Friday, 17 November 2000

Lois McMaster Bujold: Komarr (1998)

Edition: Earthlight, 1998
Review number: 687

Following Miles Vorkosigan's surprise appointment as an Imperial Auditor at the end of Memory - they have the full power of the Emperor behind their investigations, amounting to a completely free hand - Komarr recounts his first case. Komarr is a recently conquered planet in the Barrayan Empire, important strategically because its planetary system contains the only wormhole linking Barrayar to the rest of the galaxy. However, it is barely habitable and the Empire is currently putting a large amount of its resources into a terraforming project. Now, though, a strange space accident has seriously damaged the orbiting system of mirrors which are designed to increase the amounts of light and heat reaching the planet from Komarr's sun. The bizarre aspects are the reason for the interest of the Auditors - why did a freighter on a standard trajectory suddenly change course and smash into the soletta (as arrays of mirrors for this purpose are called)? The investigation is not helped by the attitude of many of the Komarrans, who still remember a massacre carried out in the name of Miles' father though against his wishes.

While not quite as exciting as Memory, Komarr is still an excellent novel. In this paperback edition, though, Earthlight's designers seem to have gone out of their way to make it appear as trashy as they possibly could.

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