Cryoburn (Lois McMaster Bujold) 4*

Really fun, and then as I turned the last page, really sad.  Not because the book is sad, but because this book is thematically the last of the series and I fight that notion.  I just don’t want it to be over.  Ever.

Which is why this book is an incredibly gracious way to end the series.  Bujold, like Pratchett, is getting older.  Miles Vorkosigan is getting older.  Cryoburn takes place on an Asian-populated planet where people cryo-freeze their living instead of burying their dead.  As a result, their society is falling apart.  The local graffiti reads Burn the dead! meaning Stop blocking the door!  It’s a pretty transparent gesture at Japan, where young people can’t get anywhere because the old salarymen refuse to retire.  By the end of the book, Miles is a father of four and his days of going off-script are over.

My favorite Vorkosigan books were about Miles’s heartbreaking adolescence and his wild years as Admiral Naismith, but Cryoburn insists that even fictional characters can’t stay put in any one stage of life.  Unlike Sweet Valley High, there can’t be thirteen Christmases and seven proms.  It’s sad to say good-bye, but at least Bujold is even-handed: Cordelia walked off the stage when Miles was born, and now Miles takes his final bow as well.

Will there ever be another book in this series?  Bujold has written out-of-timeline before, so it’s possible.  In my fantasies, there’s one more book out there for Elli Quinn.


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