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Cryoburn [Audio Cassette]

Lois McMaster Bujold , Grover Gardner
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Audio, Cassette, Oct. 1 2010 --  
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Book Description

Oct. 1 2010 Miles Vorkosigan Adventures
Miles Vorkosigan is sent to investigate a company whose job is to lead its all-too-mortal frozen patrons into an unknown future—a company trying to expand its franchise into the Barrayaran Empire.
--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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About the Author

Lois McMaster Bujold is one of the most honored writers in the fields of science fiction and fantasy and has won five Hugo Awards and three Nebula Awards, including a Nebula Award for Falling Free, included in Miles, Mutants and Microbes. She immediately attracted attention with her first novel, Shards of Honor, which began her popular Vorkosigan series, and quickly followed it up with The Warrior’s Apprentice, which introduced young Miles Vorkosigan, one of the most popular characters ever in science fiction. Her two recent fantasy series for Harper-Collins have been top sellers, from which Paladin of Souls took home her latest Hugo Award. The mother of two, Ms. Bujold lives in Minneapolis, MN. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a good Vorkosigan book Nov. 3 2010
Format:Hardcover
A good read although Miles fans may find it a bit more sedate than the usual manic adventures of their favorite galactic. Of course, Miles is older and is saddled by more responsability.

On the whole I found this story less gripping than usual. But a good read nonetheless.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Return to form Feb. 13 2011
Format:Hardcover
It's been a while since the last Miles Vorkosigan book (in fact I believe Bujold had indicated a few years ago she felt she was done with them), but at long last he's back. If you aren't familiar with the series, this probably isn't the place to start; I'd recommend the Warrior's Apprentice (or Cordelia's Honor, which is about his mother and pre-dates the series).

It's an older Miles in this book; there are still hints of his manic personality and recklessness, but tempered by experience and responsibility now. Very little of the action-adventure style from earlier books - though there is still some action - but instead more of a focus on Miles gathering information and solving problems. Overall I think this book is better than the last couple in the series, but doesn't quite reach the heights of the early books. The ending hints that there is more to come. Worth reading for fans of the series.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Has Bujold lost her touch? Aug. 5 2011
Format:Hardcover
This story is more socio-political drama than military sci-fi (and, thus, unlike any of the others I've read in this series). Miles is more mature and the topic is more mature and the people are more mature and... I didn't like it.

I read these books for a fast, fun and frenzied look at people not so different than us living in worlds very different from ours and what I got in this book is mostly moralizing (oh, how bad it is to value cryo-preserved bodies for monetary gain instead of... well, not sure what happens in a society with stacks of dead people waiting to come back) and boring (like I care about the soap-opera activities of Jin and his pets? what does that have to do with anything other than to show some "human" side to the story).

Certainly it's not the light-hearted, fun and resolved Miles storyline I was expecting. I don't want someone else's morals, but thanks for the offer.

I wish the last 100 pages had been written like the last 500 words - at least then it would have had some pacing and angst.
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Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  203 reviews
98 of 104 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Turning Point Oct. 16 2010
By thebookwormgirl - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I first read Ms. Bujold's Vorkosigan series when I was in high school in the 1990's. I have reread those books and was eagerly awaiting this next saga. I was not disappointed. This is a book about death, how we deal with it and growing old.

Once again we are again pulled along Miles' wake as he first tries to figure out what is so fishy about the cryonics deal Kommar has with New Hope II otherwise known as Kibou-daini. Kibou is a planet obsessed with death and with trying to beat it and old age. Miles, in the course of resolving his assignment from Gregor and helping 11 year old Jin (two birds one stone kind of thing) must think of his own views on death and aging. In the end these things are easily skimmed over the first time you read this novel. Easily skimmed that is, until the end when Bujold hit you with a train you didn't even see coming. Now those issues Miles and the reader skimmed over are even more profound and I felt a compulsive need to reread the book.

I know this sound like a cryptic review, but you can read a plot summary above before you purchase and any spoilers will truly spoil the book. I can tell you we see a different side Miles who can seem cold even unattached in this book due to the perspective of new characters, who truly have no clue who Miles is. Readers are reassured that the Miles we have come to know is still the same (older & wiser) when the story switches to his perspective. We also see how Miles has grown into his job as Imperial Auditor and Bujold's prose is as witty as ever. I can only give you my best recommendation for a story; it was engrossing, it made me laugh, think and cry. All the things a great story is supposed to do.
108 of 116 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Oh... Oct. 15 2010
By Vanessa Lyman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I've waited for this book for eight years, and just finished reading it, and... For readers of the entire series, it feels like the lightest book of the Vorkosigan universe. Funny, enjoyable, lots of chicanery and a heap of trouble with a squiggly-minded little man on top. But then you hit the end, and you realize that reading it lightly was a serious mistake. It was never light. Not once, though it may seem that way. Jin does not get his fairytale, though he is is given his life anew. And Miles isn't given his fairytale. Just his life, anew. I'm not sure whether to start reading this book over, or start reading the entire series over. It's one or the other, though, because one reading was not enough. I took it too lightly the first round.
129 of 142 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must. Oct. 19 2010
By PhoenixFalls - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is the umpteenth Vorkosigan Saga novel, long salivated after by all right and proper fans (whose ranks do include me, as fair warning), and like all books in the series it functions as a stand-alone and even would serve as a decent introduction to the series. It's not the best introduction, but anyone who comes to the series through this novel will have no trouble keeping up with the plot here and will also not be spoiled on any major events from earlier on, except for Mirror Dance (Miles Vorkosigan Adventures) -- but to be fair, just knowing that the series continues is a spoiler for Mirror Dance.

What makes the Vorkosigan Saga unique in my experience (and if there are any other series that share this quality, please, let me know!) is that it is a very long-running series where each book does stand-alone yet which carries the same set of characters throughout (with the occasional addition or subtraction) and in which the characters undergo fundamental change throughout, significant, life-altering experiences that can't be brushed off or reset in the next volume. The best volumes in the series are, in fact, those that deal with those life-altering experiences.

Cryoburn does not fall into that category. Instead, it falls into the slightly-less-satisfying but still exceptional category of Vorkosigan Saga novels that use the science fiction setting to explore the effect of technological innovation on human society. Unlike many science fiction writers, Bujold has little interest in the physics of her universe; she hand-waved some wormhole-aided space travel technology and then never gave it another thought. The technology Bujold is interested in exploring is the technology of life and death. Many of her novels explore what strange subcultures we might create given a workable uterine replicator (Falling Free (Miles Vorkosigan Adventures), Ethan of Athos, and Cetaganda (Vorkosigan Adventure) leap to mind, and the technology is important in nearly all of the others); this novel explores in depth what strange distortions the cryochamber (a technology that allows freezing and reliable reviving of humans near -- or recently -- dead) might work through society.

I don't think Bujold gets enough credit for how science fiction -y her novels are. Not hard SF -- we get no lovingly technical infodumps of any of these technologies -- but true soft SF of the sort Ursula LeGuin writes, extrapolating futures frightening for how very human they are. I believe, in every Bujold novel, in the way her societies have been distorted. But unlike much thoughtful soft SF, Bujold always bears in mind that she is writing an entertaining story first. I suspect this is why it's easy for people to brush her off. There is nothing didactic about her writing, and the social extrapolation is always either essential to the plot (in which case you can look at it as purely plot-related) or done in small little asides that, if you are racing to get to the end, are very easy to overlook. She also takes time to make the reader laugh, often -- something I wish far more science fiction authors would do.

So Cryoburn works in both those ways. Like many a Miles novel before it, it's a fast-paced adventure wherein Miles happens to people, and their lives (and worlds) are skewed in his wake. Like recent Miles novels, Cryoburn very much benefits from having two POV characters besides Miles; these POVs let us see more of the human cost of his manic forward momentum. One of the alternate POVs, a young boy named Jin, is very well-done and makes this the first Vorkosigan novel since The Warrior's Apprentice that is fundamentally YA-friendly. (The other POV is Armsman Roic, who though wonderful in the novella "Winterfair Gifts [With Earbuds] (Playaway Adult Fiction)" is used mainly for plot-advancement here.) And like all Vorkosigan Saga novels, everything comes together in a hectic (but never confusing) climax with Miles the victor.

But after that satisfying (though not world-shattering) climax comes the denouement, which was telegraphed from page one (and which Bujold has repeatedly told readers was next for the series) and which I had been dreading from the moment I heard this book was going to be published. And it feels. . . strange. It left me off-balance, and while I'm sure it was supposed to leave me off-balance I can't help but wonder if Bujold just chickened out. The Aftermaths section (a perfectly pitched call-back to the first Vorkosigan novel, Shards of Honor) was delicate, and so very right (it's a set of five drabbles), but. . . it will likely leave any new readers confused and cold, and to longtime fans it feels like the only "To be continued" of the series, because it screams for elaboration.

On the other hand, it does work, intellectually, as a cap for a series that has produced three Hugo-winning novels, one Nebula-winning novel, and a number of Hugo- and Nebula-winning short stories and novellas. So it is entirely possible that I am left unsatisfied simply because it's over. Again.
49 of 54 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, but Not Great Oct. 25 2010
By Brian Heyn - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Lois Bujold's strengths are, as usual, on display with this book. Her strong characterization is on prominent display, with the two characters we know a bit older and more mature, but still the comfortable characters fans of the series have grown to love. The new characters, primarily Jin, are well fleshed out and believable, and we quickly come to care for him. The returning minor character(Raven Durona) gets a good fleshing out.

Ms. Bujold's fascination with medical/life technology and it's effect on society is once again on display, and once again she creates an interesting society based on those changes. How would easy, convenient cryogenics affect society? This is something that could happen before long, and it could have a large impact on society. While the scenario she paints in this book is far fetched, it does a good job of illustrating the kinds of things society will face at some point.

The story is fun, the action exciting, the humor laugh out loud. Pacing is perfect. So why does it fall short? Well, to be honest it really doesn't, except in comparison to her own earlier work in the series. The first thing to note is that except for Miles and Roic, the rest of the large cast of characters we love to read about simply are not there, or only there briefly. No Cordelia, no Aral, no Ivan, no Simon, no Alys, no Gregor, no Ekatrin, no Pym. Mark and Kareen show up, but briefly. This is very frustrating to longtime fans, as [art of the pleasure of the Vorkosigan books is seeing how all those characters grow and interrelate.

More importantly, while the story is fine, it's not up to the standards of most of Bujold's books. The plot feels disjointed at times, and it felt as if she had a great idea's on the themes to tackle, but just was going through the motions on the story itself. It's not a bad story, but I expected better as she has shown herself quite capable of writing much better stories. And I think that is the biggest problem with this book, that Ms. Bujold has spoiled us, and we almost expect too much.

I sincerely hope that she does revisit the Vorkosigan universe again, and in much less time that it took her to do this book. I just hope that we see some of the old characters(especially Ivan, who does deserve his own book), and she returns to the form she is capable of. I do recommend this book to her fans, and to those who have not yet discovered the joys of the Vorkosigan books. It's not bad, it just could be better.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Oct. 18 2010
By JustRead - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Like most Lois McMaster Bujold fans, I've been waiting for years for a new Miles Vorkosigan book. While her Chalion books are sublime and the Sharing Knife series is interesting, let's be honest: Miles is who got most of us hooked on her, and it's Miles we want to see more of.

First a caveat: I don't want to ruin the reading experience for anyone who hasn't gotten the book yet, so let me be clear: there are mild spoilers ahead. If you don't want to know anything about the book, stop right now and move on to the bold text that says 'pick back up here'.

MILD SPOILERS!

As most readers of the Vorkosigan universe might have expected, the major themes of the book are the relationship between parent and child and how children deal with the death of a parent. And in typical Bujold fashion we look at the issues from all sides, even those we might not have anticipated.

The plot centers around an Auditorial investigation on Kibou, where the sick, the old and the dying are cryogenically frozen instead of buried. The catch is, since they're not really dead, they still have a vote in the planetary democracy, which they sign over to the cryogenics corporation as a proxy representative in the interim. As there are 1.5-2 million frozen "dead" on Kibou, the result is a large amount of voting power concentrated in relatively few hands. As you would expect, Miles runs afoul of these powers in the most dramatic of ways, and it takes him a couple hundred pages to resolve matters to his satisfaction.

However, that's just the plot. Like Diplomatic Immunity, which this book closely resembles, the plot is really only a secondary device for Bujold to explore her themes of choice. In this instance, the duality of the child becoming a parent while at the same time dealing with the passing of their own parents. For Bujold, the treatment of these themes is almost heavy-handed. There is a young boy, Jin, who serves as a proxy for Miles' own 4 children (who remain off-screen for all but one brief scene). There are numerous instances where the Miles/Jin relationship shows us Miles' own growing familiarity and comfort with parenthood as well as the subsequent maturing effects of said familiarity on Miles himself. He is calmer. He's more patient. He thinks twice about some risks. In short, he is living for someone other than himself, and it shows.

Unfortunately, this entirely logical and necessary character development is also the book's downfall. We don't want a sane, rational patient Miles. We get lots of sane, rational and patient in our own lives. We want to live vicariously through the little git, dammit! But of course, he can't be that way anymore. He has a wife, and kids and responsibilities. Miles isn't running fly-by-night mercenary operations anymore, he's heading subcommittees on reproductive law. Which is nice for him, but makes for a less dynamic book for us.

MAJOR SPOILERS! STOP IF YOU DON'T WANT THE ENDING GIVEN AWAY!

And then, predictably, comes the death of Miles' father. It is foreshadowed throughout the book (and, in a nice touch, the series), but it is still shocking and saddening for all of that. In the last 500 words of the book, Bujold gives us a raw, real look into the utter destruction of Miles' childhood that is poignant, honest and clearly infused with lingering emotions from the passing of her own father some years ago.

What's most devastating about Aral's passing, however, isn't the death of a beloved father-figure. Rather, it's the simultaneous passing of Miles' freedom of movement, action and thought. He's not Lord Vorkosigan anymore, he's Count Vorkosigan, which means he has to spend most of his time on Barrayar being a Count, a father and a husband. Maybe Bujold will treat us to a reprise of A Civil Campaign's Barrayar-centric politics, social mores and intrigues, but I doubt it. Unless she summons up the energy to plunge Barrayar and Miles into a major war or catastrophe, this will almost certainly be the last Vorkosigan book, and we can see that. And it hurts.

PICK BACK UP HERE

All in all, the book is a pleasant read. It's not the best of the series, but it's not the worst either. We don't see much of many beloved characters including Ivan, Cordelia, Gregor, or Ekaterine, but we do learn a bit about most of them through various passing remarks. If, as I suspect, this will be the last book in the series (at least chronologically), it is a suitable farewell if not an entirely satisfactory one.
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