Lois McMaster Bujold

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Lois McMaster Bujold
Bujold at home in 2009
Born Lois Joy McMaster [1]
(1949-11-02) November 2, 1949 (age 68)
Columbus, Ohio, U.S.
Occupation Novelist
Nationality American
Period 1985–present
Genre Science fiction, fantasy
Children 2

Lois McMaster Bujold ( /bˈʒld/  (   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 Hugo. 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. [2] In 2013 she was awarded the Forry Award. [3] In 2017 she won a Hugo Award for Best Series, for the Vorkosigan Saga. [4]


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


Bujold at Finncon 2012 in Tampere

Bujold is the daughter of Robert Charles McMaster [5] [6] and attributes her early interest in science fiction, as well as certain aspects of the Vorkosigan Saga, to his influence. He was editor [7] of the monumental Nondestructive Testing Handbook [8] generally referred to as McMaster on Materials.

Bujold writes that her experience growing up with a world-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." [9] Her brother, an engineer like their father, helped provide technical details to support her writing of Falling Free . [10]

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.

Bujold 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). [11] Daughter Anne Bujold is a Portland, Oregon metal artist, welder, [12] and vice president of the Northwest Blacksmith Association. [13] Bujold currently lives in Medicine Lake, Minnesota. [14]

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. Thus began her career in writing in science fiction. By 2010, Baen Books claimed to have sold 2 million copies of Bujold's books. [15]

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. [16]


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. 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.


Sylvia Kelso, in the New York Review of Science Fiction, wrote in 1998:

Narrative impulsion is actually a constant in Bujold's work, as is her easy, almost transparent style with its occasional unexpected striking turn of phrase – "Death had a temperature and it was damned cold" (Komarr 27) – or its wickedly reshaped allusions: "The cream pie of justice flies one way" (Vor 336). The apparently effortless fluidity of both style and story may actually have militated against critical notice, in comparison to notorious stylists like William Gibson, or, again, Ursula Le Guin. [17]


Hugo Awards



Nebula Awards



Locus Awards

Best Science Fiction Novel

Best Fantasy Novel

John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer

List of works


  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. NESFA. "Skylark Award". NESFA . Retrieved 2013-10-15.
  3. Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society. "Forry Award". LASFS . Retrieved 2013-10-15.
  4. "2017 Hugo Awards". The Hugo Awards.
  5. "Robert Charles McMaster - a tribute". Dendarii.com. Retrieved 2014-01-28.
  6. cf. a Memorial Tribute in his honor
  7. Nondestructive Testing Handbook (9780318215020): Robert C. McMaster: Books. Amazon.com. ISBN   0318215020.
  8. "The American Society for Nondestructive Testing". Archived from the original on 2012-09-04.
  9. Bujold, Lois Mcmaster (1997). Young Miles. BAEN. p. 830.
  10. Bujold, Lois McMaster. Forward to Miles, Mutants, Microbes Omnibus edition, paragraphs 11 & 13
  11. "Locus Lois McMaster Bujold Biography". Dendarii.com. Retrieved 2014-01-28.
  12. "Ann the Riveter and her Riveted Rabbit". CraftedInCarhartt.com. Retrieved 2015-12-26.
  13. "Northwest Blacksmith Association Board of Directors". Northwest Blacksmith Association. Retrieved 2015-12-26.
  14. "Lois McMaster Bujold, Biolog". Dendarii.com. Retrieved 2014-01-28.
  15. Jeremy L. C. Jones. "A Conversation With Lois McMaster Bujold". Clarkesworld Magazine . Retrieved 2012-04-01.
  16. Lois McMaster Bujold. "The chef recommends" . Retrieved 2015-09-23.
  17. Loud Achievements: Lois McMaster Bujold's Science Fiction in New York Review of Science Fiction, October 1998 (Number 122)

Further reading