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I've read almost everything that Bujold has written and have liked most of it, but I have a few reservations. In http://epi-lj.livejournal.com/1728122.html - 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.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 4th, 2007 01:35 pm (UTC)
A lot of her nasty stuff is... memorable. Yeah. Memorable.

I mainly reread the late series romances.
Dec. 5th, 2007 12:34 am (UTC)
I know a lot of people who can't abide thinking about the kitten tree. I think that I know this is fiction and it doesn't affect me as much as other people (although I'm reading an ARC now that has me rolling my eyes every other page or so -- review to come) so it's okay in a book.

You do have to forcefeed people sometimes, particularly mentally ill people. It's one of those things you don't want to do, but the person will die otherwise and may not be capable of realizing that.
Dec. 5th, 2007 05:05 am (UTC)
The character's forcefeeding was a form of abuse, and not the only form he endured.

The forcefeeding bothered me a lot less than other things that were done to him.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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