Stef (firecat) wrote,

reactions to Lois McMaster Bujold's writings

I've read almost everything that Bujold has written and have liked most of it, but I have a few reservations. In - a discussion of Bujold, specifically Falling Free - I commented "Bujold's works sometimes have nastiness that bothers me." phantom_wolfboy wanted to know why, so this is my attempt to think out loud about it.

A couple of scenes particularly upset me:
  • The part of Cetaganda about the kitten tree. After I read this, it kept haunting me and I basically cried and hugged my cat for a week over it. Which mainly meant that I needed to change my dose of antidepressants, so it's not like it's Bujold's fault...but it left a bad memory.
  • The part about Miles's double being force-fed. I can't really explain my reaction to this; I was just squicked.

Bujold is known for saying at cons that part of the way she writes is to get her characters into a particular position and then ask herself "What's the worst that could happen to them now?" and then write it.

I think possibly something else she does is to ask herself "What's a really controversial or taboo or emotionally loaded thing that I could introduce here?"

Much of the time I like that she does that; it means she addresses some things that other books don't, in ways that other books don't, and it's thought-provoking.

But I think I've gotten kind of sensitized to these things in Bujold's writing, to the point where sometimes when I'm reading her books I sometimes get tense in a way I don't enjoy, because I'm anticipating something that will feel uncomfortable to read.
Tags: books, thoughts, writing
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