Lois McMaster Bujold

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Lois McMaster Bujold
Lois-mcmaster-bujold-by-kyle-cassidy.jpg
Bujold at home in 2009
BornLois Joy McMaster [1]
(1949-11-02) November 2, 1949 (age 69)
Columbus, Ohio, U.S.
OccupationNovelist
NationalityAmerican
Alma mater Ohio State University [2]
Period1985–present
Genre Science fiction, fantasy
Children2
Website
dendarii.com

Lois McMaster Bujold ( /bˈʒld/ ( Loudspeaker.svg listen ) boo-ZHOHLD; born November 2, 1949) is an American speculative fiction writer. [1] She is one of the most acclaimed writers in her field, having won the Hugo Award for best novel four times, matching Robert A. Heinlein's record (not counting his Retro Hugos). Her novella "The Mountains of Mourning" won both the Hugo Award and Nebula Award. In the fantasy genre, The Curse of Chalion won the Mythopoeic Award for Adult Literature and was nominated for the 2002 World Fantasy Award for best novel, and both her fourth Hugo Award and second Nebula Award were for Paladin of Souls . In 2011 she was awarded the Skylark Award. [3] In 2013 she was awarded the Forry Award for Lifetime Achievement, named for Forrest J. Ackerman, by the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society. [4] She has won two Hugo Awards for Best Series, in 2017 for the Vorkosigan Saga [5] and in 2018 for the Chalion series. [6]

Speculative fiction Genre of fiction including sci-fi, horror and fantasy

Speculative fiction is an umbrella genre encompassing fiction with certain elements that do not exist in the real world, often in the context of supernatural, futuristic or other imaginative themes. This includes, but is not limited to, science fiction, fantasy, superhero fiction, horror, utopian and dystopian fiction, fairytale fantasy, supernatural fiction as well as combinations thereof.

Hugo Award Literary awards for science fiction or fantasy

The Hugo Awards are a set of literary awards voted on by members of the current World Science Fiction Convention and presented annually by the World Science Fiction Society for the best science fiction or fantasy works and achievements of the previous year. The awards are named after Hugo Gernsback, the founder of the pioneering science fiction magazine Amazing Stories. Organized and overseen by the World Science Fiction Society, the awards are given each year at the annual Worldcon. They were first given in 1953 at the 11th World Science Fiction Convention, and have been awarded every year since 1955.

Contents

The bulk of Bujold's works comprises three separate book series: the Vorkosigan Saga, the Chalion series, and the Sharing Knife series.

Biography

Bujold at Finncon 2012 in Tampere Bujold2012.png
Bujold at Finncon 2012 in Tampere

Bujold is the daughter of Robert Charles McMaster [7] [8] and attributes her early interest in science fiction, as well as certain aspects of the Vorkosigan Saga, to his influence. He was editor [9] of the Nondestructive Testing Handbook. [10]

Vorkosigan Saga book series by Lois McMaster Bujold

The Vorkosigan Saga is a series of science fiction novels and short stories set in a common fictional universe by American author Lois McMaster Bujold. The first of these was published in 1986 and the most recent in May 2018. Works in the series have received numerous awards and nominations, including five Hugo award wins including one for Best Series.

Bujold writes that her experience growing up with a famous father is reflected in the same experience that her characters (Miles, Fiametta) have of growing up in the shadow of a "Great Man". Having observed this tendency in both genders, she wonders why it is always called "great man's son syndrome", and never "great man's daughter's syndrome." [11] Her brother, an engineer like their father, helped provide technical details to support her writing of Falling Free . [12]

<i>Falling Free</i> novel by Lois McMaster Bujold

Falling Free is a science fiction novel by American writer Lois McMaster Bujold, part of her Vorkosigan Saga. It was first published as four installments in Analog from December 1987 to February 1988, and won the Nebula Award for Best Novel for 1988. It is included in the 2007 omnibus Miles, Mutants and Microbes.

She has stated that she was always a "voracious reader". [2] She started reading adult science fiction at the age of nine, picking up the habit from her father. She became a member of science fiction fandom, joined the Central Ohio Science Fiction Society, and co-published StarDate, a science fiction fanzine in which a story of hers appeared under the byline Lois McMaster. Her reading tastes later expanded and she stated she now reads "history, mysteries, romance, travel, war, poetry, etc". [2]

Science fiction fandom

Science fiction fandom or SF fandom is a community or fandom of people interested in science fiction in contact with one another based upon that interest. SF fandom has a life of its own, but not much in the way of formal organization.

She attended Ohio State University from 1968 to 1972. While she was interested in writing, she didn't pursue an English major, feeling it was too concerned with literary criticism instead of literary creation. [2]

Ohio State University public research university in Columbus, Ohio, United States

The Ohio State University (OSU), commonly referred to as Ohio State, is a large public research university in Columbus, Ohio. Founded in 1870 as a land-grant university and the ninth university in Ohio with the Morrill Act of 1862, the university was originally known as the Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College. The college originally focused on various agricultural and mechanical disciplines but it developed into a comprehensive university under the direction of then-Governor Rutherford B. Hayes, and in 1878 the Ohio General Assembly passed a law changing the name to "The Ohio State University". The main campus in Columbus, Ohio, has since grown into the third-largest university campus in the United States. The university also operates regional campuses in Lima, Mansfield, Marion, Newark, and Wooster.

She married John Fredric Bujold in 1971, but they divorced in the early 1990s. The marriage produced two children, a daughter named Anne (born 1979) and a son named Paul (born 1981). [13] Anne Bujold is a Portland, Oregon metal artist, welder, [14] and vice president of the Northwest Blacksmith Association. [15] Bujold currently lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota. [16]

Inspiration for Writing

Bujold had been friends with Lillian Stewart Carl since high school, where they "collaborated on extended story lines [but where] only a fragment of the total was written out." [2] . At one point, she even co-produced a Star Trek zine called StarDate [17] which she wrote for. In college, she wrote a Sherlock Holmes mystery as well [17] . However, she stopped writing after that, being busy with marriage, family, and a career in hospital patient care. [18]

It wasn't until her thirties [18] that she returned to writing. Bujold has credited her friend Lillian Stewart Carl's first book sales with inspiring her to return to the field: "it occurred to me that if she could do it, I could do it too." [2] She originally planned to write as a hobby again, but discovered the amount of work required was too much for anything other than a profession, so she decided to turn professional. With support from Carl and Patricia Wrede, [19] she was able to complete her first novel.

Science fiction

Lois Bujold wrote three books ( Shards of Honor , The Warrior's Apprentice and Ethan of Athos ) before The Warrior's Apprentice was finally accepted, after four rejections. The Warrior's Apprentice was the first book purchased, though not the first Vorkosigan book written, nor would it be the first one to be published. On the strength of The Warrior's Apprentice, Baen Books agreed to a three-book deal to include the two bracketing novels. By 2010, Baen Books claimed to have sold 2 million copies of Bujold's books. [20]

Bujold is best known for her Vorkosigan saga, a series of novels featuring Miles Vorkosigan, a physically impaired interstellar spy and mercenary admiral from the planet Barrayar, set approximately 1000 years in the future. The series also includes prequels starring Miles' parents, along with companion novels centered on secondary characters. Earlier titles are generally firmly in the space opera tradition with no shortage of battles, conspiracies, and wild twists, while in more recent volumes, Miles becomes more of a detective. In A Civil Campaign , Bujold explores yet another genre: a high-society romance with a plot that pays tribute to Regency romance novelist Georgette Heyer (as acknowledged in the dedication). It centers on a catastrophic dinner party, with misunderstandings and dialogue justifying the subtitle "A Comedy of Biology and Manners".

The author has stated that the series structure is modeled after the Horatio Hornblower books, documenting the life of a single person. In themes and echoes, they also reflect Dorothy L. Sayers' mystery character Lord Peter Wimsey. Bujold has also said that part of the challenge of writing a series is that many readers will encounter the stories in "utterly random order", so she must provide sufficient background in each of them without being excessively repetitious. Most recent printings of her Vorkosigan tales do include an appendix at the end of each book, summarizing the internal chronology of the series.

Bujold has discussed her own views on the optimum reading order for the Vorkosigan series in her blog. [21]

Fantasy

Bujold also wanted to break into the fantasy genre, but met with early setbacks. Her first foray into fantasy was The Spirit Ring . She wrote the book "on spec", shopped it around, and found low offers, sending her back to Baen Books, where Jim Baen bought it for a fair price in exchange for the promise of more Vorkosigan books. Bujold called this experience very educational; the book received little critical acclaim, and had only mediocre sales.

She would not attempt to break into the fantasy market again for almost another decade, with The Curse of Chalion . This book was also written on spec and offered up to a book auction. This time, she met with considerable critical and commercial success by tapping into a crossover market of fantasy and romance genre fans. The fantasy world of Chalion was first conceived as a result of a University of Minnesota course she was taking about medieval Spain in her spare time.

The next fantasy world she created was the tetralogy set in the universe of The Sharing Knife , borrowing inspiration for its landscapes and for the dialect of the "farmers" from ones she grew up with in central Ohio. [22] She writes that her first readers who helped proofread it said she got it exactly right and they could recognize Ohio features in the descriptions and dialects.

Relation to Fan Fiction

Bujold has generally been supportive of fan fiction written about her characters and universe. Amy H. Sturgis, in her essay "From Both Sides Now: Bujold and the Fan Fiction Phenomenon" [17] , notes that this is unusual for writers of Bujold's generation, most of whom are opposed to fan fiction. Sturgis relates this to Bujold's own production of Star Trek and Sherlock Holmes fan fiction early in her life, which Sturgis saw as an apprenticeship for her professional writing career.

Bujold herself ties her appreciation of fan fiction to her appreciation of "active" readers. To her, good readers are the "unsung collaborators" who make the story work, by actually constructing the world and characters in their heads. Books, to her, don't actually exist until they enter the reader's head and grow there. And sometimes, the characters and stories in a book grow so much that they escape the writer's original confines and become fan fiction. To Bujold, great literature is never "sterile", stopping with only what the original author wrote [23] . She further believes that fan fiction gives authors a unique chance to see into the minds of those "invisible collaborators", the readers [24] .

Despite this, she no longer reads fan fiction about her own characters due to legal and financial concerns, "fascinating as [she] finds it" [24] .

Awards and nominations

Hugo Awards

Wins

Nominations

Nebula Awards

Wins

Nominations

Locus Awards

Best Science Fiction Novel

Best Fantasy Novel

Minnesota Book Award

Wins

Nominations

Other

List of works

Related Research Articles

Miles Naismith Vorkosigan is a protagonist of a series of science fiction novels and short stories, known as the Vorkosigan Saga, written by American author Lois McMaster Bujold.

<i>Paladin of Souls</i> novel by Lois McMaster Bujold

Paladin of Souls is a 2003 fantasy novel by American writer Lois McMaster Bujold. It won the "triple crown" of Hugo, Locus, and Nebula awards. It is a sequel to The Curse of Chalion, and takes place approximately three years later. The series that it is part of, World of the Five Gods, won the Hugo Award for Best Series in 2018.

Beta Colony is an important planet in Lois McMaster Bujold's science fiction series the Vorkosigan Saga. The planet's biome is almost entirely desert, described as "screaming hot", and the colony itself exists primarily underground. Beta Colony's chief industries are weapons R&D and sex tourism.

<i>Diplomatic Immunity</i> (novel) novel by Lois McMaster Bujold

Diplomatic Immunity is a 2002 science fiction novel by American writer Lois McMaster Bujold, part of the Vorkosigan Saga. It was nominated for the Nebula Award for Best Novel in 2003.

The Dendarii Mercenaries are a mercenary organisation appearing in American writer Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga series of science fiction works. They were founded by Miles Vorkosigan in The Warrior's Apprentice.

Sergeant Konstantin Bothari is a character in the Vorkosigan Saga of science fiction novels by Lois McMaster Bujold. He is a deeply disturbed foot soldier and a classic example of an anti-hero.

<i>The Vor Game</i> novel by Lois McMaster Bujold

The Vor Game is a science fiction novel by Lois McMaster Bujold, first published in September 1990. It won the 1991 Hugo Award for Best Novel. The Vor Game is a part of the Vorkosigan Saga, and is the sixth full-length novel in publication order, and is the sixth story, including novellas, in the internal chronology of the series. It was included in the 1997 omnibus Young Miles.

<i>Shards of Honor</i> novel by Lois McMaster Bujold

Shards of Honor is an English language science fiction novel by Lois McMaster Bujold, first published in June 1986. It is a part of the Vorkosigan Saga, and is the first full-length novel in publication order. Shards of Honor is paired with Bujold's 1991 Barrayar in the omnibus Cordelia's Honor (1996).

<i>Cryoburn</i> novel by Lois McMaster Bujold

Cryoburn is a science fiction novel by American writer Lois McMaster Bujold, first published in October 2010. Part of the Vorkosigan Saga, it was nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 2011, as Bujold's ninth Best Novel nomination. Also in 2011, it was one of the top five finishers in the poll for the Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel.

<i>The Warriors Apprentice</i> novel by Lois McMaster Bujold

The Warrior's Apprentice is an English language science fiction novel by Lois McMaster Bujold, part of the Vorkosigan Saga. It was the second book published in the series, and is the fifth story, including novellas, in the internal chronology of the series. The Warrior's Apprentice was first published by Baen Books in 1986, and was included in the 1997 omnibus Young Miles.

<i>Cetaganda</i> novel by Lois McMaster Bujold

Cetaganda is a science fiction novel by Lois McMaster Bujold, first published in four parts from October to December 1995 in Analog Science Fiction and Fact, and published in book form by Baen Books in January 1996. It is a part of the Vorkosigan Saga, and was included in the 2001 omnibus Miles, Mystery and Mayhem.

<i>Barrayar</i> novel by Lois McMaster Bujold

Barrayar is a science fiction novel by American writer Lois McMaster Bujold. It was first published as four installments in Analog in July–October 1991, and then published in book form by Baen Books in October 1991. Barrayar won both the Hugo Award for Best Novel and the Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel in 1992. It is a part of the Vorkosigan Saga, and is the seventh full-length novel of the series, in publication order. Barrayar is a direct sequel to Bujold's first novel, Shards of Honor (1986), and the two are paired in the 1996 omnibus Cordelia's Honor.

<i>Memory</i> (Bujold novel) novel by Lois McMaster Bujold

Memory is a science fiction novel by American writer Lois McMaster Bujold, first published in October 1996. It is a part of the Vorkosigan Saga, and is the eleventh full-length novel in publication order.

<i>A Civil Campaign</i> novel by Lois McMaster Bujold

A Civil Campaign: A Comedy of Biology and Manners is a science fiction novel by American writer Lois McMaster Bujold, first published in September 1999. It is a part of the Vorkosigan Saga, and is the thirteenth full-length novel in publication order. It is included in the 2008 omnibus Miles in Love. The title is an homage to the Georgette Heyer novel A Civil Contract and, like Heyer's historical romances, the novel focuses on romance, comedy, and courtship. It is dedicated to "Jane, Charlotte, Georgette, and Dorothy", likely the novelists Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, Georgette Heyer, and Dorothy L. Sayers or Dorothy Dunnett.

<i>Mirror Dance</i> novel by Lois McMaster Bujold

Mirror Dance is a Hugo- and Locus-award-winning science fiction novel by Lois McMaster Bujold. Part of the Vorkosigan Saga, it was first published by Baen Books in March 1994, and is included in the 2002 omnibus Miles Errant.

<i>Brothers in Arms</i> (Bujold novel) novel by Lois McMaster Bujold

Brothers in Arms is a science fiction novel by American writer Lois McMaster Bujold, part of the Vorkosigan Saga. It was the fifth book published in the series, and is the twelfth story, including novellas, in the internal chronology of the series. Brothers in Arms was first published by Baen Books in January 1989, and is included in the 2002 omnibus Miles Errant.

<i>Captain Vorpatrils Alliance</i> book by Lois McMaster Bujold

Captain Vorpatril's Alliance is a science fiction novel by American writer Lois McMaster Bujold, part of the Vorkosigan Saga. The action centers on Miles Vorkosigan's cousin Ivan Vorpatril, now a captain, and a Jackson's Whole refugee called Tej. By internal chronology, the book is set a year or so after Diplomatic Immunity (2002), about four years before Cryoburn (2010).

<i>Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen</i> book by Lois McMaster Bujold

Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen is a science fiction novel by American writer Lois McMaster Bujold. It is an installment in Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga. Bujold has described it as "not a war story. It is about grownups."

References

  1. 1 2 "Bujold, Lois McMaster". Revised February 17, 2014. The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (sf-encyclopedia.com). Retrieved 2014-08-14. Entry by 'PN/NT'.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Lois McMaster Bujold, Biolog". dendarii.com. Retrieved 2019-03-10.
  3. NESFA. "Skylark Award". NESFA. Archived from the original on 2008-12-04. Retrieved 2013-10-15.Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  4. Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society. "Forry Award". LASFS . Retrieved 2013-10-15.
  5. "2017 Hugo Awards". The Hugo Awards.
  6. "2018 Hugo Awards". The Hugo Awards. 2018-03-15. Retrieved 2019-03-10.
  7. "Robert Charles McMaster - a tribute". Dendarii.com. Retrieved 2014-01-28.
  8. cf. a Memorial Tribute in his honor
  9. Nondestructive Testing Handbook (9780318215020): Robert C. McMaster: Books. ISBN   978-0318215020.
  10. "The American Society for Nondestructive Testing". Archived from the original on 2012-09-04.
  11. Bujold, Lois Mcmaster (1997). Young Miles. BAEN. p. 830.
  12. Bujold, Lois McMaster. Forward to Miles, Mutants, Microbes Omnibus edition, paragraphs 11 & 13
  13. "Locus Lois McMaster Bujold Biography". Dendarii.com. Retrieved 2014-01-28.
  14. "Ann the Riveter and her Riveted Rabbit". CraftedInCarhartt.com. Retrieved 2015-12-26.
  15. "Northwest Blacksmith Association Board of Directors". Northwest Blacksmith Association. Retrieved 2015-12-26.
  16. "Spectrum Literary Agency - Lois McMaster Bujold". www.spectrumliteraryagency.com. Spectrum Literary Agency. Retrieved 2019-03-10.
  17. 1 2 3 Sturgis, Amy H. (2013). "From Both Sides Now: Bujold and the Fan Fiction Phenomenon". In Croft, Janet Brennan (ed.). Lois McMaster Bujold: Essays on a Modern Master of Science Fiction and Fantasy. McFarland & Company, Inc. pp. 16–25. ISBN   978-0-7864-6833-1.
  18. 1 2 "Interview with Award-Winning Author Lois McMaster Bujold". Amazing Stories. 2013-07-03. Retrieved 2019-03-10.
  19. "My First Sale by Lois McMaster Bujold, She Got By with a Little Help From Her Friends". Dear Author. 2008-04-25. Retrieved 2019-03-10.
  20. Jeremy L. C. Jones. "A Conversation With Lois McMaster Bujold". Clarkesworld Magazine . Retrieved 2012-04-01.
  21. Lois McMaster Bujold. "The chef recommends" . Retrieved 2015-09-23.
  22. Lennard, John (2013). "(Absent) Gods and Sharing Knives". In Croft, Janet Brennan (ed.). Lois McMaster Bujold: Essays on a Modern Master of Science Fiction and Fantasy. McFarland & Company, Inc. pp. 183–184. ISBN   978-0-7864-6833-1.
  23. Bujold, Lois McMaster (2013). "The Unsung Collaborator". Sidelines: Talks and Essays.
  24. 1 2 Bujold, Lois McMaster (2013). ""Here's Looking At You, Kid...": On Fan Fiction". Sidelines: Talks and Essays.
  25. The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library. "Minnesota Book Award Winners & Finalists" . Retrieved 2019-03-09.

Further reading