Biology and Manners

BookBiology and Manners

Biology and Manners

Essays on the Worlds and Works of Lois McMaster Bujold

Liverpool Science Fiction Texts and Studies, 64


June 17th, 2020

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This volume of essays continues the establishment of Lois McMaster Bujold as an important author of contemporary science fiction and fantasy. It argues persuasively that Bujold's corpus spans the distance between two full arcs of US feminism, and has anticipated or responded to several of its current concerns in ways that invite or even require theoretical exploration. 

The fourteen essays collected here provide wide-ranging scholarly analyses of Bujold’s work and worlds so far, covering not only the science fiction and fantasy series, but taking into account the wealth of ancillary material inspired by her works, such as fan fiction and role-playing games. Examining the major series through a range of perspectives, including feminist readings, queer theory, and disability studies, this volume aims to establish beyond doubt the seriousness of intent behind Bujold’s various artistic projects and provide a set of rich readings of this engaging, experimental, playful, and popular author.



'Biology and Manners: Essays on the Worlds and Works of Lois McMaster Bujold advances scholarship on this important author by light-years. This collection covers nearly the entire chronological range of Bujold’s work, and gives equal attention to her Vorkosiverse science fiction and her Chalion and Sharing Knife fantasy worlds. Lee and McCormack have gathered a set of particularly strong essays applying queer theory and theological analysis to Chalion’s five-god pantheon and its interactions with humanity, and the chapters on women and reproduction are equally thought-provoking. Overall, an impressive and essential addition to Bujold studies.'
Janet Brennan Croft, editor of Lois McMaster Bujold: Essays on a Modern Master of Science Fiction and Fantasy

'Biology and Manners substantially advances previous scholarship through its comprehensive coverage of Bujold’s fictional range, its depth, and its attention to detail. The various scholarly approaches provide a central holographic reader response to Bujold’s oeuvre that becomes three-dimensional as the chapters come together, providing a clearer image of Bujold’s literary genius as well as her empathy and subversiveness... the accessibility of the prose in these essays makes this anthology of value not only to scholars and libraries, but also to serious fans.'Sandra Lindow, Science Fiction Studies

'Biology and Manners is a compelling read. Upon completion, the reader is left with a pronounced feeling the anthology will become a foundational text that promotes future Bujold research... In these ways, Biology and Manners should prove its value to readers for years to come.'
Karen Stewart, Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts

Author Information

Regina Yung Lee is Senior Lecturer in Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies at the University of Washington, Seattle Una McCormack is a bestselling science fiction writer, formerly Lecturer in Creative Writing at Anglia Ruskin University and an Honorary Visiting Fellow at the Anglia Ruskin Centre for Science Fiction and Fantasy

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
Editions and Abbreviations10
Section 1: The Emergence of Bujold Studies 13
Introduction: The Emergence of Bujold Studies15
The History of Scholarship on Lois McMaster Bujold’s Science Fiction and Fantasy: A Feminist Bibliographic Essay25
Section 2 : Bujold’s Women 45
Untimely Graces: Gender, Failure, and Sainthood in Lois McMaster Bujold’s Paladin of Souls47
You Wish to Have the Curse Reversed?: Traditional Narrative Motifs of Gender Reconfigured in Bujold’s Chalion Novels67
In Quiet Converse: The Intertextual Speaking of Madame Vorsoisson and Miss Price83
Section 3: Heroes' Journeys107
The Shape of a Hero’s Soul: Exploring the Paradox of Fate and Free Will in The Curse of Chalion and Paladin of Souls109
The Road and the River: Genre-Neering a Future in The Sharing Knife Series125
Pain Made Holy: Narratives of Disability and Pain in The Curse of Chalion143
Section 4: Potential Futures and Imagined Pasts 163
Queering Barrayar: The Uterine Replicator in Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen165
‘What you need is a liege lord’: Futuristic Feudalism in The Warrior’s Apprentice183
Womb with a View: Ectogenesis in Ethan of Athos and Brave New World199
Section 5: Holy Families219
The Holy Family: Divine Queerness in The Curse of Chalion and The Hallowed Hunt221
The Bastard Balances All: The Essential Other in Bujold’s Queer Theology241
Section 6: Beyond the Books 259
The Naismith Stratagem: Authenticity and Adaptation in Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan Saga: Sourcebook and Roleplaying Game261
Canon Compliance and Creative Analysis in Vorkosigan Saga Fan Fiction281
Appendix 1: Conference Proceedings299
About the Contributors303