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Margaret

From the wiewpoint of someone definitely in the SF camp, who reads fantasy mainly when a favorite author branches into it, and who, while enjoying a touch of romance in stories, hasn't read an actual capital R Romance since Ju. High, the Sharing Knife books have a lot more in common with the Vorkosigoverse books than with the Five Gods books. The characters Grow and Learn throughout.
I suspect this also makes them more satisfying to the fans of Bujold type SF, also.

Just finished Passage. Had to wait for Amazon to fill my pre-order or would have had it sooner.

Though I mostly prefer ebooks nowadays, and have never preferred hard-cover, the available e-formats don't include eBookwise or multi-format.

Jeff

You know what the worst part of finishing Passage is?

Horizon won't be out until next year....

Tom

Somehow this post reminded me of Tom Smith's filk "Falling Free".

"One to be a person, two to be a team..." Of course Fawn and Dag will have to find the future while staying in the same world. (It just occurred to me that Leo and Silver are the other Bujold romantic couple with an "age-challenged" relationship.)

Ginger

My personal library includes lots of romance, mystery, and F&SF so the proposal that these three genres are fantasies of love, of justice, and of political agency respectively intrigues me. I've been thinking about the themes represented on my bookshelves. Lois may be onto something here. Thinking about the F&SF authors on my shelves -- H.Beam Piper, Heinlein, Zenna Henderson, Flint, Weber, Ringo, Asaro, M. Lackey, M.Z.Bradley, James White, Randall Garrett, among others -- political agency does seem to be a common concern. F&SF marketed as juvenile fiction, like Dianna Wynne Jones and Megan Whalen Turner, also has political threads. I'm not much of a F&SF tv and movie watcher, so I wonder how it fits?

By the way, I completely agree that romance/F&SF combinations rarely work. After many bad experiences, I avoid cross-overs between these two genres the same way I avoid romance/vampire crossovers. I bought Beguilement, despite the crossover aspect, with the conviction that even if LMB was as unsuccessful as everyone else at crossing romance with F&SF, her characters and quotable moments would be worth the money. The Sharing Knife shows that a succesful crossover is possible -- at least it is for LMB!

Micki

I had never noticed the political elements of SF&F before LMB brought up this point, and I'm amazed to see that she's very, very right. I have to say that Sharing Knife has a very strong political component -- the two protagonists came from very different cultures, and had to make this work.

Perhaps, rather than "political" (which reminds me of donkeys and elephants, slinging mud), we're talking more about cross-cultural understanding -- and misunderstandings.

At any rate, The three Sharing Knife books were very, very good, and I look forward to the fourth in the series.

Tora

As a long-time romance reader (and hard-core Bujold fan), I looked forward to that aspect in the Sharing Knife books, and haven't been disappointed.

Unfortunately, however, the aspect that's lost me slightly, is the multi-book aspect. With the story trickling out in bits, I feel the whole thing is moving too slowly. I'm finding that the romance aspect was "solved" in Beguilement (book 1) to my satisfaction, and the fantasy aspect is dragging out to its hopeful resolution in Horizon (book 4).

I should probably also say that I still love the books (and the world and the characters and the story, etc. etc.) and the writing is excellent as usual. But I think I'm just a bit let-down when the story's not resolved at the end of each book. Obviously, it's not meant to be. But. ;-p

-Tora, also finding it amusing that she's as much of a fantasy reader as a romance reader --- both sets of genre expectations are functioning for me at full speed when reading this series. I didn't even really know I had them until the discussion of these books! ;-)

Teddi

I agree with Ginger... the term "political" tends to make me think of governments and more formal social structures (and because of this year's elections, the mud-slinging and position-jockeying Ginger mentioned).

Although "societal" gets closer, I think sci-fi is more of a fantasy of the future of humanity. What might life be like 100, 500 or 10,000 years in the future?

It's not just politics, which is only a slice of human life. Depending on the author, elements of culture, technology, scientific discovery and the theoretical evolution of homo sapiens are all explored with varying emphasis.

Fun! Thanks for sparking this discussion, Lois. Your observations about the genres are invaluable -- not only have you experienced the differences in your crossover writing, but you're articulate and insightful in sharing what you've found. One of the things I love about you!

Christine

Thanks for the interesting post. Made me think! I love SF and read little fantasy. That being said, I absolutely love the SK series, this last book especially. I do enjoy a good romance, and to have the romance in an F/SF setting, so much the better. In the last book, I very much enjoyed watching Dag explore and practice his newly found talents.

johne

Fascinating insight. "Politics" has to do with authority and resources, so another political genre must definitely be the Western.

John McCarthy

The political problem of TSK is how to reconcile the powerful, but so far static, Lakewalker culture with the expanding farmer population and
technology. Dag is the one who sees it and sees mutual knowledge as essential to a solution.

Helen

The authors that have made the deepest impression on me, whose words surface in daily life, have been those combining 'empowerment' themes with convincing world-building and characters that stick in the mind: Bujold, LeGuin, Tepper...I have been neglecting even more things than usual for a total immersion in 'Passage'. Wonderful!

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