Peter Chubb slept on our couch for a few days recently, looked over all my spine-cracked paperbacks and said: “People who like O’Brian and Trollope usually like Lois McMaster Bujold as well.” So I bought the very first Miles Vorkosigan book, Cordelia’s Honor, at Stacey’s – I’ve been dropping by regularly since Cody’s Stockton Street closed, out of pure guilt. And I read the first page or two and was bored, and put it aside. I took it and Antarctica to Boston and New York on the theory that I wouldn’t mind leaving either of them behind and thus lightening my luggage.
Of course Antarctica was really, really good. Jeremy and I once had the delight of touring the Australian Antarctic Division’s Aurora Australis, and the Treaty, like the United Nations and the CSIRO, has always belonged for me among those clear-eyed, idealistic Fifties-era efforts at a Higher Good that we as a species never quite lived up to but still should. Well, Robinson’s book is basically that impulse writ large, so you can imagine how I lapped it up.
So I didn’t actually pick up the Bujold until the flight home, and even then I only read the first part, Shards of Honor. And then I had to sit looking out the window for a few hours blinking back tears, because I had just discovered a new author who took her place immediately among my all-time top ten and who is prolific to boot, so that besides the basic joy of flying home to Jeremy and Claire and Julia there was the prospect of many weeks of the sheer pleasure of reading books that would challenge and move me and make me laugh.
It was, for those few hours, just too much happiness to bear.