Entries Tagged 'News' ↓
March 18th, 2016 — News
Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen is Lois McMaster Bujold’s latest novel of the Vorkosigan Saga, and it is one of my recent favorites from the series. It is also practically impossible to talk about without discussing plot details from earlier in the series – this is perhaps the least stand-alone Vorkosigan book yet, steeped as it is in the history of its characters. So, stop reading now if you haven’t at least finished Cryoburn, the end of which I will be spoiling shortly.
I’ll also be discussing Gentleman Jole’s plot in more detail a little later, but I’ll warn you before I get into anything that isn’t apparent within the first chapter or two of the book. Ready? Here we go.
Cryoburn was one of my least favorite books in the series, but its ending makes it hugely important: its themes of handling mortality and death are capped off by Miles learning of the death of his father, Aral Vorkosigan, who has stood astride Barrayaran history like a colossus for the last forty years. Aral served as Admiral, Regent, and Prime Minister of Barrayar, as well as Count Vorkosigan, and Miles’s entire life had been lived under that shadow. But naturally, Miles is far from the only one to be affected by Aral’s death. Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen examines the echoes of Aral’s life and the shape of the hole he left in his passing by returning to the viewpoint character that started off the entire series, and perhaps the only person who grokked Aral in fullness: Cordelia Naismith Vorkosigan, Aral’s widow and the Vicereine of Sergyar.
Cordelia isn’t the only protagonist, though. The narrative flows relatively fluidly between her and the other main character of the story, Admiral Oliver Jole. (Jole was first introduced in The Vor Game, though I had honestly forgotten about his existence until this book.) And as not only an old friend of the Vorkosigans but also the senior Barrayaran military officer in Sergyar space, the former Viceroy’s passing left a hole both personal and professional in Jole’s life as well. Aral has been dead for three years by now, but his ghost is essentially the third main character of the book.
(And here is where the spoilers for the latest book begin. You have been warned.)
In fact, Jole’s relationship with the Vorkosigans is much more profound than we had been able to see from Miles’ point of view in The Vor Game. Gentleman Jole opens with Jole in his role as Admiral greeting Vicereine Cordelia upon her return to Sergyar space, and they arrange for a more unofficial reunion – whereupon the reader learns that Jole was, for many years, effectively the third person in the Vorkosigans’ marriage. And Cordelia has a proposal for him: she is going to use some frozen gametes to have some more daughters, and offers her former co-spouse the use of her “eggshells” (i.e. enucleated ova) and Aral’s X-chromosome-bearing gametes so that Jole could have sons by Aral.
Cordelia’s return to Jole’s life, her offer, and the emotions redeveloping between them naturally turn his life upside down (in a way that only entanglements with Vorkosigans can), and the bulk of the novel is the two of them navigating the new opportunities that they see in front of them and the memories they have behind them. The story is, at heart, a romance; it is clear well before the midpoint that Cordelia and Jole will rekindle their relationship, but the questions of how and for how long remain open.
The structure and setting of this book – a romance between Cordelia and a Barrayaran admiral taking place on and above the planet Sergyar – mirror that of Shards of Honor, the very first book of the series, and in that way I see Gentleman Jole as a bookend to the series, wrapping up the story of Cordelia and Aral with a bow and a happily-ever-after (at least to the extent that Aral can get such an ending posthumously).
Which leads me to the question: is this the end of the Vorkosigan Saga? It very well could be. If so, I found it an extremely satisfying one, both structurally for the series and as a story in its own right. Cordelia Vorkosigan is one of my favorite characters – not only in this series, but across all of science fiction – and she deserves all the happiness that this ending gives her.
March 18th, 2016 — News
See also my 2015 reading list for all the fiction I chose from. Nominations are in no particular order (though mostly in the order in which I read them).
- The Flux, Ferrett Steinmetz
- Apex, Ramez Naam
- Seveneves, Neal Stephenson
- Karen Memory, Elizabeth Bear
- The Traitor Baru Cormorant, Seth Dickinson
- Sorcerer of the Wildeeps, Kai Ashante Wilson
- Binti, Nnedi Okorafor
- The Last Witness, K. J. Parker
- “The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn”, Usman T. Malik
- Envy of Angels, Matt Wallace
- “Fabulous Beasts”, Priya Sharma
Best Short Story
- “Variations on an Apple”, Yoon Ha Lee
- “Some Gods of El Paso”, Maria Dahvana Headley
- “Damage”, David D. Levine
- “Oral Argument”, Kim Stanley Robinson
- “Schrödinger’s Gun”, Ray Wood
Best Related Work
- Writing Excuses, Season 10, Brandon Sanderson, Mary Robinette Kowal, Howard Tayler, Dan Wells
- The Wheel of Time Companion, Robert Jordan, Harriet McDougal, Alan Romanczuk, Maria Simons
Best Graphic Story
- Schlock Mercenary: Delegates and Delegation, Howard Tayler
- Gunnerkrigg Court, Tom Siddell
- Erfworld, Rob Balder, Xin Ye, Laura Ahonen
- Order of the Stick, Rich Burlew
Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form)
- Inside Out
- Mad Max: Fury Road
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form)
Best Editor (Long Form)
- Marco Palmieri
- Beth Meacham
- Lee Harris
- Joe Monti
- Harriet McDougal
Best Professional Editor (Short Form)
- Ellen Datlow
- Ann VanderMeer
- Liz Gorinsky
- Beth Meacham
- Carl Engle-Laird
Best Professional Artist
Best Fan Writer
Best Fan Artist
John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer
- Andy Weir (for The Martian)
Remaining categories to be filled in soon!
August 27th, 2015 — News
I’ve decided to start doing some long-form blogging, and I’m going to repurpose Pyrlogos to do so. The comics won’t be going away, but the Comicpress theme will, and I’ll be editing the posts to include image links to comics (or whatever I need to do to make them appear reasonably in the archives).
Just so you know. Changes inbound. See you on the proverbial flipside…
July 28th, 2010 — News
It’s been hard to figure out how to approach the subject; I’m still not quite sure just how “done” I am with Pyrlogos I am right now. The world still interests me; the story still interests me; the characters still won’t get out of my head. But I’ve been pretty deeply unsatisfied with the way I’ve written the story so far, and trying to figure out how to address that has been one of the things I was hoping for a few months to resolve so I could move on with the comic. But it’s not happening, and my immediate priorities have moved on to other things, and it’s time I admit that Pyrlogos is essentially dead at this point.
I’m not done with Pyrlogos, as a whole – but I’m not really convinced I’m capable of telling the story as a serial comic at this point. I hope to pick up the project again some day, in some incarnation or another, and when I do I’ll be posting about it here. But for now, well, I don’t have any plans to continue it in its current state.
Thanks for reading, and sorry for leaving things like this.
October 12th, 2009 — News
Page 029 is mostly done, but between sleeping issues and trying to rework my schedule to accomodate the curling season starting, I haven’t quite been able to finish it. It should be up by Wednesday at the latest.
In related news, Pyrlogos updates are going to be about this spotty for another few weeks, until I can get things to settle down again. If you don’t want to have to check the site and see no new updates, we do have an RSS feed you can use…
October 5th, 2009 — News
I had a pretty rough week last week, for a few different reasons. Long story short, page 029 will go up Monday, October 12th. See you then!
June 1st, 2009 — News
I’m getting married this month, and after that will be on my honeymoon until early July. As of July 20th, I hope to be able to resume a once-a-week schedule, but it may take me a bit of time to ramp up to that. Further details on the 20th – see you then!
May 4th, 2009 — News
Because there wasn’t enough going on, my tablet crapped out on me as I was starting the lineart for the comic. I only got the new one (thanks for the loan, Gwynne!) set up and working this weekend; I expect I’ll have the comic up by next Monday.
Thanks for your patience.
March 2nd, 2009 — News
I haven’t been able to keep up with the schedule, largely due to wedding planning and related activities. I’ve discovered that, with my life as busy as it is, I simply can’t do a page a week. Accordingly, Pyrlogos will be updating once every two weeks until July, after my wedding.
Next page will be up Monday, March 9th. See you then!
January 11th, 2009 — News
With the holidays over and some vital wedding-planning work done, I’m able to start working on comics again. Pyrlogos will return Monday, February 2nd. My hope is to return to a weekly schedule at that time.