his parents. A woman from the isolated village of Silvy Vale walks for three days to report the suspected murder of her baby, who was born with a cleft lip and palate. Miles’ father sends him to investigate as his Voice (representative with full powers) to gain experience. Miles solves the mystery and exercises justice and mercy in appropriate measures. (from wikipedia)
Provenance: Baen Online Store… via the containing omnibus, Young Miles.

In this novella, Miles Vorkosigan must confront his planet’s deep historical prejudice against genetic abnormality, carried out against the most helpless and innocent.  The author won her first Hugo award and second Nebula for this work.

Date Read: Sometime in late July.  Review written 2 months late. 😦

Cool related links, including other reviews

Other related good stuff and reviews  (added by me, not generated)

  • Read the first Miles book for free via the publisher: Warrior’s Apprentice
  • Get Mountains of Mourning for free from the publisher.
  • Go to the entire Vorkosigan Bibliography in Haiku format: here
  • Want the full list of books in the Vorkosigan Saga? Here’s my list: Bujold Bibliography.
  • Fyrefly – this was her favourite of 3 different novellas “it was really interesting to see him in a situation that puts his appearance into such stark relief, and to watch him struggle with a deeply-ingrained problem that can’t be readily solved by being clever and charming.”
  • Fantasy Book Cafe’s review makes the excellent point that the serious subject does not rule out humor: “The Mountains of Mourning… was not all serious, though, and this novella contained one of my very favorite lines in this entire book with Miles’s thoughts about all the young women gathering around and pampering his horse: ‘God, thought Miles jealously, if I had half the sex appeal of that bloody horse I’d have more girlfriends than my cousin Ivan.'”
  • The Entropy Pump mentions the novella in the context of older(?) short fiction by Bujold. ” If you compare the last fiction piece in the collection, The Mountains of Mourning to the other stories, you can see how she has retained all the enjoyable elements of her earlier stories and yet has gained a depth previously unseen. Most writers seem to lose a certain lightness in their fiction when they try themselves on heavier topics. Bujold hasn’t, which might explain her great success.”


Want me to link to your review too? Let me know in a comment, and I can add the link here.

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