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Memory: A Miles Vorkosigan Novel | [Lois McMaster Bujold]

Memory: A Miles Vorkosigan Novel

Dying is easy. Coming back to life is hard. Miles Vorkosigan should know - having done both once already. Thanks to his quick-thinking staff and the artistry of a medical specialist, Miles' first death wasn't his last. But it does take some recovery, a fact he has been reluctant to admit. When he makes the mistake of returning too soon to duty, he finds himself summoned to face the security chief, Simon Illyan. But Miles' worst nightmares about Illyan are nothing compared to Illyan's own nightmares.
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Publisher's Summary

Dying is easy. Coming back to life is hard. At least that's what Miles Vorkosigan thinks, and he should know - having done both once already.

Thanks to his quick-thinking staff and incredible artistry from a medical specialist, Miles' first death wasn't his last. But it does take some recovery, a fact he has been reluctant to admit. When he makes the mistake of returning too soon to military duty, he finds himself summoned home to face the Barrayaran security chief, Simon Illyan.

But Miles' worst nightmares about Simon Illyan are nothing compared to Illyan's own nightmares. Under suspicion himself, Miles must seek out the answers to Ilyan's nightmares or see the inevitable destruction of Imperial Security and, with it, the Empire.

Hi-fi sci-fi: listen to more in the Vorkosigan saga.

©1996 Lois McMaster Bujold; (P)2007 Blackstone Audio Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Science fiction at its very best!" (Rave Reviews)
"As ever with Bujold, Memory is a delight!" (Locus)
"Bujold fans of long standing will justly hail [this] as a masterpiece that contains some of her finest prose and characterization. Bujold continues to prove what marvelous genius can create out of basic space operatics." (Booklist)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.6 (1285 )
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  •  
    Jefferson 06-21-13
    Jefferson 06-21-13 Member Since 2010

    I love reading and listening to books, especially fantasy, science fiction, children's, historical, and classics.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Miles in Midlife Crisis? Simon in Dementia?"

    Poor Miles Vorkosigan! Right from the start of Memory (1996), perhaps the fifth novel featuring Miles in Lois McMaster Bujold's entertaining Vorkosigan space opera saga, he is suffering from both the worst physical afflicton in his nearly thirty-year life and the worst self-inflicted debacle in his thirteen-year career. The former involves his being prey to unpredictable, debilitating, and apparently untreatable seizures, rendering him a threat to any action undertaken by his Dendarii Free Mercenary Fleet. And if the Chief of Barrayaran Imperial Security (ImpSec) Simon Illyan were to learn about it, Miles' sensational career and liberated alter-ego as Admiral Naismith of the Dendarii, as well as his official but modest career as ImpSec Lieutenant Vorkosigan of Barrayar, would be finished. So he writes a false report for Simon Illyan, putting himself in an impossible position. It is unsettling to witness Miles being crushed by circumstances of his own making that leave him apparently without the slightest hope of being able to jury-rig a plan involving improvisation, subterfuge, sleight of hand, b-essing, or any other tool from his usual bag of “forward momentum” tricks.

    The promising opening to the novel also provides glimpses of Miles' doomed relationship with Sergeant Taura, the eight-foot-tall, genetically engineered super soldier with a brief built-in life span, his intense but ultimately hopeless relationship with Dendarii Captain Elli Quinn, who will love only Admiral Naismith and refuses to marry Miles Vorkosigan, and his sadly nostalgic relationship with Elena Bothari, who wants to retire from the Dendarii and raise a family with her husband. And as soon as Miles returns to his home in the Barrayaran capital, Bujold summons several interesting characters from Miles' past, including his gormless Cousin Ivan, his former hot-tempered superior in Brothers in Arms (1989), Captain Duv Galeni, an unprecedentedly love-smitten Emperor Gregor, and, most compellingly, Simon Illyan, when his eidetic memory implant chip goes haywire, making his behavior increasingly disoriented and pathetic in a manner reminiscent of the dementia that has wiped out my father's short term memory.

    Memory is one of the Miles novels that take place nearly entirely on Barrayar away from his (Admiral Naismith's) Dendarii Free Mercenaries. Miles spends most of this novel in his family castle-mansion in the Barrayar capital, in his family's hill-country estate, or in the daunting ImpSec headquarters (dubbed by Miles "Cockroach Central"). Despite or because nearly the entire book is set on Barrayar and features no space battles or exciting action scenes, Memory is a page-turning novel with an interesting cast of characters and an intriguing mystery. And will Bujold finally have Miles resolve his ever conflicted dual identity as Mercenary Admiral Naismith and ImpSec Lietuenant Vorkosigan?

    Some scenes are funny, as when Emperor Gregor offers Miles the chance to play at being an "Auditor":

    "I thought you'd like it."
    "Like it! It'll be downright orgasmic."
    "Don't get carried away."

    And some scenes are moving, as when Miles unburdens himself to Simon while fishing:

    "I liked the winning . . . . I always got away with it somehow. Any way I could. On the table or under it, I won. This seizure thing . . . seems like the first enemy I couldn't outsmart . . . . "I was beaten . . . . Yet I survived. Didn't expect that. I feel . . . very unbalanced about that. I had to win always, or die. So . . . what else was I wrong about?"

    Grover Gardener is his usual professional and appealing self, smoothly reading the novel as though he were born to voice Miles and managing to enhance the text in all the right places and ways without ever showing off or trying too hard to alter his voice for female or old voices. And his clear, dry, DJ-esque voice is as pleasant to listen to as ever.

    All that said, I must admit (SPOILER ALERT) that although Bujold had me smiling as the long resolution of the novel plays out, the part of me stimulated by bracingly tragic tales of human self-destruction was disappointed by how ideally she works out the initially devastating predicaments of Miles and especially Simon Illyan, so that they both come out of their afflictions far better than they went into them. And Gregor's doctor love interest appears too more zaftig and not intelligent enough, and General Haroche is not as wiley as he's supposed to be. And I missed Miles' socially challenged clone-twin Mark.

    But overall, Bujold is in fine fettle here, writing another solid entry in the Vorkosigan saga, each novel of which feels fresh and fun, because she is so adept at coming up with new ideas for Miles' trials and triumphs.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ben Flowood, MS, United States 07-23-10
    Ben Flowood, MS, United States 07-23-10
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    "Best series I've read in years"

    After a unexpected and crushing blow to his career, Miles sinks into a long but thoughtful depressive period which is a little slow, though still interesting to read. However, seeing "Auditor Miles" at work later more than makes up any lack of space battles. Miles crazed and entertaining maneuvers still keep you on the edge of your seat crying, "Go Miles!" The scenes between Illyan and Miles were gut-wrenching and absorbing. Must read for Miles fans.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    tim 05-30-10
    tim 05-30-10

    rilke11

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Bujold Very Reliably Excellent"

    She's an excellent writer. They are well read.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laura Bryant 07-24-15 Member Since 2012
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    "This is my favorite book"
    If you could sum up Memory in three words, what would they be?

    Miles is awesome


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Memory?

    I don't want to give too much away so I will be vague. My favorite moment is when Miles stops feeling sorry for himself and realizes that just because he has some new medical problems does not mean that he cannot contribute to society anymore. He is not worthless just because his first career is over.


    Which character – as performed by Grover Gardner – was your favorite?

    Miles. Grover Gardner has a great way of narrating his thoughts in exactly the right tone.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes. It is one that I have listened to multiple times and each time is engrossing.


    Any additional comments?

    This book is especially meaningful to me because I have epilepsy and I have suffered memory loss in my 20s and can really identify with both Miles and Simon. Lois McMaster Bujold really captured the feeling of helplessness when faced with permanent medical problems and how that can close some doors. However, she also managed to show Miles rising above it, or rather, around it.

    There is also an awesome story with a mystery to solve. This series does science fiction right. There is enough technical information to make it feel like science rather than magic, but not so much that it bogs down the story. Overall, a fantastic and engrossing book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Oxi 06-26-15
    Oxi 06-26-15 Member Since 2014
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    "great author! :-)"

    I think McMaster Bujold is a superb author and am loving this series! I also love the narrator! I will say I didn't like this one quite as much as the previous books because it seemed the most sad overall of the books thus far, but you can tell it's setting up for something big and I'm excited to see what Miles gets up to next.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Flonkbob 05-03-15
    Flonkbob 05-03-15 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "More Heart"

    This installment in the wonderful series gives a much better look inside of Miles. If you have read any of the others u need to read this one. Highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael G fulham 04-08-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Excellent. Couldn't stop listening to it."

    Bought this one out of my subscription cycle. More than I could have hoped for.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Will Sullivan 03-20-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Omfg"

    This is the best around, and no other read will keep it down. Fifteen words.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gary Kelly 01-23-15
    Gary Kelly 01-23-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Enjoy."

    Great book. My favourite series. Enjoy. But it seems I have to add fourteen more words to submit this review.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 01-07-15 Member Since 2012
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    "Miles reprise with story arch denouement"

    Miles fans will adore this, but slow readers like me might bog down in "remember when ..." as I did, waiting for the innovations the author always delivers. Bujold, like Homer, seldom nods. Plot, character, setting, layered meaning, all sterling quality, but not her gold standard. Our hyperactive hero finally integrates his separate selves, and Simon Ilion begins to ripen and develop complexity when an assasination attempt only partly succeeds.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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