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Showing 1-3 of 3 reviews(3 star). See all 12 reviews
on 16 August 2017
Not her best but worth a read
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on 30 March 2013
Ethan is a young man looking to get ahead in life and start a family when his career hits a problem: the fertility clinic where he works is running out of viable eggs. And the obvious solution of asking for or buying new donations is impossible as Athos has no women and is isolationist to boot (we're told that they have religious reasons for this, but the book doesn't go into this). So when the purchase goes wrong (they receive a pile of biological waste instead of eggs) Ethan is sent to proquire replacements. Of course he will be rewarded for this if only he can resist the evil siren call of... women.

Given the gynophobic nature of Athos, naturally the first person Athos runs into is Eli Quinn (on a mission from Miles, though at first we're just told that she's visiting her "Home Planet", Kline Station). After she rescues Ethan from an assassination attempt, she acts as a sort of native guide for the naive Ethan and they are drawn into a world of Cetagandan spies, Jackson Hole enforcers and telepathic agents.

While this is a rather disposable book in the grand sweep of the Vorkosigan series (there is a reference to the goings on here in, I believe, "Cetaganda", but it otherwise has almost zero impact on events elsewhere), it does have some suitably "Bujoldian" touches. Women are referred to (on Athos, at least) as "Uterine Replicators with Legs" and Athos is one of the few planets where childcare costs are fully accounted for (a cynic - especially a female cynic - might comment that when a men have to bear the costs of bringing up a baby, of course they fully account for childcare costs). Kline Station's "Hat" is "terrified of (xeno-)biological infections", which results in a scene where Eli in a suitably "Milesian" moment brings the wrath of Kline Station down on a Cetagandan agent by accusing him of having an STD.

Overall, it'll keep you amused for a couple of hours but isn't exactly a "Must Read".
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on 14 June 2003
I quite enjoyed the first 2/3 of the book, but the last 3rd let me down. The concept of an all male planet based on the idea of a monastary was well done. The Athos prejudice against women was a bit on the strong side until you consider that, after all, the planet's residents had never seen women in their life. To them, heterosexual sex would seem disgusting because they had no knowledge of it or of the female sex. To be sure, Athos isn't a planet I would ever want to be even near to, but their attitude towards women would be as natural as our attitude is toward those who are totally alien to us.
My disappointment with the latter part of the novel stems from my feeling of just plain tiring of the characters. I would still recommend it to most science-fiction readers, but not as strongly as CETAGANDA.
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