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Memory (Miles Vorkosigan Adventures) Mass Market Paperback – October 1, 1997

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Editorial Reviews Review

Miles turns 30, and--though he isn't slowing down just yet--he is starting to lose interest in the game of Wall: the one where he tries to climb the wall, fails, gets up, and tries again. Having finally reached a point in his life where he can look back and realize that he has managed to prove his courage and competence, he can move on to bigger and better things.

Depending on how you count it, this is the eighth, ninth, tenth, or eleventh book in a series--not all are about Miles or even his extended family. A good place to start is with the first Vorkosigan story, Shards of Honor.

From Publishers Weekly

Miles Vorkosigan, secret agent extraordinaire and hero of six previous Bujold novels, has made a serious error. Not entirely recovered from the near-fatal injuries sustained in Mirror Dance (1994), he has a seizure while in combat, nearly wrecking the mission. Worse yet, fearing that he will be removed from active duty, he has falsified his report to Simon Illyan, the chief of Barrayaran Imperial Security. Illyan, who has perfect memory due to a computer implant, catches Miles in a lie and so must dismiss him from the Service. Devastated, Miles contemplates suicide. His career as a secret agent has propped up a damaged psyche; can he now live on his own? The Vorkosigan series started out as fairly lightweight space opera, but Bujold has matured as a writer over the years, and in such novels as Barrayar (1991) and Mirror Dance has both moved away from straight action and shown increasing skill as a delineator of character. Now, both Miles's strengths and his weaknesses come into play as he must struggle first with his own failure and then with a mystery that may have a potentially devastating effect on Barrayar itself. Not long after dismissing Miles, Illyan, who holds the safety of the Empire in his hands, begins to forget things and make serious mistakes himself?and only Miles, now a civilian with a serious medical disability hanging over his own head, has the knowledge needed to deal with impending disaster. Three novels in this series, including Mirror Dance, have won a Hugo for Best Novel; expect a nomination, at least, for this compelling new one. Major ad/promo; author tour.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Miles Vorkosigan Adventures
  • Mass Market Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Baen (October 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 067187845X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671878450
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (146 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #374,805 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Marcy L. Thompson VINE VOICE on August 28, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This book marks the turning point of Miles Vorkosigan/Naismith's life. Without giving away the plot, there's not much else to say. Miles faces his life, his choices and himself, in prose so brutally honest that it almost hurts to read. But the writing is beautiful, the plot twisty and surprising, and the characters glorious. This is the culmination of all that has gone before, and I strongly recommend that you read what has gone before. prior to dipping into this novel.
_Memory_ is a fabulous book. It would be well worth reading if it had only the great story, or only the incredibly well-drawn characters, or only the deeper layers of meaning. When you combine all of these, and add in the absolutely sublime prose, you have a fabulous book. Read the precursors, then read this. You won't be sorry.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Colin R. Glassey on March 13, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I will venture the very bold statement that Bujold is the best woman SF writer active today (ealier claiments to that title would be LeGuin and C. J. Cherry). This series of Bujold's (about Miles) is really a remarkable work. Not only is it extensive (10+ books) but it has gone after things in a strongly chronological fashion. Instead of skipping forward and backwards in time, picking off the highlights, this series has (with a few exceptions) moved forward in time very "cleanly". I really get the feeling that I'm reading about a real person's life.
One remarkable aspect to this series is that while it is science fiction, it is very strongly about character development as well. Miles changes over time. Most other people in the series don't change but then, most other people in the books are older than Miles and more set in their ways. Another interesting thing about this series is that the "galaxy" in which this book is set is slowly coming into focus. We only see bits and pieces of the Miles galaxy but even so, it is developing very nicely as a coherent, believable background for the stories.
Now this book, Memory, is a real turning point in Miles life and in the series. It marks (what seems to be) a turn away from "space opera" and towards something new... science fiction for policy wonks? Its hard to describe but the old days of blasting your enemies are replaced by the new, more mature challenges of politics and character assassination. It also represents a chance for Bujold to engage in some "romance".
Don't take this wrong, this is not some romance novel, but it is a novel that in many ways is about relationships. Its rare to read a SF novel that is this carefull balance of comedy, mystery, and character.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By WFK on July 3, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The first half of the book deals with Miles' old life as Admiral Naismith becoming a memory: he has to re-invent himself (again). Tragic circumstances - his former mentor's loss of memory - open up an unusual opportunity for our hero: to become an Imperial auditor. To quote from the book: "imperial with capital imp".
So the book becomes a mystery with Miles as the investigator and - naturally - his cousin Ivan as the sidekick. And it is a great story with all the colorful, romantic background of Barrayar.
If "Mirror Dance" was the very dark but brilliant story about his clone-brother becoming Lord Mark, then this is Miles' turn to really become Lord Vorkossigan, new suite and kitchen-staff included. There is also romance in the book, but it mostly evades Miles - well, at least the emperor is happy ...
A mystery, romance, a search for oneself - it's all there in this book. I regard it as one of the best of this brilliant series. To read it before "Komarr" (and consequently "A Civil Campaign") is recommended.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jayelithe on January 3, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I began the Miles saga with Memory, and although I did not understand several allusions at the beginning of the book, the story rolled along anyway, building momentum. I CARED what happened to this aging adolescent (the story begins just shy of his 30th birthday.) Miles has managed to finagle his way through repeated scams, and in this book, the scams all catch up with him at once. One thinks of "coming of age" stories as happening in the late teens and early 20's, and of dealing with learning to relate to others. Instead, Miles must deal with a deep split in his identity, and forge, quite literally, a psychic INTEGRITY he didn't even know he lacked. And at the same time, he must decide whether a crime has been committed against his former mentor, and if so, what to do about it. Memory worked for me on every level. I've laughed and cried through it and the other Miles books 5 times in the few months since I began reading them. Yes, the allusions make more sense now that I know who the other characters are and what the history is. But this is Miles's story, and my GOD, what a story it is! A must read!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By David Roy on February 4, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
While Mirror Dance is still the best Vorkosigan book so far, Memory is almost up there. After having explored Miles' brother Mark's character so vividly in Mirror Dance, Bujold turns to her main character in Memory, bringing Miles to a turning point in his life and showing what makes him tick. She does this by having Miles go through a crisis of conscience that ends up blowing up in his face.
After what happened to him in Mirror Dance, Miles goes through some introspection about the way his career has gone. What he does puts him at odds with Simon Illyan, the head of Imperial Security. The results from this send Miles on a downward mental spiral. While all of this is going on, a plot against Simon presents itself, and Miles has to figure out what's going on. Seeing how Miles deals with all of this is one of the best things about the book. The last couple of Bujold books have shown a great maturity in writing style that I really like.
A couple of reviewers have mentioned how predictable the Simon plot is. I have to agree, but I would say that it's beside the point. The reason for this novel is not the plot against Simon, but how Miles deals with it, and how he incorporates it into his dealing with his other issues. It doesn't matter that the plot is predictable, because the only reason it is there is to showcase Miles and his thought processes. In handling this dilemma, Miles makes great strides in his maturity. He's gone past the daring-do of his Admiral Naismith persona and become a much more well-rounded person. He discovers that he's been denying his real self as Miles Vorkosigan, and burying it in Admiral Naismith.
It's a great treat to read this book and see how Miles progresses. He comes out of the book a much better person than he went into it as.
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