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Thursday, November 10, 2005

Book review: Ethan of Athos by Lois McMaster Bujold

Though I frequently came across her name as a highly recommended science fiction author, I missed out on Lois McMaster Bujold until recently, when I read Ethan of Athos. That scifi adventure involves a man from an all-male planet who uses technology to provide children for his world’s population. Ethan happens to be gay; many of the other Athosians simply practice celibacy. Unfortunately, something goes awry, and Ethan must leave Athos on a mission that will cause him to rely on a woman for help.

Despite the strange plot and the comical tone, Bujold delivers an exciting story and characters that seem real. I like that she doesn’t remind me of any other writer.

As someone who enjoys reading (and writing) science fiction or fantasy novels with queer themes, I suggest this novel, as well as Wraeththu (by Storm Constantine), CinĂ¡tis (by Ronald L. Donaghe), The Left Hand of Darkness (by Ursula K. Le Guin), Stealing Some Time (by Mark Kendrick) and The Handmaid’s Tale (by Margaret Atwood). Other readers could suggest more, but I loved those and plan to read many related titles.