Review Blog

May 22 2020

The Flowers of Vashnoi by Lois McMaster Bujold

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An Ekaterin Vorkosigan novella. Subterranean Press, 2019. ISBN: 9781596068926. 73 pages.
(Age: Adult - Senior secondary) Highly recommended. What a thought provoking and stylish novella from Bujold, an award winning author who never fails to deliver a book that lingers in the memory. Ekaterin is beginning to take on the role of Lady Vorkosigan and with her interest in Botany sees the Vashnoi exclusion zone lands that have been devastated by war and still radioactive as something that she may be able to reclaim. Working with scientist Enrique Borgos, the pair experiment with radbugs that could eat the radioactive material in the dead zone and spew out fertilizer.
Not only does Bujold bring to life the horror of atomic devastation but the lingering effects of radioactivity on the surviving population. Writing with compassion and warmth she outlines the dilemmas that Etakerin faces when the radbugs begin to disappear and secrets that have been hidden since the time of her husband, Miles' grandfather, come to light.
In 73 engrossing pages Bujold explores the themes of prejudice against those who have suffered from radioactivity poisoning, the use of bioengineering and reshaping the landscape. Although this highly readable novelette fits into the series of books in the Vorkosigan saga, it can be read as a stand-alone.
Pat Pledger

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