"Boy, can she write!"
Lois McMaster Bujold is a modern American writer of Speculative Fiction. She was early categorised as a writer of Military Science Fiction due to her early books, but her books generally pick up elements of romance, detection, planetary romance, and many other types of genres.
She has won the Hugo Award for Best Novel four timesnote , second only to Robert A. Heinlein, and the Nebula Award for Best Novel twicenote . She won the Hugo Award for Best Series the first two times it was awarded, for the Vorkosigan Saga and World of the Five Gods series. She was awarded the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award by the SFWA in 2020.
Major works of hers include:
- The Vorkosigan Saga
- The World of the Five Gods series
- The Sharing Knife series
- The Spirit Ring, a standalone novel based on the legend of The Grateful Dead. (No, not the band, which took its name from the same legend.)
Some tropes common to Lois Bujold's works are:
- Anachronic Order: Individual works tend to be in order internally, but she has a tendency to insert books into gaps in existing series, such as adding Barrayar, The Vor Game and Cetaganda into the timeline of the Vorkosigan books, or inserting Penric's Fox and Masquerade in Lodi into the Penric stories.
- Author Appeal
- The angsty, experienced older man/spunky but naive young woman pairing shows up in a number of Bujold's works, Most prominently in The Sharing Knife but also in Falling Free, The Curse of Chalion, and The Hallowed Hunt.
- Weddings in general. Many of her works have someone getting married in them.
- Bujold is one of the few authors who portrays Uterine Replicators as being clearly better for the baby, the mother, and society in general, and not as a symptom of a dehumanizing dystopia. She's also had two kids. (She also makes sure to note that Cordelia and Fawn have access to the good anti-nausea medication during their pregnancies.)
- More minor than the others, but she also seems to like the name 'Dag', using it for the hero of The Sharing Knife, Miles' Cetagandan opposite number Ghem-Colonel Benin, and a minor character mentioned in passing in Ethan of Athos.
- A number of her books revolve around engineering; her father was one, with protagonist Leo Graf loosely based on him.
- Hair, long hair in particular, is often a symbol of status and beauty. Traumatic Haircuts often appear because of this, with the Barrayaran custom of burning locks Due to the Dead being a base for it.
- Big Beautiful Woman: While not all Bujold love interests are portrayed this way, there are several whose attractiveness to their partners is due to their size and not in spite of it; Laisa (Emperor Gregor's wife in the Vorkosigan Saga) and Nikys (Penric's wife in World of the Five Gods) are the most prominent examples.
- Polyamory: The notion that one can be sincerely in love with more than one person at a time shows up at least once per series:
- Vorkosigan Saga:
- Cordelia mentions an Armsman who has one wife in the city and one in the country, is chronically stressed by the expense and the secrecy, but can't bear to choose between them and seems to truly love both.
- Not to mention that an essential spoiler for the entire plot of Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen was that Oliver had been the invisible third person in Aral and Cordelia's marriage for years.
- World of the Five Gods:
- Dowager Royina Ista tells of the close but non-romantic relationship she had with her husband's male lover, and how much her husband loved them both.
- Adelis and Nikys's mothers were the wife and concubine of a Cedonian general, respectively. The two women became fast friends and their children treated each other as full siblings.
- The Sharing Knife: A Lakewalker woman is married to two men. The original couple couldn't have children—all-important in Lakewalker culture—but they didn't want to split up, so they just brought in an extra husband. The husbands are also married to each other.
- Vorkosigan Saga:
- Romancing the Widow: Miles Vorkosigan and Penric both end up Happily Married to widows; Ista is the widow who gets romanced in Paladin of Souls.